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King and Spectacled Eider Surveys

Endangered Eider Survey North Slope Alaska
The eider survey crew hard at work.

ABR biologists Kristen Rozell and Tim Obritschkewitsch, with assistance from Brian Houseman, Robert McNown, Mette Moeller, and Forrest Rosenbower, completed the second of a 5-year monitoring project to investigate the potential effects of development on the distribution, abundance, habitat use, and productivity of King Eiders on Alaska's North Slope. Tim conducted the aerial surveys for pre-nesting eiders, and Kristen led the ground-based nest-monitoring team. While aerial surveys are effective for investigating potential changes in broad-scale distribution and abundance, with a focus on the effects of nearby infrastructure, the ground-based monitoring explores potential changes to habitat use, nesting behavior, and nest survival during construction and the first few years of operation of a new oil production facility.

Brian Houseman and Mette Moeller on Eider Survey, Alaska
Brian Houseman (near) with Mette Moeller (far)

Kristen’s team also conducted searches for Spectacled Eider nests at equipment storage locations and at several other sites near the Colville River delta. Nest searches were conducted on foot to locate active and inactive nests in compliance with development permit stipulations. The searches identified nest locations, so disturbances by ongoing oilfield activities to nesting eiders could be avoided.


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