US Arctic Research Commission
July 11, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider a non-binding debt reduction measure. The House will continue consideration of the Energy-Water appropriations bill.


Media Reviewtodaysevents    

Coast Guard Icebreaker Sets Out on Arctic Mapping Mission.
The Canadian canadian flagCoast Guard's Louis St-Laurent icebreaker left St. John's, Newfoundland this past weekend for a four-month trip along the Atlantic coast and into the Arctic Ocean. Its mission: to help map and survey the continental shelf, with the goal of bolstering Canada's claim over the Arctic Ocean's rich resources. Nunatsiaq Online 


Murkowski: "Alaska Demands More" Than New USCG Cutter. Senator Lisa Murkowski LisaMurkowski received a letter from the United States Coast Guard notifying her that the 110-foot U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Chandeleur will be headed to Ketchikan in early 2012, in an effort to fill the void created by the decommissioning of the USCGC Acushnet in March.  "The Acushnet was the 'Queen of the Coast Guard Fleet,' and they're replacing it with a 110-foot island class patrol ship that will have difficulty making it far out into just the Gulf of Alaska," said Murkowski. "Alaska demands more, and America deserves more to protect our vast northern waters and interests." Until its decommissioning four months ago, the USCGC Acushnet was the longest serving cutter in the U.S. Coast Guard, with a record dating back to World War II. Its duties entailed search and rescue, homeland security, Maritime Law enforcement and environmental protection - and had range to the Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea, North Pacific and Gulf of Alaska.  According to the Coast Guard, vessels like the Chandeleur are used in relatively calmer southern waters for drug enforcement, port security and illegal alien interdiction. Senator Lisa Murkowski 


UAF Tests Unmanned Aircraft to Study Wildlife. Greg Walker, manager of the unmanned aircraft program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, is at the beginning of a project to evaluate how the aircraft can be used to monitor endangered Steller sea lions as they haul out on remote rocky outcroppings of the Aleutian Islands hundreds of miles between airports. The News Tribune


United States is Poorly Prepared to Defend Interests in Arctic. [Opinion] When it comes to Arctic policy, the White House is delivering a series of self-inflicted wounds. Though it keeps cranking out more and more policy statements, the U.S. has invested little in addressing the emerging challenges of competition in the region. The Arctic, for example, can potentially be tapped to develop vast oil reserves. Heritage  


Arctic- Area of enhanced responsibility. The protection of national interests and cooperation in the Arctic, as well as the delimitation of Polar Regions, has come under active discussion this past week. The NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has warned against unleashing a new cold war in the Arctic. Russia has again opted for a peace dialogue. This country hopes that the expedition aboard the Academician Fyodorov research vessel that started on Monday will help ensure a fair border demarcation in the Arctic. The Voice of Russia


Murkowski Seeks Arctic Oil Spill Answers. Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski Oil Drilling in Alaskaon Friday questioned Shell Alaska Vice President Pete Slaiby about his company's Arctic oil spill response and cleanup capabilities while about a dozen reporters and photographers watched. If the unusual senatorial briefing at Shell's Anchorage headquarters felt a bit staged that's because it was -- at least sort of -- although Murkowski insisted the approach was simply an attempt at full transparency. She said she really has never had a detailed look at Shell's plan and wanted one, especially as new reports come out on the scientific information available about the Arctic. Alaska Dispatch


Traumatic Brain Injury Rates Extremely High in Northwest Alaska. A new analysis of traumatic brain injuries in Alaska shows the Northwest Alaska region with the highest hospitalization rates by far, more than quadrupling the statewide average and more than doubling rates in any other region. It also shows that Alaska Natives are far more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury than other Alaskans. The new information has spurred the Alaska Brain Injury Network and the regional health association to hold upcoming meetings in Kotzebue, the hub community for 11 Northwest villages, to determine the amount of services available for long-term treatment. The Arctic Sounder  


Many Alaska Native Languages at Risk of Extinction. If Alaska's Native languages Alaska Native Language Mapvanish in the next generation, it won't be because people didn't try hard to keep them alive, says Gary Holton. "There are significant efforts with Yup'ik immersion schools and teacher training programs," said Holton, associate professor of linguistics in the Alaska Native Language Center and director of the Alaska Native Languages Archive at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He pointed to an ongoing documentation effort, dictionaries and teaching of the endangered Deg Xinag and Han Athabascan dialects. Even Eyak, technically extinct, is benefiting from a language revival program that recently held workshops in Anchorage and Cordova, he said. But he admits that the situation is critical for many of the state's indigenous languages. Anchorage Daily News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered on Friday.

Future Events                    


Fran Ulmer

Arctic Oil and Gas Development, July 12, 2011. The Center for Strategic andInternational Studies will host a session on the Gulf oil spill and its impacts on oil and gas development in the Arctic.  Topics of discussion will include Arctic nations and their development plans, oil spill risks, and the possibilities for international cooperation to reduce the risk of major accidents. Confirmed speakers include Senator Lisa Murkowski, Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes, and Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission Fran Ulmer.


Tribal Energy Development at the Federal Level, July 14-15, 2011. Law Seminars International will host a seminar for attorneys, tribes, industry executives, and government officials to discuss energy development on tribal lands.


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 addresses 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 is 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. 


Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, September 4-6, 2011."Our Ice Dependent World," organized by the Northern Research Forum and its partners as the Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, will be hosted by the University of Akureyri in the town of Hverager