Arctic Ocean

Midnight Sun on the Chukchi Sea

Midnight Sun on the Chukchi Sea

The Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean is one of the most productive places on earth for wildlife, but there is much we have yet to learn about this ecosystem. Although the weather is harsh in the winter, with gale-force winds, 20-foot seas, and shifting sea ice, these waters provide unspoiled habitat for millions of migratory birds and thousands of marine mammals, including polar bears, ice seals, endangered bowhead whales, and Pacific walrus.

We are still learning about the intricate interactions between wildlife and the ocean in these remote waters. WIth so much still unknown, it is difficult to even assess the risks involved in drilling offshore for oil and gas.

Read Audubon Alaska's comments (March 30, 2015) to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management about the proposed 5-year offshore oil and gas leasing program for 2017-2022. Audubon Alaska urges the agency "not to include any Arctic Planning Areas in the 2017-2022 OCS leasing program" and identifies important wildlife areas in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.

Kulluk Drill Rig Grounding in 2012
In light of Shell's drill rig the Kulluk grounding on New Year's Eve 2012, Audubon joined conservation groups in asking Secretary Salazar to suspend oil and gas activities in the Arctic Ocean. Shell is simply not prepared to drill safely and responsibly in Arctic Ocean conditions.

This map by Audubon Alaska shows where the Kulluk ran aground and the bay that it was towed to afterward, all withing a globally significant Important Bird Area.

Copyright  2015 National Audubon Society, Inc