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To focus on the status of most of the large migratory Rangifer (caribou/reindeer) herds.
This mission of the North Slope Science Initiative is to improve the regulatory understanding of terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems for consideration in the context of resource development activities and climate change. The vision of the North Slope Science Initiative is to identify those data and information needs management agencies and governments will need in the future to develope management scenarios using the best information and mitigation to conserve the environments of the North Slope
The USDA also manages the Alaska Soil Survey, a scientific inventory of soil resources in 31 different regions of the state. The data are used for making maps, identifying physical and chemical properties of soils, and supplying current information on potential uses and limitations of soils. The Soil Survey contributes to the Natural Resources Inven-tory that involves monitoring of the changes and trends in natural resource use and condition.
NASA satellites (Figure 13) support an extensive Global Water Cycle science focus area and contribute to high accuracy, stable, sustained observations and associated modeling for terrestrial hydrology and cryosphere studies. Derived geophysical products for terrestrial hydrology and cryosphere are available from the NSIDC’s Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC). They include: soil moisture and snow water equivalent from AMSR-E; Greenland ice sheet altimetry and global land surface altimetry from ICESat/GLAS; snow cover extent/area from MODIS; surface albedo and temperature from AVHRR Pathfinder. SAR data obtained from a variety of foreign satellites since 1991 are archived at the ASF DAAC. SAR data provide opportunities for change detection, including interferometric SAR (InSAR) studies of glacier and ice sheet surface elevation and dynamics (ice velocity maps), land surface elevation, and soil moisture. GRACE has been used to determine the mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet and from glaciers in southeast Alaska. The surface elevation of the Greenland ice sheet is mapped using ICESat, and the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflec¬tion Radiometer (ASTER) is used to acquire imagery and topography of the ice sheet.
The EPA National Aquatic Resource Survey (NARS) assesses the condition of the Nation’s aquatic resources, including those in Alaska. NARS is an integrated and comprehensive program that monitors five different categories of aquatic resources: coasts, streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Each of the five aquatic resource categories sample specific indicators to provide information on the physical, chemical and biological condition of the resource. Examples include: coasts (water chemistry, sediment quality, benthic condition, fish tissue contaminants, habitat condition); streams (benthic condition, nutrients, sedimentation, fish habitat, riparian vegetation); rivers (fish, benthos, periphyton, nutrients, sedi-mentation, recreational indicators); lakes, including ponds and reservoirs (zooplankton, phytoplankton, sediment diatoms, sediment mercury, nutrients, microcystin, enterococcus, fish tissue chemistry); wetlands (to be determined). Sampling was conducted for the National Coastal Assessment in south central Alaska in 2002, in southeast Alaska in 2004, and the Aleutians in 2006-2007. Pilot surveys were conducted for the National Wadeable Streams Survey in the Tanana basin in 2004-2005, and for the National Wadeable Lakes Survey in the Kenai region in 2007-2008.
In tundra areas of Alaska, we need to be able to ascertain that enough old-growth lichen-rich habitats remain for our caribou herds and that habitat diversity is maintained. Examination of long-term range monitoring transects previously deployed in remote tundra areas of Alaska on BLM lands show significant declines in available caribou forage lichens (which are highly sensitive to disturbance and slow-growing) for caribou and reindeer. Post-fire recovery of lichens may be prolonged or questionable under current climate conditions. The principal objective is to determine the magnitude of climate change impacts to tundra and boreal forest fire regime.
One station on the Tamayariak River measures tundra water flow. Another station on the Canning River measures flow from mountain discharge. Member of US Geological Survey National Water Information System. Tamayariak River, North Slope Borough, Alaska Hydrologic Unit Code 19060501 Latitude 69°51'55", Longitude 145°35'34" NAD27 Drainage area 149 square miles Gage datum 325 feet above sea level NGVD29 Location: Canning River, North Slope Borough, Alaska Hydrologic Unit Code 19060501 Latitude 69°52'55", Longitude 146°23'09" NAD27 Drainage area 1,930 square miles Gage datum 338 feet above sea level NGVD29
The overall goal of AON is to obtain data that will support scientific investigations of Arctic environmental system change. The observing objectives are to: 1. Maintain science-driven observations of environmental system changes that are already underway; 2. Deploy new, science-driven observing systems and be prepared for detection of future environmental system change; 3. Develop observing data sets that will contribute to (a) the understanding of Arctic environmental system change (via analysis, synthesis and modelling) and its connections to the global system, and (b) improved prediction of future Arctic environmental system change and its connections to the global system. Main gaps: Understanding Change and Responding to Change panels, has formed an AON Design and Implementation (ADI) Task Force. Composed of Arctic and non-Arctic scientists with experience and expertise in scientific observing and observing system operation and design, the goal of the task force is to provide advice to the scientific community and NSF on observing system/network design options that are available for identifying gaps that hinder scientific understanding of Arctic environmental system change. The task force will hold two workshops and address two main objectives: (1) evaluate the current SEARCH science questions and observing priorities, and recommend new priorities in the light of the environmental system changes that have occurred since 2005; and (2) evaluate observing system/network design methods, including pilot projects and small-scale tests. A publicly available report will be released in summer 2010. It is anticipated that the report will be of interest to the broader Arctic science community, the governments of the Arctic countries and other countries, NGOs and numerous stakeholders.
Observe changes in the ecosystem, fluxes of heat, salt, nutrients, CO2, and methane from the seafloor to the atmosphere above, as a function of changing climate in the Pacific Arctic region from the Bering Strait north to the high Arctic. Main gaps: So far unable to go far into the ice for investigation, although the geographical scope of the RUSALCA mission increased in 2009 because of the reduction of sea ice cover. (we were able to reach a northernmost site and to sample as far north as 77°30’N.
The NCOP collects, analyzes, and disseminates observations and predictions of tidal currents for over 2,700 locations throughout the United States. The NCOP conducts annual tidal current surveys in various locations which deploy current meters for 30-90 days to acquire enough data to generate accurate tidal current predictions. Main gaps: NOAA maintains tidal current predictions at approximately 2,750 locations. However, there are little historical data north of the Aleutian chain, and those data are very old.
The NWLON is a network of long term stations whose fundamental purpose is to provide vertical control (tidal datums) that support a host of national requirements. In addition, the NWLON collects continuous water level data and provides observations and derived data products that support: marine transportation and navigation ( hydrographic charting surveys, shoreline mapping surveys, tide predictions, forecast water levels, real time observations, dredging projects, hazardous material spill response); global sea level rise studies, storm surge and tsunami detection and warnings, marine boundary determination (federal/state, state/private, state/state), coastal zone management activities, ecosystem restoration, and effective marine spatial planning. Main gaps: Gap analysis report completed in FY2008 identifying gaps based primarily on providing vertical (tidal datum) control. Largest gaps in Arctic region – gaps in data and information in Bristol Bay, Bering Sea, Bering Strait, Chukchi Sea, and Beaufort Sea areas.
To provide real-time marine meteorological, oceanographic and geophysical observations in real-time to the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Telecommunications Service (GTS).
The Bering Sea is an extremely rich ecosystem providing almost half of the US catch of fish and shellfish. EcoFOCI has four moorings (M2, M4, M5 and M8), which are an important component in the observational system, monitoring changes in the ecosystem. Data are used by ecosystem managers, modellers (model validation), and scientists. They provide critical information on the spatial temperature structure, timing of phytoplankton blooms, cold pool and presence of marine mammals. Main gaps: Expanding instrumentation to measure ice thickness, nutrients, oxygen, PAR, zooplankton biovolume and atmospheric variables to all four of the mooring sites. Increase vertical resolution of nutrients. Expand measurements northward into the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
To develop a coastal and ocean observing system in the Alaska region that meets the needs of multiple stakeholders by (1) serving as a regional data center providing data integration and coordination; (2) identifying stakeholder and user priorities for ocean and coastal information; (4) working with federal, state and academic partners to fill those gaps, including by AOOS where appropriate. Main gaps: AOOS and the data center are statewide activities, but thus far, available funding has limited observations and models primarily the Gulf of Alaska.
USGS operates a long-term “benchmark” glacier program to monitor climate, glacier geometry, glacier mass balance, glacier motion and stream runoff.
The mission of the NSIP is to provide the streamflow information and understanding required to meet local, State, regional and national needs. For additional information about USGS water resources programs and data, go to: • Program Description: http://alaska.usgs.gov/science/water/index.php • Contact: Steven Frenzel, firstname.lastname@example.org • Surface water data availability: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ak/nwis/sw • Water quality data availability: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ak/nwis/qw • Groundwater data availability: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ak/nwis/gw Main gaps: Extremely sparse coverage in Alaska in general.
To determine status and trend in the condition of selected natural resources in national park units in Alaska. There are four networks, each encompassing activities in a set of national parks, preserves and other park lands: • Arctic Network (ARCN): Gates of the Arctic, Noatak, Kobuk Valley, Cape Krusenstern, Bering Land Bridge. • Central Alaska Network (CAKN): Yukon-Charley Rivers, Denali, Wrangell-St. Elias. • Southwest Alaska Network (SWAN): Kenai Fjords, Lake Clark, Katmai, Alagnak Wild River, Aniakchak. • Southeast Alaska Network (SEAN): Glacier Bay, Klondike Gold Rush, Sitka. Main gaps: Not all data are currently available but we are working toward that goal. Funding limitations do not allow monitoring at detailed levels.
To collect contemporary data on shorebird demography and to compare these data to historic information collected at the site. We are attempting to establish an Arctic Shorebird Demography Network patterned after the Barrow site. This is only at the beginning stages.
To conserve the federally listed Alaska-breeding population of Steller’s eiders through monitoring breeding, surveying populations, predator management, and analyzing the effects of management actions. Main gaps: We are only collecting data on the breeding biology of this species along the road system near Barrow, Alaska.
To collect contemporary data on the distribution, abundance and trends in abundance of Arctic-breeding shorebirds. Main gaps: No long term funding available to continue to conduct these surveys.