Changing Arctic Ecosystems

Science Center Objects

The USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative will enhance the long-term science foundation needed by the U.S. Department of the Interior and other partners.

Return to Wildlife, Fish, and Habitats

The objectives of the USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative are to:

  • Quantify the responses (positive, negative, and stable) of wildlife species and their habitats to ecosystem change in the Arctic;
  • Make information on these responses publically available to inform management decisions related to development of oil and gas resources on Bureau of Land Management lands and on the Outer Continental Shelf managed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management;
  • Provide projections of likely future wildlife and habitat responses to inform Department of Interior actions related to regulation or policy, Alaska Native subsistence and co-management actions, and new monitoring protocols and adaptive management strategies.


Decisions Informed by the USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative

Through the Changing Arctic Ecosystems (CAE) Initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is informing key resource management decisions by better understanding how wildlife populations of special interest to the Department of the Interior (DOI) are responding to rapid physical changes in the Arctic. Below are some examples of how CAE research is informing decision-making.

Science for Oil and Gas Leasing-related Decisions

  • Summary of wildlife-related research on the Arctic Coastal Plain
  • Effects of Industrial and Investigator Disturbance on Arctic-nesting geese
  • Movements and Habitat Use of White-fronted Geese During Wing Molt in Arctic Alaska
  • 160 Years of Walrus Haulout Observations in Russia and Alaska
  • Incidental Take Regulations for Polar Bears and Pacific Walruses for the Chukchi Sea issued June 12, 2013

Science Informing Endangered Species Act Decisions and Recovery Planning

  • USFWS Polar Bear Recovery Team
  • Pacific Walrus Endangered Species Act Listing Decision by the USFWS
  • USFWS finds the Yellow-billed Loon is not warranted for listing as threatened under provisions of the Endangered Species Act

Science Informing the Status and Trends of Migratory Birds

Science for U.S. Naval Activities in the Arctic

  • USGS Changing Arctic Ecosystems information helps to guide management decisions for U.S. Navy properties within the species range of the Pacific walrus, from Point Lay to Barrow/Utqiaġvik, Alaska. Scientific information produced by the USGS informs management decisions by the U.S. Navy such as avoidance of walrus habitats and the timing of restrictions for Naval activities to avoid conflicts with walrus.

USGS Coastal Plain (1002 Area) and NPR-A Research Bibliography

Selected Bibliography of USGS Research Conducted in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) Coastal Plain (1002 Area) and/or the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPRA)