Spectacled Eiderr Survey along The USDOT Alpine Pipeline, Alaska, June 2008
The U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Pipeline Safety (USDOT), has designated much of the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska that is currently occupied by oil and gas infrastructure as an Unusually Sensitive Area (USA) for Spectacled Eiders, a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The USA designation affects the USDOT-regulated pipelines in the region: Badami, Endicott, North Star, Prudhoe Bay NGL, Milne Point, Kuparuk, Oliktok, and Alpine. Five of these regulated lines are operated by ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. (CPAI) in the Kuparuk River and Colville River units (Figure 1). As part of the Pipeline Integrity Management Plan, CPAI instituted surveys in 2004 for threatened eiders within a corridor along the USDOT pipeline between the Alpine facilities on the Colville River Delta and Central Processing Facility 2 (CPF-2) in the Kuparuk Oilfield; the other USDOT pipelines in the Kuparuk Oilfield area have been covered by annual aerial surveys for pre-nesting eiders since 1993 (Anderson et al. 2008). CPAI contracted with ABR, Inc., to conduct an aerial survey for pre-nesting eiders during June 2008 and to conduct ground surveys for nests if any Spectacled Eiders were seen during the aerial survey, as directed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Spectacled Eider is one of four species of eiders that breed in arctic Alaska (Bellrose 1976). Spectacled, King (S. spectabilis), and Common (S. mollissima) eiders all nest in the oilfields on Alaska's North Slope (Johnson and Herter 1989). The Spectacled Eider was listed by the USFWS as a threatened species on 9 June 1993 (58 FR 27474–27480) under the ESA. Steller's Eiders (Polysticta stelleri) occasionally occur in the oilfields but have not been recorded as nesting; they breed mainly in western and northwestern Alaska and are uncommon east of Point Barrow (Johnson and Herter 1989). The Steller's Eider was placed on the threatened list under the ESA on 11 June 1997 (62 FR 31748–31757). The Spectacled Eider is the focus of these surveys because Steller’s Eiders are relatively uncommon in the CPAI-operated units.
Data and Resources
Start Date: 2008/06/01
End Date: 2008/06/30