Management of the 1002 Area within the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain

management map 1002

In December 1980, Congress enacted the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). ANILCA designated most of the original Arctic National Wildlife Range as Wilderness except for approximately 1.5 million acres on the Refuge's coastal plain.

Section 1002 of ANILCA required that studies be performed to provide information to Congress. These mandated studies included a comprehensive inventory and assessment of fish and wildlife resources, an analysis of potential impacts of oil and gas exploration and development on those resources (see resource assessment link at the bottom of this page), and a delineation of the extent and amount of potential petroleum resources (see petroleum assessment link at the bottom of this page). Because this Congressionally designated part of the Refuge coastal plain was addressed in Section 1002 of ANILCA, it is now referred to as the "1002 Area."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began the required studies of the 1002 Area in 1981. The results were published in several volumes, culminating with a final report in 1986. During the winters of 1984 and 1985, seismic exploration was conducted along 1,400 miles of survey lines in the area. This work was undertaken by a private exploration firm and funded by a group of oil companies. Several oil companies independently conducted other geological studies including surface rock sampling, mapping and geochemical testing.

Information gathered from the biological, seismic and geological studies was used to complete the 1987 Coastal Plain Resource Assessment and Legislative Environmental Impact Statement (LEIS) that described the potential impacts of oil and gas development (27 meg pdf file). This LEIS included the Secretary's final report and recommendation, and was submitted to Congress in 1987.

Follow-up studies continue to assess the impacts of the winter seismic exploration program on plant communities and soil structures. The Fish and Wildlife Service cooperated with the U.S. Geological Survey to produce an update of 1002 Area research titled "Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain Terrestrial Wildlife Research Summaries" in 2002.

The Service manages the "1002 Area" as a "Minimal Management" area and will likely continue to do so until Congress takes further action to decide the fate of the coastal plain. Management under this category is directed at maintaining the existing conditions of areas that have high fish and wildlife values or other resource values. Minimal management areas are suitable for Wilderness designation. Opportunities for public use and access are available for subsistence purposes and for a variety of activities such as hunting, fishing, trapping, backpacking, river floating and camping. Traditional motorized access via aircraft and motorboats are allowed. Guiding and outfitting services and related temporary support facilities are permitted. The Service focuses its efforts in the 1002 Area primarily on conducting studies and survey/inventory programs to increase the Refuge's resource database and evaluate public use levels and impacts.

Also referring to this area of the coastal plain, Congress declared in Section 1003 of ANILCA that the "production of oil and gas from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is prohibited and no leasing or other development leading to production of oil and gas from the [Refuge] shall be undertaken until authorized by an act of Congress."