USFWS
Alaska Region
Conserving the Nature of America
Mitch Osborne and KTUU on banks of Chena River
Mitch Osborne and KTUU on banks of Chena River
 
The heart of a community: Fairbanks reclaims the river that runs through it
May 24, 2017

When you think of Fairbanks, you think of the Chena River. Snaking through the heart of the city, the river has been vital to community development and quality of life for over 100 years.  From the gold rush on, the river helped fuel the city’s growth and over time its residents have come to count on the river as part of their outdoor playground – in the winter it carries snow machines and dog mushers; in the summer, resident and tourists alike enjoy boat rides, fishing, and river side hospitality.  But the years of growth took their toll:  water quality deteriorated and river banks eroded. Recently the number of King salmon making their way through the city – part of the second-largest run of Yukon River Chinook – has declined too. Now this community is coming together in new and innovative ways to make sure its central artery stays healthy and remains a vital part of Fairbanks’ future. A diverse group of partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, local government, nonprofits, schools, local residents, businesses, and landowners is working to improve the river’s condition to ensure the Chena and its tributaries continue to support the people and wildlife that depend on it. Together, they are restoring river banks and salmon habitat, slowing and cleaning storm water run-off, and improving the aesthetics of the city’s water front.

Recent coverage of partnership on KTUU-Channel 2 (NBC) 

Voices of the Chena, a mini documentary on the partners and their work 


Thermal camera image showing heat in a snow drift under a bridge on Endicott Road to production facility.
Thermal camera image showing heat in a snow drift under a bridge on Endicott Road to production facility.
 
Mama polar bear and cub make it through denning season thanks to collaborative work
May 12, 2017

A Happy Mother's Day story. Back in December, Hilcorp employees noticed a possible den entrance in a snowdrift under a bridge on an industrial roadway to a production facility in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Using thermal camera technology, Hilcorp field staff confirmed the presence of a female polar bear under the snow. What could have been a risky move for the polar bear turned out positively after Hilcorp Alaska (Hilcorp), an oil and gas exploration and production company, immediately began following the guidance and plans previously developed in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to minimize disturbance to the denning polar bear. 

Read more about this inspiring story.


Is native vegetation lining the banks of the lakes or rivers you care about? Photos: Katrina Liebich/USFWS
Polar bear. Credit: USFWS.
 
On the ice with Chukchi Sea polar bears
Annual checkup part of polar bear management plan
May 10, 2017

In late 2016, the Service and our state, tribal, federal and international partners finalized a plan that outlines the necessary actions and concrete commitments to protect polar bears in the near term so that they are in a position to recover once Arctic warming has been abated. Monitoring the Chukchi Sea polar bear population is one of the actions identified in the plan. This work will help us understand how the population is responding to changes in its environment and identify other actions that might be taken to help the bears. 

See for yourself how the work is done.


Is native vegetation lining the banks of the lakes or rivers you care about? Photos: Katrina Liebich/USFWS
Is native vegetation lining the banks of the lakes or rivers you care about? Photos: Katrina Liebich/USFWS
 
The Quiet Love Affair Between Fish and Trees
April 28, 2017

We all know fish live in water, but many of us don’t realize that their world stretches up onto the banks and beyond. Sure, fish don’t occupy that space. But what happens out of the water can affect them profoundly. This story is about the quiet love affair between fish and trees.

Trees are a key link in the food chain. If you happen to know any fly fishing fanatics, they will happily show you prized tackle boxes full of flies. Some flies imitate the aquatic larvae of winged insects. Beneath the surface, these larvae consume, break apart, and collect bits of leaves and wood.

Read more

 


 
 

Archived Articles

Last updated: May 2017

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Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial 1916-2016