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Award Abstract #1263854

Cumulative Effects of Arctic Oil Development - planning and designing for sustainability

NSF Org: PLR
Division Of Polar Programs
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Initial Amendment Date: September 17, 2013
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Latest Amendment Date: September 17, 2013
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Award Number: 1263854
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Neil R. Swanberg
PLR Division Of Polar Programs
GEO Directorate For Geosciences
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Start Date: September 15, 2013
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End Date: August 31, 2018 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $1,402,992.00
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Investigator(s): Donald Walker ffdaw@uaf.edu (Principal Investigator)
Gary Kofinas (Co-Principal Investigator)
Yuri Shur (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus
West Ridge Research Bldg 008
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7880 (907)474-7301
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NSF Program(s): ARCTIC SYSTEM SCIENCE PROGRAM,
ArcSEES
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Program Reference Code(s): 1079, 8560
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Program Element Code(s): 5219, 8109, MX49

ABSTRACT

This project devises a sustainable approach to assessing the cumulative effects of oil exploration though combining detailed ground studies, local community input, industry involvement, and an international perspective. A three-pronged initiative is proposed: 1) A case study of the cumulative effects of industrial infrastructure at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska will focus on infrastructure-related effects associated with gravel mines, roads and other areas of gravel placement. The study will include ground-based studies, an examination of infrastructure and landscape change at multiple scales, and a human dimension component that includes evaluation of adaptive management planning for infrastructure in northern Alaska and CE studies associated with the Iñupiat village of Nuiqsut. The study will develop a process-based understanding of infrastructure-related permafrost/ landform/ vegetation succession in terrain undergoing thermokarst formation (the development of highly eroded landforms the result from the thawing of ice-rich permafrost). The study will help to answer the questions ?What will these areas look like in 50 -100 years?? and ? Can adaptive management methods address the complex issues related to placement, usage and decommissioning of infrastructure in Northern Alaska?? 2) An Arctic Infrastructure Action Group (AI-AG) will bring the CE issues to greater prominence in the international Arctic research community. The AI-AG

will consist of local people who interact with development infrastructure, permafrost scientists, ecologists, hydrologists, engineers, social scientists and educators seeking to develop adaptive management strategies that address the unique issues related to networks of infrastructure in arctic permafrost

environments. Three workshops will bring panarctic participants together, first in a scoping workshop and then to focus specifically on the two most rapidly expanding areas of Arctic infrastructure, the North Slope of Alaska and the Yamal Peninsula, Russia. 3) An education/outreach component will train students in arctic systems and introduce them to the issues of industrial development and adaptive management approaches during an expedition along the Elliott and Dalton highways in Alaska. The course will include a section at Prudhoe Bay to learn firsthand about the issues with oilfield infrastructure, its impacts and vegetation rehabilitation practices. Students will also visit the village of Nuiqsut to experience village life and discuss CE issues with the local residents.


PUBLICATIONS PRODUCED AS A RESULT OF THIS RESEARCH

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M. K. Raynolds, D. A. Walker, K. J. Ambrosius, J. Brown, K. R. Everett, M. Kanevskiy, G. P. Kofinas, V. E. Romanovsky, Y. Shur, and P. J. Webber. "Cumulative geoecological effects of 62 years of infrastructure and climate change in ice-rich permafrost landscapes, Prudhoe Bay Oilfield, Alaska.," Global Change Biology, v.20, 2014, p. 1211-1224.

Kanevskiy, M., Jorgenson, M.T., Shur, Y., O?Donnell, J.A., Harden, J.W.,Zhuang, Q., and Fortier, D.. "Cryostratigraphy and permafrost
evolution in lacustrine lowlands of west-central Alaska.," Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, v.25, 2014, p. 14-34.

Buchhorn, M., D. A. Walker, B. Heim, M. K. Raynolds, H. E. Epstein, and M. Schweider.. "Hyperspectral characterization of Low Arctic tundra vegetation along environmental gradients.," Remote Sensing, v.5, 2013, p. 3971-4005. 

Bhatt, U. S., D. A. Walker, J. E. Walsh, E. C. Carmack, K. E. Frey, W. N. Meier, S. E. Moore, F.-J. W. Parmentier, E. Post, V. E. Romanovsky, and W. R. Simpson.. "Implications of Arctic sea ice decline for the Earth system.," Annual Review of Environment and Resources, v.39, 2014, p. 57. 

Raynolds, M. K., Walker, D. A., Ambrosius, K. J., Brown, J., Everett, K. R., Kanevskiy, M., et al.Global Change Biology, (20), 1211?1224. http://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12500. "Cumulative geoecological effects of 62 years of infrastructure and climate change in ice-rich permafrost landscapes, Prudhoe Bay Oilfield, Alaska.," Global Change Biology, v.20, 2014, p. 1211. 

 

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