Alaska Region
Conserving the Nature of America
Polar Bear walking on ice.  USFWS
Polar Bear: USFWS
Conservation of an Arctic Icon
January 9, 2017

Two great bears are emblematic of the Arctic: Ursa Major – arktos in Greek – the constellation from which the Arctic derives its name, and the polar bear, which has lived beneath the northern stars for hundreds of thousands of years. It’s hard to imagine the region without either of them, but the future of the polar bear is being jeopardized by the rapid loss of its sea-ice habitat. Its fate is not determined by the stars, but by our willingness and ability to address climate change. While the international community grapples with that long-term challenge, U.S. government agencies, Native communities, private organizations, scientists and subsistence hunters have collaborated on a plan for improving the polar bear’s immediate chances of surviving in the wild.

Bogoslof Island.  Photo Credit: Nora Rojek
Bogoslof Island
Photo Credit: Nora Rojek/USFWS
Bogoslof Island has been erupting!
December 23, 2016

This volcanic island is 53 miles from Unalaska - and is part of Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. The island is incredibly rich and full of life. Seabirds like Puffins dig burrows to nest in its soft volcanic soils. Murres and kittiwakes find nesting spots on its ever-evolving spires. Fur seal numbers have steadily grown as the beaches of Bogoslof have become an important rookery for pups. We've seen tremendous changes to the island's shape as new pieces have emerged from the sea with eruptions and others have eroded away.

Many of the Refuge's islands are volcanic. These islands give us the opportunity to watch the evolution of the land and the response of the plants and animals that call these places home in the dynamic ring of fire.

More images on Flickr

Paul Cyr receives 2016 States Organization for Boating Access AwardStatewide Access Program Coordinator, Paul Cyr
Boating Access Program Excellence Award to Alaska Department of Fish and Game
December 20, 2016

At the annual States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA) conference, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game received the 2016 Boating Access Program Excellence Award from the States Organization for Boating Access. A committed and enduring state/federal partnership is paramount to the success of our Sport Fish Restoration grant programs. Receiving this national award demonstrates commitment to our common goal of conserving and managing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers our sincere congratulations to the team including: Statewide Access Program Coordinator Paul Cyr, Assistant Statewide Access Program Coordinator Valerie Thompson, and Regional Access Program Project Managers David Stoller, Richard Price, Jeffery Breakfield, Chris Razink, and Michael Wood for this well-deserved national recognition! Through their efforts working with 14 partners, 24 boating facility projects totaling $17 million were recently completed across Alaska, providing new or improved boating access at Statter Harbor, Homer Harbor, Big Lake, Tanana Lakes, Piledriver Slough, Rocky Lake and the Kenai River.

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge 75th Banner

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge 75th Anniversary
December 16, 2016

On December 16, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8979 establishing the Kenai National Moose Range.

A place where visitors feel welcomed and safe by means of a wide variety of wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities, facilities, and educational programs that encourage use of the Refuge’s natural resources. Excellence in land, water, and Wilderness stewardship; and—with careful planning, forethought, and human determination—an enduring legacy of abundant plant, fish, and wildlife populations will be ensured for people to enjoy today and into the future for this phenomenal land we call “The Kenai.”

Tufted puffin.  Photo Credit: Lisa Hupp/USFWS
Tufted puffin Photo Credit: Lisa Hupp/USFWS
Seabird die-off at St. Paul Island has slowed, monitoring will continue
December 8, 2016

Nearly 300 seabird carcasses have been counted on the beaches of St. Paul Island since October 8 of this year by biologists with the Ecosystem Conservation Office of the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government. Most of the species found have been tufted puffins, however, horned puffins, murres, and crested auklets have also been found. Since the die-off began, the rate of carcass encounter was more than 350 times greater than the normal rate of encounters. For comparison, only six puffin carcasses had been counted since 2006 when long-term beach monitoring began at St. Paul and St. George Islands.

Porcupine caribou heard.  Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with the Brooks Range in the background.
Porcupine caribou heard with the Brooks Range in the background
U.S.-Canada International Porcupine Caribou Board
December 7, 2016

The International Porcupine Caribou Board (Board) recently held its annual meeting, which began in Fairbanks, Alaska on November 30 and ended in Venetie, Alaska, on December 1. The Board conducted its regular business in Fairbanks and then headed to Venetie for a special public session with local community members and distinguished officials from the Native Village of Venetie. The Board shared with the community the latest scientific findings related to the status of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and received comments and questions from village residents and officials regarding the importance of conserving the herd. The attendees in Venetie expressed their appreciation for the Board’s visit and its cooperation on this shared international resource. Read more...



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Last updated: January 2017


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Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial 1916-2016