Science Spotlight

Why It's Important:

Throughout the Arctic, Native people are faced with difficult choices between the cash benefits of industrialization versus potential impacts on subsistence way of life. Subsistence hunting often provides a large fraction of foods, and may be more reliable in the long term than a cash economy based on nonrenewable resources. On the Chukchi Sea coast, pipelines connecting offshore oil wells to onshore terminals must be built across a nearshore corridor used by a variety of marine birds and mammals that are important to subsistence. During spring, these animals travel through a path of open water that forms between landfast ice and moving pack ice and thus, placement of structures is a key consideration to minimize potential for impacts on arctic wildlife. Our team is working on decision analysis tools to support decision-making and planning efforts. This is a collaborative project with Jim Loovorn (Southern Illinois University) and is funded by the National Science Foundation.

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