Alaska Region
Conserving the Nature of America
Julian Fischer
Julian Fischer
Science Leadership Award - 2014 
March 19, 2015

Congratulations Julian Fischer for receiving the Science Leadership Award. Julian is the Project Leader of the Waterfowl Division of Migratory Bird Management here in Alaska. As both an independent scientist and manager of a specialized group of avian experts, Julian works tirelessly to find scientifically-based solutions to a wide variety of avian conservation issues. Julian embodies management and scientific excellence through his leadership of a diverse team of up to 20 employees. The key to Julian’s leadership success is not only his ability to work closely with his staff, but also his enthusiasm in serving as an outlet for his team’s expertise. In addition to his management and field duties, Julian is an integral member of many conservation working groups and partnerships, and mentors younger scientists.


Wood bison and calf.
Photo Credit:Doug Lindstrand/awcc

Alaska to Receive More Than $2 Million to Support Conservation of Wildlife, Habitat, and Imperiled Species 
March 18, 2015

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that more than $2.0 million in new funding will be available to the State of Alaska through the State Wildlife Grant program in fiscal year 2015. State Wildlife Grants provide funds for conservation work across the state, including more than $680,000 for work to reintroduce the endangered wood bison to Alaska after having been wiped out for more than a century. The wood bison reintroduction project is an exciting example of a State Wildlife Grant enabling the ADF&G to restore a key indigenous grazing animal, while providing benefits to Alaska’s people and economy. Currently in Alaska, there are 61 active projects supported by $11.4 million of State Wildlife Grant funding. Read more


Laurel Devaney working with children.  Photo Credit: USFWS
Children who spend time in nature are healthier.Laurel and friends study insects. Photo Credit:USFWS

Meet Your Fish and Wildlife Service: Laurel Devaney 
March 11, 2015

Laurel Devaney is the Education Coordinator at our Fairbanks Fish & Wildlife Field Office in Alaska. She spends much of her time developing and running programs that draw young people into the outdoors, programs like “Weed Smackdown” to remove invasive plants, “Youth for Habitat” to introduce 13- and 14-year-olds to conservation, “Outdoor Days” to teach local sixth-graders natural resource management concepts and much more.

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When large groups of Pacific walruses, such as these near Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge, are startled, they rush back into the water in a stampede. In the process, small young walruses can be crushed. Climate change may be exacerbating the problem. The refuge is helping the Alaska SeaLife Center monitor walrus behavior. Photo Credit: Julia Pinnix/USFWS
When large groups of Pacific walruses, such as these near Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge, are startled, they rush back into the water in a stampede. Photo Credit:Julia Pinnix/USFWS

Alaskans Team Up to Prevent Walrus Stampedes 
March 4, 2015

Last fall, much of the world was riveted by the image of 30,000-plus Pacific walruses hauled out on the Arctic coast near the Alaskan village of Point Lay. Such scenes have become increasingly familiar as climate conditions shift and the walruses, one of the world’s largest pinnipeds, find that the summer sea ice on which they depend is disappearing. It’s a shift with potentially dire consequences, especially for young walruses.

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Ahklun Mountain glaciers on the Mt. Waskey massif, late summer 2006.
Photo Credit:USFWS
Ahklun Mountain glaciers on the Mt. Waskey massif, late summer 2006. Photo Credit:USFWS
Southwestern Alaska Glaciers Rapidly Disappearing
January 29, 2015

Researchers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Northern Arizona University recently reported in the Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management that 10 of 109 glaciers of the Ahklun Mountains that were originally mapped by the U.S Geological Survey in the 1970s had completely disappeared. The research team had conducted an aerial survey of the glaciers to verify their presence or absence. They also compared the size of the glaciers using aerial photographs and satellite images from 1957, 1984, and 2009 and found that the glaciers had lost about 50 percent of their area. At this rate of melting, all of the glaciers in the Ahklun Mountains will be gone by the end of this century.


Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Photo Credit: Hillebrand/USFWS
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Photo Credit:Hillebrand/USFWS

President Recommends 12.3 Million Acres of Wilderness at Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
January 25, 2015

President Eisenhower established what later became Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 1960 “for the purpose of preserving unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values.” Now, 55 years later, President Obama is recommending that Congress add nearly 12.3 million acres of refuge land to the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Protection of this spectacular, pristine and wildlife-rich landscape will ensure that land managers can address the growing challenges faced by the refuge and keep fulfilling Eisenhower’s vision. The Service recommended the wilderness designation in a revised plan for the refuge released today. If Congress acts, it will be the largest ever designation in the Wilderness Act’s 50-year history.


Photo of Leah Eskelin on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Photo Credit:USFWS
Leah Eskelin on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Photo Credit:USFWS
Meet Your Fish and Wildlife Service: Leah Eskelin
December 5, 2014

Leah Eskelin serves as a Park Ranger for Visitor Services at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. She describes her typical summer day as “diverse and fast-paced.” She spends part of the day staffing the Visitor Center front desk, answering questions, decoding regulations, and planning camping and trail activities with guests. While she’s away from the front desk, she plans future interpretive programs, designs event flyers and Refuge signage and maintains the Facebook page, and a bunch of other stuff, too. In the winter, Leah catches her breath and starts planning for next summer.

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A bear fishing for salmon in the shoals of Karluk Lake - Photo Credit: Marie McCann, USFWS
A bear fishing for salmon in the shoals of Karluk Lake
Photo Credit: Marie McCann, USFWS

An Early Berry Crop Effects the Kodiak Brown Bear's Taste for Salmon
November 21, 2014

During the long days of summer, Kodiak’s brown bears beat well-worn paths along Refuge streams foraging for spawning sockeye salmon. The large quantity of this nutritious food has allowed the Kodiak brown bear to reach sizes and densities matched by only a few other places in the world.  In fact, over 2,500 Kodiak brown bears call the Refuge home, more than the entire lower 48 states. But in recent years salmon runs in southwestern Kodiak have been erratic and scientists have seen a drop in bear numbers within this area of the Refuge.  The bear population across the Archipelago and entire Refuge has remained largely stable. 


Steve (center) and friends hold up handfuls of spot prawn. Photo Credit: USFWS
Steve (center) and friends hold up handfuls of spot prawn. Photo credit: USFWS
Meet Your Fish and Wildlife Service: Steve Klein
November 20, 2014

Steve Klein serves as Chief of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program for the Alaska Region. He supervises a team of three biologists, a fiscal officer and an administrative assistant to review and approve more than $50 million in grants to states and tribes annually. In partnership with Alaska, WSFR is conserving fish and wildlife, and providing diverse and abundant fishing, hunting, boating and shooting opportunities. Steve is an avid outdoorsman, father of three sons and grandfather of two.


	Katrina introduces a child to fishing. Credit: Sydney West
Katrina introduces a child to fishing.
Photo credit: Sydney West
Meet Your Fish and Wildlife Service: Katrina Mueller
October 22, 2014

Katrina Mueller serves as Fisheries Outreach Coordinator in Alaska. This means working with Field Offices and recognized Fish Habitat Partnerships to tell the public what is being done to conserve fish and their habitats. The breadth of projects and amount of media now available to tell these stories keep her on her toes. She also co-chairs the Alaska Region’s Connecting People with Nature Team and serves on the Polar Bear Recovery Team’s Communication Working Group. She and her family spend most of their free time hunting and fishing and enjoying Alaska's out-of-doors.




Walrus Photo credit: Bill Tracey
Walrus Photo credit: Bill Tracey
Walrus Haulout Near the Native Village of Point Lay
October 2, 2014

Declines in sea ice in late-summer in the Chukchi Sea over the last several years have caused Pacific walruses to more frequently haul out on land to rest instead of resting on offshore ice. A haulout has recently formed near the community of Point Lay and has garnered significant media and public interest. Walruses occupying coastal haulouts are vulnerable to human caused disturbances that can result in trampling related mortality.  The Native Village of Point Lay respectfully requests that people do not attempt to visit the haulout site at this delicate time.

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Last updated: March 19, 2015

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