Don Young

08/09/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/09/2019 10:36

Congressman Don Young Announces Over $1.7 Million in Grants to Protect Alaskan Wildlife

Washington, D.C. -Today, Congressman Don Young announced over $1.7 million in grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the Species Recovery Grants to States Program. The Species Recovery Grants to States Program is designed to support management, research, and outreach campaigns for the conservation of wildlife on the Endangered Species List. Congressman Young voted in support of funding for the Species Recovery Grants to States Program as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act Of 2019.

'I would like to congratulate the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for the three grants they've been awarded from NOAA to study Steller sea lions and beluga whales,' said Congressman Don Young. 'The Alaska Department of Fish and Game does important work on behalf of Alaska's unique ecosystems, and I have no doubt that this funding will go a long way to help better guide management practices for the western distinct population segment of the species range. The funding will not only help us better understand foraging ecology and habitat disturbances, but will also assist the Department of Fish and Game in the development of a long-term strategy for population recovery. I recognize how important Alaska's diverse wildlife population is to our culture and way of life. In Congress, I will continue supporting efforts to ensure future generations of Alaskans can observe and learn about these great wild animals for years to come.'

Courtesy of NOAA, grant information is as follows:

Alaska Department of Fish & Game: Habitat Use of Adult Female Steller Sea Lions in the Endangered Western Distinct Population Segment

Total Award: $443,579 (3-year award)

2019 Partial Release Amount: $199,815 (2nd year)

The goal of this proposed research is to provide updated, fine-scale, understanding of adult female Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) foraging habitat, and to determine the environmental factors influencing the timing and location of foraging behavior, thus providing better information to meet management needs in a large portion of the endangered western DPS of Steller sea lion range.

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Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Foraging ecology and habitat use of Cook Inlet Beluga whales

Total Award: $850,641 (3-year award)

2019 Partial Release Amount: $186,264 (3rd year)

The project aims to enhance and strengthen Cook Inlet Beluga (CIB) conservation and management strategies, and thus more effectively promote recovery of this endangered species. In general, the objectives of the project include the following: (a) obtaining current information on year-round CIB spatial foraging ecology and habitat use and evaluating how those life-history characteristics may have changed over the last ~50 years; (b) obtaining information on how disturbance from anthropogenic noise may cause spatial displacement of CIBs (including from important foraging areas) and a reduction in foraging behavior; and (c) assessing how growth layer groups in teeth may provide information on how CIB growth and body condition may have changed over the last ~50 years.

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Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Estimating vital rates for endangered Cook Inlet Beluga whales from individual-based data

Total Award: $409,802 (3-year award)

2019 Partial Release Amount: $126,265 (3rd year; funded by AKRO)

The purpose of this proposal is to strengthen estimation of CIB vital rates (reproduction and survival) by developing an individual-based population model using available individual-level data from four sources: 1) photo-identification, 2) necropsies of beach-cast carcasses, 3) satellite tagging data, and 4) Bristol Bay beluga DNA. The individual-based population model would provide a preliminary assessment of whether vital rates (including levels of precision) can be estimated from the four sources of information and will allow for an assessment of new sources of individual-based data necessary to improve estimates of vital rates. Overall, this work will

help address the gaps in current understanding in basic CIB biology and ultimately help determine what factors are preventing recovery of this endangered population.

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