Weekly Highlights for 8-17-2012
I. Departmental/Bureau News
A. Upcoming Events
No Upcoming Events highlights for this week
Alaska Science Center Director Mark Shasby will represent the USGS at the fall meeting of the Alaska Arctic LCC Steering Committee which will be held at USFWS Alaska Regional Office on August 20th. The agenda for the meeting includes: (1) Presentation on the USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Program by Dr. John Pearce, USGS-Alaska Science Center; (2) discussion of proposed changes to the Arctic LCC Charter; (3) discussion of overall goals, objectives and wording of the Arctic LCC Data Sharing Policy; (4) review of a proposal for the Arctic LCC specifically, and all LCCs nationally, to define the geographies of the marine environment boundaries associated with each LCC; (5) discussion of an Arctic LCC Future Needs Assessment Project; and (6) round robin updates from all of the Arctic LCC Steering Committee members on their agencies activities in region defined by the Arctic LCC.
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7065
USGS research wildlife biologist Paul Flint (Alaska Science Center) is co-author of a new monograph on breeding populations of the Pacific common eider. Breeding numbers of this species declined in western Alaska by 50-90 percent (1957 to 1992) and then stabilized at reduced numbers from the early 1990's to the present. In an effort to investigate the underlying processes affecting their population dynamics, the authors collected and analyzed demographic data from Pacific common eiders in western Alaska from 1991 to 2004; representing a total of 29 site-years. The study, led by Heather Wilson (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and co-authored by Abby Powell (USGS Alaska Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit), J. Barry Grand (USGS Alabama Cooperative Fisheries Wildlife Research Unit), and Christine Moran (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), examined variation in components of reproduction, tested hypotheses about the influence of specific ecological factors on life history variables, and investigated their relative contributions to local population dynamics. The study will be published in an up-coming issue of Wildlife Monographs.
Wilson, H.M., P.L. Flint, A.N. Powell, J. Barry Grand, and C.L. Moran. 2012 Population ecology of breeding Pacific common eiders on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska. Wildlife Monographs, In Press.
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7094
Area: Alaska; Region: Western United States
Summary: The Red Dog Mine, 500 miles northwest of Fairbanks, on the Seward Peninsula in northwest Alaska, has received record setting precipitation in the last few days. Red Dog received over 5 inches of rain, estimated to be a 100 to 150 year precipitation event. More rain is expected, 2-3 inches over the next several days.
Gage height at the Wulik River rose over 10 ft, putting about 6 inches of water in the gage house. The river crested at about 15.3 ft gage height yesterday morning, 3 ft higher than the previous peak of record which occurred August 17, 1994 (12.21 ft 38,500 cfs). Peak discharge is estimated to be about 80,000 cfs. Our highest direct measurement is only 12,500 cfs, in 1989.
Access to the area is by charter aircraft to Red Dog Mine, then helicopter to the few streamgages scattered within a 50-mile radius. A field crew will attempt to visit the area over the weekend to obtain a discharge measurement, flag high-water marks, and assess the aerial extent of the event by visiting discontinued streamgages in the region.
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7141
II. Press Inquiries/Media
On August 14, scientists Tony DeGange and Tony Fischbach of the USGS Alaska Science Center were interviewed by Benny Eriksson of Sveriges Television, Stockholm, Sweden. The interviews focused on the natural resources of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas that potentially could be impacted by offshore oil and gas development (DeGange) and Pacific walrus biology and telemetry (Fischbach). The interviews will likely air sometime this fall in Sweden.
Anchorage, AK, (907) 786-7039