Climate Change
Alaska Region   

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Photo of a local harvesting eggs.  Link to interviews with Alaska Native Elders.  Photo Credit: USFWS



Climate Change

Pacific Walrus. Photo Credit:  NOAA

Major climatic changes have occurred in recent decades with visible and measurable consequences in Alaska.  The effects of these changes on Alaskan flora and fauna challenge Service mandates to conserve the fish, wildlife, plant resources and refuges in its trust.  Realizing that the time to act is now, the Alaska Region is taking a leadership role within the Fish and Wildlife Service in its efforts to facilitate proactive collaboration and integration among programs, partners and stakeholders, and to incorporate climate change into decision-making.

This website provides information and resources on the impacts of climate change on Fish and Wildlife Service trust resources and lands in Alaska and the challenges these impacts pose to management of these resources. 

For more information contact Charla Sterne at 786-3471 or email Check back often as we add more information.


Evidence of Climate Change in Alaska
With an area of more than 375 million acres spanning 2,000 miles from east to west and 1,100 miles north to south, 12 major rivers which drain two-thirds of the State, 5 important mountain ranges, and permafrost underlaying two-thirds of the state, it comes as no surprise that Alaska is characterized by a wide diversity of climates and associated wildlife habitats.  Many types of observations indicate that Alaska’s climate and landscape is entering a time of rapid change. 

Ecological Impacts
Forest, tundra, marine and freshwater ecosystems are all vulnerable to a changing climate, which can influence Alaska’s biodiversity in a myriad of complex and unpredictable ways, and will likely transform Service trust resources and lands in ways we do not currently understand.


Alaska’s National Wildlife Refugesgraphic image photo of alaska marking refuges.  credit:  USFWS
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages 16 national wildlife refuges in Alaska, totaling 76,774,229 acres. These refuges are part of a National Wildlife Refuge System dedicated specifically to wildlife conservation.  Each refuge faces unique conservation challenges in addressing climate change-related impacts.


Conservation and Management
The greatest challenges facing Region 7 in the coming years are the complex and uncertain impacts anticipated from climate change.  This over-arching conservation issue pays no heed to political or administrative boundaries will demand a strategic, proactive, creative and collaborative approach.

Our strategic approach to climate change will emphasize strategies that support adaptation of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats, reduce our own carbon footprint through mitigation, and empower our employees, partners and public with the necessary information to take action in their day-to-day responsibilities.

Last updated: January 30, 2009
Climate Change
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