Arctic Update Header
November 6, 2013


The House is not in session. The Senate will consider employment legislation.



Climate-Change Relocation of Alaska Village Stops After State Audit Finds Potential Wrongdoing. An effort to move an eroding Southwest Alaska village that's a poster child for the negative effects of climate change has lurched to a dramatic halt. A state audit has uncovered potential wrongdoing and said the tribe running the multi-million dollar project should repay some $300,000 in state funds. Alaska Dispatch


Salmon State Appeal of Subsistence Ruling Attacked by Natives. The Parnell administration's decision this week to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the latest Katie John subsistence ruling as a states' rights issue was described Tuesday as an assault on rural Alaska by leaders of the Alaska Federation of Natives. The state on Monday appealed a ruling in July by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The state said the appeals court improperly approved Interior Department rules enforcing federal subsistence fishing rights for rural Alaskans on navigable rivers that would otherwise be owned and managed by the state. Anchorage Daily News


Massive Moose Die-Offs: Is Alaska Next? Recent headlines have focused national attention on massive moose die-offs in the Lower 48. The mortalities may be due largely to winter ticks and other parasites. Is that something that could happen in Alaska? It will if nothing is done about it. Like with the hottest fashions, Alaska is often the last state in the union to be hit with trends. But that doesn't mean they can't happen here. If any of the parasites decimating moose populations gain a foothold in Alaska, it could spell the end of moose populations and moose hunting as we know them. Alaska Dispatch


polar bear matt Polar Bear Researchers to Try Crowdsourcing. Polar bear researchers are experimenting with the idea of crowdsourcing data as they study the effects of climate change on the animals. This time of year the bears gather on the Hudson Bay's southwestern shore to wait for the water to freeze so they can trek the ice in search of food. Anchorage Daily News


The Arctic Ceases to be a "Province." The conflict around the Arctic is growing, admits the Russian government. In order to secure the country's economic and geopolitical interests in the region Moscow is planning to upgrade the structure, the military, economic and technical procurement of the armed forces. A major part of the state program of the region's development until 2020 about to be adopted is dedicated to this issue. Voice of Russia


russian flag Defense Ministry to Form Ice-Class Patrol Ship Unit. The Russian Defense Ministry will form a unit of ice-class patrol ships, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a teleconference at the ministry's Situational Center on Wednesday. "We are considering the formation of a unit of ice-class patrol ships and new Army hardware. Hopefully, we will find new ways of transportation of cargo in the Arctic, including support for vessels moving along Arctic routes," Shoigu said. Russia Beyond the Headline


Is Time the Most Important Arctic Resource? [Opinion] Oil and gas. Uranium and rare earth metals. Cod and shrimp. Reindeer and seal pelts. These things constitute the bulk of discussions about Arctic resources, yet there's one resource that's overlooked: time. At the Arctic Circle summit in Reykjavik earlier in October, economist and Sami reindeer herder Anders Johansen Eira gave a talk -- "The Challenges of Sami Reindeer Husbandry" -- to about 30 people in a small, cement-walled room floating over Faxaflói Bay in Reykjavik. The audience at the "Hunters and Fishermen" breakout session paled in comparison to the 900-odd people who listened to the plenary sessions in the main conference hall earlier that day. While many plenary speakers at Arctic Circle trotted out tired statistics about the 13 percent of global undiscovered oil in the Arctic or the 40 percent shorter shipping route between Europe and Asia, Eira had something new to say: time is of the essence for reindeer herders. Outside interests are not only encroaching on their pastures, but also on their time, a resource trickier to value than oil or gold. Alaska Dispatch


Arctic Study Targets Prudhoe Bay Effects. An examination of the effects of oil industry installations around Prudhoe Bay is one of two studies of Arctic sustainability selected for funding by a joint program of the National Science Foundation, US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and international partners. The NSF Arctic Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (ArcSEES) program has funded six projects that support interdisciplinary science important to understanding sustainability of the Arctic. Oil and Gas Journal


Polar Bears Gather in Small Canadian Town as Migration Begins. Like any small town, Churchill, Manitoba, has its share of local gossip, colorful figures and Rockwell-like traditions. It also has nearly a thousand polar bears lumber through every fall. Welcome to the "Polar Bear Capital of the World," where each year, this town of 800 gets overtaken with 1,200 pound bears making their way from the northern woodlands of Canada to the frozen Hudson Bay in search of seals. ABC News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was considered yesterday.

Future Events


Workshop to Explore Alaska and the New Maritime Arctic, November 6-8, 2013. (Anchorage, Alaska) The University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences and the Institute of the North organized the event, with the Norwegian Embassy and Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development sponsoring. Topics include marine operations in and around the U.S. maritime Arctic, marine access, economic opportunities and links to Alaska's natural resources, marine infrastructure needs and how Russia's Northern Sea Route links to the region.


Workshop: Community Oil Spill Response in Bering and Anadyr Straits, November 7-8, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska). "This workshop will bring together diverse stakeholders to learn more about and respond to community desires to be part of oil spill first-response efforts that help protect food security and other local resources; come to agreement on the multiple roles local community members can play in responding to oil spills; and create an action plan for moving forward on this topic. The workshop is sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society." 


Maritime & Arctic Security Conference (MAS13), November 12-13, 2013 (St. John's, NL, Canada). "For decades the Arctic has received increasing attention from the international community related to factors/considerations such as environmental, geopolitical, strategic, and security. More recently with shrinking Arctic ice leading to the pursuance of off-shore resources and the

opening of northern shipping routes, over a relatively short period of time we are seeing maritime security considerations start to blend with arctic security." 


"With a focus on Economic Development, Security and Public Safety, MAS13 will bring together organizations that play a key role in the execution of Maritime & Arctic Security: whether that role be Cultural, Research, Government Policy/Regulation, Education, Surveillance, Enforcement, and Technology Development/Application." 


Full Conference Agenda 


The World Wildlife Foundation hosts the Fuller Symposium on the Forces of Nature.
Speakers from around the world will engage in active discussion around topics including local responses to forces like land grabbing and climate change, evaluation of community conservation impacts, new technologies for catalyzing social movements, private-sector initiatives, and global policy opportunities. Edward Itta is one of the scheduled speakers. The annual Fuller Symposium convenes thought leaders in science, policy, conservation, and development to discuss innovative approaches to complex issues facing our planet. USARC Commissioner Edward Itta will present. 

RFP Closing Soon. November 13, 2013. As a result of the recent discussions regarding Social Science during the Board, Advisory Panel, and Science Panel meetings, the North Pacific Research Board would like to issue a request for quotes to organize a Social Science workshop and produce a final report as a follow-up to the commissioned white paper, "Global Review of Social Science Integration with Natural Resource Management." 

Please note that the deadline is Wednesday, November 13 at 5pm AKST. 

Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge Request for Proposals Due November 15.  The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Village Safe Water announces a research and development effort to seek better and more affordable methods to deliver drinking water and sewage disposal services to communities in rural Alaska. The three-month long, international solicitation calls for individuals from a variety of diverse fields - engineering, science and research, behavioral science, and innovative design - to organize as teams and submit Statements of Qualifications. Up to six of the top ranked teams will be funded to develop proposals over a six month period next year. Future phases of the project include building prototypes and testing them in lab and field settings. 


For more information about the project please: 



Arctic Cities, Global Processes, and Local Realities, December 2-4, 2013 (Rovaniemi, Finland).
 "The conference is organized jointly by the City of Rovaniemi and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, Finland. The goal of the conference is to present the latest scientific research and knowledge about the global processes as they become local realities. Even if the Conference is scientific in orientation, it aims to bridge science and knowledge into action by bringing top scholars to share their research results, and to organize joint discussion with the leaders of the Arctic Cities. Sessions include: Rovaniemi Process: past, present, future; Arctic responses to global environmental problems; people and extractive industries; tourism in the Arctic; the Arctic in global economy; climate change in the Arctic; indigenous peoples in cities; and, Arctic global flows. Cross-cutting themes include: Arctic cities and global processes; management and governance in the Arctic; and, Arctic together with non-Arctic."

American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, December 9-13. (San  Francisco, CA)

The AGU Fall Meeting is the largest worldwide conference in the AGU logo geophysical sciences, attracting more than 24,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders. For 46 years, scientists from around the world gather at the AGU Fall Meeting to exchange information and broaden their knowledge base. In addition to the scientific programming, the meeting offers over 50 Town Halls and Workshops, including one on Monday, Dec. 9, titled, "Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) and Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), organized by Helen Wiggins, Brendan Kelly, and Hajo Eicken, from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm in 2018 Moscone West. 


Search the AGU meeting for Arctic-related research sessions here


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 20-24, 2014. (Anchorage, Alaska) The mission of the Alaska Marine Science Symposium is to bring together scientists, policymakers, students, educators, media and the public to share research findings focused on Alaska's marine fisheries and ecosystems. The Symposium is built around regional themes-Bering Sea, Arctic Ocean, and the Gulf of Alaska. Within each theme, there will be discussions on climate, oceanography, lower tropic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research.


The agenda is available here.


Association of American Geographers Polar Geography Sessions, April 8-12, 2014. Tampa, Florida. Polar Geography Sessions are being planned in areas such as Sustainable Development in the Arctic, Urbanization and Transportation in the Arctic, etc. Contact Scott Stephenson ( for more information, and see attached flyer. 


Arctic Science Summit Week April 5-8, 2014 and Arctic Observing Summit, April 9-11, Helsinki, Finland. ASSW is a gathering for Arctic research organizations. Any organization engaged in supporting and facilitating arctic research is welcome to participate. The ASSW meeting in 2014 will be arranged during April 5-8 in Helsinki Kumpula Campus, in the facilities of FMI and Physics Department of the University of Helsinki. Second circular here


International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, May 22-26, 2014 (Prince George, British Columbia). "The International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA) announces the 8th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS VIII).ICASS is held every three years, bringing together people from all over the world to share ideas about social science research in the Arctic. ICASS VII, held in Akureyri in June 2011, attracted 450 participants from 30 different countries.  ICASS VIII's theme is Northern Sustainabilities. By using the plural, we underscore both that "sustainability" has social, cultural, economic, political and environmental dimensions, and that definitions of the concept vary."
IceTech14: International Conference and Exhibition on Performance of Ships and Structures in Ice, July 28-31, 2014 (Banff, Alberta, Canada). "The focus will be on the general theme of performance of ships and structures in ice - but with emphasis and special sessions on looking to the future in a warming world. Coverage will include technical aspects of offshore operations in Arctic and ice populated waters, as well related ice mechanics, icebreaking and ice resistance, global warming and geopolitical effects, safety and EER, subsea facilities and operations, and other relevant subjects in a polar context particularly in view of current global concerns. Both technical papers and selected panel sessions will be included. We will also continue to host a small commercial exhibition for organizations wishing to set up stand."
Abstract Submission Deadline: November 17,  2013

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