The Western Arctic Reserve may be less well-known than the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but its wildlife populations are every bit as unique, spectacular and endangered.
Please take a minute to ask the Obama Administration to grant the strongest possible protection to the Western Arctic Reserve.
Nearly a century ago, the Western Arctic Reserve was set aside as a “National Petroleum Reserve”, but it remains one of our continent’s last, largely untouched tracts of wilderness and wildlife habitat.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a new area-wide plan for the Reserve, providing an ideal opportunity to safeguard its greatest natural treasures -- so-called “Special Areas” -- from destructive oil and gas development.
These Special Areas -- some established at the direction of Congress in the late 1970’s and others proposed by conservationists -- include the Colville River, Teshekpuk Lake, Utukok Uplands, Kasegaluk Lagoon, Dease Inlet, Peard Bay, Ikpikpuk River and the DeLong Mountains and Foothills Special Areas.
The vast network of coastal lagoons, deep lakes, sedge grass meadows and streams that make up the prized Teshekpuk Lake region provide the critical calving grounds for one of the largest caribou herds in Alaska, as well as summer habitat for polar bears. A staggering variety of birds also take refuge in these wetlands, some migrating from as far south as Antarctica.
Along the northwestern coast of the Western Arctic Reserve, up to 3,500 beluga whales gather in the Kasegaluk Lagoon every year to feed and bear their young.
The vast wilderness of the Reserve supports more than just Arctic wildlife. Inupiat Eskimos have subsisted here for thousands of years by following the caribou herds.
Many of these areas have not yet been disturbed, and this may be our last best chance to preserve them for the future. Please tell the BLM that it’s time to grant the Western Arctic Reserve the protection it deserves.
Thank you for taking action to protect our last Arctic wildlands and wildlife.