A Good Path for Teshekpuk Lake and America's Arctic
On February 21, 2013 Secretary of Interior Salazar announced the first-ever, area-wide plan for managing the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (Reserve). This plan makes several Special Areas, including the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area (a globally-significant Important Bird Area), off-limits for oil and gas leasing.
Overall, this plan provides a responsible balance that protects about half of the nearly 23-million acre Reserve while still allowing for the vast majority of the area’s oil to be accessed and developed. Audubon Alaska continues to keep watch to see that new development projects follow the guidelines set in this plan.
Map of Important Wildlife Habitat and Final Record of Decision Special AreasPhoto: Nathan Walker
Here are some of the highlights. The plan:
- Expands the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area from 1.75 million acres to 3.65 million acres
- Expands the Utukok River Uplands Special Area from 3.97 million acres to 7.06 million acres
- Creates the new 107,000 acre Peard Bay Special Area
- Balances 11.8 million acres available for oil and gas leasing with approximately 11 million acres unavailable for leasing.
Explore the Reserve online:
- Where do birds from the Reserve migrate? (39-second video map created by Audubon Alaska using locations from the US Geological Survey's banded bird research data)
- North American waterfowl migration from the Reserve (PDF map)
- Listen to an episode on the public radio show BirdNote about Teshekpuk Lake.
Audubon Supports Protecting Special Areas of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska
The Reserve supports astonishing numbers of birds and other wildlife. Audubon supports conservation of the most important areas. Learn more:
- Attachment A: Teshekpuk Caribou Habitat Selection Probability (this is a large file and may take a little while to load)
- Attachment B: Movement of Satellite GPS-Collared Western Arctic Caribou Herd Cows in Relation to Red Dog Mine Road
- Attachment C:Subsistence Use Avoidance, Based on Alpine Satellte Development Plan
- Attachment D: Yellow-billed Loon Density
Read Audubon Alaska's full comments from the June 2012 public comment period to learn more:
In 1976, Congress decided managing these lands should include providing “maximum protection” for special areas with important biological values. While 3 million acres of the Reserve are now leased for oil and gas development, no areas have received permanent protection.
This map shows the Special Areas and the wildlife values of the Reserve.
Want More Information?
The Audubon Alaska Report on the Western Arctic, Striking a Balance in America's Western Arctic: The National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, provides a good overview of the importance of the Reserve for migratory birds, caribou, and other wildlife. It also presents the highlights of Audubon's conservation recommendations.
If you would like a hard copy, email Beth Peluso email@example.com or call (907) 276-7034.
Where do Birds from the Reserve Go?
Try out this interactive map of birds banded or encountered in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska! Search by species to see where birds fly across the globe.
Directions: If you see a blank map at first, don't panic! If you don't see a "Layers" box on the side, go to the View menu>Show/Hide>Navigation Panes>Layers. When the navigation pane opens, click on the plus sign next to the word "Layers" to see the categories of birds (waterfowl, raptors, etc.). Click on the plus sign next to a category to show a list of individual species. Click on a checkbox, and watch as birds spread across the globe!
Not opening right in your browser? This is a PDF file, so open in Adobe Acrobat or Reader if it doesn't seem to work in your browser (Chrome users, you may have to disable the Chrome PDF reader plugin first). Email [@bpeluso] if you have questions.
Learn about Audubon Alaska's Conservation Vision for the Western Arctic
Read Policy Director Eric Myers's testimony before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.
Read our 2011 Habitat Conservation Strategy Report for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, or see the plan laid out on the Habitat Conservation Strategy Map.
In 2002, Audubon Alaska published Alaska’s Western Arctic: A Summary and Synthesis of Resources (Schoen and Senner, eds.), documenting key areas of biological importance. That report and the associated atlas of maps highlighted important habitat areas for waterbirds, two Arctic caribou herds, and other terrestrial and marine wildlife. We integrated the biological information with data on energy resources to identify areas of greatest conservation concern.
With the great increase in spatial data in the last decade and our improved understanding of the biological significance of the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska (NPRA), we updated the atlas of maps with more recent available data, and revised the Habitat Conservation Strategy, focused on the NPRA. The 2011 Habitat Conservation Strategy report and Habitat Conservation Strategy Map identify especially significant wildlife habitat areas which warrant recognition and protection.
The update was completed in February 2011. A copy of the entire 2002 Western Arctic synthesis report, the 2011 Habitat Conservation Strategy report and map for the NPRA are available on CD by request. The updated atlas maps are below.
Western Arctic Caribou Herd Seasonal Ranges
Western Arctic Caribou Herd Calving Distribution 1988-2009
Western Arctic Caribou Calving in Relation to Coal
Western Arctic Caribou Calving in Relation to Gas Potential
Western Arctic Caribou Herd Satellite Collar History 1988-2009
Teshekpuk Lake Caribou Herd Seasonal Ranges
Teshekpuk Lake Caribou Herd Calving Distribution 1994-2009
Teshekpuk Lake Caribou Herd Calving in Relation to Oil Potential
Teshekpuk Lake Caribou Herd Calving in Relation to Gas Potential
Teshekpuk Lake Special Area and Caribou Herd Calving Distribution 1994-2009
Breeding Density of Yellow-billed Loons
Breeding Density of White-fronted Geese
Breeding Density of Black Brant
Breeding Density of Spectacled Eiders
Breeding Density of Large Unidentified Shorebirds
Breeding Density of Small Unidentified Shorebirds
Breeding Density of Red-throated Loon
Breeding Density of King Eider
Breeding Density of Long-tailed Duck
Composite Breeding Densities for Select Waterbird Species (1)
Composite Breeding Densities for Select Waterbird Species (2)
Composite Breeding Densities for Select Waterbird Species (3)
Draft Important Bird Areas for Alaska's Northwest Coast
Distribution of Raptor Nest Sites
Goose Molting Areas
Seabird Colony Sites
Distribution of Fish