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Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands LCC

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The Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Resilience through partnership: where the needs of communities, resource managers, and industry meet. Our work is a collaboration of many partners including industry, federal and Tribal governments, and academia with the goal of developing the science and unique connections needed to take on the 21st century’s challenges and opportunities.LCC Network Logo 

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Steering Committee News

New ABSI Steering Committee Members 

ABSI welcomes Jeanette Koelsch to the Steering Committee. Jeanette has been the superintendent of the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve since 2009. She is responsible for establishing short and long-term goals, planning and developing programs, and implementing NPS policies and procedures that ensure the preservation and protection, interpretation and study of the park resources.

Prior to working for the NPS, she worked for Kawerak, Inc. and Nome Eskimo Community as the Vice-President of Community Services and Tribal Affairs Director. She began her career with the NPS at BELA as a local hire seasonal park ranger in 1994 and then became the park’s first permanent Interpretive Specialist. As a local resident and Nome Eskimo Community tribal member, she is honored to be the superintendent of a park that has played a unique role in the history of the Americas.

We would also like to welcome  Lauren Divine from the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island as the new ABSI Steering Committee Chair.  Divine takes over for Tahzay Jones from the National Park Service. Robb Kaler from USFWS Migratory Bird Management Program is the new Vice-Chair.  

Thank you Lauren, Robb, and Tahzey for your leadership! 


Climate Vulnerability Assessment

Pacific walrus on ice floe
ABSI and our partners from Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) and the Alaska Climate Science Center launched the Aleutians and Bering Climate Vulnerability Assessment (ABCVA) in late 2013. This project convened a team of 30 top researchers to evaluate the vulnerability of natural resources and communities to climate change. Over the past 18 months this team with expertise in marine mammals, seabirds, fisheries, subsistence practices and culture resources has volunteered their time to assess how climate change might affect the important resources of this region.

Find out more about the project HERE.


​Strategic Science Plan

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The ABSI LCC has completed a Strategic Science Plan to guide our activities for the next five years. The final version of the plan is now available for download.

Projecting Future Vessel Traffic Dynamics​

SNAP Data Portal 
The vessel projections shown for the high scenario in
2025 for monthly ship cargo ship traffic.

 
We developed a simulation model to better show how various projections associated with increased marine traffic in the Bering Sea might look in the coming decades. These simulations are able to help communities and managers better understand future patterns of traffic in the Bering Sea region as a whole, and look more specifically at possible changes in key areas of concern like the Bering Strait.
 
Following vessel activity analysis and considering vessel type, transit
routes, route timing, routing speed, and ports of call, we developed a novel
agent-based, spatially-explicit, baseline model of current marine vessel traffic patterns. We then applied projections about changes in traffic volume from a report by the US Committee on the Marine Transportation System detailing the 10-year projections of traffic through the Bering Strait to develop a possible future scenario of vessel activity.
 
Partners include the National Park Service, Geodimensions LLC, Wildlife
Conservation Society.

This work builds on our three year effort to help managers and communities understand vessel traffic​ in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands that has helped to establish safer vessel operations in the Aleutians.
 
 

 

​Marine Invasive Species 

 Invasive Crab

 

Introductions of marine invasive species to the Bering Sea have historically been relatively low, most likely due to geographic isolation and limited human activity; however, with changing global shipping patterns and warming ocean temperatures, introductions are likely to increase. More than 70 marine invasive species have been identified as either occurring, or having the potential to occur in Alaska waters based on proximity of species in neighboring regions, presence of suitable habitat in Alaska, and active vectors that could lead to unintentional introductions (Alaska Invasive Species Working Group 2010). Our goal is to perform a marine invasive species risk assessment that will provide the most up-to-date information for the Bering Sea and investigate risk factors associated with commercial shipping and fishing traffic.

 

​This project is a partnership among UAA’s Alaska Center for Conservation Science, ABSI, Alaska Sea Grant and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.


 

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​Coastal Resilience in Western Alaska

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In Alaska, changes in snow, ice, and weather, have resulted in risks to human lives, infrastructure damage, threats to valuable natural resources, and disruption of hunting, fishing, and livelihoods. Leaders from the Aleutians to the Chukchi Sea came together for a series of Coastal Resilience and Adaptation Workshops, spearheaded by three Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association. Tribal leaders, resource managers, community planners, and scientists explored strategies to adapt to these unprecedented changes.

The workshop series brought together 14 Organizing Partners 34 Tribes, 15 State & Federal Agencies, and a total of more than 200 participants to meet in four regional hub locations.


Aleutian Waterway Safety Committee

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 ABSI LCC helps convene an Aleutian Waterways Safety Committee.
 

ABSI LCC is serving on the Convening Work Group that will be helping to
shape this important committee to promote safe vessel transit in this
remote, resource rich region.
 
Stakeholders across the Aleutians are working to establish an Aleutian
Islands Waterways Safety Committee. The committee will convene diverse
waterway users to discuss and recommend safe navigational practices in a non-regulatory setting.
Following a public meeting in Unalaska on April 26 that attracted more than 40 participants, the organizational mission and geographic scope will be developed by a convening workgroup, which met May 16. The group will nominate the first Board of Directors, which will carry the work forward through establishing the committee and various workgroups.
 The Aleutian Islands Waterways Safety Committee follows on the founding of
both an Arctic Waterways Safety Committee and Cook Inlet Harbor Safety Committee in the past three years.  These committees join dozens of others nationwide. For more information on the group in the Aleutians, see: http://aleutianislandswsc.org.

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