Identification of Beaufort Sea Migration Corridor for Sea Ducks

Project Number: 2.2
Year Funded: 2010
Lead Institution(s): Canadian Wildlife Service
Project Lead: Blake Bartzen
Collaborator(s): Lynne Dickson (CWS), Tim Bowman (USFWS)
Location: Alaska, Arctic Canada
Focal Species: Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis), Common Eider (Somateria mollissima), King Eider (Somateria spectabilis)
Project Description: The development of offshore oil production facilities is currently underway off the Alaskan Beaufort Sea coast and is expected to expand to the Canadian Beaufort Sea and eastern Chukchi Sea in the near future. Hundreds of thousands of sea ducks, primarily Long-tailed Ducks, King Eiders and Pacific Common Eiders, migrate across the Beaufort and Chukchi seas on route between wintering areas west of the continent and breeding areas in northern Alaska and Canada. Although there is some information on migration, little is known about the specific migration pathways and habitats used by sea ducks. Hence, it is difficult to predict the degree of potential threat of expanded oil and gas development to these three sea duck species, all of which have experienced a population decline in recent years. Using satellite telemetry, this study is providing information about the location and timing of use of migration corridors, so that analysts can better predict and mitigate any adverse effects of offshore petroleum development on subject populations. The study is also providing information on affiliations between wintering, breeding and moulting grounds, thereby helping to define populations units. Such information is essential to effectively manage a harvested species.
Project Reports:
Identification of Beaufort Sea Migration Corridor for Sea Ducks