Caribou Calving Surveys near Wainwright and Atqasuk

This project will provide a better understanding of caribou calving density in this region which could be used to better inform any potential onshore siting of infrastructure development in this region. Shell oil and gas exploration in the Chukchi Sea may result in discoveries economically profitable that would favor a development scenario that would likely include an onshore pipeline that would extend across the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) and connect with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). At this time, the exact route of such a pipeline is unknown but possible onshore landings include the vicinity of Wainwright. There is little baseline information on caribou calving in the Wainwright-Atqasuk region, but we know that this region has recently supported some calving and is an important fall/winter area for hunters. Furthermore, it is not clear where the majority of caribou in this region originated (i.e., which particular herd) and if this population is stable, increasing, or decreasing (B. Person, personal communication). We will generate density estimates and ratios of caribou cow/calf pairs in a region ~1,219 square miles, south of Peard Bay, east of Wainwright and northwest of Atqasuk from aerial survey data collected from 2013-2015. We fly aerial surveys during calving (the first week of June) and record the number of cow/calf pairs, caribou with hard antlers (i.e., presumably parturient caribou), and caribou without calves or hard antlers along east-west transects within the study area. We have purposefully excluded the immediate Wainwright and Atqasuk vicinities in our study area to minimize aircraft disturbance conflicts.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Primary Contact Ryan Klimstra
Primary Organization North Slope Borough
Funding Organizations Shell Exploration and Production Company
Other Organizations Shell Exploration and Production Company
Organization Types Industry and Consultants, Local
Start Date 2013-06-01
Created February 23, 2016, 01:42 (AKST)
Last Updated September 25, 2021, 09:10 (AKDT)