Alaska Region
Conserving the Nature of America

Archived Stories


March 30, 2018
Annual Federal Subsistence Migratory Bird Harvest Opens, April 2nd

The annual spring/summer federal subsistence migratory bird harvest regulations for 2018 will take effect on April 2.

These regulations allow for the continuation of customary and traditional subsistence uses of migratory birds in Alaska and prescribe regional information on when and where the harvesting of birds may occur. These regulations were developed under a co- management process involving the Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska Native representatives.

Federal Register

March 23, 2018
Refuge Manager of the Year

The Paul Kroegel Refuge Manger of the Year Award is an honor bestowed to an individual who exeplifies leadership and integrity when promoting the Service's mission within and beyond Refuge boundaries. Kenai's Andy Loranger has been named the "Refuge Manager of the Year" by the National Wildlife Refuge Association!  He is a visionary, an innovator, and a trusted advisor for fellow conservation partners, community leaders, Alaska Natives, and his staff when it comes to conserving Alaska’s critically important landscape.

March 12, 2018
Winter in the Heart of Alaska

The heart of Alaska is dark for most of the day at the height of winter. From early November to early February, Fairbanks has fewer than seven hours of sunlight a day. On the winter solstice in late December, Fairbanks has 3 hours 41 minutes of sunlight. In Alaska’s northernmost city, the sun sets in mid-November and doesn’t rise until mid-January.

Extremely cold and long, people and wildlife live here in hard winter conditions many would find difficult to imagine. Read more

February 23, 2018
Alaska in the Extreme

Winter in Alaska is long, cold and, at its height, dark. It's extreme, but has a distinct beauty all its own. Brittany Sweeney, an employee with Selawik National Wildlife Refuge, has lived in northwest Alaska and worked at the refuge for eight years. Here are a few of her impressions of winter along the Arctic Circle.

January 30, 2018
Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group

The Management Board of the Arctic Council's Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group will be meeting the first week of February in Fairbanks, Alaska. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service coordinates U.S. engagement in the CAFF Working Group. Participants will included representatives from all Arctic Council countries (Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Russian Federation and the United States), Arctic indigenous communities (also called Permanent Participants) including several representing Alaska native communities, and Observer countries and organizations. Experts from across the U.S. government and colleagues from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will also be joining the U.S. delegation to this meeting. A number of priority activities for the USFWS, and the broader U.S. government, will be discussed at this meeting, including Arctic migratory birds, invasive species, wetlands and monitoring, among others.

Learn more

January 9, 2018
Law Enforcement Import/Export at the airport

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the best law enforcement program in the world to fight illegal trade of wildlife and wildlife products. Chis Andrews and staff in the Import/Export Office aim to stop illegal animal products, and often live animals, from reaching their destinations, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Along with K-9 Dock and his handler, Wildlife Inspector Chad Hornbaker, the rest of the team find and seize prohibited wildlife products. They examine thousands of wildlife shipments a year where they find a surprising array of items being smuggled into the country. Dock has greatly increased the volume of packages that can be inspected at the port of Anchorage.  In the time it takes a wildlife inspector to physically open and inspect one parcel, Dock can inspect 50.

To learn more about some of the items seized both here in Anchorage and around the U.S. check out the National Wildlife Property Repository website. You can also watch a video provided by U.S. Fish & Wildlife on the underground world of illegal trade.

January 3, 2018
Lessons worth knowing

From his early days on the marine research vessel Aleutian Tern to his most recent work as Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge manager and co-chair of the Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Mike has profoundly shaped conservation in Alaska – a legacy that will continue far into the future.

With the retirement of Mike Spindler, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is losing a consummate professional, an inspiring mentor and an extraordinary storyteller. Read more

A farewell address to the Fairbanks inter-agency community was recorded by the Alaska Chapter of the Wildlife Society Celebrating our Wildlife Conservation Heritage

December 26, 2017
Want to be a fish biologist?

Fisheries jobs have really diversified as environmental and allocation issues have become more complex and technologies have advanced.

Seasonal fisheries technician positions in Alaksa are for the adventurous as harsh weather, an abundance of biting insects, and remote living conditions can be challenging. The rare opportunity to work with intact assemblages of native fish species, while surrounded by abundant wildlife and pristine wilderness, will more than compensate the tolerant individual!

Interested in applying:

December 15, 2017
Sense of Wonder Award

Congratulations to Alaska Regional Interpretive and Education Specialist Kevin Painter. He is the national winner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2017 Sense of Wonder award.

Painter was honored for his exceptional leadership, outreach and skill in developing and interpreting environmental education exhibits during his Service career in Alaska. Painter strives to make interpretive materials relevant and meaningful to a wide and diverse audience of Alaska residents and visitors.

Read more

November 17, 2017
Keeping the Finger on the Pulse

If salmon are the life blood of Alaska and its rivers are the veins, then weirs are a health screening tool for river-specific populations. Annual visits establish a baseline of personal health against which unhealthy trends can be detected before they become risk factors.

We need baselines for the health of our salmon runs too. Weirs help us to establish those baselines and then detect changes in populations over time. They also help fisheries managers evaluate and adjust their management actions, reconstruct past salmon abundances, and forecast future salmon returns. 

November 9, 2017
Commemorate the 75th Anniversary - Battle of Attu

Japanese forces invaded Attu Island on June 7, 1942, captured all the villagers, and occupied the island for nearly a year. On May 11, 1943, 11,000 American troops landed on Attu. The ensuing battle lasted 19 days and was one of the deadliest confrontations in the Pacific Theater of WWII. 549 American men and over 2,400 Japanese men lost their lives.

For thousands of years, Attu was home to people and wildlife. Long before the war, Attu was one of the earliest Federally protected wildlife resource areas. The Battle of Attu forever changed the island, its inhabitants, and the lives of those who waged battle there, leaving behind scars and stories scattered among the national wildlife refuge that exists today.

November 9, 2017
Removing Regulations Governing Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife that Were Nullified by Congress

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations that were published in 2016 regarding the non-subsistence take of wildlife, public participation, and closure procedures for national wildlife refuges in Alaska. This administrative step has been taken in response to a congressional resolution that nullified the regulations under the Congressional Review Act, which was signed by the President in April 2017.

Hunting is deeply rooted in American tradition and is a way of life for many Alaskans who often depend on the land and resources. We all share the same goal of conservation of wildlife and habitat for future generations. The Service looks forward to working closely with the State of Alaska to ensure that mission is met.

November 7, 2017
deHavilland Beaver N754

The N754 started out as an ordinary deHavilland Beaver built in 1952, and it flew military missions in Cuba.  Its transformation into something extraordinary began when the Service acquired it as surplus in 1964.

Logging nearly 15,000 hours of waterfowl surveys by the time it retired in 2011 and known for its excellent safety record. You will be able to see this extraordinary aircraft at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

November 1, 2017
Hunting and Fishing Traditions

The people of the Selawik River, in the Kotzebue Sound region of arctic Alaska, have survived for generations due to an in-depth knowledge of hunting, fishing, and their local environment. The elders felt that youth needed a chance to get out onto the river and the surrounding tundra to reconnect, as well as to observe and practice their hands-on hunting, fishing and gathering skills. 

Recognizing that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shared many of these same priorities — supporting hunting and fishing, connecting people with nature, and (in Alaska) sustaining the traditional subsistence way of life, local residents approached the Selawik Refuge to ask for support. One long-standing partnership project, the Selawik Science-Culture Camp, takes place each fall.

October 24, 2017
Bat Week: October 24th-31st

In this video, Wildlife biologists Karen Blejwas and Tory Rhoads of State of Alaska Department of Fish & Game provide a look at how Alaska bats are monitored as the threat of White-nose Syndrome moves west. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has funded bat research in the state of Alaska for two years with funding and support through our State Wildlife Grant Program.

Few of nature’s animals are as misunderstood as bats. Though often feared and loathed as sinister creatures of the night, bats are vital to the health of our environment and our economy as pest control, pollinators and seed dispersers.

October 11, 2017
Celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week: October 8-14
In Alaska, rivers offer a great way to access the crown jewels of America’s National Wildlife Refuge System---16 Refuges totaling nearly 77 million acres. There is no better time to discover all the great opportunities that await you. Get your feet wet and your fishing rods ready…here are a few ideas!

October 4, 2017
After Comprehensive Review, Service Determines Pacific Walrus Does Not Require Endangered Species Act Protection

The finding follows a comprehensive review and analysis of the best available scientific information concerning the species, as well as local and traditional ecological knowledge of Alaska Native peoples. The Pacific walrus is found throughout the continental shelf waters of the Bering and Chukchi seas and occasionally in the East Siberian Sea and Beaufort Sea. In its review, the Service paid particular attention to the impact to the species of the ongoing loss of sea ice in the walrus’s range. Learn more

September 8, 2017
Dead and Dying Seabirds Seward Peninsula to Pribilof Islands

Dead and dying seabirds have been reported from Shishmaref south to the Pribilof Islands. Nearly 800 beached seabird carcasses have been counted since early August 2017. Some of the bird carcasses have been sent to the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center for evaluation. Birds that have been evaluated are severely emaciated, similar to the common murres that had died in the Gulf of Alaska in 2016. If you find dead or dying sea birds please report them. Read More (updated Oct. 26, 2017)

August 30, 2017
Arctic Council Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group Hosts International Meeting in Bethel

Officials from all Arctic nations, observer countries, and representatives from international organizations will converge in Bethel on September 6-7 for the first meeting of the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council’s Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group. The Chairmanship is being coordinated by the Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"This will be a unique opportunity for community leaders to share their knowledge and experience living with, studying, and managing wildlife and landscapes in the Arctic, said Cynthia Jacobson, the United States’ Chair of the CAFF Working Group. “We’re pleased that these Alaskans will have the chance to engage with people from around the world interested in conservation in this special part of the world.”

News Release

August 24, 2017
Making a Difference: one Yupik conversation at a time

When Chris Tulik first joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge as a Refuge Information Technician (RIT) more than thirty years ago, populations of emperor geese returning to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta had significantly declined to the point that some believed there was a threat of extinction. Tulik and several other RITs were hired to help reach out to local villages to spread news that harvest of the bird was closed, and to engage them in a new conservation strategy. It was a hard job that finally paid off this year when the restriction on harvest was lifted.

August 18, 2017
STOP - Wildlife Trafficking

Dock and the rest of the team find and seize prohibited wildlife products. They examine over 4000 wildlife shipments a year where they find a surprising array of items being smuggled into the country. Dock has greatly increased the volume of packages that can be inspected at the port of Anchorage.  In the time it takes a wildlife inspector to physically open and inspect one parcel, Dock can inspect 50.

Read more on Steller Story

August 17, 2017
Pacific walruses haul out near Point Lay early
Tribal government requests help preventing human-caused distubances

In the first week of August, several hundred Pacific walruses were observed on a barrier island near the Native Village of Point Lay, a small, Iñupiaq community on the northwest coast of Alaska. This is the earliest date yet for the haulout to form. For the remainder of the summer and into the fall, the walruses are expected to move continuously from the island to feeding grounds. The Native Village of Point Lay requests those who must travel by plane or boat follow guidance developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to avoid disturbing the animals on the island or in the sea.  

August 16, 2017
State Wildlife Conservation Projects

In Alaska, we love our salmon! Knowing what streams salmon and other anadromous fish use for spawning and rearing is important.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is providing funding through State Wildife Grants to support the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's work to identify anadromous streams. For this and other important conservation work, they are receiving $2.5 million. Learn more

August 10, 2017
Conservation Begins with Hello

"Waqaa" is "Hello!" in the local language on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.  Being friendly and working together with all ages, we are building relationships for a shared future along the Kuskokwim River.  Watch how these wildlife officers and Refuge Information Technicians create connections with Yupik villages.

August 09, 2017
Kodiak's Buskin River

Explore salmon stories along Kodiak's Buskin River. The winding waters, rich with life, are a backyard treasure that nourish the Kodiak community throughout the year. Together with partners, we are working to improve salmon habitat and ensure a vibrant future for this beautiful watershed! 

July 21, 2017
Sale of handicrafts and clothing that include feathers and other nonedible migratory bird parts legalized for Alaska Natives

Since the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, the sale of products incorporating the nonedible parts of migratory birds, such as feathers has been prohibited. New regulations published today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will allow the sale, including consignment sale, of authentic Alaska Native handicrafts or clothing that incorporate nonedible migratory bird parts. Handicrafts must be made from migratory birds harvested for food during the subsistence season. There are 27 bird species from which parts may be used.

“Indigenous people traditionally used all the parts of the animals they took for subsistence. This new regulation will allow them to continue that tradition of not wasting what the animals have given,” said Patty Schwalenberg, Executive Director of the Council. “The handicrafts created by Alaska Natives express appreciation for the animal’s sacrifice.”

July 17, 2017
‘Welcome to Alaska’

Nestled within the Tanana River Valley, the abundant wetlands and forests of the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge welcome thousands of birds and people crossing the border into Alaska each year. The Refuge Visitor Center is often the first place visitors to Alaska encounter when driving into the state. Two of the first people to welcome them are Cora Demit and Sylvia Pitka, Refuge employees and residents of the nearby village of Northway.

June 29, 2017
‘We are Aleuts. Let the people know.’
US Fish and Wildlife Service joins commemoration of the Aleut evacuation and internment

Within six months of the United States declaration of war on Japan and Germany in 1942, the U.S. Navy issued orders to evacuate the civilians on the Aleutian Chain and Pribilof Islands. The Fish and Wildlife Service had a significant presence on the Islands as managers of the fur seal pelt industry, a government for-profit venture for which the Aleut people were forced to work. Nineteen U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sealing agents would soon become wards of the Aleut evacuees at a location far away from their homeland in the Bering Sea.

June 14, 2017
Alaska Department of Fish and Game to Receive $50 Million from Fish and Wildlife Restoration Programs

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it will distribute $50 million to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs. Nearly $33 million will be for wildlife research and management, public access to wildlife resources, and hunter education programs and shooting ranges, a 12 percent increase from last year. More than $17 million will be for sport fish research and management, public access to waters for recreational boaters and sport anglers, angler recruitment, retention, and reactivation programs, and sport fish hatcheries. Read More

June 13, 2017
Fishing and Boating - Way of Life

Take a quick ride along Alaska’s Kuskokwim River in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge with Chris Tulik, one of our Refuge Information Technicians. Out here, fishing and boating are a way of life, and employees like Chris travel hundreds of miles along the river each year to work hand in hand with local communities to conserve wild Alaska salmon that so many depend on.
Video: Day at the Office with Chris Tulik
Video: Voices of the Chena
Summer of Fishing

June 12, 2017
Alaska Native Ivory

The U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB), has published a new consumer education brochure to promote the creative work of Alaska Native walrus ivory carvers and highlight the inherent cultural importance, beauty, and value of these carvings. The Alaska Native Ivory publication is produced in collaboration among the IACB, Alaska State Council on the Arts, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Eskimo Walrus Commission.
Alaska Native Ivory Brochure
Alaska Native Relations

May 24, 2017
The heart of a community: Fairbanks reclaims the river that runs through it

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 

May 12, 2017
Mama polar bear and cub make it through denning season thanks to collaborative work

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.

May 10, 2017
On the ice with Chukchi Sea polar bears

Annual checkup part of polar bear management plan

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.

April 28, 2017
The Quiet Love Affair Between Fish and Trees

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

April 20, 2017
U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service support sentencing recommendations from Tribe

Four Point Hope residents were sentenced in United States Magistrate Court in Fairbanks, for charges stemming from their involvement in the illegal taking of walruses near Cape Lisburne, Alaska in September of 2015. The court accepted sentencing recommendations from the tribal government, Native Village of Point Hope, with concurrence of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Office of Law Enforcement for the Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The men were charged for two separate 2015 incidents at Cape Lisburne, Alaska in which several walruses were shot and only the ivory was salvaged. In addition, the actions of the men caused stampedes which killed or injured up to two dozen or more additional walruses.

News Release

April 13, 2017
Federal Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest

Congratulations to Veronica Salter, 17, of Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau, who took top honors in the 2017 Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Contest with a painting of fulvous whistling ducks. Veronica also won the Best of Show in the Conservation Message competition with her thoughtful message: “We conserve not only to protect what has been in the past, but to benefit what will be in the future.” A panel of five judges chose Veronica's artwork out of the 106 entries from across the state to represent Alaska in the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest that will be held on April 21st.

For complete contest results visit Junior Duckstamp Conservation Program.

April 12, 2017
Blazing Trails for Winter Adventures in Alaska
April 12, 2017 

Blazing trails isn’t just about being out in the wilderness. It’s about finding creative ways to connect people to the wonderful wild places of Kanuti Refuge. In the past few years, the staff, along with partners, blazed a special trail? providing winter-time visitor services in remote Coldfoot, Alaska.

Today, the term refers to breaking new ground or doing something with a pioneering spirit. It’s that pioneering spirit that is both fed by and helps protect Alaska’s unique wilderness and places like the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge.

Read more

April 4, 2017
Alaska Migratory Bird Calendar Contest - 2018

The Alaska Migratory Bird Calendar Contest is a state-wide poster and literature competition. The purpose of the contest is to encourage local students to learn about bird conservation. K-12 students (public, private or home-schooled) residing in or adjacent to the North Slope Borough and the following National Wildlife Refuges: Arctic, Yukon Delta, Togiak, Izembek, Alaska Peninsula/Becharof, Alaska Maritime, Selawik, Innoko, Tetlin, Kodiak, Koyukuk/Nowitna/Innoko. Thank you to eveyone that participated and assisted in this years competion for the 2018 calendar.

Read more

March 31, 2017
Annual Federal Subsistence Migratory Bird Harvest Opens, April 2nd

The annual spring/summer federal subsistence migratory bird harvest regulations for 2017 will take effect on April 2. The regulations include a season for emperor goose, following decades of conservation.

“I would like to thank all subsistence users for their conservation efforts over the past 30 years,” said Patty Schwalenberg, Executive Director of the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council. Their conservation commitment to the emperor goose and their willingness to share indigenous knowledge with federal and state managers has greatly contributed to making this opening possible.”

News Release

March 30, 2017
Q&A: Yukon River Salmon Management

A conversation with Yukon River salmon managers highlights the tremendous partnership between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Alaska Department of Fish and Game and communities along the river. This article shows how technology and local input are used to continually improve our ability to ensure sustainability of salmon runs while providing local people with the opportunity to feed their families and continue subsistence traditions. It also brings to light the challenges of managing a mixed stock fishery in a massive river system and the need for a robust understanding of the status of different salmon stocks over time. The more precise understanding fishery managers have, the more they can maximize harvest opportunities while meeting spawning escapement goals and overall conservation objectives. Read more

March 3, 2017
Snowbird no more?

Mild temperatuers and good eats keep Pacific brant at Izembek Lagoon in the winter. Most brant have historically flown south to the Pacific coast and Baja for the winter, but eelgrass beds to graze on attract them to the lagoon on Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. Winter surveys by our biologists/pilots have been done annually since 1980, when the number of Pacific brant overwintering at Izembek began to increase. Since that time, the number of Pacific brant staying the winter in Izembek Lagoon and surrounding areas has steadily increased. Between 2011 and 2017, there has been an average of more than 45,000 birds (30% of the population) counted during the mid-winter surveys.

Read about changing migration patterns in an Environmental Health News article
Read about Heather Wilson and her work in Outside and Smithsonian magazines
Watch the video

February 10, 2017
Federal Subsistence Harvest of Emperor Geese Proposed for First Time in 30 Years  

Following decades of conservation, proposed regulations for the 2017 spring/summer subsistence migratory bird season include opening a harvest for emperor geese. “We are excited that eligible Alaskans will be able to harvest emperor geese once again. We would also like to remind everyone that the emperor goose is still a sensitive population and the effort to conserve these birds will need to continue into the future.” said Gayla Hoseth.

February 3, 2017
Ancient Waters Give Fish Life in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

When woolly mammoths still roamed Earth, rain and snow fell on the south side of Alaska’s Brooks Range. Those same waters are now entering frozen rivers on Alaska’s North Slope via a small number of perennial springs. These ancient waters hold the key to survival for several amazing fish species including salmon-sized Dolly Varden in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

January 27, 2017
Voices of the Wilderness - Artist-in-Residence

Are you an artist who loves being in the wilderness? This opportunity may be for you. Recognizing that today’s artists continue to link people to the land, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U. S. Forest Service and National Park Service are sponsoring Voices of the Wilderness a chance to see some of Alaska’s wildest and most scenic areas. You are paired with a wilderness specialist and will be actively engaged in stewardship projects, such as research, monitoring, and education. This is a a unique opportunity and as an artist-in-residence, you will experience the wilderness like few others. Read more on this opportunity and details for your application.

January 19, 2017
Sam D. Hamilton Award for Transformational Conservation Science

The Sam D. Hamilton Award recognizes individuals and teams who are working on big picture challenges, developing collaborative partnerships, and improving how we develop and deliver science for conservation. Lew’s emphasis on solid science, diverse collaboration, and objective-driven management has helped to create an unprecedented atmosphere of cooperation in the management of Chinook salmon on the Kuskokwim River. His work in creating a new generation of Chinook salmon harvest prediction models and a structured decision making framework has been indispensable in helping refuge managers meet their conservation objectives for escapement and harvest, launch a ground-breaking Community Harvest Permit system, and improve the complex biological, social, and political shoals of salmon management in Alaska.

January 9, 2017
Conservation of an Arctic Icon

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.

December 23, 2016
Bogoslof Island has been erupting!

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

December 20, 2016
Boating Access Program Excellence Award to Alaska Department of Fish and Game

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.

Decebmer 16, 2016
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge 75th Anniversary

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.”

December 8, 2016
Seabird die-off at St. Paul Island has slowed, monitoring will continue

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.

December 7, 2016
U.S.-Canada International Porcupine Caribou Board

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...

December 6, 2016
What Goes on When You're Not Looking?

A crew of biologist place a time-lapse camera near several Common Eider nests to capture footage of hens as they incubate their eggs. The footage is used by biologists and university students to learn about eider behavior and how nest predators affect eider productivity. On this island, one of the nests is unusual.

November 29, 2016
Migratory Bird Calendar Art Contest Winners Among Youngest Ever

Designed to educate rural Alaskans about Alaska’s migratory bird populations and how residents can participate in helping with bird management, every month of the calendar contains messages about migratory bird conservation along with the children’s art. The calendar is distributed free to over 100 villages in rural Alaska and hangs in offices and kitchens for entire families to learn about migratory bird populations. Calendars are available at your local school and from your nearest National Wildlife Refuge.

Dillingham fifth grader Ellie Hink and Kobuk kindergartener Reggie Wood were this year’s grand prize winners and are among the youngest ever.

November 28, 2016
Sense of Wonder Award Winner

Katrina Liebich was recognized for her outstanding coordination and collaboration efforts to connect Alaskans and all Americans to fish and aquatic species conservation programs.  She continually finds innovative ways to communicate the science of fisheries management with enthusiasm and relevance to her diverse audiences, with great success. Read more...

To see more of her creative work, including videos, check out the Fisheries and Habitat Facebook page.

November 9, 2016
Alaska Refuge Information Technicians

The Alaska Refuge Information Technicians (RITs) Program on Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges allows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to locally hire and employ Alaska Native peoples who know and understand their own communities. The RITs work part-time in approximately 100 communities across Alaska to provide a physical and cultural bridge to the local residents on or near Refuges.  They are teachers to the USFWS staff and managers, Native language translators at agency and community meetings, resident advisors of hunting and fishing rules, species biology technicians, and outreach professionals. 

November 8, 2016
Polar Bear Management

A 60 day public comment period has been opened as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s ongoing effort to engage with Alaska Native tribes, organizations, corporations, and the public on efforts to co-manage the subsistence harvest of polar bears in the United States. This initiative is part of a broader effort to ensure that polar bears, threatened by a loss of sea ice habitat in a warming Arctic, persist in the wild and that Alaska Native traditional subsistence practices continue into the future.

“Alaska Native communities have co-existed with the polar bears for millennia, and the Service recognizes Alaska Natives as a key partner in polar bear conservation,” said Greg Siekaniec, Regional Director for the Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

October 20, 2016
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Conservation Hero
Sidney Huntington (1915-2015)

At the 2016 Alaska Federation of Natives Conference this year, Regional Director Gregory Siekaniec will be honoring the late Sidney Huntington. Sidney built a deep attachment to the lands and waters of Alaska over the course of his 100-year life. As a trapper, fishermen, boat builder, business owner and subsistence user, he relied on the resources around him – often for his very survival. When he was five years old, he endured two weeks of isolation at his family’s remote trading post on the Hogatza River, caring for his younger brother and sister after the untimely death of their mother. His formal education ended at the third grade, but his practical, wilderness education progressed for decades, rooted firmly in the stories and lessons of the Koyukon Athabaskan elders of the Koyukuk and Middle Yukon River area. Read more about this years concervation hero, Sidney Huntington.

October 11, 2016
Walruses reported at Point Lay move on

Approximately 6000 Pacific walruses hauled out on a barrier island near the Native Village of Point Lay on Friday, October 7, but by Monday morning the animals appear to have moved on. “The walruses are likely heading south to coastal haulouts in Chukotka Russia” said Joel Garlich-Miller, a walrus biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

September 29, 2016
National Wildlife Refuge Week - Celebrates Conservation Lands Vital to People

National Wildlife Refuge Week – observed October 9–15, 2016 – reminds Americans how nature enriches our lives and adds to the beauty of our country. What better time to celebrate that connection with the natural world and the 16 National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska. Come celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week with us in Alaska!

August 19, 2016
Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge - 75th Anniversary

President Franklin D. Roosevelt established Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge on August 19, 1941, for the “purpose of protecting the natural feeding and breeding range of the brown bears and other wildlife on Uganik and Kodiak Islands, Alaska.”  One of Alaska’s oldest and best-known wildlife refuges, Kodiak provides access to a stunning diversity of landscapes and wildlife and attracts thousands of visitors annually to get a glipse of the estimated amount of 3500 bears on the Archipelago.  A gem among America’s public lands, today the Refuge plays a global conservation role as a steward for interdependent species within one of the world’s few remaining intact ecosystems.

August 3, 2016
Final Rule for Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Supports Resource Conservation

In response to public interest and concern about predator harvest on national wildlife refuges across Alaska, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a final rule to clarify that predator control is not allowed on national wildlife refuges in the state unless based on sound science and in response to a conservation concern or is necessary to meet refuge purposes, federal laws or Service policy. In addition, the rule defines the process that will be used for considering predator control, prohibits certain methods and means for non-subsistence harvest of predators, and updates the procedures for closing an area or restricting an activity on refuges in Alaska.

July 15, 2016
Research at Sea on the R/V Tiglax

For nearly 30 years the R/V Tiglax (TEKH-lah - Aleut for Eagle) and its crew has supported the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and partners as a research and transportation vessel across a landscape that stretches from the Arctic Ocean to the southeast panhandle of Alaska. In a typical season, the Tiglax will sail 15,000 to 20,000 nautical miles as biologists and researchers undertake seabird surveys, oceanographic studies, marine mammal monitoring, invasive species management. archaeological inventories, and more.


May 5, 2016
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe Appoints GregorySiekaniec as Regional Director for Alaska

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe today announced the appointment of Gregory Siekaniec as the agency’s Regional Director for Alaska, marking Siekaniec’s return to the agency he served for more than two decades.

Siekaniec, a career Service employee, previously served as the agency’s Deputy Director for Policy, before leaving the Service in 2012 to assume the leadership of Ducks Unlimited Canada, one of Canada’s most prominent conservation organizations.

In his new capacity as Regional Director, Siekaniec will oversee the direction and day-to-day operations of the Alaska Region, the only FWS Region to manage a single state. The Region's National Wildlife Refuge system is massive, accounting for over 80 percent of all refuge land managed by the agency.

“Greg Siekaniec has been an outstanding conservation leader throughout his long career in the Fish and Wildlife Service, and we’re fortunate to have him returning to the agency to lead our Alaska Region. Greg spent much of his career as a refuge employee and manager in Alaska, and he’s intimately familiar with the region’s outstanding employees and incredible conservation work,” said Ashe.  Read more...

May 5, 2016
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Publishes Final Public Use Regulations for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today published a final rule that supports the conservation of one of the most visited and enjoyed refuges in Alaska, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Consistent with the Refuge’s 2010 Comprehensive Conservation Plan, the final rule amends Refuge public use regulations to ensure natural resource conservation while maintaining high quality and safe experiences for visitors. 

April 26, 2016
The Service Finds No Significant Impact of Proposed Steller’s Eider Reintroduction to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today released its Environmental Assessment (EA) and announced its Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) regarding a proposed project to reintroduce the threatened Steller’s eiders to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YK Delta). The Service evaluated two alternatives in the EA: no action and reintroduction.  Based on the analysis, the Service has concluded that the proposed reintroduction would not have significant adverse impacts.

The Service will now explore methods to reintroduce Steller’s eiders to the YK Delta. To date, the Service has received interest, encouragement, and logistical support from communities on the central YK Delta. In addition, the Service has partnered with the Alaska SeaLife Center which has established a captive flock for Steller’s eider reintroduction work.  The Service plans to continue working with local residents and the Alaska SeaLife Center through the various phases of the project.

April 15, 2016
Federal Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest

Congratulations to Rosa Hagedorn, 16, of Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau, who took top honors in the 2016 Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Contest with a painting of a snow goose. A panel of five judges chose Rosa's artwork out of the 187 entries from across the state to represent Alaska in the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest held on April 22 at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida.

The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest is the culmination of a year-long Junior Duck Stamp conservation program used by educators across the nation. This year, more than 28,000 students participated in state Junior Duck Stamp competitions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Proceeds from sales of the $5 Junior Duck Stamp support environmental education.

For complete contest results for Alaska visit and for results of the national contest visit

April 12, 2016
Federally Recognized Tribes in Alaska to Receive More than 500,000 to Support Fish and Wildlife Conservation Work

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recently announced that more than $500,000 will be distributed in fiscal year 2016 among four of Alaska’s federally recognized tribes through the Tribal Wildlife Grants program.

Currently, there are seven active projects in Alaska funded through the Tribal Wildlife Grant program. Grants are awarded under a competitive process to federally recognized tribes only.  Tribal Wildlife Grants are used to provide technical and financial assistance to Tribes for the development and implementation of programs that benefit fish and wildlife and their habitat. Read more

March 14, 2016
Alaska Department of Fish and Game to Receive Nearly $2.5 Million to Support Conservation of Wildlife, Habitat, and Imperiled Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that nearly $2.5 million in new funding will be available to the State of Alaska through the State Wildlife Grant program. State Wildlife Grants provide funds for conservation work across the state, including more than $680,000 for work to reintroduce the endangered wood bison to Alaska.

“The successful reintroduction of wood bison in 2015 is an excellent example of the State Wildlife Grant Program having a significant impact on conservation in Alaska,” said Geoffrey Haskett, Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska. Read more

March 10, 2016
Alaska Department of Fish and Game to Receive Nearly $48 Million from Fish and Wildlife Restoration Programs

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that it will distribute nearly $48 million to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs. More than $29 million will be for wildlife research and management, public access to wildlife resources, and hunter education programs and shooting ranges. Over $18 million will be for sport fish research and management, public access to waters for recreational boaters and anglers, aquatic education programs, and sport fish hatcheries. Read more

January 22, 2016
Service Announces Final Decision on Karluk Lake Nutrient Enrichment

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge today released its Environmental Assessment and announced its final decision regarding a special use permit request by the Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association (KRAA) to conduct nutrient enrichment in the Karluk Lake watershed. The Service evaluated KRAA’s proposal and selected the Current Management (No Action) Alternative as the best way to conserve the abundance of natural salmonid populations and their habitat for continued human and wildlife use.

January 7, 2016
Service Proposes Revisions to Alaska National Wildlife Refuge Regulations

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule to clarify that predator control is not allowed on national wildlife refuges in Alaska, unless necessary to meet refuge purposes, federal laws or Service policy, and is consistent with the agency’s conservation mission. The rule was developed in response to public interest and concern about predator control and recent liberalization of predator harvest within the State of Alaska. 

The proposed rule would also prohibit certain methods and means for non-subsistence harvest of predators, as well as update procedures for closing an area or restricting an activity on refuges in Alaska.

January 5, 2016
Alexander Archipelago Wolf Does Not Warrant Protection Under Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced its determination that the Alexander Archipelago wolf (Canis lupus ligoni) does not warrant protection as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The decision came as a result from the Service’s 12-month finding on a petition from multiple groups to list the wolf. Although the Alexander Archipelago wolf faces several stressors throughout its range related to wolf harvest, timber harvest, road development, and climate-related events in Southeast Alaska and coastal British Columbia, the best available information indicates that populations of the wolf in most of its range are likely stable


December 29, 2015
Calendar Celebrates Birds, Showcases Art and Literature by Young Alaskans

Anchorage, AK—In the dead of winter, the arrival of spring and the return of Alaska’s migratory birds seem like a long time off. But don't dispair, a colorful reminder of our departed feathered friends; the 2016 Alaska Migratory Bird Calendars are here! This year's calendar is a celebration of Alaska's migratory birds, "colorful and camouflaged, and showcases winning artwork and literature submitted during the 2016 Alaska Migratory Bird Art and Literature Contest. Read more...

October 23, 2015
Selendang Ayu Draft Assessment Plan Available for Public Review

The Natural Resources Trustees for the M/V Selendang Ayu oil spill have released a draft Assessment Plan for public review. In December of 2004, the M/V Selendang Ayu shipping vessel ran aground and split in half, spilling oil and its soybean cargo on the northern shores of Unalaska Island. The draft Assessment Plan describes the Trustees' proposed future natural resource damage assessment and restoration activities that will be needed in order to identify appropriate compensatory restoration projects for this spill.

October 15, 2015
Polar Bear 5-Year Status Review

The Service has initiated a 5-year status review of the polar bear, which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This review is being completed to ensure that polar bears have the appropriate level of protection under the Act. The Service is requesting relevant scientific or commercial information we should consider that has become available since the original listing determination.

October 13, 2015
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Comments on Plan to Reintroduce Threatened Steller’s Eider on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking comments on a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for reintroduction of Steller’s eiders to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska (Y-K Delta) to assist with recovery of the species. In the draft EA, the Service describes two alternatives: No Action and a Preferred Alternative for reintroduction. During the process to develop this draft EA, the Service reached out to various stakeholder groups and the public to hear their thoughts on potential issues and concerns about reintroduction. The draft EA describes and addresses the concerns identified by stakeholders and the public.

October 8, 2015
Team Works to Understand Cause of Increased Sea Otter Deaths
Public Asked to Report Animals Found and Not Approach

More than 200 dead or sick sea otters have been reported on beaches in the Kachemak Bay region in 2015. Similar cases in the past have been linked to streptococcus related illnesses. A team of experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Alaska SeaLife Center, Alaska Veterinary Pathology Services, and the USGS National Wildlife Health Center are working to understand what has caused the spike in sea otter deaths and potential significance to the population. Despite the ongoing investigation, including exams and tests on the carcasses, the cause of death for many of the sea otters remains unknown.

October 1, 2015
Partners Working Together

A recently completed fish-friendly culvert opens up 10 miles of salmon habitat in Tyonek, Alaska. The new 28-foot culvert is correctly sized for the stream and has an open bottom, which allows both juvenile and adult fish to pass. Because they're designed to simulate a stream's natural conditions, these fish-friendly culverts also perform better in floods and eliminate chronic road maintenance headaches. This project was led by Tyonek Tribal Conservation District to improve fish passage on Tyonek Native Corporation Lands. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contributed $550,000 in Fish Passage and Tribal Wildlife Grant funds to the project and our Anchorage Field Office's Habitat Restoration Branch staff provided technical expertise and support throughout the project, from planning to completion. Other partners included USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, ConocoPhillips, PacRim Coal LP, Cook Inlet Regional Incorporated, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, and Aurora Gas.

September 3, 2015
Federal Duck Stamp Exemption for Alaska's Subsistence Hunters

Fall waterfowl hunting season is here. A law was enacted to exempt qualified Alaska subsistence waterfowl hunters from having to purchase and carry a federal Duck Stamp. Learn more

September 2, 2015
As Alaska Warms and Burns, Refuges are Stretched Thin

It was a Monday afternoon in mid-May 2014, and Andy Loranger, manager of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, was meeting with 30 seasonal employees about to begin work in one of the busiest corners of Alaska. The Kenai Peninsula, also known as “Alaska’s Playground,” hosts nearly 1 million visitors a year, many of them drawn by the spectacular wildlife viewing and recreational opportunities on the refuge.

Just after 4 p.m., Loranger’s meeting was interrupted by a phone call. A refuge biologist had spotted a plume of smoke on the refuge just east of the community of Soldotna. The Funny River Fire, as it came to be called, would grow to almost 200,000 acres, the second largest ever recorded on the peninsula. Read more

August 31, 2015
Secretary Jewell Delivered Remarks at Global Arctic Leadership Conference in Alaska

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell delivered remarks at the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER).
Secretary Jewell discussed U.S actions to enhance climate resilience and adaptation planning in Arctic communities most impacted by climate change.
The GLACIER conference, hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, brings together Foreign Ministers of Arctic nations and key non-Arctic states with scientists, policy-makers, and stakeholders from around the world to discuss the most urgent issues facing the Arctic today, broaden global awareness of the impacts of Arctic climate change, and highlight innovative ways to address these challenges.

August 28, 2015
Support to Eliminate Disturbace to Pacific Walruses

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) needs your support to eliminate disturbance to Pacific walruses resting on shore along the Chukchi Sea coast. Currently there are several thousand walruses hauled out on the barrier island just north of the community of Pt Lay. We expect this haulout to continue to be occupied through mid-October. Walruses may also be present in large numbers at Icy Cape, on the barrier island between Icy Cape and Pt Lay Corwin Bluff, Cape Lisburne, and Cape Espenberg.

August 18, 2015
If walruses haul-out, eliminating disturbance is essential

The Native Village of Point Lay, U.S. Geological Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a joint announcement today alerting media and the public that in the event walruses again haulout on the coastal islands near the village of Point Lay, the community and the walruses need space to reduce disturbance and possible trampling of animals.

July 2, 2015
Fish and Wildlife Service and Partners Announce Draft Conservation Management Plan for Polar Bear

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released the Draft Polar Bear Conservation Management Plan (CMP) today, crafted by an unprecedented team of stakeholders from public, private and nonprofit sectors. The polar bear was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2008, due to loss of its sea ice habitat attributed to Arctic warming, and the CMP identifies immediate actions that can help protect the bear for the long term.

While the CMP lists several potential threats to the polar bear, the loss of sea-ice is projected to lead to decreased or greatly decreased populations in three of the four polar bear “ecoregions” by 2050. That projection is based on a scientific model from 2008 that has been updated to include two possible scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions this century. One scenario models increasing greenhouse gas emissions at the current rate, and the other models emissions leveling off by about mid-century and then declining. Outcomes for polar bear populations are projected to worsen over time through the end of the century under both scenarios, but the long-term persistence of polar bears may be possible if global greenhouse gas emissions are stabilized at or below the modeled level.

July 1, 2015
Chinese Delegates

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Changbai Mountain National Nature Reserve established a sisterhood agreement in September 2013 to promote educational exchanges and cooperation in environmental protection and management, scientific studies, and ecotourism development. In late June 2015, the Alaska Refuge program hosted a group of five Chinese delegates on a tour of Arctic and Kenai National Wildlife Refuges as well as Denali National Park in an effort to further our understanding of each countries conservation programs. Regional Director Geoffrey Haskett presented a plaque to Meng Sha, Deputy Director of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Nature Reserve Management, to express appreciation for the twenty year partnership with us and the sisterhood relationship. Follow Arctic NWR on Facebook

June 30, 2015
Letter of Authorization (LOA) for Shell proposal to operate drilling rigs in Chukchi Sea

May 28, 2015
Study Finds Amphibians at Risk from Pollution and Warming Environments

A new study suggests that increases in water temperature and copper pollution may increase mortality and abnormalities in frogs. This research, conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Pacific University, and the University of California at Davis, and recently published in the journal Ecosphere, follows previous studies of amphibian abnormalities and shows how pollution and climate change may contribute to amphibian decline.

In laboratory tests, wood frog tadpoles were attacked by dragonfly larvae 30 minutes sooner and three times more often in warmer water with a slight increase in copper pollution, than in cooler, copper-free treatments. The attacks either killed the tadpoles directly, left them with injuries that could become abnormalities in later life, or increased levels of stress measured by the behavior of other tadpoles in the tanks.

May 20, 2015
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Changes to Public Use Regulations for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today published a proposed rule that maintains protections for the world-class natural resources of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge while supporting visitor experience and safety at one of Alaska’s most accessible and enjoyed public landscapes.

“Over a million people travel through the Kenai Refuge each year on the Sterling Highway, and an estimated 300,000 visitors spend extended periods of time on the refuge,” said Refuge Manager Andy Loranger. “We want people to feel welcome and safe while ensuring that abundant plant, fish and wildlife populations are maintained into the future. These proposed changes help us achieve these goals.”

May 12, 2015
By Air, Land, and Sea,
Alaska’s Threatened and Endangered Species are Taking Steps Toward Recovery

Endangered Species Day is Friday, May 15!  In honor of this event, we are highlighting recent stories about species in Alaska that are benefitting from the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act and the dedicated people who work to ensure their continued existence.

Short-tailed Albatross – The critically endangered short-tailed albatross, which primarily breeds on an active volcanic island,  was recently found breeding on a new, safer island. Learn more

Wood Bison – For the first time in more than century, a wood bison calf was born in the wild in Alaska. Learn more

Polar Bear Youth Chelsea Brower, 17, of Kaktovik, Alaska, grew up around polar bears and often observes them wandering through her village, curious about the scents of locally harvested foods outside of houses. Learn more

May 1, 2015
Learning to be a Game Warden

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge hosted the 2015 Youth Game Warden Camp, a collaborative effort between natural resource agencies to provide young people an opportunity to meet and learn about the interesting job of a game warden. They discovered that you need to be a little bit curious, take a keen interest in wildlife and fisheries management and natural resource law enforcement, enjoy interacting with the visiting public, be a quick thinker, and enjoy the outdoor office.

So what do you get when you bring together 40 fourth, fifth and sixth graders and engage them in such activities as wildlife forensics, wildlife management and law enforcement, wildlife robotics, archery, antlers, skulls, and duck identification? Learn More

April 30, 2015
Alaska Department of Fish and Game Receive $52 Million in Revenues Generated by Hunters, Shooters, Boaters and Anglers

The Service apportions the funds to states and U.S. territories through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs. Revenues come from excise taxes generated by the sale of sporting goods, with firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment funding Wildlife Restoration, and fishing equipment, electric boat motors, and the purchase of motorboat fuel funding Sport Fish Restoration.

In Alaska, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is the recipient of these funds. This year, the Wildlife Restoration program will receive $34,625,771 to conduct wildlife research and management, ensure public access to wildlife resources, and provide hunter education programs and shooting ranges. The Sport Fish Restoration will receive $17,325,859 to conduct sport fish research and management, ensure access to waters for recreational boaters and anglers, deliver aquatic education programs, and operate sport fish hatcheries.

April 30, 2015
Alaska Celebrates Arrival of Migratory Birds

Spring has sprung and migratory birds are arriving in Alaska by the thousands.  Soon they will be building nests, laying eggs and another generation of birds will be hatching. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, along with many partners, celebrates this special time of year by inviting you to participate at bird festivals and events across the state.


April 15, 2015
Young Leaders in Kaktovik, Alaska, Receive Award for Service to Community and for Polar Bear Conservation

Five high school students received an award from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services on Wednesday, April 8, in recognition of their inspiring leadership and service to their community as youth ambassadors. All students at Harold Kaveolook High School watched as Jennifer Reed from Arctic National Wildlife Refuge presented the awards. These teens welcome visitors who are coming into their community to view polar bears, an icon of the Arctic. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides funds and staff support for the Kaktovik Youth Ambassador Program and other initiatives to build the community’s capacity for polar-bear related management. Read more..

April 10, 2015
90-day Finding on Petition to List Yellow-Cedar Under the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a 90-day finding on a petition to list yellow-cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis) as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  A petition submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the yellow-cedar as threatened or endangered presents substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking scientific and commercial information which will assist in a future status review.


April 8, 2015
Interim Policy issued to Implement Federal Duck Stamp Exemption for Alaska's Subsistence Hunters 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced an interim policy that implements a new lawexempting qualified Alaska subsistence hunters from the requirement to possess a Federal Duck Stamp while hunting migratory waterfowl.

The interim policy follows passage of the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014, an amendment to the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act. It becomes effective immediately and will remain operational until June 1, 2017. The Service will now work to develop regulations to implement the exemption on a permanent basis. Such regulations will go through an open process including the opportunity for public review and comment.

The congressional action was the result of leadership from the Alaska delegation in recognition of the importance of subsistence in the lives of Alaska Native peoples and other qualifying Alaskans.

The exemption from carrying the Federal Duck Stamp while hunting does not relieve qualified hunters from the requirement to purchase and possess state hunting licenses and stamps and abide by all other applicable federal and state laws. The Service will continue to work with Alaska Native peoples and other qualified subsistence hunters to ensure opportunities for subsistence hunting are available and sustainable.

March 19, 2015
Science Leadership Award - 2014 

Congratulations Julian Fischer for receiving the Science Leadership Award. Julian is the Project Leader of the Waterfowl Division of Migratory Bird Management here in Alaska. As both an independent scientist and manager of a specialized group of avian experts, Julian works tirelessly to find scientifically-based solutions to a wide variety of avian conservation issues. Julian embodies management and scientific excellence through his leadership of a diverse team of up to 20 employees. The key to Julian’s leadership success is not only his ability to work closely with his staff, but also his enthusiasm in serving as an outlet for his team’s expertise. In addition to his management and field duties, Julian is an integral member of many conservation working groups and partnerships, and mentors younger scientists.

March 18, 2015
Alaska to Receive More Than $2 Million to Support Conservation of Wildlife, Habitat, and Imperiled Species 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that more than $2.0 million in new funding will be available to the State of Alaska through the State Wildlife Grant program in fiscal year 2015. State Wildlife Grants provide funds for conservation work across the state, including more than $680,000 for work to reintroduce the endangered wood bison to Alaska after having been wiped out for more than a century. The wood bison reintroduction project is an exciting example of a State Wildlife Grant enabling the ADF&G to restore a key indigenous grazing animal, while providing benefits to Alaska’s people and economy. Currently in Alaska, there are 61 active projects supported by $11.4 million of State Wildlife Grant funding. Read more

March 4, 2015
Alaskans Team Up to Prevent Walrus Stampedes 

Last fall, much of the world was riveted by the image of 30,000-plus Pacific walruses hauled out on the Arctic coast near the Alaskan village of Point Lay. Such scenes have become increasingly familiar as climate conditions shift and the walruses, one of the world’s largest pinnipeds, find that the summer sea ice on which they depend is disappearing. It’s a shift with potentially dire consequences, especially for young walruses.

Read more

January 29, 2015
Southwestern Alaska Glaciers Rapidly Disappearing

Researchers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Northern Arizona University recently reported in the Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management that 10 of 109 glaciers of the Ahklun Mountains that were originally mapped by the U.S Geological Survey in the 1970s had completely disappeared. The research team had conducted an aerial survey of the glaciers to verify their presence or absence. They also compared the size of the glaciers using aerial photographs and satellite images from 1957, 1984, and 2009 and found that the glaciers had lost about 50 percent of their area. At this rate of melting, all of the glaciers in the Ahklun Mountains will be gone by the end of this century.

January 25, 2015
President Recommends 12.3 Million Acres of Wilderness at Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

President Eisenhower established what later became Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 1960 “for the purpose of preserving unique wildlife, wilderness and recreational values.” Now, 55 years later, President Obama is recommending that Congress add nearly 12.3 million acres of refuge land to the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Protection of this spectacular, pristine and wildlife-rich landscape will ensure that land managers can address the growing challenges faced by the refuge and keep fulfilling Eisenhower’s vision. The Service recommended the wilderness designation in a revised plan for the refuge released today. If Congress acts, it will be the largest ever designation in the Wilderness Act’s 50-year history.

November 21, 2014
An Early Berry Crop Effects the Kodiak Brown Bear's Taste for Salmon

During the long days of summer, Kodiak’s brown bears beat well-worn paths along Refuge streams foraging for spawning sockeye salmon. The large quantity of this nutritious food has allowed the Kodiak brown bear to reach sizes and densities matched by only a few other places in the world.  In fact, over 2,500 Kodiak brown bears call the Refuge home, more than the entire lower 48 states. But in recent years salmon runs in southwestern Kodiak have been erratic and scientists have seen a drop in bear numbers within this area of the Refuge.  The bear population across the Archipelago and entire Refuge has remained largely stable. 

October 2, 2014
Walrus Haulout Near the Native Village of Point Lay

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.

October 1, 2014
The Service Announces 12-Month Finding on Petition to List Yellow-billed Loon

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.”

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

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.

September 19, 2014
Learning, Laughing and Making a Difference - Fairbanks Youth for Habitat Program

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.

September 5, 2014
Temporary Closure of Sport Brown Bear Hunting

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

September 3, 2014
Wilderness: A gift from the past for current and future generations

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.

August 28, 2014
Service Partners with State of Alaska to Eradicate Northern Pike from Kenai River Tributary

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.

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

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.

June 3, 2014
Diverse Team Convened to Develop United States' Plan for Polar Bear Conservation

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.

May 22, 2014
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces 2013 Endangered Species Recovery Champions

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.

May 21, 2014
New Equipment Makes Treatment of Oiled, Injured, or Sick Polar Bear on the North Slope Possible

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the achievement of a milestone to address challenges associated with responding to oiled, injured, or sick polar bears in the wild. In April, a brand new polar bear holding module and two smaller transport cages arrived in Anchorage and will soon be shipped to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Alaska Clean Seas, the primary oil spill response organization on the North

May 9, 2014
Alaska Tribes Receive $397,590 in Tribal Wildlife Grants

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced Tribal Wildlife Grants awards to Native American and Alaska Native tribes funding a wide range of conservation projects across the country. Tribal Wildlife Grants are used to provide technical and financial assistance to Tribes for the development and implementation of programs that benefit fish and wildlife resources and their habitat.

May 8, 2014
Quick Action Stops Mouse Invasion of St. George Island, Alaska

House mice were never meant to be on the remote and windswept Bering Sea Island of St. George, Alaska, so it was quite a shock for Mark Merculief and his coworkers from the City of St. George when they opened a shipping container of grass seed and straw, and found house mice scurrying around inside. St. George is one of the few populated islands in the world where house mice have not become established and the residents of the island (both people and wild animals) want to keep it that way. No nuisance mice, gnawed food packages or threats to native wildlife for them! “It was a surprise,” said Merculief, “and not a nice one.”

News Release

May 7, 2014
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Approves Rule for Reinintroduction of Wood Bison in Alaska

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on May 7, 2014, is publishing a final rule which authorizes the reintroduction of a nonessential experimental population of wood bison in Alaska, establishes provisions under which wood bison in Alaska will be managed, and allows for legal incidental taking of wood bison within the defined nonessential experimental population area. The rule clears the way for plans by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to reintroduce wood bison into one or more of three areas within its historical range in Alaska (Yukon Flats, Minto Flats, and the lower Innoko/Yukon River area). Under the rule, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will have primary responsibility for managing wood bison in Alaska.

Girl Scouts Learn More Than Catch and Release During Ice Fishing Event
March 4, 2014

A small lake north of Anchorage, Alaska was buzzing with activity as the sun began to rise over the mountains and nearly two dozen volunteers from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Bass Pro Shops prepared for the arrival of members of 16 Girl Scout Troops from Anchorage and nearby communities of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. By 9:00 a.m., holes were drilled in the ice; tables were loaded with fishing equipment, and warming tents with hot cocoa were ready for children looking to take a break from the cold.

February 25, 2014
Service Seeks Comments on Proposal to Reintroduce Steller's Eider in Alaska

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces a public process to gather input on reintroduction of threatened Steller’s eiders to Alaska. A healthy population of these birds nesting on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in southwest Alaska is considered necessary for recovery of the listed Alaska-breeding population. Prior to release, the Service is seeking public input on the best approach, and will analyze the effects to the environment consistent with guidance in the National Environmental Policy Act. The public comment period begins March 3, 2014 and ends on April 15, 2014. The public will have an opportunity to review the draft environmental assessment in the summer of 2014.

February 21, 2014
International Wildlife Investigation Results in Conviction of Haines Big Game Guide

Anchorage, Alaska- U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a joint United States-Canadian wildlife investigation has resulted in the conviction after a jury trial against Haines, Alaska, big game guide John Katzeek. Katzeek, who has been a big game guide for over twenty years, was convicted by a Juneau jury for a felony violation of the Lacey Act in connection with a guided hunt with two Canadian citizens.

January 30, 2014
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Employee Receives National Recognition

Anchorage, Alaska — On January 21, 2014, Bill Rice, P.E., received the 2013 National Fish Passage Program Field Biologist of the Year award in an all-employees ceremony held at the Alaska Regional Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). This national award is given each year to one Service employee in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the mission and objectives of the Service’s National Fish Passage Program. Alaska Regional Director, Geoff Haskett, presented the award on behalf of David Hoskins, Assistant Director of Fisheries and Aquatic onservation for the Service.

“Bill’s work helps support what all Alaskans love to do most—fish! We are proud of Bill’s accomplishments, as well as our other staff, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and other local partners involved with fish passage projects”, said Geoff Haskett.

January 15, 2014
Togiak Area Man Sentenced for Wasting Walrus, Illegally Transporting Tusks and Firearms Violations

Anchorage, Alaska U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that Togiak area resident Jessie Anariak, age 50, was sentenced by the Hon. Sharon L. Gleason, United States District Court Judge, to a term of 15 months imprisonment for his actions arising from the illegal take of a walrus on Round Island in May, 2011. News Release

January 7, 2014
Connecting With Villagers “in a Neighborly Fashion"

It’s only a slight stretch to say that Yukon River king salmon have spawned a novel approach to National Wildlife Refuge System law enforcement in Alaska.

King salmon is an important cultural and culinary part of Alaska Natives’ subsistence lifestyle. Its numbers in the Yukon River have been dropping for years. For the species’ long–term health, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service imposes regulations on king salmon fishing. The regulations aggravate Alaska Natives whose remote villages are within refuges. Federal wildlife officers must enforce the regulations and issue citations for violations such as fishing during closed periods.

December 30, 2013
Kids, Get Your Paintbrushes, Pens and Pencils Out

Parents, teachers and youth group leaders across America are invited to engage children in putting their creative skills to work in the 2014 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest, an integral part of the ninth annual national Endangered Species Day celebration in May. For more information, including entry categories, judging criteria, prizes and the entry form, visit this page. Entries must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2014.

December 23, 2013
Get Outdoors for the Holidays!

This holiday, as you enjoy the season with family and friends, take them outdoors. Bundle up and go skiing, snowmachining, birding, ice fishing, snowshoeing, skating, or build a snowman in the backyard. Connecting with the outdoors is good for everyone - physically, emotionally, and socially. It's free and it's fun. For more outdoor ideas visit:

December 19, 2013
Endangered Species Act Turns 40 on December 28

The Endangered Species Act, the bipartisan legislation that is credited with saving hundreds of species from extinction, was signed into law by President Nixon 40 years ago on December 28, 1973.

This landmark law has been the catalyst for fully recovering 31 species, including the bald eagle, eastern population of Steller sea lion, American alligator, Lake Erie water snake and the Virginia northern flying squirrel. It continues to work today to protect and recover more than 2,100 animals and plants in the U.S. and around the world.

December 11, 2013
Draft Peer Review Plan for Yellow-billed Loon Listing Evaluation Available

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a draft Peer Review Plan for the biological status review portion of the yellow-billed loon listing evaluation. The draft plan is available for review and comment through January 6, 2014.

December 6, 2013
Wildlife Refuge Plans to Address Cattle Damage to Islands

Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge manager, Steve Delehanty, today announced the start of a public scoping process to identify issues and alternatives to address damage from unauthorized cattle on Wosnesenski and Chirikof Islands. Scoping will include meetings with interested federal, state, and local agencies, Federally recognized Tribes, stakeholders and the general public.

December 4, 2013
Polar Bear Range States Celebrate 40th Anniversary of 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears

Representatives of the polar bear range states – United States, Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway and the Russian Federation – convened in Moscow, Russia, today to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears. Representatives responsible for polar bear policy, research, and management recognized the significant contributions over the past four decades to polar bear conservation throughout the species’ Arctic range.

November 27, 2013
Michigan Hunters Sentenced for Illegally Taking Grizzly Bear

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced November 26, 2013, that two Michigan residents were sentenced in U. S. District Court in Fairbanks for a 2009 unlawful taking of a grizzly bear during closed season, making false records to conceal the illegal kill, and transporting the bear parts out of Alaska. Read More

November 22, 2013
2013 Candidate Notice of Review Available

Each year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reviews the current status of plants and animals considered candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act. This Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) will publish in the Federal Register on Friday, November 22, 2013. There are two candidate species that occur in the Alaska Region: the yellow-billed loon and the Pacific walrus.  Although the CNOR implies that we are already working on a proposed rule to list the yellow-billed loon as endangered or threatened, in fact we are just starting the process to determine whether the species should be listed.  We must publish our decision by September 30, 2014.  Similarly, we must publish our decision by September 30, 2017 whether to list the Pacific walrus.

November 19, 2013
Landmark Study Reveals Low National Rate of Frog Abnormalities on Wildlife Refuges

An unprecedented 10-year-study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) shows encouraging results for frogs and toads on national wildlife refuges. The study, published today in the peer-reviewed online journal PLOS ONE, finds that on average, less than 2 percent of frogs and toads sampled on 152 refuges had physical abnormalities involving the skeleton and eyes – a lower rate than many experts feared based on earlier reports. Press Release

November 18, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Guidance to Clarify the Phrase Significantly Altered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued guidance to clarify the phrase “significantly altered” as it pertains to authentic Native handicrafts and clothing made from sea otter, a species protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The intent of the guidance is to reduce confusion over what this phrase means; it does not change existing MMPA implementing regulations.

November 6, 2013
National Wildlife Refuges Provide Significant Local Economic Impact

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently completed a new analysis examining the impacts to local economies of visits to national wildlife refuges. The study, called Banking on Nature, covers the periodOctober 1, 2010 to September 31, 2011 and included 92 of the more than 550 national wildlife refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System in the analysis. Visitor spending in four areas was examined: food, lodging, transportation and other expenses (such as guide fees, land-use fees and equipment rental).

November 1, 2013
Regional Director Appointed to the U.S.- Russia Polar Bear Commission

President Obama has appointed Geoffrey L. Haskett, Regional Director for the Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as the United States Commissioner for the U.S.–Russia Polar Bear Commission.

“I am honored to be appointed by President Obama to the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission. I look forward to working with the other commissioners on conservation of this shared, iconic species.”  Press Release

October 25, 2013
Service Intends to Finalize Guidance Regarding Native Handicrafts Made from Sea Otter

By the end of November, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intends to issue final guidance to clarify the phrase “significantly altered” as it pertains to authentic native handicrafts and clothing made from sea otter, a species protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The intent of the guidance will be to reduce confusion over what this phrase means; the guidance will not change existing MMPA implementing regulations (50 CFR Part 18). Press Release

October 25, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Emergency Closure of Brown Bear Sport Hunting on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

SOLDOTNA, AK – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announces an emergency closure of sport hunting of brown bears on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), effective October 26, 2013 at 12:01 am. The emergency closure is issued pursuant to federal regulations at 50 CFR 36.42. Press Release and Emergency Closure

October 23, 2013
Hawadax Island Recovery Exceeding Expectations

“When I first landed on what was Rat Island in 2007, it was an eerily silent place. A typical Aleutian island is teeming with wildlife, swirling with noisy, pungent birds. Not this place. It was crisscrossed with rat trails, littered with rat scat, scavenged bird bones, it even smelled…wrong,” reports Stacey Buckelew, an Island Conservation biologist. Buckelew first visited the island to help document centuries of damage to native birds and plant species from introduced invasive Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus).

Flash forward to today—five years after the successful removal of invasive Norway rats by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (The Service), The Nature Conservancy (The Conservancy) and Island Conservation (IC). Much has changed.

October 17, 2013
12-Month Finding Published on Petition to List Kittlitz’s Murrelet

On October 3, 2013 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a 12-Month Finding in the Federal Register on a petition to list the Kittlitz’s murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris) as an endangered or threatened species and to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). After reviewing the best available scientific and commercial information, the Service found that listing the Kittlitz’s murrelet was not warranted. 

Read more ...

August 22, 2013
Polar Bears in the Chukchi Sea Doing Well, Despite Sea Ice Loss

Climate change is the greatest long-term threat to polar bears.  On May 15, 2008, the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) listed the bear as threatened throughout its range under the Endangered Species Act.  If loss of sea ice habitat continues, most populations of this iconic species are expected to decline or disappear by the end of the 21st century.  But the path to that point might not be straightforward. In fact, scientists expect a lot of variation in when, where, and how the effects of sea ice loss will appear.  According to a new study, by some measures one of the Arctic’s nineteen polar bear populations is doing quite well.

Study Abstract
Polar Bear News 2012-13 Newsletter

August 19, 2013
From Creek to Plate

As a conservation agency, the Service understands that it is imperative to create opportunities for people, especially youth, to connect with nature—and help remove barriers to participation. In fact, one of the Service’s six national priorities is: connecting people with nature, ensuring the future of conservation. In Alaska, our Connecting People with Nature Working Group is dedicated to just that. In 2012-2013, this cross-program group distributed $31,250 towards projects in Alaska that connected people to nature; the funds were made possible by the Department of the Interior’s Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative. One of eight projects, “Creek to Plate” targeted youth from Anchorage’s Northeast Muldoon Boys and Girls Club, a hub for 700+ youngsters during non-school hours.

 Read more

July 19, 2013
Potential Recovery of Pigeon Guillemot in Prince William Sound Comments Requested on Draft Environmental Assessment

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), along with the U.S. Forest Service-Chugach National Forest (Forest Service), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Wildlife Service (APHIS-WS) announce the availability of the draft Environmental Assessment “Potential Recovery of Pigeon Guillemot Populations, Naked Island Group – Prince William Sound, Alaska.” The comment period will be for 30 days, starting July 19, 2013 and ending on Aug 17, 2013.

July 10, 2013
Teens Restoring Streambanks

Alaska teens contributed to ongoing habitat improvement efforts within the Chester Creek watershed in Anchorage by giving two sections of the creek’s riparian zone a major makeover this past June. Although riparian habitat makes up a relatively small percentage of a watershed’s total land area, it provides critical fish and wildlife habitat, areas of ground water recharge, natural flood and erosion control, and water quality protection. Chester Creek provides habitat for salmon, trout, and char, and creekside trails and greenbelts provide movement corridors for native wildlife like moose.

 Read more

July 9, 2013
Yukon Chinook Salmon for Our Future

My name is Jessica Hildebrand. My parents are Rodney and Celene Hildebrand; my paternal grandparents are Victor and Edith Nicholas, and my maternal grandparents are the late Leo and Delores Kriska. I grew up at a homestead located 6 miles from Koyukuk and 12 miles from Nulato. On the homestead, better known as “Last Chance,” is our family’s house, my parent’s privately owned business, our fish cutting area, smoke house, and numerous old cabins and caches. My parents also own a house in Nulato that we went back and forth to for school during the winter, but you would never catch us away from Last Chance during the summer. 

Read more

June 25, 2013
Fish and Flood-Friendly Culverts: Spotlight on Tyonek, Alaska!

Indian Creek flows through Tyonek into Cook Inlet and supports important subsistence fisheries for salmon and rainbow trout. During the heavy spring flows of 2012, the creek washed out the road, which had a too-small culvert. In October 2012, the creek was fitted with a much larger fish- and flood-friendly culvert designed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska fish passage engineer. Culverts designed to let juvenile salmon move freely among important rearing habitats not only boost fish production, but are also immensely valuable from a road maintenance and public safety perspective...they keep fish habitat and communities connected, no matter what the weather!

Read more

June 21, 2013
70th Anniversary of Battle of Attu Commemorated

Seventy years after young men fought and died on remote, wind-swept Attu Island in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) honored their sacrifices with the dedication of a new interpretive site on Attu. In addition to interpretive panels which tell the story of WWII in the Aleutians, a special plaque honors the deeds of Pvt. Joseph Martinez, the only Medal of Honor recipient in the Aleutian Campaign.

June 21, 2013
A Nexus for Bird Migration

Every year birds from around the world, using multiple flyways, migrate to the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge to nest and raise their young. The combined abundance and diversity of waterbirds that annually visit the refuge is unparalleled in North America. It is truly one of the world's most important places for migratory birds. Park Ranger, Brian McCaffery, describes this special refuge as "vast" and "productive."

Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge YouTube Video

June 17, 2013
Pollinators are Important

National Pollinator Week, this year June 17-23, 2013, has now grown to be an international celebration. Pollinating animals, including bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles and others, are vital to our delicate ecosystem, supporting terrestrial wildlife, providing healthy watersheds, and more. Pollinators positively affect all our lives. Did you know that bees pollinate Alaska’s blueberries early in the summer so that we can enjoy those tasty berries later?

June 11, 2013
East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership Signs Resolution with Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna

The annual Meeting of Partners of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership kicked off Monday morning at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage with the signing of a resolution with the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Working Group.  This resolution will serve to better coordinate efforts to promote and protect birds along a migratory flyway that is home to over 50 million waterbirds. The meeting will continue much of this week in Seward, Alaska.

June 7, 2013
Public Input Sought for Clarification on Select Terms Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act With Regard to Sea Otter.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Alaska is providing an additional 60 days for the public to provide information and comment on our draft document clarifying the existing interpretation of the terms “significantly altered from their natural form,” “coastal dwelling,” and “mass produced” as they apply to Alaska Native handicrafts and clothing made from sea otter parts under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  We invite your comments on this draft document by August 06, 2013.  If you previously submitted info`rmation or recommendations to the Service you do not need to re-submit that information. To view the document or submit comments, please visit

June 3, 2013
Draft Peer Review Plan for the Kittlitz's murrelet.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a draft Peer Review Plan for the biological section of the Kittlitz’s murrelet listing evaluation. The plan is available for review and comment through June 14, 2013.

Read more

May 29, 2013
Recent sunny weather may mean a bumper crop for Alaska's Elodea infestations!

Elodea. Believed to be Alaska’s first fully submerged aquatic invasive plant, you may have seen Elodea choking out areas of Sand Lake, Little Campbell Lake, or Delong Lake in Anchorage and Chena Slough in Fairbanks. It’s also being found in a growing number of lakes and slow moving rivers/sloughs in Cordova and on the Kenai Peninsula.

Should we be concerned?Yes! Elodea survives under ice. When introduced to a new waterway, Elodea grows rapidly, overtaking native plants, filling the water column, and changing the habitat conditions to which native fish are adapted. Thick mats form at or just below the water surface and can foul boat propellers and floatplane rudders, causing a hazard. In addition to impeding fishing, navigation, boat launching, and paddling, it can also reduce waterfront property values.

Read more

May 28, 2013
Southeast Alaska Biologists Recognized for Improving Habitat in Public Spaces

Earlier this month, the Alaska Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) presented two U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologists—Neil Stichert and John Hudson—with the 2013 GreenBelt Award for their long-standing efforts to collaborate with others to improve fish and wildlife habitat in public spaces.

Read more

May 23, 2013
Alaska Tribes Receive $433,026 in Tribal Wildlife Grants

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced Tribal Wildlife Grants awards to Native American and Alaska Native tribes funding a wide range of conservation projects across the country.

“The mindful stewardship of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats is a value that tribal nations share with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Tribal Wildlife Grants create opportunities for us to work together in a variety of ways, including species restoration, fish passage, protection of migratory birds, and coping with long-term effects of a changing climate.” Press Release

May 23, 2013
Dall Sheep Guide Sentenced for Illegal Hunting in Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced May 22, 2013, that a Canadian man was sentenced in U. S. District Court in Fairbanks, Alaska, for the sale of two unlawfully taken and possessed Dall sheep.

Patrick J. Downey, 67, of Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada, pled guilty and was sentenced May 10, 2013, (attached press release states "pled guilty in May 2012" in error) ,by U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline after admitting that he guided two hunts that resulted in taking under-sized Dall sheep. Downey was sentenced to pay a $20,000 fine, was placed on probation for five years, during which Downey may not hunt or guide in the United States. The charges arose from Downey’s service as a licensed Alaska assistant guide in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in 2008 and 2009. For approximately twenty years, Downey had guided hunters in the Brooks Range while employed by Master Guide-Outfitter Joe Hendricks, co-owner of Fair Chase Hunts (FCH). Full press release...

May 21, 2013
Wetland Conservation in Alaska

Each May we celebrate National Wetlands Month. Wetlands are the cornerstone of many important ecosystems, providing numerous ecological and economic benefits for fish, wildlife and people. Wetlands improve water quality, absorb and store water, help reduce flooding, and provide important habitat for wildlife. There are more wetlands in Alaska than all the other U.S. states combined.Read more

May17, 2013
Polar Bear Conservation Continues this Endangered Species Day

Endangered Species Day is particularly poignant today as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act and recognize the Federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, industry representatives, and private citizens who have worked together under the law to conserve America’s most imperiled species.

“In Alaska key partners have come together under the Endangered Species Act to successfully recover the Aleutian Canada goose, the Arctic peregrine falcon and the American peregrine falcon” said Geoffrey Haskett, Alaska’s Regional Director. “These are all great success stories. The sobering prospect of extinction motivates us to do all that we can nationally and internationally to conserve remarkable Alaskan species like polar bear.” Read more

May16, 2013
Upper Tanana Valley hit with Sparrows EVERYWHERE

“There’s constant movement on the ground and the singing is insane. I have never seen anything like this EVER. ” says retired Fish and Wildlife biologist Bud Johnson of Tok, Alaska. “There are probably a hundreds of thousands of sparrows just in Tok”.

May 16, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Alaska’s Endangered Species Recovery Champion Award Winners 

The story of endangered species conservation in the United States over the past 40 years involves many heroes. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recognized 16 teams or individuals across the country for their outstanding efforts to conserve and protect endangered and threatened fish, wildlife and plants by designating them 2012 Recovery Champions. Among the award winners honored for their work were two Alaskans, Brian McCaffery and Margaret Peterson.

“Recovery Champion awards acknowledge individuals and groups who have excelled in their efforts to protect and recover our most imperiled species,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “They exemplify the dedication and determination that has helped save countless animals and plants from extinction and that continues to raise the bar in the field of endangered species conservation.”

Press Release

May 13, 2013
Kali leaves the Alaska Zoo to join polar bear cub Luna at the Buffalo Zoo

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that Kali, the polar bear cub rescued in March from the Point Lay area of Alaska, will leave the Alaska Zoo on May 14, arriving at New York’s Buffalo Zoo on May 15. Kali (pronounced Cully, the Inupiat name for Point Lay), a 65-pound cub, will join young female cub Luna where both cubs will benefit from each other’s company. Under the care of Alaska Zoo staff Kali has adjusted well to his surroundings, more than tripling in size and weight.

“The Alaska Zoo has done a tremendous job of providing excellent, temporary care for Kali,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “I would like to personally thank the zoo for stepping up – at moment’s notice – to care for this cub. Now, as Kali leaves Alaska for his next short-term home, we are confident that the Buffalo Zoo will provide the best of care for Kali as the Service makes a final determination on a permanent home for the cub.” Press Release

May 6, 2013
Alaska Celebrates Arrival of Migratory Birds

Spring has sprung and migratory birds are arriving in Alaska by the thousands.  Soon they will be building nests, laying eggs and another generation of birds will be hatching. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, along with many partners, celebrates this special time of year by inviting you to participate at bird festivals and events across the state.  Learn more by visiting these links:

April 22, 2013
The Future of Conservation this Earth Day

As we celebrate Earth Day 2013, we invite you to take a moment to reflect on the words of Senator Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day. He knew how hard but how critical long-term thinking is and said, "The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard." We invite you to celebrate Earth Day by choosing ways you can live today so that future generations will enjoy our wildlife legacy in the future. Visit

April 18, 2013
USFWS Announces Decision on Petition to Delist Wood Bison

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish in the Federal Register tomorrow a 90-day finding on a petition to delist the wood bison and remove it from protection under the Endangered Species Act. Based on our review, we find that the petition does not present substantial information indicating that delisting the wood bison subspecies may be warranted.  Therefore, we are not initiating a status review in response to this petition.  However, we ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of, or threats to, the wood bison or its habitat at any time. Press Release

March 25, 2013
Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Almost $40 Million in User-Generated Funding to Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game 
"Hunters, Anglers, and Other Recreational Users Provide Record Support for Critical Conservation Projects

More than $882.4 million in excise tax revenues generated in 2012 by sportsmen and sportswomen will be distributed to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects across the nation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.

Press Release

March 19, 2013
Polar Bear Cub Delivered to Alaska Zoo

On March 12, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received word that a female polar bear had been taken near Point Lay, Alaska. The adult female was accompanied by a cub, which was recovered and transferred first to the community of Point Lay, and then to the North Slope Borough’s Department of Wildlife Management (DWM). Subsequent to a health evaluation by the DWM it was determined that the cub is a young male weighing approximately 18.4 lbs. and 3-4 months of age.

March 1, 2013
Clarification of Select Terms under the Marine Mammal Protection Act with Regard to Sea Otters

The U.

S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Alaska releases today for public comment a draft document clarifying the interpretation of the terms “significantly altered from their natural form,” “coastal dwelling,” and “mass produced” as they apply to Alaska Native handicrafts and clothing made from sea otter parts under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. We invite your comments on this draft document by May 17, 2013. To view the document or comment, please go to

February 26, 2013
The Service announces the availability of the draft Peer Review Plan for the Proposed Wood Bison Introduction project

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a draft Peer Review Plan for the Proposed Reintroduction of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Wood Bison in Alaska. The plan is available for review and comment through March 19, 2013.. Learn more

February 25, 2013
Military Youth Ice Fishing Jamboree

What lurks in the cold, dark depths of Hillberg Lake near Anchorage, Alaska?  With an average depth of 13 feet and a width of just 200 yards, most people would think there’s probably not much.  The bald eagle perched overhead was there for something, wasn’t he?  Throw 130 kids and 60 parents with nearly 150 fishing jigs onto the frozen lake, and you’ll quickly learn that landlocked Chinook salmon and rainbow trout lurk beneath the ice.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Final Polar Bear Special Rule
February 19, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a Special Rule establishing how activities that may harm the threatened polar bear will be managed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Final Special Rule effectively maintains the management and conservation framework that has been in effect for the polar bear since it was first protected under the ESA in 2008.

The Final Special Rule, issued under Section 4(d) of the ESA, avoids redundant regulation under the ESA by adopting the longstanding and more stringent protections of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as the primary regulatory provisions for this threatened species.

February 12, 2013
Youth in Alaska's Great Outdoors 

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shares how they ENGAGED, EDUCATED, and EMPLOYED youth in 2012 as part of the Department of Interior's Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative.  If you are interested in 2013 opportunities in Alaska visit the links below.

February 12, 2013
Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest - Deadline: March 15

Parents, teachers, and scout leaders tell your kids to start the drawing engines and participate in the annual Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest! Entries must be postmarked by March 15, 2013. The Youth Art Contest provides students from kindergarten to high school with an opportunity to learn about threatened and endangered species and express their knowledge and support through artwork. Organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Endangered Species Coalition, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the International Child Art Foundation, the art contest is an integral part of the eighth annual national Endangered Species Day on May 17, 2013.

February 5, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Analysis Does Not Support Proposed Land Exchange and Road Corridor Through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) evaluating a proposed land exchange that would establish a road corridor through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Alaska. After careful evaluation of the impact of the construction and operation of the proposed road on the refuge and its wildlife resources, the agency has identified its preferred alternative as one that does not support allowing the land exchange to go forward.

February 1, 2013
Protecting Habitat for Salmon Lands National Recognition -
Coastal America to recognize private-public partnership achieving voluntary salmon habitat conservation in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley

Anchorage -- Coordinated action to conserve coastal habitat in Southcentral Alaska has captured national attention. On Thursday February 7, 2013 at the Alaska Forum on the Environment conference held at the Dena’ina Convention Center, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior for Alaska, Pat Pourchot, will present the Matanuska-Susitna Valley Coastal Conservation Partnership with a 2012 Coastal America Partnership Award on behalf of the Obama Administration and Coastal America.

Coastal America selected the Alaska partnership to receive this national award for its outstanding efforts to voluntarily conserve more than 6,000 acres of coastal habitat important to Pacific salmon and other wildlife. The Alaska-based effort is one of only four collaborative teams throughout the Nation to receive this prestigious award in 2012.

January 17, 2013
Service Seeks Comments On Proposed Wood Bison Introduction Project

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it will propose to release wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) in Alaska, in support of an Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) plan, in an effort to establish a wild population of this native wildlife species to the State.  Potential introduction sites include Minto Flats, the lower Innoko/Yukon River area, and Yukon Flats.America’s wildlife legacy.

January 9, 2013
Science Excellence and America's Wildlife Legacy

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for one of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit

The Non-game Migratory Bird Management Team are a group of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologists working with partners on bird conservation, including songbirds, shorebirds, and raptors.  Among many activities, they administer survey and monitoring programs, compile data, and apply data to management. They have expanded their network globally to address birds throughout entire ranges. Visit to learn more about their efforts.

The Non-game Migratory Bird Management Team's efforts help ensure that non-game migratory birds will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.

January 8, 2013
USFWS Announces Proposed Incidental Take Regulations for Polar Bears and Pacific Walrus

In Alaska, the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) protects polar bears, Pacific walrus, and northern sea otters by prohibiting "take" of these animals.  The MMPA provides for specific exceptions to the prohibition on non-lethal take, including a provision that allows U.S. citizens to take, through hazing and other non-lethal deterrents, small numbers of marine mammals incidental to specified activities. Read more...

January 2, 2013
cience Excellence and America's Wildlife Legacy

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for one of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit

As the Service's Shorebird Coordinator in Alaska, Dr. Richard Lanctot has worked at the national and international level to promote shorebird conservation. He launched the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group in 2006 which has promoted sharing of methods for studying and conserving shorebirds and connected biologists studying the same species throughout their annual cycle. He has worked to promote consistent methods for collecting shorebird data in the Arctic, allowing information to be compared at the circumpolar level and areas of international importance to be identified.

Richard Lanctot's efforts help ensure that migratory shorebirds will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.

December 19, 2012
cience Excellence and America's Wildlife Legacy

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for on of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit

The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge's Biological Science Team has demonstrated scientific leadership in the areas of seabird research, marine science and conservation, and invasive species eradication. Within the last five years, the team has restored over 100,000 acres of refuge land by eradicating invasive species.  Numerous research efforts have documented biodiversity, climate change, impacts to island ecosystems from volcanism, the accumulation of contaminants in seabirds, and much more. Data generated by this research is shared in publications, at conferences, sent to international databases, provided to regional multi-disciplinary research programs, and offered to collaborators. For more information about Alaska Maritime Refuge visit

The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Science Team's efforts help ensure that refuge resources will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.

December 12, 2012
Science Excellence and America's Wildlife Legacy

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for one of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit

Dr. David Irons is the Seabird Coordinator for Alaska's office of Migratory Bird Management. He has long recognized the interconnectedness of our world's marine ecosystems and has demonstrated great vision and determination in forging working relationships with seabird scientists in Alaska, other Arctic nations, and the world. He has worked to encourage information exchange among seabird scientists and leads a multi-national effort to develop the Global Seabird Data Portal to archive the world's seabird colony data, a critical step towards science-based management and conservation of our world's marine birds.

David's efforts will help ensure that seabirds will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.

December 7, 2012
Alaska Fish-Friendly Culverts Hold Tight Through 100 year flood

Southcentral Alaska – This past September, residents and visitors experienced heavy rains, strong winds, and widespread flooding. Many roads with undersized culverts or near rivers were overtopped by flood waters, resulting in road closures, erosion of road material, culvert damage, and at least five culverts/bridges becoming overwhelmed and flushed downstream.

In contrast, the 81 road culverts that had been fitted with larger, channel-spanning structures over the past decade survived the flood with flying colors. Read more...

December 5, 2012
Science Excellence and America’s Wildlife Legacy

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly features a nominee for one of two national awards for Science Excellence and Science Leadership. Award recipients will be announced in early winter 2013. For more information about the awards visit

Michelle Kissling is a Wildlife Biologist with the Juneau Fish & Wildlife Field Office. Ms. Kissling successfully leveraged the Service's funds and operational capabilities to expand partnerships to establish interagency monitoring and research of the Kittlitz's murrelet, a poorly understood seabird endemic to coastal Alaska and the Russian Far East.  She helped coordinate more than 50 people, representing various partners, in murrelet field work; conducting at sea surveys, banding over 900 birds, and placing transmitters on 215 birds. She is recognized for her outstanding leadership and scientific contributions toward conservation of Kittlitz's murrelet and her exceptional commitment forging scientific conservation partnerships.

Michelle’s efforts will help ensure that the Kittlitz’s murrelet will be conserved for the future and will continue to be part of America’s wildlife legacy.

November 16, 2012
Alaska’s Network of Fish Habitat Partnerships: Working for Healthy, Sustainable Fisheries

November 16, 2012

Each year, after the shovels have been put away and waders stowed, a broad cross-section of individuals
and organizations interested in salmon and involved in on-the-ground efforts to ensure that important habitats are identified, safeguarded, and restored in the Mat-Su region gather for the Mat-Su Salmon Science and Conservation Symposium. This 2-day event, organized by the Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership, provides a forum for the sharing of information and lessons learned, celebrating of successes, and planning for the future of salmon and their habitat in this region. News Release

November 1, 2012
Yukon Delta recognized for importance to East Asian-Australasian Flyway

Millions of waterbirds breed each summer in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, then leave this vast wetland cradle to migrate along flyways spanning the Americas. But about half a million migrate along a lesser-known route: the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. The East Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership (Partnership) was launched in 2006 as a framework for voluntary, international cooperation aimed at protecting migratory waterbirds and their habitat in eastern Asia and the south Pacific Ocean. Read more...

November 1, 2012
New Nature Explore Classroom Video Goes Live

A new video on the Nature Explore classroom, built at the Children's Tree House Child Development Center on the campus of the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), is live. The classroom serves as a gateway for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to connect children with nature. Watch the video today!

October 25, 2012
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Proposals from States for Annual Endangered Species Grants

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking proposals from states and U.S. territories interested in obtaining federal financial assistance to acquire land or conduct planning efforts for endangered species conservation.

The Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF) is authorized under Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and provides grants to states and territories to support participation in a wide array of voluntary conservation projects for species on the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, as well as for candidate species. For fiscal year (FY) 2013, the President’s budget request for the annual Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund includes $60 million in grant funding for conservation activities benefitting federally protected species.

October 23, 2012
Alaska Environmental Literacy Plan Working Group Honored with InteriorDepartment’s 2012 “Partners in Conservation” Award

Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes today presented the Department’s 2012 “Partners in Conservation” Awards to 17 organizations that have achieved exemplary conservation results through public-private cooperation and community engagement. Honorees include four partnerships nominated by the Fish and Wildlife Service and several others in which the Service plays a key supporting role. The Alaska Environmental Literary Plan Working Group was among the organizations recognized.

October 5, 2012
Visit Your National Wildlife Refuges: October 14-20, 2012

Treat yourself with a visit to a national wildlife refuge during National Wildlife Refuge Week, from October 14-20. Celebrate America’s wildlife heritage, and see what refuges are doing to conserve it. 

“National wildlife refuges play a crucial role in conserving America’s wildlife legacy,” says U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Refuges also play important roles in human communities. By providing healthy habitats for wildlife, refuges improve the air we breathe and the water we drink, improve soil quality and give protection against flooding in flood-prone areas. Jobs and businesses in local communities rely on refuges – and the visitors they attract. Refuges offer glorious and protected places to hunt, fish, hike and share the outdoors with a new generation.”

September 18, 2012
USFWS Video Celebrates National Hunting and Fishing Day

In recognition of National Hunting and Fishing Day (celebrated on September 22 this year) the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region has published a video documenting the journey of trout from a hatchery in Anchorage to area lakes, where they became available to eager anglers. In this video, you can digitally join that trip, as more than 14,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout are moved from hatchery tanks to two local lakes! The fish were among the first to be delivered from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s new William Jack Hernandez sport fish hatchery. The hatchery helps maintain the vitality of Alaska’s sport fisheries by increasing recreational fishing opportunities while reducing fishing pressure on natural stocks.
News Release
Stocking Rainbow Trout Video

September 5, 2012
National Hunting and Fishing Day
Hunter Recruitment in Alaska

Hunting is a lifestyle and an important activity for millions of Americans, bringing them outdoors and in touch with nature. More than 13 million people across the country enjoy hunting, and through hunting they contribute to wildlife conservation and management. National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 22, 2012, celebrates the programs that ensure that hunting continues for future generations. Learn more... 

August 29, 2012
ESA Listing of Prince of Wales flying squirrel found not warranted

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Prince of Wales (POW) flying squirrel as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  Based on its review, the Service finds that the petition, dated September 30, 2011, does not present substantial information indicating that listing this species may be warranted. Therefore, the agency will not initiate a status review.  

August 17, 2012
Kenai River Habitat Work Lands National Recognition -DOI Assistant Secretary Anne Castle to Recognize River Center Highlight America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Rivers Initiative

Coordinated action to preserve and restore the natural resources of the Kenai River is capturing national attention.  On Friday, August 24th Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science Anne Castle will visit the Donald E. Gilman River Center to meet with state and local officials and community organizations to learn more about habitat restoration work along the Kenai River and its tributaries and to highlight reasons why Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar selected the Kenai River partnership effort to be part of the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Rivers Initiative. 

August 7, 2012
Attention Sheep Hunters

If you are planning to hunt sheep in Game Management Unit 25A, please be aware of Federal hunting regulations that do not appear in your State of Alaska regulations booklet: The entire Arctic Village Sheep Management Area (AVSMA) is closed to general sheep hunting.

The Arctic Village Sheep Management Area (AVSMA), which lies west and north of Arctic Village, is closed to sheep hunting except by federally qualified residents of Arctic Village, Venetie, Fort Yukon, Kaktovik and Chalkyitsik Red Sheep Creek and Cane Creek are now part of this closure due to a decision made by the Federal Subsistence Board in January 2012.

July 31, 2012
Walrus Calves on the Beach

In the last week, three abandoned walrus calves have been captured and transferred to the Alaska SeaLife Center for treatment and observation before being placed in zoos. This was a community effort with hunters contacting the NSB Department of Wildlife Management to assist with the capture of the animals (with approval from USFWS).  The NSB Veterinary Clinic assisted Alaska SeaLife Center staff with the stabilization of the animals until they could be transported. Thanks goes out to the community of Barrow for making these captures and transports successful.  Read more

July 31, 2012
Final Rule for Queen Charlotte Goshawk Listing in Canada

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today its final rule to list the British Columbia distinct population segment (DPS) of the Queen Charlotte goshawk (Accipiter gentilis laingi) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The species is not being listed in the U.S. due in part to protections provided by the U.S. Forest Service’s Tongass Land Management Plan. The Endangered Species Act provides this flexibility so that protections can be tailored to where they are needed.

July 18, 2012
Scientists Explore Social Dimensions of Climate Change

Communities in Alaska are at the forefront of the impacts of climate change. Rural communities, heavily dependent on natural resources, are not only aware of the impacts of a changing climate, but they see and experience these changes in a profound way. In 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fisheries Resource Monitoring Program requested in its Call for Proposals a broad range of fisheries science and social science projects that examined or discussed climate change effects on subsistence resources and users. Learn more…

June 18, 2012
2012 Alaska Weed Smackdowns: fun, community events to control non-native, invasive plants!

In conjunction with Alaska Invasive Weed Awareness Week in 2010, Alaska’s first Weed Smackdown event was structured to help contain the spread of non-native, invasive plants and educate/involve local residents in Fairbanks. Since then, awareness of the problem and the number of events have grown, with four Weed Smackdown events scheduled for 2012. Each offers a fun, friendly competition among teams comprised of members from community organizations, businesses, and unaffiliated individuals who all have one thing in common: the desire to spare Alaska the economic and ecological impacts of invasive species. Participants will not only enjoy fresh air, exercise, fun, free food, and fabulous prizes, but will also help control or eradicate these weed invaders.

June 12, 2012
Make sure the Native art you buy in Alaska can go home with you!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alaska State Council on the Arts recently produced an updated Customs Guide on Alaska Native Arts. Long recognized as an excellent tool for the Alaska Native art market, the online guide helps artists, arts patrons, and retailers interpret the complex wildlife laws that affect the international trade of some of Alaska’s most unique products. 

Information in the guide can help visitors determine what artwork they can legally purchase and lawfully transport through Canada or across another national border. The guide lists wildlife materials commonly used in traditional Alaska Native art. Learn more...

June 7, 2012
Celebrate Great Outdoors Month and National Fishing and Boating Week in Alaska

Summer is here. June brings Alaskans and visitors outdoors to enjoy camping, boating, outdoor festivals and events, fishing, and much more.  In fact, across the country June 2-10 is National Fishing and Boating Week; this month is also Great Outdoors Month. 

Outdoor activities like camping and fishing encourage young and old alike to explore and enjoy Alaska’s rich recreational opportunities. Learn more...

May 22, 2012
America’s Great Outdoor Rivers Initiative at the Kenai River

Today, as part of a weeklong event, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced projects in the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Wyoming, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado that serve as models of the America’s Great Outdoors River Initiative. The goal of the Initiative is to conserve and restore key rivers across the nation, expand outdoor recreational opportunities, and support jobs in local communities. This effort was unveiled in January as part of  President Obama’s broader America’s Great Outdoors initiative; which aims to work with communities across the country to establish a 21st century conservation ethic, reconnect people, especially young people, to the natural world, and promote the outdoor recreation economy. Learn more

May 15, 2012
Caribou Board Concludes International Meeting

The International Porcupine Caribou Board, including members from Canada and the U.S., met April 18-19 in Fairbanks. The event included an evening public meeting on April 18 at the Morris Thompson Cultural Center, where the Board presented its history and mission and engaged in a question-and-answer session.  The board had been inactive for over a decade until meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada in September, 2011, where the Board reviewed its roles and responsibilities and the role of the Porcupine Caribou Technical Committee of biologists, who provide advice to the Board. Learn more

May 11, 2012
Pollinator Gardens in Alaska

Most flowering plants depend on bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other animals for pollination. Pollination is an essential part of plant reproduction, producing fertile seeds and, in some species, fruit. In Alaska our pollinators include at least 95 bee species and 75 butterfly species!

May 18, 2012
Alaska Region Celebrates 2012 Endangered Species Day!

On May 18, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous organizations will honor Endangered Species Day, and the nationwide conservation efforts underway protecting America’s threatened, endangered and at-risk species. In Alaska, the Aleutian Canada (cackling) goose, American peregrine falcon, Arctic peregrine falcon are all species that were on the brink of extinction, but have successfully rebounded. These species are just a few examples of those benefiting from the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act and the dedicated people who work to ensure their continued existence.

Upcoming events in Anchorage:
May 20 - International Migratory Bird Day, The Alaska Zoo
May 31 - "The ESA and You: A Conversation about Conservation," Loussac Library

May 11, 2012
Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day at the Zoo on May 20th

The International Migratory Bird Day event at the Alaska Zoo on Sunday, May 20th will celebrate 20 years of spreading the word about the avian visitors that brighten out lives and enrich our natural world. In keeping with the 20th anniversary theme, visitors will be able to explore activity stations based on 20 ways to conserve birds! 

Learn more

May 13, 2012
Mountain Goats in Focus
Biologists Share Management and Research
75th Anniversary - Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program

By Riley Woodford, Alaska Department of Fish & Game

Mountain goats are one of the least studied big game animals in North America. But that’s changing. Remarkable new tools and growing concerns for these agile, wooly beasts are providing unprecedented insights into their biology, behavior, needs and vulnerabilities. Learn more

April 20, 2012
Celebrating Earth Day with Bird-Friendly Wind Turbines

The Alaska Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of installing and testing wind turbines on Izembek and Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuges. The $3.4 million project was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). It was the largest Recovery Act investment in Alaska and has created several jobs.

April 19, 2012
Youth Invited to “Connect, Create and Celebrate”

This year the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is launching the “Get to Know Contest” for the first time across the United States.  The goal of the contest is to engage the power of art to help youth feel more connected with nature. Youth, 19 and under, are eligible to enter the contest until July 16 by submitting original works of art, writing, photography, video, or music inspired by their natural world. We invite all youth to Connect…Create…and Celebrate with the Get to Know Contest.

April 16, 2012
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Draft Polar Bear Special Rule and Environmental Assessment

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose a special rule clarifying how the agency will manage the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in harmony with other federal laws that also protect polar bears.

April 12, 2012
Brown Bear Research in Alaska

Alaska is home to about 32,000 brown bears, ranging from the Arctic to the Southeast rainforest.  Whether these are the oft-photographed McNeil River bears, the famous trophy Kodiak Island bears, or secretive urban bears co-existing with Anchorage residents, state wildlife biologists are keenly interested in these magnificent animals. Brown bears tend to be called grizzly bears in Interior and northern Alaska, but they are all Ursus arctos. There is much to learn ...

March 23, 2012
Interior Announces Onshore Wind Energy Guidelines

The Department of the Interior today released guidelines designed to help wind energy project developers avoid and minimize impacts of land-based wind projects on wildlife and their habitats. The voluntary guidelines will help shape the smart siting, design and operation of the nation’s growing wind energy economy. To download a copy of the final guidelines and for other background information on the Fish and Wildlife Service’s role in wind energy development, please visit

Learn more...

February 27, 2012
International Polar Bear Day

February 27, 2012 is International Polar Bear Day. As the federal agency charged with the management of polar bears, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and in particular its Alaska Region, is in the forefront of polar bear conservation and research. To learn more about these iconic marine mammals, and what the Service is doing to help make sure that they will continue to wander their arctic homes for generations to come, follow the link here.

February 24, 2012
Students Invited to Enter 2012 Jr. Duck Stamp Contest

March 15, 2012 is the deadline for submissions for the 2012 JUNIOR DUCK STAMP CONTEST for K-12 students. Participants select a species of North American waterfowl, do research on this species and its habitat, and then depict their findings through art and writing. Prizes, cash awards, and national recognition await the winners. Get to know North America’s waterfowl and enter the contest! Alaska's winning entry competes nationally; the national winner is featured on the stamp itself. Stamp proceeds go to support awards and environmental education for students. For more information visit

February 13, 2012
Meeks Trail Bridge

The Kenai River is known for its great salmon fishing. When the sockeyes are running, massive crowds armed with dip nets flock to catch these fresh, silvery fish at the mouth, where the river meets Cook Inlet. The Meeks Trail pedestrian bridge provides access to the North Beach, and, in so doing, crosses a tributary to the Kenai that provides important habitat for salmon and other native fish. This past January, the City of Kenai started work on a restoration project at this site, funded by USFWS’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program via our Kenai Fish and Wildlife Office. Read more

February 9, 2012
Moose Management Success in the Lower Yukon
By Meghan Nedwick, Alaska Department of Fish & Game

Asking people to hunt more moose hardly seems like a problem. But after telling three generations of people not to harvest moose, specifically cows; it may be difficult to tell people to do otherwise.

Historically, up until the late 1980s, moose on the Lower Yukon existed at very low levels and most areas had few or no moose at all. Of the few moose that were present, people harvested a high percentage of both bulls and cows which prevented the population from growing in otherwise suitable habitat. Learn more

February 7, 2012
Many Iñupiaq Names for Snow

We're having a big snow year in many Alaska locations. Snow comes in many varieties, as anyone who lives in the north knows. Not surprisingly, the Iñupiaq language of Northwest Alaska has a much more descriptive vocabulary than English for types of snow. Among these are: pukak (granular or sugar snow), misruligruaq (falling snow mixed with rain), qiqsruqqaq (glazed snow), maquyak (soft spring snow, making traveling difficult), aniu (packed snow), and qayukłak (rough-surface snow from windstorms).

January 23, 2012
Hunters Supporting Conservation
Wildlife Restoration Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Americans enjoy unparalleled opportunities to hunt, fish and experience wildlife largely because of a far-sighted conservation effort launched 75 years ago. In many cases the very presence of animals on the landscape and fish in the water is tied directly to this effort, which has also helped instill a new appreciation for wildlife in generations of Americans.

Learn More

January 18, 2012
Celebrating 75 Years of Cooperation for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) join the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), and other partners at the 2012 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference (2012 SHOT show) to announce the start of a year-long celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR), one of the most significant and successful partnership approaches to fish and wildlife conservation in U.S. history. 

January 10, 2012
Alaska Reels in Funds for Two Habitat Protection Partnership Projects

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently announced $20.5 million in National Coastal Wetland grants to support 24 projects in 13 states to conserve and restore coastal wetlands and their fish and wildlife habitat. 

Two State of Alaska projects, the Upper Knik Arm Coastal Wetlands Conservation Project and the Goose Bay Estuary Conservation Project, received funding under the Secretary’s 2012 grant award announcement.

Together, these projects will receive $1,060,000 in National Coastal Wetland Grant funding to help conserve approximately 3400 acres of privately-owned coastal habitat for the benefit of fish, wildlife and people. Once the land negotiations are completed, the conservation of these parcels will support the needs of the Goose Bay and Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuges by protecting important spawning and rearing habitat for Coho and King salmon; and conserving resting and foraging areas for many migratory bird species.

News Release

January 5, 2012
Help make 2012 a great year for Alaska’s native aquatics by going felt-free!

Winter may stand between anglers and their favorite Alaskan streams and rivers, but it’s not too early to start thinking about getting a new pair of wading boots…without felt soles! Initially popular because they provide good traction on slippery streambeds, felt-soled wading boots are now known to have a major drawback: they provide an ideal vehicle for spreading tiny invasive species that can cause big problems. Read more...

December 28, 2011
Happy Birthday Endangered Species Act!

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is celebrating the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) 38th birthday. The ESA was enacted on December 28, 1973, to prevent the loss or harm of endangered and threatened species and to preserve the ecosystems upon which these species depend. All Alaskans can take pride in the fact that, under the ESA, the Aleutian Canada goose, American peregrine falcon, and Arctic peregrine falcon have been brought back from the brink of extinction. Happy birthday!

December 23, 2011
Working with Wildlife in Alaska, not your average nine to five job

Are you interested in wildlife conservation? Would you like to gain valuable job experience and see Alaska? The U.S. Fish& Wildlife Service in Alaska is currently recruiting for a wide range of seasonal jobs, internships and volunteer positions. Positions include assisting biologists conducting field work on birds, fish and wildlife; working with visitors at national wildlife refuges, building trails, or teaching children about nature. Check out our web page, for more information.

December 14, 2011
Christmas Bird Counts Past and Future

Dozens of kids and adults took to the Alaska Zoo trails on December 3rd  to participate in  Anchorage’s second Christmas Bird Count for Kids – an event sponsored by the Alaska Zoo, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Audubon Alaska, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in coordination with Boy and Girl Scout troops from around the city.   In the spirit of the traditional Christmas Bird Count started by National Audubon Society 112 years ago, kids and adults learned how to identify common birds, compile data, and become citizen scientists. A tally and awards ceremony followed where a representative of each team read the results.  This year, teams spotted 13 species of wild birds at the zoo, including Common Raven, Bohemian Waxwing, Brown Creeper, and an American Three-toed Woodpecker!

In upcoming weeks many other Christmas Bird Counts will be occurring across Alaska.  Your community may be hosting a count. Visit Alaska Audubon for community details.

December 12, 2011
Alaska Fish Photo Contest: 2011 Results and 2012 Details!

Fish can be very elusive. Likewise good photos of fish in their natural habitat can be hard to come by! This year, we asked Alaska residents and visitors to help us celebrate Alaska’s fish by sharing their best shots. We were particularly interested in photos that conveyed information about the natural seasonal behaviors and habitats of Alaska’s fish, or captured the unique nature of Alaska’s fisheries.  We were absolutely blown away by the photos you took! In addition to our original four judges, we had over 20 Service employees (mostly fisheries biologists) rank the top five photos that best captured the above criteria. We hope these photos inspire others to get out and appreciate/photograph Alaska’s amazing fish! And the 2011 winner is…

December 2, 2011
Alaskan Trio Sentenced for Wildlife, Firearms Crimes

Between September 2010 and March 2011, three Alaskan residents illegally sold and transported to a non-Alaska-Native buyer approximately 230 pounds of walrus tusks valued at approximately $22,000 and two polar bear hides for $2,700. The three have been sentenced after pleading guilty to federal felony charges for conspiracy, illegal firearms possession, and Lacey Act violations. Penalties in this cooperative investigation, which was lead by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service special agents with assistance from special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Alaska State troopers, included prison terms for two of the defendants and probation for the third defendant.

December 1, 2011
Kenai Refuge Cabin Reservations Now Online

Kenai Refuge offers sixteen public use cabins located throughout the refuge. Beginning on December 1, 2011, cabin reservations can be made online at or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Learn more....

November 15, 2011
Alaska's 2011 Youth in the Great Outdoors

This year, the Alaska Region of the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service employed 284 youth on refuges, rivers and conservation projects throughout the state of Alaska. The 2011 Youth in the Great Outdoors Report celebrates these amazing youth. The report follows some of their adventures from remote field camps throughout the state, to teaching science to children, and to habitat restoration in Anchorage city parks. To read more...

November 14, 2011
At the Alaska/Canadian Border

During the last week of September, three U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Inspectors collaborated with the Canadian Wildlife Service to detain and inspect vehicles coming in and out of Alaska at the Alcan Port of Entry near Beaver Creek, Yukon Territory. Their purpose was to enforce federal, state, foreign, and international wildlife laws and regulations; including the Endangered Species Act, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Lacey Act, Alaska State Hunting Regulations, and Canada’s Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act. Read more...

November 3, 2011
Southwest Sea Otter and Short-tailed Albatross Recovery Articles Published

Articles about the recovery of two Alaskan species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are available in the Summer 2011 "Endangered Species Bulletin."

The southwest Alaska sea otter was listed as threatened in 2005 and the article titled "Evaluating Threats for the Southwest Alaskan Sea Otter" was written by Douglas Burn.

"Is it a Colony Yet?" was written by Judy Jacobs about the short-tailed albatross translocation project. This bird was listed as endangered under the ESA in 1973 outside the United States and in 2000 the listing was expanded to include inside the U.S. In addition, Judy published another article in the bulletin "What Does It Take to be a Successful Recovery Biologist?"

October 26, 2011
Annual List of Candidate Species for Endangered Species Act Released

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released its Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR), a yearly appraisal of the current status of plants and animals considered candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Candidate species are plants and animals for which the Service has enough information on their status and the threats they face to propose them as threatened or endangered, but developing a proposed listing rule is precluded by higher priority listing actions. “The candidate list offers the Service and our partners a unique opportunity to address the threats to these species through voluntary conservation efforts on public and private lands,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. The document is available at

In Alaska, the Fish and Wildlife Service manages three candidate species. The Pacific walrus was designated a candidate species in February 2011, and is on the CNOR for the first time. Two bird species, the Kittlitz's murrelet (a seabird) and the yellow-billed loon are also on the CNOR. This year, we changed the listing priority number for the Kittlitz's murrelet from a 2 to an 8 because we now consider the threats to this species to be low to moderate, rather than high. The section "Listing Priority Changes in Candidates" in the CNOR explains the rationale for our decision.

For more information on candidate species in Alaska, please contact Sonja Jahrsdoerfer at 907/786-3323 or Bruce Woods at 907/786-3695.

October 24, 2011
Connecting People with Nature: Let's Go Outside Website Has a New Look

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has launched a new web site, "Connecting People with Nature: Let’s Go Outside" aimed at engaging young kids in outdoor activities, and educating them about nature, helping to implement the Department of the Interior’s Youth in the Great Outdoors (hyperlinked to website) initiative. In addition, the Neighborhood Explorers online activity has been revamped to include a section on conservation careers.

Learn More
Neighborhood Explorers Activity

October 7, 2011
Report Illegal Northern Pike

A killer is stalking the waters of Southcentral Alaska! It is lurking in the shadows, ambushing wild salmon and trout. Many Southcentral lakes and streams are already empty of everything but the killer - northern pike. Soon many of our sportfishing opportunities may be gone. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is partnering with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game to address this issue. You can help report illegal introductions of invasive northern pike in Southcentral Alaska by calling the Alaska Department of Fish & Game invsive species hotline at 877-468-2748.

The Kenai River Sportfishing Association and Kenai River Professional Guide Association have partnered to offer a $5,000 reward leading to the conviction of someone introducing northern pike into Kenai Peninsula. Learn More...

See footage of these invaders in Southcentral Alaska, the damage they've caused, and how you can help by watching a short video on our youtube channel.

October 6, 2011
Celebrating America's Wildlife Legacy

October 9-15, 2011 marks National Wildlife Refuge Week. Since 1903, when Theodore Roosevelt established the first national wlidlife refuge at Pelican Island in Florida, the National Willife Refuge System has become the world's premier habitat conservation system, encompassing 150 million acres in 553 refuges and 38 wetland management districts. And more than 80% of the acreage in the entire Refuge System is in Alaska's 16 spectacular refuges.

Every year Refuge Week gives us an opportunity to reflect on how fortunate we are to have America's wildlife legacy conserved within refuge lands, and how important it is to get out and enjoy these treasures. As winter begins here in the north, we begin to put a wrap on summer activities enjoyed withinn our refuges - camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, boating and more. As soon as temperatures are consistently below freezing these activities will be replaced by their winter counterparts - sking, snowshoeing,, winter camping, ice fishing, snow machining, and more. The best way to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week in Alaska is to get out onto refuge lands and enjoy them. In addition, during this week a number of special indoor events are happening around the state. Learn More...

September 30, 2011
Lots Purchased to Complete Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center Site in Homer

The purchase of five lots in Beluga Slough by a partnership of conservation groups headed by Sharon Baur of  Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges was feted at a National Public Lands Day Celebration Friday night September 23rd at Islands and Ocean Visitor Center in Homer, Alaska.  The purchase was funded by the Conservation Fund, Kachemak Bay Conservation Society and Moose Habitat, Inc.   Eighty five visitors and invited guests enjoyed a photo show of entrants in the “Picture the Heart of Homer” contest, a reception with refreshments provided by Alaska Geographic, music by local musician Sunrise Kilcher. In addition, a “Walk in Beauty:  Art along the Beluga Slough Trail”  featured luminaries and art made by Fireweed Academy (a charter school) students. After walking the lighted trail visitors were heard describing it as 'magical'. Read More...

September 13, 2011
2011 Alaska Fish Photo Contest

Alaska abounds with some pretty amazing fisheries resources. Help us celebrate Alaska’s fish and their importance to people and ecosystems by sending in your photos – we want to see all species in their different life stages from around the state! Photos you submit before November 1 will be entered in the 2011 Alaska Fish Photo Contest. Stewart’s Photo Shop in Anchorage is donating a Kodak Easyshare Sport waterproof camera to the winner. Photos submitted after that date will be entered in our 2012 contest. Help us spread the word! Read More...

September 12, 2011
Alaska Refuges’ Aquatic Ecosystem Studies Benefit from Partnerships

One of the mandated purposes for each of Alaska's National Wildlife Refuges is to ensure water quality and quantity. Surface water contained in the Alaska Refuge System’s 77 million acres consists of an abundance of rivers, lakes, wetlands, snowfields, and glaciers. These aquatic ecosystems remain a barometer for the health of the larger landscape. Changes in the water quality and quantity can impact fisheries, wildlife habitat and human health. Read More...

August 26, 2011
Anchorage’s Chester Creek Celebration

It rained hard the morning of Saturday, August 20th, but the weather didn’t deter the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Anchorage Field Office from hosting its first “Chester Creek Celebration” event. Starting at the restored channel at the outlet of Westchester Lagoon and heading a mile or so east on the Chester Creek trail, visitors had an opportunity to stroll and learn about a variety of topics from local Fish & Wildlife Service biologists and non-government partners. Each of the six tented stations focused on a different topic – habitat restoration, migratory birds, invasive species, water quality and contaminants, endangered species, and resident fish – with live organisms at all but one: guess which? Partners that assisted with the event included Audubon Alaska, Anchorage Waterways Council, and Citizens against Noxious Weeds Invading the North. The kids enjoyed fun activities and the adults had opportunities to tap the experts for information. For those hardy adults and energetic kids in rain gear, the weather was irrelevant!  

August 15, 2011
Service Seeks Public Comment on Future Management of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today opened public comment on a draft plan developed to ensure long-term conservation of fish, wildlife and plants, and to sustain outdoor recreational opportunities and environmental education and interpretation in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

August 23, 2011
2011 Fish Mural Adventure!
Youth from the Fairview neighborhood of Anchorage got to get their feet wet and hands dirty in more ways than one during the first annual Fish Mural Adventure.  The Home Base After School Program, which provides local 4th-8th graders with “a safe, healthy, and nurturing home base," joined Fisheries Outreach Coordinator Katrina Mueller and summer Student Conservation Association interns Trish Barrere and Kristin Allgood for a two-part program: an overnight field trip (adventure) on the Kenai Peninsula followed by a fish mural painting event in Anchorage.  By partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Connecting People with Nature” program, Home Base youth learned about fisheries conservation and got connected with local fisheries resources and professionals. Learn More...

August 10, 2011
The Murrelet “Grand Slam”: Three Unusual Species Observed in the Same Bay, Same Day

For birders--professional and recreational—it’s always exciting to spot a species outside of its range.  In some cases, so little is known about a species that new sightings driven by taxonomic and genetic work can spur an increase in identification; and eventually an “expansion” of a species’ known range. Learn more...

August 4, 2011
Fire Season Mid-Summer Update

Alaska has had a quiet fire season so far this year, due to periodic rain and the lack of extended hot dry spells. As of August 1, 2011, 470 fires had burned 290,587 acres. That’s well below the same period last year, when 602 fires had burned 1,006,401 acres. Historically, about one million acres are burned by wildland fire in Alaska in an average year. As of August 1, 26 fires had burned 37,078 acres on national wildlife refuge lands in Alaska. Read more...

July 11, 2011
Training Alaskans to Fight Alaska Wildfires
During her training at the Alaska Wildfire Academy,  Joricha Thomas of Nikolai found herself challenged in ways she hadn’t expected.  There were the 5 a.m. wake-up calls, the physical training, the hours in the classroom, and time spent away from her 2-year-old daughter.  But Thomas, 20, also surprised herself by rising to the challenge.

“It was more than I expected, but I learned about not giving up.  I wanted to set an example for my daughter,” said Thomas, who is from the Athabascan village of Nikolai in Alaska’s Interior.  “I feel really proud of myself.”

For Cy Conrad, from the village of Tanana, the opportunity for a career fighting wildfires was worth the effort.
“I learned that the academy is a lot of hard work and it’s tough, but I also learned to be committed and it will pay off in the end,” said Conrad, 18. Read more...

July 27, 2011
Casting for Recovery
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Region’s Let’s Go Outside initiative encourages regional employees to “Give 8” to help people connect with nature. This program inspired Arctic Refuge employee Jennifer Reed to share one of her hobbies, while helping breast cancer survivors break through barriers to recovery. How did Jennifer “tie” together her interests with getting breast cancer survivors outside? She “Gave 8”and instructed fly fishing to Casting for Recovery retreat participants during the first-ever Fairbanks-based retreat, held July 17-19, 2011! By learning the rhythmic motion of fly casting in a natural setting where well-being can flourish, retreat participants receive an ideal physical therapy for the effects of breast cancer treatment and surgery. Read more...

June 30, 2011
Alaska: Warming Climate Presents Multiple Challenges for the Last Frontier

From loss of sea ice in the arctic, to changes in waterfowl nesting in the west, to record-setting forest pest outbreaks on the Kenai, the warming climate presents an array of challenges to fish, wildlife, plants, and people who inhabit America’s northernmost state.

50 stories /50 states /50 days - read more
Climate Change in Alaska in their own words - Interviews with Alaska Natives

June 22, 2011
2011 Alaska Weed Smackdown!
The first “Weed Smackdown” event was held in Fairbanks in 2010, in conjunction with Alaska Invasive Weed Awareness week, to create an opportunity for local residents and groups to have some outdoor fun while helping to contain the spread of invasive, non-native plants.  This week (June 19-25, 2011) is Invasive Weed Awareness Week in Alaska (see Governor’s Proclamation at:, and once again the weed warriors will be out in force to smack down some of these troublesome invaders.

Invasive species are species that do not naturally occur in the area (are non-native) and whose introduction can cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.  For example, a non-native plant might spread aggressively (invade) and completely overgrow surrounding native plants.  Some invasive plants can harm native fish and wildlife, while others can harm humans.  European bird cherry can poison moose; reed canarygrass and purple loosestrife can damage fish and bird habitats; Canada thistle and giant hogweed have spiny leaves or stems and can give people an itchy or even painful rash. Read more...

June 22, 2011
Forested Area Near Russian River Ferry is Closed
Deputy Refuge Manager, Stephen Miller, of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge announced today that a temporary closure of all public entry is in effect in the forested area on the north side of Kenai River near the Kenai-russian River Ferry. Access to fishing and fishing along the banks of the Kenai River remains open. The closure has been enacted due to heightened bear activity in the immediate area.

The closed area encompasses approximately 29 acres near the Russian River Ferry.

June 20, 2011
Federal Biologists, University Researchers, Local Fishermen Join in Sea Otter Research
A partnership among U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists, University of Alaska researchers, local fishermen, charter boat operators, and community members recently culminated in a 2-week trip to capture, sample, and implant radios in 30 sea otters in southern Alaska, near the village of Kake. The Southern Southeast Alaska Sea Otter Project ( for more information) is an effort to conduct research on sea otter population growth in southern Southeast Alaska, and to provide information to a variety of audiences (including subsistence and commercial fishermen, wildlife and fisheries managers, and the general public) on the potential effects of a growing sea otter population on shellfish and other invertebrate species. As the numbers and range of sea otters in southeast Alaska have increased, so has concern among commercial and subsistence fishermen who harvest species that the animals prey upon.  This is the first time such a research effort has been mounted in southern southeast Alaska. Read more…
June 14, 2011
Girl Scouts Learn About “Alaska Invaders"
On June 3-4, 2011 approximately 1,000 Girl Scouts from across the state assembled in Palmer at the Alaska State Fairgrounds for the “Alaska Girl Scout Encampment 2011.” The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, along with the National Park Service and U. S. Forest Service, taught 114 girls and over 25 adults (troop leaders) in 1-hour sessions about biodiversity, native and non-native species and what invasive species are. Concepts were illustrated with games that had the girls up and participating in physical activities.  There were lots of pictures (of pike, reed canarygrass, tunicates) to show the girls, along with some actual specimens for them to put their hands on too (mostly weeds collected right there on-site, but also including samples of New Zealand  mudsnails & zebra mussels).  Learn more…

June 9, 2011
New USFWS Alaska Chief of Refuges Announced
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region announced today that Mr. Mitchell R. Ellis has been selected as the new Regional Refuge Chief for Alaska. Mr. Ellis most recently served as Refuge Manager for the Southwest Arizona National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Mitchell Ellis has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills over a 24-year career with the Fish and Wildlife Service, including field and Washington Office assignments, and has a long history of conservation accomplishments. Learn more…

June 6, 2011
Kids Help Restore Cottonwood Creek
Situated between Wasilla Creek to the east and Big Lake to the West, Cottonwood Creek flows through several lakes as it meanders through the city of Wasilla, Alaska and into the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet. While salmon, rainbow trout, and Dolly Varden char still make a decent living in the creek and its tributaries, localized habitat degradation and population declines have spurred local partners to help ensure fish populations remain strong in the fast-developing lower Matanuska-Susitna valley (so named for the two major rivers that flow through it). For these reasons, the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP) designated Cottonwood Creek as one of the nation’s 10 top “Waters to Watch” in 2011, and Wasilla Creek in 2010.

The cooperative spirit of a large scale effort to elevate fish habitat as a priority in the Mat-Su valley via the Mat-Su Salmon Habitat Partnership was evident this spring on a section of Cottonwood Creek just downstream of the Parks Highway.  With funding from NFHAP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wasilla Soil and Water Conservation District, Teeland Middle School, city of Wasilla, Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ Plant Materials Center, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game teamed up to re-create a functioning riparian zone along a section of Cottonwood Creek.  

June 3, 2011
Let’s Go Fishing
June 4-12 is National Fishing and Boating Week across the nation.  Celebrate in the Anchorage area by taking your kids to the annual Kid's Fishing Day event Saturday, June 4, 10 am-2pm. The event is held at the Moose Flats campground in Alaska’s Portage Valley located in Chugach National Forest.  It is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service Glacier Ranger District, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the Anchorage Municipality’s Watershed Management Division. 

Kids Fishing Day is designed to introduce young people, 13 years old and under, to the pleasures of recreational fishing and the importance of our fisheries and watershed resources.  Activities available to participating youngsters June 4th  will include a casting contest, making fish prints on commemorative t-shirts, a bait and fishing rod table for those who show up without any personal gear, appearances by Smokey the Bear and Woodsy Owl, a free lunch including hot dogs and drinks, a fly-tying booth, a display on Alaska Native traditional fishing gear, a raffle for fishing-related prizes, and, of course, the main attraction; fishing tanks full of hungry rainbow trout! Learn more...

May 25, 2011
Alaska Tribes Share Almost $600,000 in Federal Wildlife Grants

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that three Alaska tribes will receive a total of almost $600,000 in tribal wildlife grants. Tribal wildlife grants assist federally recognized tribes in carrying out activities that benefit fish and wildlife and their habitats.

The Native Village of Newtok’s grant will allow the Nelson Island Consortium to develop a Conservation Plan designed to protect, enhance, and restore Nelson Island’s wildlife and habitat in perpetuity. Press Release

May 25, 2011
Flying High
“Oooooh, look how high mine is!”
“They sound really weird!”
“Could I try one of the big ones?”
“Gramma, this is the most fun we’ve had in a long time.  Can we do it again next weekend?”

These are just a few of the comments we overheard on Tetlin NWR’s Connecting People With Nature Day, “Kites and Cranes.”  And rightly so, as it was fun and cranes do sound weird.

On Sat. April 30, we congregated at the Tetlin NWR headquarters and caravanned to a local kite-flying nirvana - there’s always a breeze – on Mount Fairplay, up the Taylor Highway.  En route we scouted for birds, which wasn’t all that successful as it was still a little early in the season.  But once we arrived at the giant pullout near the highest part of the road, wings filled the air.  Learn more....

May 20, 2011
Celebrating Japanese Recovery Champions
 Endangered Species Day 2011
Rob Suryan of Oregon State University, a long-standing partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in short-tailed albatross conservation efforts, presented Kiyoaki Ozaki and Tomohiro Deguchi of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology with a USFWS 2010 Recovery Champion Award. The presentation was made on Mukojima Island, site of short tailed albatross translocation efforts, the week of May 9th.

Learn more....

May 10, 2011
Practice Makes Perfect for Polar Bear/Industry Interaction

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region has a long history of working with industry to ensure that development projects in the Arctic proceed with the least possible risk to human safety and the lowest possible impacts to polar bears. Recently, events related to ExxonMobil’s Point Thomson Project, a drilling site some 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay, underscored the value of this ongoing cooperation. Learn more....

April 27, 2011
Information on Radiation and Alaska’s Wild Foods

The nuclear reactor accident in northeast Japan that was caused by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami has generated concerns about radiation exposure beyond Japan’s borders. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that, based on current information regarding the accident at the nuclear power plant in Japan, there’s no risk of exposure to concerning levels of radiation from consuming foods in the commercial U.S. food supply. Additionally, the risk of radiation from consuming subsistence foods in Alaska is expected to be extremely low due to the long distance between Japan and Alaska and the relatively few Alaska birds that might have been exposed to radiation from the incident.

In Alaska, an inter-agency group representing health, wildlife, and environmental scientists is working together to better understand the actual risk to subsistence food consumers and to update information if the situation changes. More information is available at the links below - More Information

April 22, 2011
Earth Day Birth Day: A Polar Bear Cub’s Strange Awakening
On March 18th 2011, a polar bear sow and her new cub emerged from their snow den on the Spy Island Drillsite, an artificial island constructed a few miles off the Beaufort Sea coast in northern Alaska.  When the pregnant mother bear entered her den, probably in October or early November of last year, there had been little or no human activity for several weeks on the small, artificial island. When she and her cub emerged, however, they found themselves on the edge of an active construction site.

ENI Petroleum, the Italian firm that built the offshore island, completed an ice road over the frozen Beaufort Sea from nearby Oliktok Point in February.  Equipment, material and workers were moved over the ice road and construction had begun when workers were surprised by the bears. Following a response plan previously approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ENI immediately ceased operations, evacuated personnel, established a one mile no-disturbance zone around the bears, and contacted the Service.
Giving the Land a Voice
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Wildlife Refuge Association invite youth, ages 15-24, to have a voice in the Refuge System’s vision process, Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation. Young people are asked to use the art medium of their choice – poster, podcast, or written media – to answer the question: What kind of future do you want for America’s wildlife and wildlands? Entries are due May 27, 2011.

April 2011
Summer Jobs for Students  

Calling all high school and college students! School will end in a couple of months.  Check out summer jobs and internships with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Alaska. Hear from students that worked for us last year on this YouTube clip. There are positions of all kinds – both in the field and in the office. Email us about Student Internship or Youth Conservation Corps opportunities with questions or to express your interest.

Learn more about job programs for students …
Check out current openings for students…

March 7, 2011
USFWS Selects “No Action Alternative” and Issues “Finding of No Significant Impact,” on Unimak Island EA

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) released today its decision related to an Environmental Assessment (EA) of management alternatives for the Unimak Island caribou herd (UCH). In December, 2010, the Service, in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), prepared an EA to analyze management options for responding to the declining Unimak Island caribou herd. The EA was released to the public at that time, initiating a public comment period that extended through January 31, 2011 and produced approximately 95,000 comments. In consideration of the public comments received, and following a thorough evaluation of pertinent laws, refuge regulations, and policy, the Service has decided that the No Action alternative is warranted at this time, and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact resulting from that decision.

Salazar Announces Draft Vision for Future of Refuge System
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced a draft vision plan to guide the growth and management of the National Wildlife Refuge System.  The draft document, developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Wildlife Refuge Association, articulates a 10-year vision for the Refuge System.

The vision document, entitled Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation, offers nearly 100 draft recommendations to protect and improve the world’s premier system of public lands and water set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife and plants for the continuing benefit of the American people.  Starting today, the draft document will be available for public comment until Earth Day, April 22, 2011. 

President Obama Announces Plan for Community-Based Conservation through the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama announced the Administration’s action plan, under the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, to achieve lasting conservation of the outdoor spaces that power our nation’s economy, shape our culture, and build our outdoor traditions. By making the Federal Government a better partner with American communities, this initiative seeks to reinvigorate our approach to conservation and reconnect Americans, especially young people, with the lands and waters that are used for farming and ranching, hunting and fishing, and for families to spend quality time together. Recognizing that many of these places and resources are disappearing and under intense pressure, the President established the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative last April to work with the American people in developing a conservation and recreation agenda that makes sense for the 21st century.

April 27, 2011
Celebrate Birds This May

Across the nation, on or around the second Saturday in May, we celebrate International Migratory Bird Day. For Alaskans, the arrival of migratory birds is a long awaited sign of spring. The woods once again are alive with sound and activity. Take a few hours to enjoy and learn about our migratory birds by attending a bird event in your community. Learn more...

March 22, 2011
USFWS Alaska Announces National Science Excellence Award Winners

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today the recipients of the Service’s Science Leadership and Rachel Carson awards for 2010. The awards recognize Service employees for significant contributions to expanding knowledge in the scientific, conservation, and wildlife management fields. The Alaska Region’s Conservation Genetics Laboratory’s Mixed-Stock Analysis Rapid Response Team was selected over groups from across the country for the Rachel Carson award. Learn more...

March 21, 2011
USFWS Alaska Announces Two Recovery Champion Awards

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould announced today the recipients of the Service’s 2010 Recovery Champion awards. These awards recognize U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and their partners for contributions to the recovery of threatened and endangered species. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska employee, and a Japanese institution that has been a valuable partner to the Service in Alaska, were among those honored. Learn more...

February 10, 2011
Pacific Walrus to be Designated a Candidate for Endangered Species Protection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has determined that the Pacific walrus warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), but an official rulemaking to propose that protection is currently precluded by the need to address other higher priority species. As a result, the walrus will be added to the agency’s list of candidates for ESA protection and its future status will be reviewed annually.

The Service’s determination – also known as a 12-month finding – that sufficient scientific and commercial data exist to warrant protecting the Pacific walrus under the ESA was made after a comprehensive review of the best available scientific information concerning the walrus and the threats it faces. This review found that the walrus is primarily threatened by the loss of sea ice in its arctic habitat due to climate change.

February 10, 2011
Service Publishes Proposed Incidental Take Regulations for Walrus and Polar Bear

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Alaska Region will publish in the Federal Register tomorrow proposed Incidental Take Regulations (ITR) for the non-lethal, incidental take of small numbers of polar bears and Pacific walrus associated with ongoing oil and gas activities on the North Slope region of Alaska. Learn more...

February 9, 2011
Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Reclassification of Wood Bison from “Endangered” to “Threatened”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced it has prepared a status review of the wood bison (Bison bison athabascae), which is listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as endangered. After evaluating the best scientific and commercial data available, the Service has determined that reclassifying the species from endangered to threatened is warranted. Learn more...

January 3, 2011
Fish and Wildlife Service Will Not Conduct Status Review for Alaska Breeding Red Knot Subspecies

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced a petition seeking to protect the roselaari subspecies of red knot (Calidris canutus roselaari) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) does not present substantial information to indicate that protection may be warranted. Therefore, the Service will not initiate a status review in response to this petition.

The red knot (Calidris canutus) is a medium-sized (9 to 11 inches in length), Arctic-breeding shorebird. The breeding plumage of the red knot is distinctive: the face, breast, and upper belly are a rich rufous-red, and the lower belly and under tail-coverts are light-colored with dark flecks. Learn more...

December 2010
Final Report on Rat Island Eradication Effort Nontarget Mortality Released

An evaluation of the higher than expected nontarget mortality associated with the 2008 rat-eradication efforts on Rat Island is now available. Prepared by the Ornithological Council, the report maintains that "the success of the eradication effort and the likely conservation benefit of the rat eradication was slightly marred by the discovery in 2009 of approximately 422 bird carcasses on the island." The report includes straightforward recommendations for future rodent eradication projects that should reduce the risks to nontarget species. You can read the complete report Learn more...

December 20, 2010
Work and Play through the Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program

“Everybody Loves Whales” wasn’t the only movie-making news in Alaska recently. The “Animal Planet” television network filmed a special on wood bison at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, thanks to grants through Region 7’s Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration program (WSFR). The mission of the program is to provide grant funds to fish and wildlife agencies for projects designed to restore, conserve, manage, and enhance fish, birds, and mammals and their habitats for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations. Learn more...

December 17, 2010
USFWS Seeks Comments on Draft Assessment of Unimak Island Wolf and Caribou Issues

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (Department), has prepared an EA to analyze management options, including a No Action alternative, for responding to the declining Unimak Island caribou herd (UCH). Learn more...

December 15, 2010
An Outdoorsperson's Dream Job?

If the lure of wild places and wide spaces calls to you, and if you’d rather stare into the embers of a camp fire than a computer monitor, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska Region might just have the job(s) you’re looking for. Learn more...

December 10, 2010
Celebrate Alaska's Refuges this December

Fifty years ago on December 6, 1960, two historic refuges were established: Arctic and Izembek National Wildlife Refuges. In addition, on December 2,1980 the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter.

For Arctic Refuge's 50th celebration, a series of events in early December will feature a new film, new photo exhibit and book, and a new original stage production. These will be touring Fairbanks, Homer and Anchorage.

The 50th anniversary celebrations for Izembek Refuge featured an exhibit by photographers Tom Collopy and Mary Frisch. During October and November, 2010, the photo exhibit was displayed in Anchorage, Homer, and Juneau. Learn more...

November 24, 2010
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Final Designation of Polar Bear Critical Habitat

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today designated more than 187,000 square miles of barrier islands, on-shore denning areas, and offshore sea-ice as critical habitat for the threatened polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.

The designation identifies geographic areas containing features considered essential for the conservation of the bear that require special management or protection.

“This critical habitat designation enables us to work with federal partners to ensure their actions within its boundaries do not harm polar bear populations,” said Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. “Nevertheless, the greatest threat to the polar bear is the melting of its sea ice habitat caused by human-induced climate change. We will continue to work toward comprehensive strategies for the long-term survival of this iconic species.” Learn more...

November 16, 2010
25th Anniversary for Coastal Program

The U.S. Fish Wildlife Service’s Coastal Program is celebrating its 25th year of conserving coastal wetlands and habitats for fish and wildlife across the country. This remarkable program received the Restoration Partnership Award at the Restore America’s Estuaries Conference, which recognizes an individual or group who has demonstrated their dedication, commitment and passion for estuary habitat restoration. Learn more...

The Alaska Coastal Program, established in 2000, provides Federal funds and technical assistance for coastal conservation efforts throughout Southcentral Alaska, Alaska Peninsula, Alaska Gulf Coast, and Southeast Alaska, with particular focus on projects benefiting migratory birds, anadromous fish, marine mammals, and endangered species and their habitats. Learn more...

November 2010
Have a Say in Your Refuge System's Future

What should your National Wildlife Refuge System be like over the next 20 years? Now — and in the months ahead — is the perfect time to weigh in. The National Wildlife Refuge System, part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is drafting a new vision for the 107-year-old network of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants. The vision will be the centerpiece of its "Conserving the Future: Wildlife Refuges and the Next Generation" conference the week of July 10 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Conference teams, building on a 1998 document called "Fulfilling the Promise," are focusing their goals on conservation design, planning and delivery; science; relevance; and leadership. Drafts of team documents will be posted at, where the public can read them and comment on them. Learn more about Alaska's National Wildlife Refuges at

October 19, 2010
Celebrate Izembek Refuge's 50th Anniversary

A 50th anniversary celebration of Izembek Refuge’s establishment will be hosted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges on Friday, October 22 from 5:00-7:00 pm at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Wendy Williamson Auditorium. The event opens the “Incredible Izembek” photo exhibit which may be viewed until November 2, 2010. Learn more..

October 12, 2010
Draft Recovery Plan for the Southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment of the Northern Sea Otter

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of our draft recovery plan for the southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the northern sea otter (Enydra lutris kenyoni), listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Our recovery plan describes the status, current management, recovery objectives and criteria, and specific actions needed to enable us to delist the southwest Alaska DPS. We request review and comment on our plan from local, State, and Federal agencies and the public. We will also accept any new information on the species’ status throughout its range.  Learn more..

October 6, 2010
USFWS Announces Final Polar Bear Deterrence Guidelines

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has announced final deterrence guidelines that may be safely used to deter a polar bear without seriously injuring or causing the death of the animal. The deterrence guidelines, which take effect November 5, 2010, are voluntary and are intended to reduce occurrences of interactions between bears and humans in manners safe for both. They provide clear guidance for minimizing incidental encounters with polar bears, but will not change the legal status quo for any activities in Alaska. News Release

October 1, 2010
Mapping Kenai's Soundscape

Why does Tim Mullet plan to collect moose poop for a two-year study of noise levels on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.  Because bagging moose pellets is safer and easier than taking blood samples from wild horned animals weighing half a ton and up.

Mullet, a biological technician at Kenai Refuge and a PhD candidate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will test the moose poop for levels of glucocorticoids — hormones that are indicators of animal stress.  Chronic high levels of these hormones can lower wildlife densities and displace animals from preferred habitat. Mullet hopes to find out whether exposure to human-made noise causes such stress. Learn more..

August 30, 2010
Rat Island is officially rat-free

Restoration for Aleutian seabirds brings new life to refuge island
Biologists who are restoring seabird habitat on a remote island in Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge confirmed today that Rat Island is now rat-free. The report comes after two years of careful field monitoring at Rat Island, where the invasive predator decimated native seabird populations by preying on eggs and chicks.   Learn more..

September 22, 2010
North Slope Walrus Haul-out Update
There has been considerable interest in the recent appearance of large numbers of Pacific walrus hauled out on beaches in the vicinity of Point Lay, Alaska. The purpose of this release is to provide updated material on the situation and on the steps the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners are taking to protect the walrus until they move on. News Release

August 26, 2010
An island’s rebirth: Life emerges after a catastrophic volcanic eruption
A secluded island in the Aleutian chain is revealing secrets of how land and marine ecosystems react to and recover from a catastrophic volcanic eruption that appeared at first glance to destroy all life on the island. Yet little by little – a wingless beetle here, a tuft of grass there, Kasatochi, an island in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge rarely studied by scientists before its Aug. 7, 2008, volcanic eruption, is showing signs of recovery Learn more

August 18, 2010
Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Joins in Swan Study
Each year, large groups of molting tundra swans stage near coastal regions of Kotzebue Sound.  As part of an effort to monitor Alaska’s migratory birds for avian influenza, biologists from Migratory Bird Management, Selawik NWR, Koyukuk/Nowitna NWR, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) teamed up for the final year of a 5-year study to sample and mark tundra swans.  Since 2006, Migratory Bird Management has spearheaded the project, working with collaborative crews to capture and sample more than 850 swans in this region. Learn more

August 2010
Highlighting Summer Employment
The US Fish & Wildlife Service hires students interested in obtaining future careers in Conservation under a few different programs. These programs include Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), Student Conservation Association (SCA), Student Temporary Experience Program (STEP), Student Career Experience Program (SCEP), Student Education Employment Program and internships. The FWS also contributed to a portion of the funding for the Youth Employment in Parks program in Anchorage. These employment options significantly benefit the FWS by constructing a new generation of trained workers and fresh ideas.  A STEP student in External Affair was hired to produce short video clips illustrating these programs and the work of Alaska’s field stations.  A series will be available for viewing as the stories are finished.

The goal of the Youth Employment in Parks (YEP) program is to positively engage a new generation of diverse youth leaders with the environment and the Anchorage community through meaningful training, employment, and outdoor recreation.  Crews built a rain garden with funding from the Municipality of Anchorage Raingarden program and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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July 22, 2010
Fairbanks’ 1st Annual Weed Smackdown a Success
“Can you pull more weeds than the Fairbanks Rollergirls?” In response to that challenge, eighty-eight people hefted green bags and dug weeds on June 26th from 10:00am – 1:00pm at the Tanana Lakes Recreation Area in Fairbanks, Alaska. The event included an orientation and weed identification session, 1 ½ hours of weed pulling, followed by a weed weigh-in, lunch, and awards ceremony. There is a growing problem with invasive weeds in Alaska. These plants are aggressive non-native invaders that have the ability to spread rapidly and out-compete native plants for growing space. Learn more..

June 30, 2010
BioBlitz Southeast Alaska
At noon on Saturday, June 26, the starting gun for BioBlitz Southeast Alaska went off, opening a 24-hour effort by scientists and the public to document every species in the Fish Creek watershed near Juneau. At the closing gun, at noon on Sunday, the 400 participants had documented 763 species, with more to be added as scientists finish up the identifications of plants and invertebrates that will take additional study Learn more..

June 10, 2010
Upload Your Nature Images to the New Flickr Group “Let’s Go Outside”
This summer, get out into nature and see some wildlife – in your backyard, at a local park or on a nearby national wildlife refuge. You'll create family memories to last a lifetime, and if you take your digital camera, you can capture these memories and share them through a new Flickr group called “Let’s Go Outside.” Upload images of yourself, your family and friends outside in nature; use Flickr’s Map function to identify where your photos were taken; blog about particular photos and your experiences in nature; and chat on the Flickr Discussion board with other group members about their favorite places to go. You can even upload images from your cell phone. Check it out at
For more information visit

June 10, 2010
U.S.- Russia Polar Bear Commission Meets in Anchorage
The 2nd meeting of the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission was held from June 7-9 in Anchorage, Alaska. The group, which consists of representatives from the United States and Russia representing federal, state, and Native interests, first met in Moscow in September of 2009.  This meeting follows on the heels of the first annual meeting of the Commission’s Scientific Working Group, held in Anchorage from March 1st through the 5th of this year. The Scientific Working Group was formed to assist the Commission in resolving questions pertaining to the protection and management of the Alaska-Chukotka Polar Bear Population. Learn more..(pdf)

June 7, 2010
Decision Reached in Hearing on Unimak Island Predator Control
At a hearing today, District Judge H. Russel Holland announced his decision relative to the State of Alaska’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have allowed the State to conduct aerial predator control on Unimak Island in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. In that decision the Judge concluded that a Preliminary Injunction could not be granted in this case because the State failed to make the requisite showing that the Fish and Wildlife Service had withheld or unreasonably delayed action.  He also stated that there had not been a final agency action that would result from an analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act. Learn more..(pdf)

June 2, 2010
Two Rivers School: Creating Green Spaces for Better Learning
Working with an innovative teacher and a group of enthusiastic students, USFWS Alaska is in the process of creating a “Learning Landscape” for the Two Rivers School’s kindergarten through 8th grade pupils. The project grew out of a history lesson that teacher Kim Kelly developed to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary last spring, and has bloomed into a cooperative effort among the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, and the Service. It involves the creation of a trail from Two Rivers School to an eight-acre parcel on which the original school was located 50 years ago (now called the "old school grounds"). From this main trail, a smaller pathway will lead to a new landing on a pond located on the current school campus. Learn more..

May 31, 2010
The Region 7 Regional Office Celebrates 2010 Bike to Work Day
It could have been much worse, but not much better.  The weather in May can be unpredictable, but U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Office employees were greeted with a glorious sunny morning to celebrate the national 2010 Bike to Work Day. 

In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, Regional Director Geoff Haskett rode his bike to work and invited all Regional Office employees to do the same.  All in all, 18 bikers chose to ride to work on May 21st. The Municipality of Anchorage set up several bike stations where riders were able to stop and grab a drink or a bite to eat, and received a t-shirt for their participation in the 2010 event.  Tracy Fischbach of Refuges organized the Region 7 team, and 20 people signed up.  The regular bike commuters like Assistant Regional Director Todd Logan and Amber O’Brien of Office of Subsistence Management convinced others to sign up and try it for a day.  Others, like Judy Jacobs of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration chose to bike to work all week.  Kevin Painter of Visitor Services rode his bike all the way from Eagle River, more than 20 miles!  Learn more. (pdf)

May 20, 2010
Successful breeding of Steller’s eiders continues at the Alaska SeaLife Center
In July 2009, Steller’s eider ducklings again brightened the day for staff at the Alaska SeaLife Center when a total of 9 healthy ducklings hatched. This event marked the second time Steller’s eiders bred and hatched ducklings at the Center, as a result of efforts to develop captive breeding methods and protocols for this threatened species. Learn more..

May 2010
Anchorage 2nd Grader Wins National Art Contest

Carter Schroeder, a 2nd grader at Rilke Schule German School of Arts and Sciences in Anchorage, was recently awarded the Grand Prize in the national Endangered Species Day art contest. Carter's painting showed a polar bear and a beluga whale in their sea-ice habitats. Carter and his Dad, Mark Schroeder, enjoy learning about polar bears by reading books and articles, and hope to see polar bears in the wild some day.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Coalition, Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Ogden Museum of Southern Art/University of New Orleans sponsored this contest, which was intended to help kids learn about and promote the conservation of endangered species through art. The winners were chosen by a prestigious panel of artists, photographers, actors, scientists and conservationists including Jeff Corwin, host of Animal Planet’s Jeff Corwin Experience; and Jack Hanna, host of Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild. Artwork of the 40 semifinalists will be displayed at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, in a special exhibition from May 13 to July 4, 2010. Learn More (pdf).

May 12, 2010
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Announces more than $22,000 Grant for Neotropical Migratory Birds and Habitat Conservation
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced more than $4.9 million in grants for 37 projects that support Neotropical migratory bird conservation throughout the Western Hemisphere. Matched by more than $14.8 million in additional funds from partners, the projects will support habitat restoration, environmental education, population monitoring, and other priority activities within the ranges of neotropical birds in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and 27 Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Learn more (pdf)

June 30, 2010
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Draft Economic Analysis of Polar Bear Critical Habitat
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announces a draft economic analysis of the potential impacts of designating critical habitat for the threatened polar bear. The Service also announces it will reopen the public comment period on the proposed designation of critical habitat for the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Both measures will be subject to a 60-day comment period that will open upon publication in the Federal Register on May 5, 2010. Learn more...

April 23, 2010
Great Outdoor Careers for Youth
The U.S. Department of the Interior, including the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, manages America’s backyard, and it’s our job to make sure that backyard is available for all young people to enjoy. To this end the Youth in the Great Outdoors Initiative will employ, educate, and engage young people from all backgrounds in exploring, connecting with and preserving America’s natural and cultural heritage. Through employment and educational opportunities offered by the Department, youth will have a key role in creating a new energy frontier, tackling climate change issues, empowering Native communities, building trails, enhancing wildlife habitat, and restoring our cultural and historic landmarks. Learn more...

April 19, 2010
Celebrate Earth Day by Volunteering this Summer
On Earth Day, April 22, 2010, the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges will celebrate by inviting the public to a short presentation in Anchorage about Alaska’s 16 National Wildlife Refuges and volunteer opportunities available. The event will be at the BP Energy Center, 900 East Benson Blvd., Anchorage, Alaska from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Free pizza, refreshments and prizes will be available to those attending. Contact for more event information.

This summer, Friends will help refuges with over 40 projects including: celebrating Arctic Refuge’s 50th Anniversary, a native plant garden at Kenai Refuge, an invasive weed pull on the Dalton Highway, and habitat restoration at Tetlin Refuge. Friends provide most travel costs for our members to volunteer with projects. More

Conservation Planning Update for the Arctic Refuge Begins
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that the Service is beginning an update of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s 22 year-old Comprehensive Conservation Plan that will establish goals and objectives and include wilderness and wild and scenic river reviews. A comprehensive conservation plan is required for each national wildlife refuge, guides stewardship of the refuge and is normally updated every 15 years.

February 22, 2010
Service Mourns Loss of Director Sam Hamilton
“Visionary” Leader a Career 30-year Service Employee

The conservation world lost one of its most dynamic leaders Saturday, as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Sam D. Hamilton died suddenly while skiing in Colorado following a Service regional leadership meeting which ended Friday. Hamilton, 54, was a career Fish and Wildlife Service employee whose vision and commitment to wildlife conservation was unmatched. He will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues in the Service and across the conservation community. The thoughts and prayers of Fish and Wildlife Service employees go out to Sam’s family.

December 23, 2009
New Eagle Permit Web Site
Two new permits are available through the Service that allow for the take of eagles and their nests under certain, specific conditions. Since November 2009, the Service has been accepting applications under CFR 22.26 and 22.27 that provide for the issuance of these permits under regulations developed for the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. While the bald eagle was listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a permit was available to take bald eagles incidental to an otherwise lawful activity. Alaska was not included in these permit issuances because Bald Eagles were not listed here. However, since the delisting in 2007, there have been no regulations under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act to allow disturbance and other incidental take of either species of eagle; the new regulations establish permits for activities or projects that result in such take.

The Region 7 Eagle Permit Implementation Team has developed a website that will help applicants, Service employees and the public understand the new permit process. You can view Alaska's Eagle Permit Program website. For additional information contact the Permit Office at 907-786-3685.

December 29, 2009
Final Stock Assessment Reports for Walrus and Polar Bear Available
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has revised marine mammal stock assessment reports (SARs) for the two stocks of polar bear and the Pacific walrus in Alaska. The purpose of SARs is to identify marine mammal stocks most affected by interactions with commercial fisheries. These reports are periodically updated to reflect the most current information. Draft versions of these reports were published in the Federal Register on June 18th, and that publication was followed by a 90-day period during which the drafts were available for public review and comment. 

Stock assessments use the best available scientific information to describe the geographic range, minimum population estimate, current population trend, annual human-caused mortality and serious injury, and commercial fisheries interactions for each marine mammal stock. There are six marine mammal stocks in Alaska that fall under the jurisdiction of the Fish and Wildlife Service; of these six, the Service previously updated the SARs for the three northern sea otter stocks in 2008. The SARs find that polar bear and walrus stocks have minimal commercial fisheries interaction.

March 24, 2010
Queen Charlotte Goshawk Listing in Canada Proposed
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today its proposal to list the British Columbia distinct population segment (DPS) of the Queen Charlotte goshawk (Accipiter gentilis laingi) as threatened, (except on the Queen Charlotte Islands, which the agency considers to be a significant portion of the DPS’s range, where we propose to list the goshawk as endangered), under the Endangered Species Act.

June 30, 2010
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Polar Bear Critical Habitat

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a proposal to designate critical habitat for the polar bear, and will open a 60-day public comment period on the measure. The critical habitat proposal identifies habitat in three separate areas or units: barrier island habitat, sea ice habitat and terrestrial denning habitat.

June 30, 2010
Service Designates Critical Habitat for Threatened Population of Sea Otters
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the designation of critical habitat for the southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment of the northern sea otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. In December 2008, we proposed designating approximately 5,900 square miles of nearshore, marine waters as critical habitat for this threatened population of sea otters.  An economic analysis indicated that designation of critical habitat would not result in a large economic impact to residents of southwest Alaska.  After consideration of the economic analysis, public comments submitted in writing and at one public hearing, the final designation is essentially unchanged from what we originally proposed.

October 1, 2009
Trampling Likely Cause of Icy Cape Walrus Deaths
Trampling by other walruses was the most likely cause of death of 131 walruses carcasses found on the shore near Icy Cape, Alaska, according to an investigative team. The carcasses, the majority of which were young animals, were discovered along the beach above the high-tide line on Sept. 14 by a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) survey crew in the area. 

In response to the discovery, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put together a team comprised of representatives from USFWS, USGS, the Alaska SeaLife Center and the North Slope Borough to determine the extent and cause of the die-off.  The National Marine Fisheries Service provided additional financial and technical support, with hunters from Barrow and Wainwright also assisting in the investigation. More...

September 15, 2010
Protection of Pacific Walrus Under the Endangered Species Act
May Be Warranted, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finds

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that a petition to protect the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) under the Endangered Species Act presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that adding the species to the federal list of threatened and endangered species may be warranted. This preliminary finding is based, in part, upon projected changes in sea ice habitats associated with climate change.

As a result, the Service is initiating a more detailed status review to determine if listing the species is warranted and opening a 60-day public comment period in order to give all interested parties an opportunity to provide information on the status of the Pacific walrus throughout its range. The 60-day public comment period will close November 9, 2009.

July 1, 2009
No Rats Found, Lab Results on Six Bird Tests Received

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received laboratory results on an initial group of bird carcasses collected on Rat Island in late May and Early April. Examination of the livers of two bald eagles, two glaucous winged gulls, one peregrine falcon, and one rock sandpiper all tested positive for the rodenticide brodifacoumWe are in the process of analyzing all of the viable bird remains and tissue samples collected, in order to more fully understand the cause of mortalities and more effectively plan future operations in the Aleutians. Results will be released when they are available. In addition, soil and water samples were collected, and will be analyzed to more fully understand the potential movement of the rodenticide into, and degradation from, the ecosystem. Learn more...

Last updated: May 2018