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DEC Collects Chukchi Sea Water Quality Data

(ANCHORAGE, AK) - A team of researchers led by the Alaska Department of
Environmental Conservation (DEC) has finished sampling 30 Chukchi Sea coastal
sites from Point Lay to Barrow. The survey will provide water quality data for pH,
chemicals, temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen and other indicators such as
fish abundance.


Other researchers on the team included members of the University of Alaska,
Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration's National Status and Trends Program.

"With the good weather we were able to collect data at three sites most days," said
Doug Dasher, DEC's lead scientist for the survey. "This research will help establish
baseline conditions and assist environmental managers in evaluating potential
changes in the future. In the near-term, it will help environmental managers protect
coastal marine environments, mitigate damage to the marine ecosystem and establish
wastewater discharge requirements in state and federal permits."

The 12-day survey used the 115-foot Norseman II as a work platform and benefited
from good team work between the 13-member science team and the nine crewmen.
Sampling was completed Sept. 17.

Samples from the survey will mainly be analyzed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
with some going to Texas A&M Geological Environmental Research Group laboratory.
Typically it takes about a year for all the samples to be analyzed and to go through the
quality assurance process.

The Chukchi Sea survey is part of the larger Environmental Protection Agency
National Coastal Assessment that is surveying the environmental conditions of the
nation's entire coastal water resources. Since 2001, DEC has conducted coastal
surveys in Southeast Alaska, Southcentral Alaska, the Aleutians, coastal northern
Chukchi Sea, and Kachemak Bay.

For more information on DEC's water quality surveys visit its Web site at:
http://www.dec.state.ak.us/water/wqsar/monitoring/AKMAP.htm.

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