Offshore Exploration and Development

Offshore Exploration and Development

ABR’s Marine Sciences Program has conducted a variety of studies and has provided a variety of services for clients throughout Alaska for more than two decades. Our personnel have studied issues as diverse as environmental impact analysis of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on marine birds and mammals; the distribution and abundance of seabirds and marine mammals in relation to oceanography in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas; baseline surveys of marine bird and mammal species protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, and Chukchi and Beaufort seas; surveys to aid in minimizing impacts of seismic surveys and offshore oil development on marine birds and mammals; the effects of rocket launches on marine mammals at Kodiak Island; the effects of lighting on arctic marine organisms, including developing recommendations for lighting mitigation; and an evaluation of the efficacy of a lighting system in minimizing collisions in migrating eiders, including threatened Spectacled and Steller’s eiders, and other birds at an artificial oil-production island in the Beaufort Sea.

ABR has conducted baseline at-sea research on the distribution and abundance of marine birds and mammals in the offshore Chukchi and Beaufort seas since 2008. In addition to this research, we have provided a Chief Scientist/Project Manager for several of these interdisciplinary oceanographic cruises and have conducted marine-mammal surveys for seismic surveys in the Chukchi Sea. We also have on staff the Chief Scientist for the entire interdisciplinary scientific program related to the Klondike, Burger, and Statoil prospects. In addition to this work, we have extensive experience conducting at-sea surveys for marine birds and mammals in offshore areas from the Hawaiian Islands, Oregon, Japan, and Korea north to the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas.

ABR has conducted baseline at-sea research on the distribution and abundance of marine birds and mammals in the nearshore Chukchi and Beaufort seas since 2008. Our research also has varied from long-term monitoring surveys in the Chukchi as part of the AlaskaMap Program to studying the environmental impacts of oil spills and industrial noise from the Kodiak (Rocket) Launch Complex. We also have conducted endangered species surveys for marine birds and mammals in Cook Inlet and in the Ledyard Bay part of the Chukchi Sea and have studied the migration of eiders (including threatened Spectacled and Steller’s eiders) past an anti-collision lighting system in the Beaufort Sea. In addition, we have provided expert consultation on minimizing light-caused impacts on arctic wildlife.

ABR also has been studying anadromous and amphidromous fishes (i.e., fishes that inhabit both marine and freshwater systems during their life history) from Prudhoe Bay to the Kuk River system near Wainwright for nearly 20 years. We have worked on a number of studies cooperatively with USFWS, MMS (BOEMRE), BLM, ADF&G, NSB, the Kuukpik Subsistence Oversight Panel, and with local residents. These studies have ranged from basic inventories, to monitoring subsistence harvest, to assessing development impacts on subsistence resources.

ABR has conducted a number of diverse studies in the nearshore systems of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. For example, we have mapped vegetation and habitat on offshore islands and coastal salt marshes, have studied coastal processes, including stability and migration of offshore islands for NSF, have monitored goose colonies, and have banded geese in coastal habitats on behalf of the oil industry and the NSB.

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