Category Archives: Habitat

Tell Senator Murkowski that we want salmon stream protections today

We are passing this on from our friends at Alaska Wilderness League.

Southeast Alaskans have been working together for years to chart a new course for the Tongass National Forest – one that supports the region’s economy and the region’s unique quality of life.  In less than a few months, this work will be complete… unless Senator Murkowski succeeds at delaying this great progress.

Murkowski is attempting to amend a very popular bill – one that would better fund the fighting of wildfires – with language that would stop the adoption of the new management plan developed by a diverse set of stakeholders including – the timber industry, government officials, and conservationists.

Please follow the link below to add your voice to a message to Senator Murkowski:

Tell Senator Murkowski that we want salmon stream protections today

President Obama declares waters in and near Bristol Bay off limits to oil and gas leasing- ADN

From Alaska Dispatch, by Lisa Demer, December 16, 2014

Read the full article at Alaska Dispatch News

President Obama on Tuesday declared Bristol Bay “a beautiful natural wonder” and designated its salmon-rich waters indefinitely off limits for oil and gas leasing.

Environmentalists say the move provides significant protection not just for the iconic Bristol Bay sockeye salmon, but for crab, herring, halibut and groundfish, including the lucrative pollock fishery. And salmon returning to the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers pass through the waters that had been considered for drilling.

“Hey, everybody,” President Obama said in a videotaped message posted Tuesday on YouTube. “Earlier today I took action to make sure that one of America’s greatest natural resources and a massive economic engine not only for Alaska but for America, Bristol Bay, is preserved for future generations.”

Some 40 percent of the nation’s wild-caught seafood comes from Bristol Bay, and its waters have supported Alaska Native people for centuries, the president said.

“It’s something that’s too precious for us to just be putting out to the highest bidder,” Obama said.

Read the full article at Alaska Dispatch News

 

Rare Alaskan Wolf Closer to Endangered Species Act Protection

From Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 28, 2014

Contacts: Larry Edwards, Greenpeace, (907) 747-7557
Rebecca Noblin, Center for Biological Diversity, (907) 274-1110

Alexander Archipelago Wolf Threatened by Logging in Tongass National Forest

ANCHORAGE, Alaska— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago wolves may need protection under the Endangered Species Act because of unsustainable logging in the Tongass National Forest and elsewhere in southeast Alaska. The agency will now conduct an in-depth status review of this rare subspecies of gray wolf, which lives only in the region’s old-growth forests.

Today’s decision responds to a scientific petition filed in August 2011 by the Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace. Following the status review and a public comment period, the agency will decide whether or not to list the species as threatened or endangered.

“The Alexander Archipelago wolf, one of Alaska’s most fascinating species, needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act if it’s to have any chance at survival,” said Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director of the Center. “The Endangered Species Act is the strongest law in the world for protecting wildlife, and it can save these beautiful wolves from reckless logging and hunting.”

Alexander Archipelago wolves den in the root systems of very large trees and hunt mostly Sitka black-tailed deer, which are themselves dependent on high-quality, old forests, especially for winter survival. A long history of clearcut logging on the Tongass and private and state-owned lands has devastated much of the wolf’s habitat on the islands of southeast Alaska.

“This gray wolf subspecies exists only in southeast Alaska, and its principle population has declined sharply in the last few years,” said Larry Edwards, Greenpeace forest campaigner and long-time resident of the region. “Endangered Species Act protection is necessary to protect the wolves, not least because of the Forest Service’s own admission that its so-called transition out of old-growth logging in the Tongass will take decades. The negative impacts on these wolves are very long-term and have accumulated over the past 60 years of industrial logging.”

Logging on the Tongass brings new roads, making wolves vulnerable to hunting and trapping. As many as half the wolves killed on the Tongass are killed illegally, and hunting and trapping are occurring at unsustainable levels in many areas. Despite scientific evidence showing that Alexander Archipelago wolf populations will not survive in areas with high road density, the Forest Service continues to build new logging roads in the Tongass. Road density is particularly an urgent concern on heavily fragmented Prince of Wales Island and neighboring islands, home to an important population of the wolves.

In 2013 the Alaska Board of Game authorized killing 80 percent to 100 percent of the wolves in two areas of the Tongass because habitat loss has reduced deer numbers so that human hunters and wolves are competing for deer — putting yet more pressure on the wolf population.

The Fish and Wildlife Service considered listing the wolf under the Endangered Species Act in the mid-1990s but then chose not to do so, citing new protective standards set out in the Forest Service’s 1997 Tongass Forest Plan. Unfortunately, as outlined in the conservation groups’ 2011 petition, the Forest Service has not adequately implemented those standards.

Today’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 90-day finding on the Alexander Archipelago wolf determined that protecting this wolf as threatened or endangered “may be warranted” under three of the five factors specified in the Endangered Species Act: (1) present or threatened destruction of habitat; (2) overutilization (e.g., from hunting and trapping); and (3) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms.

A recent declaration by Dr. David Person, the foremost Alexander Archipelago wolf researcher, concerning the wolf population on Prince of Wales Island is at: 

A recent declaration by Dr. David Person, the foremost Alexander Archipelago wolf researcher, concerning the wolf population on Prince of Wales Island is at: 

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/781891-exh-79-dave-person-admin-appeal-statement-final.html 

 

NOAA public conference on Cook Inlet beluga whale research -April 5

Press Release from NOAA Fisheries:

noaafisheries

Contact:
Julie Speegle
907-586-7032 w.
907-321-7032 c.

NOAA Fisheries to hold public conference on Cook Inlet beluga whale research

What’s the latest on the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale? NOAA Fisheries is bringing together researchers from state and federal agencies, universities, private industry, and non-profit organizations to share information about recent Cook Inlet beluga whale research.

The Cook Inlet beluga whale conference will be held:

April 5, 2014
9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Millennium Hotel
Anchorage, Alaska

This conference is free and open to the public. No registration is required. Free parking is available on-site.

Presentation topics include results of recent research on Cook Inlet beluga acoustics, distribution, movement, diet, contaminants, pathogens, strandings, and new databases that will soon be made available to the public. There will also be presentations on relevant studies of Bristol Bay belugas.

A poster session will be held from noon to 12:45 p.m. to provide an opportunity for the public to meet and ask questions of conference presenters.

More information on the conference, including a detailed program, is available online at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/whales/beluga/conference/.

For more information, contact Mandy Migura at 907-271-1332.