Fairbanks, Alaska (June 2, 2017) – WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) released a statement in response to the Department of the Interior’s announcement that it will reopen a 2013 comprehensive management plan on the future of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

The following statement was released by Martin Robards, WCS Arctic Beringia Program Director:

“When the Integrated Activity Plan (IAP) for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) was finalized in 2013, it marked the culmination of a thorough three-year public process that extensively consulted with a variety of stakeholders, including industry, conservation interests, and local residents who rely on both economic development and subsistence on natural resources for their livelihoods. The outcome was a plan that balanced energy development and the conservation of critical wildlife and their habitats. The Department of the Interior’s decision this week to reopen that IAP threatens that progress.

“More than a decade of WCS scientific research has found that parts of the NPR-A, especially the Teshekpuk Lake and Colville River Special Areas, are key nesting habitats and calving grounds for populations of caribou, migratory birds and other iconic wildlife such as wolverines.

“The balance struck by the IAP in 2013 ensured that the biggest public landscape in the country would serve wildlife, development, and the local peoples who rely on both. Reopening the process can only serve to upset that precarious balance.”


About WCS in the Arctic

Since 2002, WCS’s work in Arctic Alaska includes studying nesting by migratory waterfowl and shorebirds in the Teshekpuk Lake, Kasegaluk Lagoon, and Peard Bay Special Areas, as well as wolverine denning areas and coastal fisheries in the NPR-A. WCS works with local partners in the NPR-A to better understand the critical ecological and food security roles supported by the NPR-A Special Areas.

WCS participated in the Murie Expedition that led to the demarcation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during the Eisenhower Administration based on the area’s unique wildlife, wilderness, and recreational values. In the years since, WCS has used its scientific data to support the conservation and stewardship of this pristine public landscape.