AWRA Alaska Northern-Region Meetings

May 16, 2012 Philip Martin, Whither water? The hydrologic concerns of the Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Whither water? The hydrologic concerns of the Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Philip Martin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) are partnerships that link science with conservation actions to address climate change and other stressors across landscapes. The Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (ALCC) is one of 22 LCCs in a national network dedicated to improving our understanding of changes expected under future climate conditions. LCCs bring together multiple partners - governmental agencies, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations with resource management expertise - to strengthen the scientific basis for management decision-making.

The ALCC's goals include helping management agencies better understand and predict effects of climate change and other stressors on landscape-level physical and ecosystem processes. Hydrologic processes have been identified as a key driver of change affecting fish and wildlife habitat. The ALCC is moving on several fronts to promote the implementation of a hydroclimate observational network for northern Alaska, such as:

  • Support for existing monitoring programs at Fish Creek, Kuparuk River, and Hulahula river basins
  • Data aggregation and integration
  • Evaluation of the existing observational capacity
  • Design of a distributed watershed-scale observational network
The ALCC has also supported projects that include modeling of processes of key importance to wildlife habitat. These include a near-complete project which models the vulnerability of lakes to sudden drainage events, and beginning next year, spatial data sets depicting historical snow conditions at a regional scale.

The ALCC has benefited from the advice of professional hydrologists through an internal technical working group. We hope to involve other groups, such as AWRA, as participants in the evaluation of the arctic hydroclimate database design and in a workshop to develop priorities for the snow modeling project.