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    Local Monitoring of Ecologically Important Species in Aleutian Island Communities

    Conducting Pacific black brant age ratio survey with USGS, personnel at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

    Conducting Pacific black brant age ratio survey with USGS, personnel at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

    “Local Monitoring of Ecologically Important Species in Three Aleutian Island Communities” is a program run by local observers in the communities of King Cove, Cold Bay and Akutan, Alaska, to collect year-round local observations of Northern sea otters, Stellers eiders, Pacific black brant and emperor geese. The project is funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tribal Wildlife Grant program for fiscal year 2014-15. Our project has four specific objectives that we seek to accomplish during the proposal timeframe (two years, between January 1st, 2014 and December 31st, 2015).

    • To collect year round monitoring data on Northern sea otters, Stellers eiders, Pacific black brant Geese, and emperor geese, and share monitoring data with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to facilitate management for the benefit of these species and their habitat.
    • To enlist members of the Villages of King Cove, Akutan and Cold Bay to participate in the monitoring of these species of cultural and traditional importance.
    • To adapt and refine the existing sentinal observer program so it may serve as a valuable resource for information on these species, including arrival and departure dates, areas of winter concentration and timing of the molt within the study area.
    • To collect opportunistic observations and counts of other marine mammals and seabirds in the study area using both trained sentinels and reported observations by community members, fishermen and collaborating researchers.

    The proposed program is a part of a larger effort of ours that has four long-term objectives: (1) to strengthen the existing community ecological monitoring network infrastructure throughout the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea; (2) to strengthen our ties with the other principal players involved in ecological information in the Aleutian Island area, particularly the USFWS and NMFS; (3) to educate the people of our communities about the natural environment and the ongoing impacts of climate change; and (4) to empower the people of our communities to speak with authority when communicating with others about environmental impacts in our areas, whether caused by natural processes or human factors.