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alaska conservation foundation

climate challenge: human responses

Grant Award: $111,481; year awarded: 2018

Climate-related warming of marine waters and decrease in sea ice are impacting the distribution of species on Alaska’s Arctic coast. Simultaneously, a longer ice-free
season has allowed for increased vessel traffic in the area – supporting global trade, oil and gas exploration, tourism, and other development. These are all human responses to climate change that negatively impact wildlife. As a result, mammal species such as the Pacific walrus, northern fur seal, and Stellar sea lions are facing compounding alterations to their natural habitat. Focusing on the Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea, and Chukchi Sea, this project will create “geofences,” virtual, dynamic satellite feeds that will track the movements and locations of these three species. These geofences will serve as a means for mitigating vessel traffic impacts on these species’ haul-outs and critical breeding behaviors in real time.