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Yereth Rosen

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said Tuesday it is launching an environmental study of possible oil and gas leasing in federal waters of Cook Inlet, a marine area that has drawn little industry interest in the past.

BOEM said it will formally start the environmental impact study with a Federal Register notice to be published Thursday. The agency said it is seeking public comments though Dec. 8 on a possible lease sale that would be held at a yet-to-be-determined date...

Yereth Rosen

Illegal crab harvests in the Russian Far East are threatening stocks and flooding markets, said a new report issued by the World Wildlife Fund .

The illegal catches of crab in Russian waters of the Bering Sea and in Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk are 1.7 to four times as high as the legal harvests, said the report, titled “Illegal Russian Crab: An Investigation of Trade Flow.”

“Foreign vessels and some Russian vessels illegally harvest crab, and this extreme overexploitation of crab causes grave concern about the sustainability of several Russian Far East crab species,” the report said...

Yereth Rosen

Ocean waters are getting more acidic, spelling trouble for shell-bearing fish, corals and the ecosystems that depend on them, but federal agencies have lagged in their efforts to understand the problem and respond to it, said an investigative report issued Tuesday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office .

The report was issued at the request of Sen. Mark Begich, chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard, and the requests of other coastal-state senators...

Yereth Rosen

Alaska Native children hurt in off-road-vehicle accidents are far less likely than non-Native children to have been wearing helmets, resulting in injuries that are more severe, said a study published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health .

The study evaluated records of 921 children injured in such accidents from 2001 to 2011. Fifty-one percent of the injured children were Alaska Native, the study said.

Of those for whom helmet status was known, only 24 percent of the injured Native children were wearing helmets, while 71 percent of the injured non-Native children were wearing them, the study said...

Yereth Rosen

Interior Alaska’s hot and dry summer of 2013, coupled with an invasion of insect pests that proliferated in number this year, has taken a steep toll on the region’s birch trees, experts say.

Had it not been for the heavy rains that swept in during the second half of this summer, a large number of the trees might have been doomed, said Glenn Juday , a professor of forest ecology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

“If we had not had something like a near-record rainfall, we would have seen mass tree deaths,” Juday said...

Yereth Rosen
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Interior Alaska’s hot and dry summer of 2013, coupled with an invasion of insect pests that proliferated in number this year, has taken a steep toll on the region’s birch trees, experts say...

Yereth Rosen

The nation’s northernmost community is getting warmer, most dramatically in October, when sea ice loss has been greatest, according to a new University of Alaska Fairbanks study that analyzed decades of weather data.

While average annual temperatures in Barrow increased by 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.86 Fahrenheit) from 1979 to 2012, October temperatures rose by a whopping 7.2 degrees (12.96 Fahrenheit) over that period, according to the study, published in the Open Atmospheric Science Journal ...

Yereth Rosen

Federal and state agencies have teamed up for a fourth time to hold jointly scheduled oil and gas lease sales next month for territory across Arctic Alaska...

Yereth Rosen

Yellow-billed loons , migratory birds that nest on large lakes dotting Alaska’s North Slope, do not need Endangered Species Act protections, federal regulators said on Wednesday...

Yereth Rosen

Gatherings of thousands of walruses crowded together on northwestern Alaska shorelines, like the congregation of 35,000 animals spotted this weekend near the Inupiat Eskimo village of Point Lay , have become regular occurrences in the new era of scarce summer sea ice.

But the behavior is different from what walruses did in the past, and possibly costly to the big marine mammals, scientists from three federal agencies said at a telephone briefing on Wednesday...

Yereth Rosen

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