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Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands LCC

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The Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Our Mission:

The Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands Landscape Conservation Cooperative (ABSI) promotes coordination, dissemination, and development of applied science to inform conservation of natural and cultural resources in the face of climate change and other landscape-scale stressors.

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Steering Committee News

New ABSI Steering Committee MembersWe are pleased to welcome the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island to the ABSI Steering Committee, represented by Lauren Divine (left) and Pamela Lestenkof (right). Lauren and Pamela are Co-Directors of the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Ecosystem Conservation Office. Both have experience in conducting monitoring and research activities focused on coastal and marine resources, including climate change, invasive species, contaminants, disease, and commercial and subsistence fishing.

This recent addition brings the ABSI Steering Committee to ten voting members, including two Federally-recognized Alaska Native Tribes.


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.


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 Marine Vessel Traffic

SNAP Data PortalABSI is pleased to announce that GIS data layers for this project are now available for download through the SNAP data portal. Marine vessel traffic are represented as line features depicting unique voyages within and through the ABSI region, derived from a three-year archive of satellite-based Automatic Identification System (AIS) locations from July 2010 to August 2013. This project is a colloration between ABSI, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP).

The data set also includes the increasingly-used shipping routes through the Bering Strait. We created several animated GIF files depicting seasonal vessel traffic in the ABSI region. The original point location data were obtained from exactEarth, and include copyrighted material of exactEarth Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Major vessel routes identified within this data set were presented at a meeting of the Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment advisory panel in April 2014, and helped inform an application from the U.S. Coast Guard to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the establishment of five Areas to be Avoided (ATBAs). The proposal was approved by the Maritime Safety Committee of the IMO on June 12, 2015. The recommendatory ATBAs went into effect on January 1, 2016, and will be included on all new nautical charts produced after that date.


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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Strategic Science Plan

Kelp
The ABSI LCC has completed a Strategic Science Plan to guide our activities for the next five years. A draft of the plan was available for public review and comment through September 21, 2013. The final version of the plan is now available for download.

In February 2014, the ABSI LCC Steering Committee held a two-day retreat to develop a shorter-term Science and Operations Plan that identifies in more detail where we intend to focus our efforts over the next 1-2 years.

 

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