Endangered Species
Alaska Region   


Steller’s Eider (Polysticta stelleri)

new icon Fact Sheet (3/3/2014) - Reintroducing Steller's Eiders in Alaska
new icon Press Release (2/21/2014) - Service Seeks Comments on Proposal to Reintroduce Steller's Eider in Alaska

Reintroduction to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta:
In 1997, the Service listed the Alaska-breeding population as threatened as a result of contraction of the species’ breeding range in Alaska and the resulting increased vulnerability of the population to extirpation.  The disappearance of nesting Steller’s eiders in western Alaska was of particular concern.  The only plausible way to restore a healthy population of Steller’s eiders on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (Y-K Delta) within a reasonable conservation horizon, and meet recovery goals, is through reintroduction.

After several years of planning and discussion by the Steller’s Eider Recovery Team, the development of a successful captive breeding program by our partners at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska, and initial conversations with local community leaders, we are developing a reintroduction program that will be in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

The mission of this program is to recover the Alaska-breeding population of Steller’s eiders through reintroduction and community involvement in ecosystem conservation on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

Our objectives include:

  • Re-establish a population of Steller’s eiders on the Y-K Delta;
  • Maximize local community involvement;
  • Minimize impacts to the subsistence way of life of Alaska Natives;
  • Minimize negative impacts to wild birds; and,
  • Develop a program that promotes broader conservation initiatives to maximize benefits for the Y-K Delta ecosystem and its human inhabitants.

We are currently in the planning stages and anticipate that preparation and methods development will span 3-5 years.  Our next steps include:

  • Developing an implementation plan that will be evaluated with public involvement;
  • Engaging local communities and developing partnerships with stakeholders;
  • Continuing to engage in government-to-government consultation with potentially affected Alaska Native Tribes and consulting with Alaska Native corporations; and,
  • Working closely with the Alaska SeaLife Center to maintain the captive founder flock of Steller’s eiders, upgrading facilities, and conducting essential research.

Information on public meetings, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, and other current events will be updated on this website.

Please contact Kate Martin, Eider Recovery Coordinator, at (907) 456-0215 or for more information on the species or how you can contribute to Steller’s eider recovery.

Photo of a Steller's eider.  Photo Credit: Ted Sem/USFWS

Last updated: March 11, 2014