Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
YUKON FLATS: Trust Key to Surveys and Conservation
Alaska Region, November 13, 2007
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RIT Paul Williams, Sr. and Eddie James of Birch Creek discuss hunting areas.
RIT Paul Williams, Sr. and Eddie James of Birch Creek discuss hunting areas. - Photo Credit: n/a

Refuge Information Technician (RIT) Paul Williams, Sr. and Refuge Specialist Nicole Gustine traveled to villages within the Yukon Flats NWR to complete annual waterfowl harvest surveys.  Residents are interviewed to determine the number and type of birds and eggs taken for subsistence use, a legal purpose of Alaska’s national wildlife refuges.


The annual waterfowl harvest survey is an extraordinary example of how open and honest communications between Native villagers and refuge managers brought more trust which resulted in better data and shared wildlife stewardship.  Data from waterfowl harvest surveys is forwarded to the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council for database entry and analysis.  Once the Council has approved the data, the harvest survey information is published. The harvest survey is completely voluntary, no names are used on the form, and information gathered is only for survey purposes and never for law enforcement.

In addition to completing the surveys, Williams and Gustine conducted school visits in Chalkyitsik, Fort Yukon, and Venetie. They spoke with 35 middle and high school students to discuss wildlife management issues such as describing how the impact of illegal harvest of cow moose can negatively impact a moose population, the purpose of the waterfowl harvest survey, and career opportunities.

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov
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