The Arctic LCC has made final determinations regarding support for its suite of 2012 projects and planning efforts. This year's selection reflect a new direction for the Arctic LCC. Instead of funding only studies, this year we will fund both studies and a selection of study planning efforts. Our hope and expectation is that these study planning efforts will result in eventual implementation of large scale integrated interdisciplinary investigations. These interdisciplinary investigations will address information needed by multiple land managers and resource users, and will likely require financial collaboration of multiple entities to bring about their implementation.
A team of interdisciplinary researchers will gather to develop a detailed study plan to investigate how stream and lake temperature and water chemistry will respond to warmer air temperatures, and develop predictive models of the effects of warmer temperatures on primary and secondary productivity, fish growth and energetic demands, and contaminant dynamics within the Barrow/Atqasuk focus watershed. Using an already existing study network in the Chipp River, the research team will use those studies to inform the development of a study plan that will address six study objectives to achieve the goal of predicting biotic response in aquatic habitats to warming air temperature. The study objectives focus on linking physical habitats to biotic response and take a bioenergetic approach to predict how warming water temperature will affect productivity of aquatic habitats to better inform natural resource management.
Under this proposal, planners will form an interdisciplinary team to develop a detailed proposal to evaluate whether and how climate change may alter the availability of key freshwater bird habitats. We will focus on understanding these relationships on wetland areas around Barrow, Alaska, where collaborators have on-going studies investigating surface hydrology, snow cover, and habitat use of nesting shorebirds. We plan to combine modeling approaches being conducted in these three disciplines, establish experimental approaches to test predictions about bird and habitat relationships, and explore tools that can be used by managers when trying to understand the potential impact climate change may have on habitats and the associated bird species.
Planners propose to develop an integrated study plan linking 1) aquatic habitat connectivity, 2) stream and lake water quality and temperature, 3) availability of freshwater habitat, and 4) trophic mismatches and productivity. Studies to understand these linkages in a context relevant to policy and management will primarily focus on the Fish Creek Watershed because this area represents a wide range of Arctic climatic and physiographic conditions, as well as management needs surrounding subsistence and petroleum development. Ongoing monitoring and research activities focused around both drivers (local resource use and climate change) provide the template to develop a robust and feasible interdisciplinary study plan to meet Arctic LCC objectives. Our approach will be to collaboratively develop a study plan with a team representing broad expertise in physical and biological sciences, including management and policy experience, through several of short meetings associated with two disciplinary conferences followed by a dedicated work session / retreat, synthesized as a written study plan by the principal investigator.
Under this proposal, planners seek funds to assemble a team (biogeochemist, microbiologist, plankton ecologist, and ichthyologist) to develop a project using advanced field and analytical methods to determine the potential effects of increased humic delivery to the coastal Arctic. Our plan is to conduct experiments with humic additions to coastal plankton and larval fish communities, to evaluate the response to different discharge scenarios. This work is directly relevant for managers as it will 1) provide information on the populations most susceptible to change, 2) identify regions at risk and 3) help anticipate likely changes in future fish stocks.
One of the most comprehensive historical aerial imagery datasets available to the public was developed as part of the Alaska High Altitude Photography Program (AHAP) during 1978-1986. Recent studies examining coastline erosion have clearly demonstrated that the AHAP photos are a valuable baseline for detecting and quantifying change that occurred in Alaska in recent decades. Unfortunately, these data have been greatly underutilized due to challenges associated with orthorectifying the raw imagery. By partnering with the Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks the Arctic LCC has the opportunity to make high-quality AHAP orthomosaics of the Arctic Alaska coast available to the public via the Alaska Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative's (SDMI) website. For this pilot project, the area-of-interest covers the coastline between Cape Krusenstern National Monument and the U.S./Canada Border.
To obtain a better understanding of how shorebirds will respond to climate-mediated changes in the Arctic's morphology and ecology, we have established a network of sites, known as the Arctic Shorebird Demographics Network (ASDN) wherein we will collect information on a suite of predictor variables thought to be responsive to climate change and then correlate these variables with measures of shorebird distribution, ecology, and demography. Manomet, Inc. (also known as Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences) is the program coordinating entity for the ASDN. Funds will be used to equip sites with necessary equipment, and hire and supervise field technicians collecting data to meet this objective at the ASDN sites. USFWS is supporting two ASDN sites and the Region 7 Shorebird Coordinator (Richard Lanctot) is the Science Coordinator for the ASDN. Thus this is a collaborative project between USFWS, Manomet, Inc. and other government and private NGOs that are operating the ASDN sites.
The objective of this project is to maintain a network of hydrology monitoring sites in a representative watershed of the Arctic Coastal Plain. The hydrological network is in place, with instrumented sites located in rivers, low-order streams, and lakes; this project represents the additional support needed to assist the BLM in operating the sites (i.e. collecting, processing, and analyzing data). An important part of the overarching goal is to manage this monitoring network in a manner that can be sustained over the long-term. Additional interdisciplinary research projects are integrated with the core hydrology framework that this project represents. This will provide optimal benefits to multiple interested parties and help to refine, adjust, and/or streamline the monitoring based on an increased understanding of ecosystem function. Work is being conducted within the context of climate change and impending oil and gas activities in the region, the impetus for focusing on the Fish Creek watershed.
The overall goals of this project are twofold. One is to identify future landscape scale resource management and science needs that are common to many of the ALCC partners given climate projections, and in doing so, increase understanding of landscape scale needs among the ALCC steering committee members.
PIs are proposing to incorporate the historic calving and summer ranges of the Western Arctic caribou herd (WAH) into ongoing inter-agency research and monitoring efforts on the influence of climate changes on the nutrient dynamics of ungulate forages with an emphasis on caribou. We are proposing to 1) expand the scope and inference of these current habitat monitoring efforts, 2) facilitate spatio-temporal comparisons of habitat characteristics among historical ranges of caribou, and 3) improve the empirical framework for bio-climate models that will help to evaluate the potential nutritional implications of a warming Arctic to important subsistence resources, such as caribou and other ungulate populations, throughout the North Slope.
The USGS will operate and maintain a streamgage at Hulahula River near Kaktovik, Alaska. Data from this station is necessary to complement glacier mass-balance studies and provide information necessary to project stream flow regimes under various scenarios of climate change. The work will consist of operation, acquiring real-time data, analysis of the data and internet access.
This project's primary goal is to develop a modeling framework that integrates the driving components of vegetation succession, disturbance, hydrology and permafrost dynamics for the state of Alaska. This framework will couple models of disturbance and vegetation succession (ALFRESCO), biogeochemistry (TEM), and permafrost (GIPL). Together, these three models comprise the AIEM (Alaska Integrated Ecosystem Model). The AIEM provides an integrated framework to provide natural resource managers and decision makers an improved understanding of the potential response of ecosystems due to a changing climate and to provide more accurate projections of key ecological variables of interest (e.g., wildlife habitat conditions).
In partnership with the Ecosystems Center-Wood’s Hole Marine Biological Laboratory (EC), the National Science Foundation’s Arctic Long Term Ecological Research Program (ALTER), and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF), the Fairbanks Fish and Wildlife Field Office is involved with an interdisciplinary, multi-year study to describe the hydrologic factors of stream drying and its projected effects on the broad and fine scale seasonal migrations of Arctic grayling in the Kuparuk River. This funding will support the FWS component -- radiotelemetry and tracking intended to characterize broad scale migrations. This work will allow a more detailed interpretation of the linkages between hydrology and the seasonal migrations of Arctic grayling in the Kuparuk River basin.
USGS has acquired LiDAR data for nearly all the coastline of northern Alaska (Icy Cape to the U.S. Canada Border) as part of their Coastal and Marine Geology Program's National Assessment of Shoreline Change Study. LiDAR data was not collected for large river deltas and bays, however. By partnering with the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center and the National Geospatial Program, the LCC can help cover the costs associated with acquiring LiDAR data for all the areas listed below:
The project will be (1) compiling existing soil/permafrost data from available sources to create a region-wide permafrost database; (2) providing detailed descriptions of permafrost characteristics by terrain units; (3) developing thematic permafrost maps through revision and attribution of an existing landscape-level map; and (4) distributing the database and maps through the Geographic Information Network for Alaska (GINA) website.
Snow conditions are extremely important to a wide range of hydrologic and ecosystem components and processes, including those related to surface energy and moisture stores and fluxes, vegetation, mammals, birds, and fish. The required snow datasets currently do not exist at the required spatial and temporal scales needed by end users such as scientists, land managers, and policy makers. The goal of this project is to produce spatially distributed, time evolving, snow datasets for the Arctic LCC that can be used in a wide range of climate, hydrologic, and ecosystem applications. The PI proposes to use the MicroMet/ SnowModel snow-evolution modeling system to simulate a range of snow-related variables over an Arctic domain of interest to the Arctic LCC. The PI also proposes to host a workshop to be attended by ecologists, biologists, and geophysical scientists from across agencies to determine what model outputs they would find most useful so that he can custom-code his model to ingest appropriate data and to produce those outputs.
Variability in Arctic streamflow is poorly documented both spatially and temporally. There are several reasons for the sparse hydrological and meteorological data networks in the Alaskan Arctic; logistical access (lack of roads), environmental conditions, and marginal equipment for the task at hand. PIs are proposing to gauge two North Slope streams, one in the foothills and one on the coastal plain, that presently harbor resident fish. They have observed a wide range of streamflows for these drainages that are providing fish habitat. It is obvious from summer precipitation observations that when drought conditions prevail that the area impacted is quite large. It is presently unknown how climate change may impact the future streamflow regime. In addition to broadening our understanding of arctic hydrology and maintaining long-term records of streamflow, these data are integral to at least three projects that will examine linkages among climate, hydrology, and fisheries in Arctic Alaska.
This project will result in a survey of the entire 3,063 km of shoreline as a single project with potentially multiple funding sources. Survey Area: Kotzebue Sound - Seward Peninsula region and the shoreline associated with the NPS lands (Cape Krusentern National Monument and the Bering Land Bridge National Park). Shoreline lengths vary somewhat depending on the scale of the shoreline and on the inclusion of lagoon systems. Approximately two thirds of the Kotzebue Sound shoreline are LCC shoreline and one third NPS shoreline. This project will result in over 3,000 km of Kotzebue Sound shoreline being imaged and included in the state-wide ShoreZone dataset which currently has 51,745 km of imagery (~ 69% of Alaska's coastline). An estimated 30 hours of HD imagery and ~30,000 high-resolution images will be collected and web-posted. ShoreZone mapping information such as shore types, coastal stability, and coastal biota will also be web accessible. The complete mapping dataset will be used to conduct a coastal hazards analysis and maps that identify areas undergoing rapid coastal erosion and areas that are sensitive to inundation by storm surge and sea level rise.
The objective of this project is to develop an in-depth report that describes alternative approaches to landscape-scale monitoring to quantify the rate at which thermokarst events occur and the cumulative area of surface disturbance. The report will review and consider current and past efforts to monitor thermokarst processes at broad scales, and compare scale-relevance, costs, and strengths/weaknesses of alternative approaches.