US Arctic Research Commission
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February 8, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 

 

The Senate is expected to consider an amendment to strip NASA-related provisions from the Federal Aviation Authorization bill.  The House is expected to consider surveillance provision extensions.

 

Arctic Technology Conference, February 7-9, 2011. The Arctic is one of the few places on the globe which still holds enormous new petroleum reserve potential. A recently completed USGS survey estimated that 20% of the world's remaining reserves were trapped beneath the Arctic Circle. OTC's inaugural Arctic Technology Conference (ATC), 7-9 February 2011 in Houston, Texas, will be a truly global event focused on the cutting-edge technologies and innovative practices needed for exploration and production in the Arctic.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  

 

EPA Plans Scientific Assessment of Bristol Bay Watershed. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a scientific assessment of the Bristol Bay watershed to better understand how future large-scale development projects may affect water quality and Bristol Bay's salmon fishery, an extraordinary salmon resource for the United States. EPA initiated this assessment in response to concerns from federally-recognized tribes and others who petitioned the agency in 2010 to assess any potential risks to the watershed."The Bristol Bay watershed is essential to the health, environment and economy of Alaska," said EPA Regional Administrator Dennis McLerran. "Gathering data and getting public input now, before development occurs, just makes sense. Doing this we can be assured that our future decisions are grounded in the best science and information and in touch with the needs of these communities. We look forward to working with Alaskans to protect and preserve this valuable resource." Environmental Protection Agency

Begich's press release 

Murkowski's press release

 

Killer Whales Ambushing Gray Whales in Aleutians. It was early May, a time when the epic gray whale migration to the Arctic had reached the Unimak Pass entrance to the Bering Sea. A group of killer whales swam excitedly back and forth in a patch of ocean off Akatan Peninsula in the Aleutian Islands, about 650 miles southwest of Anchorage. There were four or five of them -- all members of the secretive type that hunts only marine mammals -- and they appeared highly agitated. Soon one of the 10-ton, black-and-white predators breached from the sea near a boat with human observers, riding the swell about two miles off the wild, uninhabited coast. What was going on? Alaska Dispatch

 

Subsistence Mapping Project Strengthens Traditional Knowledge for Future Generations. Subsistence is key to our culture and economy in the Northwest Arctic Borough. Mayor Siikauraq Whiting and the borough staff are glad to share we successfully received a $1.8 million grant to conduct a 4-year project documenting and mapping subsistence uses and habitats in our region.  The results from this important project will protect subsistence and will belong to the borough and our residents. The borough is now hiring four new staff including a Traditional Knowledge Specialist and three Subsistence Mapping Interns based in Noatak or Kivalina, Deering or Buckland, and Selawik or Noorvik. The Arctic Sounder

 

Obama Won't Kill BIA or IHS. If his budget for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Indian Health Service (IHS) can be used to gauge federal responsibility to Indians, President Barack Obama is measuring up okay. His first year in office, the president's first budget request for IHS was 13 percent more than President George W. Bush's 2009 request-$4.03 billion. IHS health care facilities' construction was the one item in the proposal that was decreased over the previous year, from $40 million to $29 million. For 2011, the president requested $4.4 billion, an 8 percent increase over the 2010 level appropriated by Congress. Given the constant underfunding of the agency, some advocates said that doubling the budget would be appropriate, but the requests under Obama have at least been increases, a welcome development compared to the flat or reduced numbers during the Bush administration. The Indian Health Care Improvement Act reauthorization, signed into law last year, calls for future funding to cover Indian population increases plus medical inflation. Despite Obama's willingness to trim at BIA, he is never going to support Sen. Rand Paul's proposal to eliminate it. Said Shin Inouye, a spokesman for the White House: "The president would oppose efforts to cut off all funds for the Bureau of Indian Affairs-such a step would severely impede its ability to fulfill its responsibilities to American Indians and Alaska Natives. While we need to make tough choices to get our deficits under control so that we can be competitive in the global economy, we should do so in a responsible manner." Indian Country Today 

 

Arctic Not Overfished: Nunavut fishing group: UBC scientist says accurate fishing numbers are important. Under-reporting of Arctic fishing data to the United Nations is no cause for alarm, according to Nunavut's largest fisheries group. "I certainly don't think there's overfishing," Jerry Ward, chief executive officer of the Baffin Fisheries Coalition, told CBC News. He added that the Iqaluit-based fisheries group believes fishing quotas should only be increased if good science supports that kind of move. CBC News

Legislative Actionfutureevents
 

No Arctic-related legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Eventsfutureevents      

  

Fiscal 2012 Budget: Energy Department, February 16.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the Department of Energy.

 

Murkowski Alaska State Legislature Address, February 24. Senator Murkowski will deliver her annual address to the Alaska State Legislature.

 

Fiscal 2012 Budget: Interior Department, March 2.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the Department of Interior.

 

Fiscal 2012 Budget: Forest Service, March 3.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the U.S. Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture.

 

International Conference on Arctic Marine Science, International Law and Climate Protection, March 17-18. The German Federal Foreign Office is hosting an event that will take place on the Berlin premises of the Federal Office. The event is co-hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, with additional support from prominent research institutes. The Conference will discuss the legal framework for marine scientific research in the Arctic Ocean at present and in the future. Scholars, scientists and diplomats with an interest in the Arctic Ocean are invited to attend. For more information, please contact 504-s@diplo.de.

 

Arctic Dialogue & Study Tour, March 22-24, 2011. For the past four years Norway's Bod? University Graduate School of Business, the High North Centre for Business and Governance (affiliated with the University), the International Institute of Energy Politics and Diplomacy (MIEP) at MGIMO University in Moscow, Russia, and HBW Resources have hosted an annual Arctic Dialogue and Study Tour.  The tour brings together stakeholders from all Arctic nations (government, industries, academic, native and local peoples) to discuss issues involving resource development in the Arctic, and share common experiences, best practices and solutions. For more information contact Andrew Browning.

 

Arctic Science Summit Week, Seoul, March 28-April 1, 2011. The purpose of Korean Flagthe Arctic Science Summit Week is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science. The Arctic Science Week 2011 is supported by the Korean government, the Korean Research Council of Fundamental Science & Technology, and the Seoul Tourism Organization, among other groups.  

 

The Arctic as a Messenger for Global Processes- Climate Change and Pollution, May 4-6, 2011. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), the University of Copenhagen, and Aarhus University. The conference will include talks by invited keynote speakers, oral presentations selected on the basis of submitted abstracts, poster presentations, and short oral presentations of selected posters. A panel discussion will develop messages to be communicated to the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting that will take place in Greenland one week after the conference. 

  
Sixth International Conference on Arctic Margins, May 31-June 2, 2011 at the University of Alaska - Fairbanks.  The International Conference on Arctic Margins (ICAM) will examine current geological and geophysical research on the Arctic. Topics include: hydrocarbon potential and gas hydrates; science issues relating to UNCLOS Article 76; geodynamic significance of Arctic magmatism; vertical motions in the Arctic, tectonic, and glacial; geology and palaeogeography of the Arctic continental margins; evolution of the Arctic Ocean basins, including plate reconstructions, magmatism, and sedimentology; modern Arctic environments, including geological, climatic, and oceanographic processes; recent advances in Arctic research technology. More information email.
 
7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011The 7th Congress, "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences Beyond the IPY," will be held in Akureyri, Iceland. The International Congress of the Arctic Social Sciences is held every three years. 
 
Holocene Glacier Variability from the Tropics to the Poles, July 20-27, 2011. Glaciers respond sensitively to climate change. Recent (Holocene) glacier fluctuations are a valuable proxy for terrestrial interglacial paleoclimate conditions. A main challenge for interpreting paleoclimate from past mountain glacier extents is distinguishing local and regional patterns from global signals. Reconstructing Holocene glacier extents involves many disciplines including terrestrial and marine geology, geochronology and glaciology. Organizers hope to facilitate an inter-hemispheric comparison of glacier records including locations in the Tropics, European Alps, American Cordillera, Southern Alps of New Zealand, Himalaya and Polar Regions and to identify future research questions and directions. For additional information contact: Meredith Kelly.
 
13th Arctic Ungulates Conference (AUC), August 22-26, 2011. The theme of the conference will be "Challenges of Managing Northern Ungulates." The theme Muskokaddresses the difficulties of managing ungulate populations that are faced with the unpredictable effects of climate change and an ever-increasing human presence on the land. The conference will also focus on the challenges associated with developing recovery actions for declining caribou and reindeer populations that are an integral part of Aboriginal cultures and ways of life. 
 
9th International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering, September 3-7, 2011. The Melnikov Permafrost Institute (Yakutsk, Russia), the Institute of Northern Mining (Yakutsk, Russia), the Cold and Arid Regions Engineering and Environmental Research Institute (Lanzhou, China), and the Heilongjiang Institute of Cold Region  Engineering (Harbin, China) will host the Ninth International Symposium on  Permafrost Engineering to be held in Mirny, Yakutia. The aim of the Symposium i s to provide a forum for discussion of permafrost engineering issues, as well as for exchange of practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva.
 
Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, September 14-17, 2011. The 27th Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, entitled "Fishing People of the North: Cultures, Economies, and Management Responding to Change," will be held in Anchorage, Alaska. This international symposium will provide a forum for scholars, fishery managers, fishing families, and others to explore the human dimensions of fishery systems and growing need to include social science research in policy processes. The conference is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Sea Grant program.   

 

Operating in the Arctic: Supporting the US Coast Guard Challenges Through Research, Sept. 21-23, 2010. This workshop, held on at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the US Arctic Research Commission, explored and identified ways in which scientific research and development can improve the ability of the U.S. Coast Guard to operate and carry out its statutory missions in the Arctic region. Participation in this event included state, local and international stakeholders, academics and researchers, and USCG and other federal agency officials. A funding opportunity associated with this activity is described here.

 

The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012. The conference will be held in Tyumen, Russia, and is organized and hosted by Russia. The last conference was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2008.  More details to follow.   

 

American Meteorological Society Summer Policy Colloquium, June 5-14. This policy colloquium brings together a group to consider atmospheric policy.  The colloquium will cover policy creation basics, interactions with congressional staff, and information on the current atmospheric policy issues. 

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