USFWS
Fisheries & Ecological Services
Alaska Region   

 

Fairbanks Fish & Wildlife Field Office
Conservation Planning Assistance

Conservation Planning Assistance Overview
Branch biologists review proposed development plans to determine their impact on fish and wildlife. Through this work, biologists are in the unique position to help a developer adjust plans to lessen a project’s impacts on fish and wildlife resources.

Development projects come in all shapes and sizes, and occur throughout northern Alaska. They include oil and gas development, hard rock and placer mining, highway construction, and residential development. The goal of project review is to avoid or minimize impacts to fish and wildlife while accomplishing the objectives of the development.

In addition to reviewing project plans and in collaboration with industries, universities, and other agencies, branch biologists in northern Alaska study the impacts of development on species and habitat. Examples include the potential elevation of predator populations (such as gulls, ravens, and foxes) associated with human development on the North Slope, and the movement of brant geese and their broods through the Prudhoe Bay oil fields.

Aerial view of a subdivision built along the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Photo Credit:  USFWS
Aerial view of a subdivision built along the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Photo Credit: USFWS
Biologists work with local developers on the lay-out of subdivisions. The goal here is protecting stream banks and other important habitats, while assuring an economically viable development.
This offshore oil drilling rig is constructed on an artificial island in the Beaufort Sea
This offshore oil drilling rig is constructed on an artificial island in the Beaufort Sea
Photo Credit: USFWS
Biologists work closely with offshore oil and gas developments, like Northstar in the Beaufort Sea, to prevent offshore oil spills and protect migrating sea ducks.
An adult tundra swan and 2 cygnets have been captured for banding. Photo Credit:  USFWS
An adult tundra swan and 2 cygnets have been captured for banding.
Photo Credit: USFWS
Branch biologists often work with endangered species, determining the presence of contaminants, and monitoring fish and wildlife populations and their habitats. Biologists also maintain close working relationships with specialists in other agencies including the Alaska Departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Game.

Aerial view of the riparian area along the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Photo Credit: USFWS
Aerial view of the riparian area along the Chena
River in Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo Credit: USFWS

The Fairbanks Fish and Wildlife Field Office, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska Department of Natural Resources - Office of Habitat Management and Permitting, with technical assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, have produced guidelines for protecting the functional value of riparian habitats in central Alaska, particularly those in the greater Fairbanks area. Habitats associated with water are some of the richest in terms of species diversity of any habitats in the Interior. Functioning riparian areas also serve to filter contaminants from runoff and stabilize streambanks. The guidelines that can be accessed via this website are draft, and will continue to be modified as agencies gain experience. They are not regulatory mandates, but recommendations currently used by agencies to help direct private landowners toward the conservation of existing riparian vegetation.

An overview of Riparian areas in Interior Alaska (pdf)

 

For more information about this program, please contact Jewel Bennett, Conservation Planning Assistance Branch Chief, at either jewel_bennett@fws.gov or by phone at 907-456-0324

 

Last updated: March 23, 2010