Alaska Monitoring and Assessment Program 2015 Arctic Coastal Plain Streams and Rivers

In the summer of 2015, Alaska Monitoring and Assessment Program (AKMAP) participated in EPA’s National Rivers and Streams Assessment. AKMAP, the University of Alaska Anchorage Alaska Natural Heritage Program and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) partnered to conduct a survey of arctic streams and rivers located within the Arctic Coastal Plain of the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska. 26 sites were surveyed in 2015, in 2016 BLM will sample 25 additional stream and river sites. This project was a part of a six year series of work in the arctic which included surveys of lakes, wetlands, estuaries and coastal waters. Using the data collected in this survey, we will obtain a clearer picture of the general health of streams and rivers in this region, detect contaminants and learn about aquatic insects.

Sampling in this project included the following indicators:

Water: temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, chlorophyll-a, dissolved organic carbon, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride, total nitrate/nitrite-N, ammonia-N, total Kjedahl nitrogen, total phosphorus, and total suspended solids

Sediment: stable isotopes

Biological: periphyton, macroinvertebrates, and fish assemblage, mercury in fish tissue

Habitat Characterization: thalweg profile, channel and riparian cross sections, channel constraint, discharge, bank characteristics, canopy cover, riparian vegetation structure, instream fish cover, human influences

For the purposes of this study, the target population included all wadeable streams and rivers within the NPR-A Arctic Coastal Plain that had flowing water during the study index period, excluding portions of tidal rivers up to head of salt. Approximately 11,025 stream miles were identified in the study area. The sample frame was derived from the high resolution National Hydrography Dataset (NHD).