Federally Managed BLM Lands within the Squirrel River drainage and a portion of Noatak National Preserve in Unit 23 are closed to caribou hunting by Non-Federally qualified users

Due to administrative delays in the Federal Rule Making Process, the Federal Subsistence Board (Board) has approved temporary delegated authority to some Federal land managers to issue special actions enacting changes to Federal Subsistence Regulations adopted by the Board at its April 2018 regulatory meeting. This delegation of authority is established pursuant to 36 CFR 242.10(d)(6) and 50 CFR 100.10(d)(6).

Pursuant to this temporary delegated authority, the Federal land manager for Bureau of Land Management lands in Unit 23 (see map) is issuing an emergency special action to close Federal public lands within the Squirrel River drainage to caribou hunting by all except Federally qualified subsistence users. This special action is effective immediately and will expire in 60 days or when the 2018-2020 Federal Subsistence Wildlife Regulations are published in the Federal Register, whichever occurs first.

The Federal land manager for the Noatak National Preserve in Unit 23 (see map) is simultaneously issuing an emergency special action to close Federal public lands within a 10 mile wide corridor (5 miles either side) along the Noatak River from the western boundary of Noatak National Preserve upstream to the confluence with the Cutler River; within the northern and southern boundaries of the Eli and Agashashok River drainages, respectively, to caribou hunting by all except Federally qualified subsistence users. This emergency special action is effective immediately and will also expire in 60 days or when the 2018-2020 Federal Subsistence Wildlife Regulations are published in the Federal Register, whichever occurs first.

Adopting this closure in Unit 23 implements the decision made by the Federal Subsistence Board at its April 2018 regulatory meeting and represents a reasonable compromise to address the complex issue of user conflicts in the area and the difficulty Federally qualified subsistence users have been having harvesting caribou as a result of these conflicts. This emergency special action to enact this partial closure is also consistent with recommendations from the Northwest Arctic, Seward Peninsula, and Western Interior Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Councils.  Additional information on the Federal Subsistence Management Program may be found on the web at www.doi.gov/subsistence or by visiting www.facebook.com/subsistencealaska.