The BLM today issued its first Rapid Ecoregional Assessment, or REA, in Alaska, summarizing the conditions of the Seward Peninsula ecoregions.
REAs gather and synthesize existing data for all the lands in an ecoregion and identify important habitats for fish, wildlife, and species of concern. REAs also help identify areas that are not ecologically intact or readily restorable; and where development activities, such as transmission lines, may be directed to minimize potential impacts. REAs then gauge the potential of these habitats to be affected by four overarching environmental change agents: climate change, wildfires, invasive species, and development.
State Director Bud Cribley said, “Alaska is unique in that we have not experienced the large scale land development that causes threats to terrestrial and aquatic habitat on the scale that the other western states have. REAs will assist us in identifying overlapping areas of concern that we can address during our planning processes so that we wisely manage the public lands to sustain their health, diversity and productivity.”
Initial funding for the REAs came from the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009.
The study area boundaries encompass approximately 60,000 square miles and include lands managed by the State of Alaska, Alaska Native regional and village corporations, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and Fish and Wildlife Service as well as other local and private entities. All REAs are prepared in cooperation with other Federal and state land management agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey, the Department of the Interior’s lead science agency.
Additional Alaska REAs have been initiated in the Yukon Kuskokwim ecoregions, North Slope ecoregions, and Central Yukon ecoregions.
The Seward Peninsula REA report and data are now available on the internet at http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/Landscape_Approach/reas/seward.html
Public Affairs Specialist
BLM-Alaska Office of Communications
222 W. 7th Ave. #13
Anchorage, AK 99513-7504