Click Here for a downloadable map of Alaska's IBAs.
Alaska spans 1200 miles from north to south, and 2300 miles from west to east with a land mass that is larger than Texas, California, and Montana combined. Alaska has over 47,000 miles of coastline and a diversity of habitats that range from temperate rainforest to Arctic tundra. Alaska also has more than 75 million seabirds, 10 million waterfowl, and many species of birds that breed nowhere else in the US.
Alaska's IBA program began in 2000, in cooperation with the Russian Union for Bird Conservation and the Asia Council of BirdLife International, to identify marine and coastal IBAs on both the Alaskan and Russian sides of the Bering Sea. In October 2001, Audubon Alaska initiated a second IBA project in the Cook Inlet watershed of southcentral Alaska. Sites were identified based on information provided by wildlife agencies, Audubon chapters, major landowners, and others in the Cook Inlet area.
In 2004, Audubon Alaska received a State Wildlife Grant from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game to support a statewide IBA project. Building on the work already carried out in the Bering Sea and Cook Inlet regions, Audubon Alaska launched the statewide IBA project in 2005, and over the next few years identified IBAs across Alaska. An Alaska IBA Technical Committee was formed in April 2005 to help to guide the process.
From 2010 to 2015, we developed spatial analysis methods to reassess Alaska's IBAs. We identified marine IBAs utilizing a wealth of new at-sea survey data (the NPPSD 2) and the revised Beringian seabird colony catalog. We identified new and/or revised coastal and interior IBAs using an extensive compilation of data we called the Alaska Waterbird Dataset. This work was supported by a grant from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. The marine IBA identification methods were published in Biological Conservation in 2014.
We continue to gather and analyze bird survey datasets to identify core areas for species within Alaska. Currently our work focuses on utilizing the existing IBAs and spatial data layers to analyze threats, prioritize our work, and recommend conservation of these sites.