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DEC to collect Chukchi Sea environmental data

2-year coastal assessment will gather baseline data

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA - The Department of Environmental Conservation's
(DEC) Alaska Monitoring and Assessment Program (AKMAP) in partnership with
the University of Alaska School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences will be collecting
environmental data in the Chukchi Sea from Aug. 22 to Sept. 9 this year, and
during the summer of 2011. The region being studied is the near-shore area from
Point Hope to Wainwright.

AKMAP is part of the larger EPA National Coastal Assessment that is surveying
the environmental condition of the nation's entire coastal water resources. Since
2001, AKMAP has conducted coastal surveys in Southeast Alaska, Southcentral
Alaska, and the Aleutians.

"This year and next we are focused on the Chukchi Sea," said Doug Dasher,
DEC's lead scientist for the survey. "The survey includes a comprehensive
assessment of water quality, sediment and biological conditions for 50
statistically selected sites."

As funding allows, after 2011, the surveys will move north to the Beaufort Sea,
then west to Bristol Bay and the Bering Sea coast.

The $2.15 million Chukchi Sea survey is taking place in late August to avoid
interfering with subsistence activities and to avoid sea ice. The team of 12
researchers will be use the 115-foot Norseman II as their work platform. DEC and
other environmental managers will use this information to support water quality
evaluation, permitting action, baseline assessments, and to track environmental
trends over time.

"The bottom line is this survey will provide resource managers with the high
quality scientific information they need to manage Alaska's resources," said
Dasher.

For more information go to DEC's website at:
http://www.dec.alaska.gov/water/wqsar/monitoring/emap_Map.htm

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