Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Comments on Plan to Reintroduce Threatened Steller’s Eider on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta

October 15, 2015

Contact:

Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220
Website: https://www.fws.gov/external-affairs/public-affairs/



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.

In 1997, the Alaska-breeding population of Steller’s eiders was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Currently, the Alaska-breeding population of Steller’s eiders nests nearly exclusively on the North Slope. Outside the nesting season, the birds occur in nearshore coastal waters of the eastern Aleutian Islands, Bristol Bay, Kodiak Island, and the western Kenai Peninsula where they mix with the more numerous Steller’s eiders that breed in Russia. Steller’s eiders were once considered a common nesting bird on the Y-K Delta; however, this subpopulation declined in the mid-20th century. Only eleven nests have been found on the Y-K Delta since 1997. Their near disappearance from the Y-K Delta was a primary factor in the listing of the Alaska-breeding population under the Endangered Species Act.

The release of this draft EA for public review and comment is an important step in the Service’s efforts to plan for potential reintroduction of Steller’s eider to the Y-K Delta and ensure a thoughtful and thorough plan that minimizes any adverse impacts on people and other biological resources.

The deadline to submit comments on the draft Environmental Assessment is November 16, 2015.

Comments can be submitted by:

E-mail: Neesha_Stellrecht@fws.gov
Post: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Neesha Stellrecht
101 12th Avenue, Room 110
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone: (907) 456-0297 or Fax: (907) 456-0208

More information on this topic, including meeting schedules, may be found on the Service’s Web site: http://1.usa.gov/1bmQkZ2 or on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1bmPEmy.

All comments received, including those from individuals, become part of the public record, and are available upon request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Departmental policies and procedures. Name, address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information, if attached to a comment, may be made available to the public upon request. Withholding personal identifying information from public review can be requested but cannot be guaranteed.

Finally, regarding public comments, certain concerns related to the Steller’s eider recovery program are outside the scope of this process and will not be addressed. For example, the issue of removing protections provided by the Act is a decision the Service would make using a separate procedure.

Information contained in older news items may be outdated. These materials are made available as historical archival information only. Individual contacts have been replaced with general External Affairs office information. No other updates have been made to the information and we do not guarantee current accuracy or completeness.


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.