Alaska Monitoring and Assessment Program 2011 Arctic Coastal Plain Wetlands

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation participated in the National Wetland Condition Assessment (NWCA) coordinated by EPA. The goal of our survey is to assess the condition of freshwater emergent wetlands located across the Arctic Coastal Plain within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. We partnered with the University of Alaska Anchorage Alaska Natural Heritage Program, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and the North Slope Borough. This effort includes soil, botanical, biological, water column, and habitat measurements. Multiple indicators will be accessed to maximize the potential of detecting anthropogenic stress and describing its potential effect on wetland condition across multiple spatial scales. DEC has identified 40 randomly selected wetland points and 10 targeted wetland points as the study area, only freshwater emergent wetlands were selected. A total of 41 sites were completed, thick fog prevented access at five random sites and access was denied at four targeted sites by the landowner.

Communities in the survey area were contacted regarding the project. We created a 30 mile buffer around each community, excluding sites within this buffer, to relieve community concerns regarding helicopter interference with subsistence hunting.