USFWS
Alaska Region
Conserving the Nature of America
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Changes to Public Use Regulations for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
May 20, 2015


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today published a proposed rule that maintains protections for the world-class natural resources of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge while supporting visitor experience and safety at one of Alaska’s most accessible and enjoyed public landscapes.

“Over a million people travel through the Kenai Refuge each year on the Sterling Highway, and an estimated 300,000 visitors spend extended periods of time on the refuge,” said Refuge Manager Andy Loranger. “We want people to feel welcome and safe while ensuring that abundant plant, fish and wildlife populations are maintained into the future. These proposed changes help us achieve these goals.”


Chelsea Brower teaches visitors how to be safe in polar bear country and about the people of Kaktovik, Alaska. - Photo Credit: Chelsea Brower
Chelsea Brower teaches visitors how to be safe in polar bear country and about the people of Kaktovik, Alaska.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Brower
 
By Air, Land, and Sea, Alaska’s Threatened and Endangered Species are Taking Steps Toward Recovery
May 12, 2015

Endangered Species Day is Friday, May 15!  In honor of this event, we are highlighting recent stories about species in Alaska that are benefitting from the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act and the dedicated people who work to ensure their continued existence.

Short-tailed Albatross – The critically endangered short-tailed albatross, which primarily breeds on an active volcanic island,  was recently found breeding on a new, safer island. Learn more

Wood Bison – For the first time in more than century, a wood bison calf was born in the wild in Alaska. Learn more

Polar Bear Youth Chelsea Brower, 17, of Kaktovik, Alaska, grew up around polar bears and often observes them wandering through her village, curious about the scents of locally harvested foods outside of houses. Learn more

 


Participants in the 2015 Youth Game Warden Camp learn to navigate in the woods with GPS units and compasses. Photo Credit: USFWS
Participants in the 2015 Youth Game Warden Camp learn to navigate in the woods with GPS units and compasses.
Photo Credit: Kelly Modla/USFWS
 
Learning to be a Game Warden
May 1, 2015

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge hosted the 2015 Youth Game Warden Camp, a collaborative effort between natural resource agencies to provide young people an opportunity to meet and learn about the interesting job of a game warden. They discovered that you need to be a little bit curious, take a keen interest in wildlife and fisheries management and natural resource law enforcement, enjoy interacting with the visiting public, be a quick thinker, and enjoy the outdoor office.

So what do you get when you bring together 40 fourth, fifth and sixth graders and engage them in such activities as wildlife forensics, wildlife management and law enforcement, wildlife robotics, archery, antlers, skulls, and duck identification? Learn More

 


Steve Klein with winter Chinook salmon from Kachemak Bay, Feb 23, 2015.
Steve Klein with winter Chinook salmon from Kachemak Bay. Photo Credit: S. Klein/USFWS
Good species and habitat management leads to bountiful opportunities for hunters and anglers.  Pete Probasco, MBSP ARD, took grandson Kaiyu out of school in November to help go look for and hopefully fill out the anterless moose tag draw permit. Beautiful fall day, crisp, cold and successful.
Kaiyu, grandson of Pete Probasco, on a successful anterless moose tag hunt. Photo Credit: P. Probasco/USFWS
 
Alaska Department of Fish and Game Receive $52 Million in Revenues Generated by Hunters, Shooters, Boaters and Anglers
April 30, 2015

The Service apportions the funds to states and U.S. territories through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs. Revenues come from excise taxes generated by the sale of sporting goods, with firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment funding Wildlife Restoration, and fishing equipment, electric boat motors, and the purchase of motorboat fuel funding Sport Fish Restoration.

In Alaska, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is the recipient of these funds. This year, the Wildlife Restoration program will receive $34,625,771 to conduct wildlife research and management, ensure public access to wildlife resources, and provide hunter education programs and shooting ranges. The Sport Fish Restoration will receive $17,325,859 to conduct sport fish research and management, ensure access to waters for recreational boaters and anglers, deliver aquatic education programs, and operate sport fish hatcheries.

 

 

 


Bristle-thighed Curlew on nest.  Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.  Photo Credit: Kristine Sowl/USFWS
Bristle-thighed Curlew on Nest.
Photo Credit: Kristine Sowl/USFWS
 
Alaska Celebrates Arrival of Migratory Birds
April 30, 2015

Spring has sprung and migratory birds are arriving in Alaska by the thousands.  Soon they will be building nests, laying eggs and another generation of birds will be hatching. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, along with many partners, celebrates this special time of year by inviting you to participate at bird festivals and events across the state.

 

 

 


Youth ambassadors for left to right: Kimberly Burns (represented by her mother). Tori Inglangasak, Chelsea Brower, Melani Tikluk and Jonas MacKenszie
Youth ambassadors for left to right: Kimberly Burns (represented by her mother). Tori Inglangasak, Chelsea Brower, Melani Tikluk and Jonas MacKenszie
 

Young Leaders in Kaktovik, Alaska, Receive Award for Service to Community and for Polar Bear Conservation
April 15, 2015

Five high school students received an award from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services on Wednesday, April 8, in recognition of their inspiring leadership and service to their community as youth ambassadors. All students at Harold Kaveolook High School watched as Jennifer Reed from Arctic National Wildlife Refuge presented the awards. These teens welcome visitors who are coming into their community to view polar bears, an icon of the Arctic. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides funds and staff support for the Kaktovik Youth Ambassador Program and other initiatives to build the community’s capacity for polar-bear related management. Read more..

 

 


Photo of a Yellow Cedar.  Photo Credit USFWS
 

90-day Finding on Petition to List Yellow-Cedar Under the Endangered Species Act
April 10, 2015

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a 90-day finding on a petition to list yellow-cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis) as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  A petition submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the yellow-cedar as threatened or endangered presents substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking scientific and commercial information which will assist in a future status review.

 


Acrylic paining of ruddy ducks - 2014 Federal Duck Stamp Contest winner Jennifer Miller.
Federal Duck Stamp
 
Interim Policy issued to Implement Federal Duck Stamp Exemption for Alaska's Subsistence Hunters 
April 8, 2015

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced an interim policy that implements a new lawexempting qualified Alaska subsistence hunters from the requirement to possess a Federal Duck Stamp while hunting migratory waterfowl.

The interim policy follows passage of the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014, an amendment to the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act. It becomes effective immediately and will remain operational until June 1, 2017. The Service will now work to develop regulations to implement the exemption on a permanent basis. Such regulations will go through an open process including the opportunity for public review and comment.

The congressional action was the result of leadership from the Alaska delegation in recognition of the importance of subsistence in the lives of Alaska Native peoples and other qualifying Alaskans.

The exemption from carrying the Federal Duck Stamp while hunting does not relieve qualified hunters from the requirement to purchase and possess state hunting licenses and stamps and abide by all other applicable federal and state laws. The Service will continue to work with Alaska Native peoples and other qualified subsistence hunters to ensure opportunities for subsistence hunting are available and sustainable.

 


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. http://1.usa.gov/1Aw1h0w.

 



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

 


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.

Read more

 

 


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.


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. 

 


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: May 20, 2015

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