Endangered Species
Alaska Region   


Steller’s Eider (Polysticta stelleri)

Fact Sheet (Sept. 2015) - Reintroducing Steller's Eiders in Alaska 

Draft Environmental Assessment (Sept. 2015) - Reintroduction of Steller’s Eiders to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska. The comment period for the draft Environmental Assessment ends November 16, 2015.

News Release (Oct. 2015)

Interested parties may submit comments by any of the following methods:

Post: Neesha Stellrecht
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
101 12th Avenue, Room 110
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone:(907) 456-0297 or Fax:(907) 456-0208

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

Reintroduction of Steller’s eiders to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta:

In 1997, the Service listed the Alaska-breeding population of Steller’s eiders 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 viable sub-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 (NEPA).

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 viable sub-population of Steller’s eiders on the Y-K Delta;
  • Minimize impacts to subsistence practices; and
  • Engage local communities in conservation efforts.

Future actions:

We will consider comments on the draft Environmental Assessment received during the open comment period. In fall or early winter, the Service will reach a determination as to whether or not the proposed action will result in significant impacts. If the Service determines there could be a significant impact, an environmental impact statement process will be initiated - a process that could take an additional year or longer and that would provide for public review and input. Alternately, the Service may issue a Finding of No Significant Impact and initiate the next steps for reintroduction. Any future reintroduction effort will also include:

  • Engaging local communities and developing partnerships with stakeholders; and
  • Continuing to engage in government-to-government consultation with potentially affected Alaska Native Tribes and consulting with Alaska Native corporations.


Last updated: October 2015