ANCHORAGE, AK (July 13, 2018) — Audubon Alaska received a Public Service Commendation from the U.S. Coast Guard for Audubon’s contribution to the Bering Strait Port Access Route Study, a process to identify routes for vessels. The narrow, ecologically rich Bering Strait is emerging as a new shipping corridor due to declining sea ice. Audubon Alaska worked with the Coast Guard to evaluate the impacts of increased vessel traffic and the need for recommended routes for safer navigation and protection of environmentally sensitive areas.
Audubon Alaska provided analysis and mapping that delineated “Areas to be Avoided” by vessel traffic to lessen the impact on crucial areas for birds and mammals across the Bering Strait. These recommendations were also formally adopted by the international maritime community, making them mandatory for transiting vessels.
“The Bering Sea explodes with biological productivity. Over 80% of the seabirds in the U.S. nest on Bering Sea islands and the region is home to millions of marine mammals,” said Melanie Smith, Director of Conservation Science for Audubon Alaska. “I appreciate the Coast Guard’s thoughtful approach to balancing safety, environmental impacts, and subsistence concerns. We are honored to receive this commendation.”
Since 1977, Audubon Alaska's mission is to conserve the spectacular natural ecosystems of the state, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. Audubon Alaska uses science to identify conservation priorities and support conservation actions and policies, with an emphasis on public lands and waters. Audubon Alaska is a state office of the National Audubon Society. Learn more at www.AudubonAlaska.org and @AudubonAlaska1.
Melanie Smith, Director of Conservation Science, Audubon Alaska, firstname.lastname@example.org, 907-276-7034