WASHINGTON – The Department of the Interior today hosted a meeting of top federal policymakers and members of the federal government's science community to begin charting an ecosystem-based management framework for the Alaska Arctic that would focus on particularly important ecological areas that support special wildlife, land or water resources, as well as areas important for the subsistence and culture of local communities.
Led by Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes and Fran Ulmer, Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission and former chancellor of the University of Alaska, Anchorage, today's meeting reflects a continued commitment to ensuring that decisions about the nation's domestic energy resources in Alaska are being made as part of a coordinated management approach that takes into account the cumulative impacts of energy development activity on the natural, cultural and economic resources of the region.
“The Arctic's unique ecosystem calls for a landscape-scale approach to management that cuts across agencies, jurisdictions, and boundaries,” said Deputy Secretary Hayes. “We need to work toward a long-term management framework for the Arctic that recognizes both the resource potential of the region and the irreplaceable natural resources it contains.”
“Rapid changes in the Arctic's natural systems, and imminent expansion of human development in this region combine to present significant challenges,” said Ulmer. “It is essential to move beyond the piecemeal, project by project decision making, and address the future of this region in an integrated, holistic manner. Research and planning can help do that.”
The meeting was organized as part of the activities of the federal interagency working group established in July by President Obama to coordinate energy development in Alaska and chaired by Deputy Secretary Hayes. It was the second in a series of workshops convened by Hayes and Ulmer to discuss how to facilitate the delivery of relevant scientific information to officials responsible for making decisions related to energy development in Alaska. For more information, go to: http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Readout-from-Department-of-the-Interiors-Federal-Alaska-Science-Workshop.cfm.
Other meeting participants included high-level officials and scientists from the Departments of Interior, State, Defense, Commerce, Agriculture, Energy, Homeland Security, Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects, the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Executive Office of the President. Also participating were senior representatives from the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee, and the Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative.
This dialogue is part of the Administration's commitment to continuing the expansion of safe and responsible production of our domestic resources. Hayes and Ulmer will convene a third workshop this spring with scientists, nongovernmental organizations, industry officials, Native Alaskans, and state and federal decision-makers to continue discussing ways to enhance collaboration between the scientific community and decision-makers in the Arctic.