Alaska Region
Conserving the Nature of America
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.


Photo of a Yellow-billed Loon in the water.   Photo credit: Ted Swem/USFWS
Yellow-billed Loon Photo credit: Ted Swem/USFWS
The Service Announces 12-Month Finding on Petition to List Yellow-billed Loon
October 1, 2014

Anchorage, Alaska--The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced a determination that listing the yellow-billed loon (Gavia adamsii) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act is not necessary at this time.  The Service reviewed the best available information to evaluate the current status of the bird and stressors it faces throughout its range.

Geoffrey Haskett, Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region, said “We’ve been working to provide for the conservation of yellow-billed loons in Alaska for a number of years, collaborating with the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, State of Alaska, North Slope Borough, oil and gas industry, and others.  After careful consideration, we don’t believe yellow-billed loons meet the definition of an endangered or threatened species but we will still continue to work with our partners toward their conservation.”


Mary Price with a Dolly Varden char on Long Lake, Alaska.  Photo Credit: Steve Klein/USFWS
Mary Price with a Dolly Varden char
on Long Lake, Alaska.
Photo credit: Steve Klein/USFWS



Meet Your Fish and Wildlife Service: Mary Price
September 23, 2014

Mary Price, a fisheries biologist in the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. She is a champion for getting money on the ground for sportsmen and -women in Alaska. She manages 41 Sport Fish Restoration grants totaling nearly $75 million to fund 179 projects in Alaska, including fisheries research, surveys, boating and fishing access, and aquatic education. These grants are used by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to maintain healthy populations and provide some of the best and most diverse fishing opportunities in the world.



Students in the Advanced program had a variety of experiences including helping with a boreal owl nest productivity study. - Photo Credit: USFWSStudents in the Advanced program had a variety of experiences including helping with a boreal owl nest productivity study. Photo Credit: USFWS
Learning, Laughing and Making a Difference - Fairbanks Youth for Habitat Program
September 19, 2014

Twenty one students ages 13-16 in Fairbanks, Alaska spent part of their summer vacation in the Youth for Habitat program having fun and making new friends while learning about the ecosystems around their community, and improving habitat for both people and wildlife.

The Youth for Habitat program was started in 2009 by the Fairbanks Fish & Wildlife Field Office as a way to educate the next generation of resource stewards—area youth—and accomplish important habitat restoration work while providing participants with a quality experience outdoors. The goals of the program are to help participating youth understand how urban development and the actions of individuals can degrade aquatic habitats. The students also learn different habitat restoration techniques, and begin to understand the characteristics of healthy habitats that are needed to produce and sustain fish and wildlife populations.

Two brown bears in the water. Photo Credit: USFWS
Two brown bears in the water. Photo Credit: USFWS
Temporary Closure of Sport Brown Bear Hunting
September 5, 2014

The Service is implementing a temporary closure of sport hunting of brown bears on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). The temporary closure is being implemented as a resource protection measure to ensure consistency with Refuge purposes. The temporary closure is effective now through May 31, 2015. More information is available in the full News Release, and documents on the Kenai website




Brown bear in the wilderness.  Photo Credit: T. Johrendt/USFWS
Brown bear in the wilderness.
Photo Credit: T. Johrendt/USFWS
Wilderness: A gift from the past for current and future generations
September 3, 2014

September 3rd marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which established the National Wilderness Preservation System and declared it a national policy “to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness.”

In Alaska, there are 48 designated wilderness areas covering more than 57 million acres, stretching from the far reaches of the Aleutian Islands to the coast of the Beaufort Sea; from the Southeast to the Northwest regions of the state. These wilderness areas encompass watersheds, mountain ranges, glaciers, wetlands, coastlines, volcanoes, and forests that support diverse wildlife populations, protect archeological sites, provide a setting for wilderness recreation, and ensure the continuation of a subsistence lifestyle.

Pike eating fish.  Photo Courtesy of ADF&G
Pike eating fish. Photo Courtesy of ADF&G
Service Partners with State of Alaska to Eradicate Northern Pike from Kenai River Tributary
August 28, 2014

With partial funding support from the Service's Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game plans to eradicate non-native, invasive northern pike from the Soldotna Creek drainage and restock with native fish rescued from the drainage. Illegally introduced Northern pike have eliminated all native fish populations in the western branch of Soldotna Creek and are impacting native fish populations in the remainder of the drainage. Because Soldotna Creek is a tributary to the Kenai River, these pike could spread into other vulnerable habitats within the Kenai River drainage, such as the Moose River. The Service recently published a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for public comment through September 12, 2014. (Public Notice)

Review the FONSI and learn more about this project on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's website.

Photo of a polar bear family.  Photo Credit:  Susanne Miller/USFWS
Funny River Fire
Photo Credit: USFWS

Kenai NWR Fuels Treatments Save Homes on Funny River Fire
July 2, 2014

On May 19th 2014 the Funny River fire started on the western side of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Over the next five days the fire grew to nearly 200,000 acres, burning four structures and two outbuildings. There were also thousands of homes in the direct path of the fire. Pre-constructed fuelbreaks provided an opportunity for firefighters to successfully defend them.


Photo of a polar bear family.  Photo Credit:  Susanne Miller/USFWS
Polar Bear Family Group
Photo Credit: Susanne Miller
Diverse Team Convened to Develop United States' Plan for Polar Bear Conservation
June 3, 2014

ANCHORAGE— A plan to conserve the polar bear in the United States over the next century is being crafted by a diverse group of stakeholders, led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The required plan, when finalized, will guide activities for polar bear conservation in response to the 2008 determination that the polar bear is a threatened species due to the ongoing loss of sea ice habitat from global climate change.



Short-tailed Albatross
Photo Courtesy: Hiroshi Hasegawa
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces 2013 Endangered Species Recovery Champions
May 22, 2014

On May 16, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognized individuals and teams for their exceptional efforts to conserve and protect the nation’s rarest fish, wildlife and plants by designating them 2013 Recovery Champions. Among the award winners honored for their work this year were two recipients who have worked on recovery of several Alaska Region species: Hiroshi Hasegawa, Ph.D., Toho University, Biology Department, Chiba, Japan, and Sonja Jahrsdoerfer, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species Coordinator for the Alaska Region from January 2006 to December 2014.

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Last updated: October 2, 2014

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