Snowy weather and increasing darkness mean it’s time to avoid wintertime moose collisions. The build up of snow in the high country forces moose into the lowlands, seeking food. Plowed highways expose to trees and shrubs browsed by moose and cleared highways make it easier for moose to travel. Increasing darkness make these unpredictable animals even harder to see alongside the road.
The impact of an animal that can reach 900 pounds and a passenger vehicle can be catastrophic, both for the moose and passengers alike. Moose are erratic in their movements, often doubling back over the highway they just crossed. They can enter a road unseen from the shoulder or areas of restricted visibility.
In a press release, Alaska Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologist Jeff Selinger says, “The majority of our road kills occur during the winter months. Decreased visibility due to lack of daylight, icy roads, and moose movement patterns all contribute to the increased collision rates we see at this time of year.” Read More
Avian cholera is a very contagious bacterial disease that can spread quickly among seabirds. It can cause massive die-offs of infected birds, bird deaths can happen so suddenly that birds have been observed literally falling out of the sky. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported on December 4, 20013, that a unusual number of seabirds had been killed by Avian cholera on St Lawrence Island, Alaska.
Avian cholera is commonly found in birds living in other locations, but has never been seen in Alaska before. The bacteria, Pasteurella multocida, is a disease commonly found in domestic poultry. The closest Avian cholera infection to Alaska had previously been seen in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories with Common eiders and Snow geese. Avian cholera is not the same as the human disease called cholera.
Authorities were able to quickly identify the outbreak due to the prompt actions of residents of Savoonga and Gambell who reported sick birds beginning on November 20, 2013. Dead birds were shipped to the U.S. Geological Service National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin for the diagnosis. Read More
Loaded oil tankers transiting the waters of Prince William Sound in Alaska are required by their oil spill contingency plans to be accompanied by two escort tugboats. Currently escort tugs can serve in a primary or secondary role, depending on performance requirements established in the tanker contingency plans. The ultimate goal of the escort tug system is to prevent an oil tanker that suffers a mechanical or propulsion issue from running aground. The best available technology in tanker escort tugs should be considered for use in the Sound.
Oil tankers operating in Prince William Sound are escorted by tugboats that are part of the Ship Escort Response Vessel Service or SERVS. In the acronym-laden world of oil shipping and government regulation, SERVS is known as an Oil Spill Response Organization or OSRO. This is the organization established in the tanker oil spill contingency plan as being responsible for dealing with spill incidents. Tankers under escort by SERVS operate within an approved framework known as the Vessel Escort and Response Plan or VERP. The VERP details when and where an escort is conducted. It outlines the role of the primary and secondary tug involved in any escort directed by the organization. Read More
Canadian Search and Rescue (SAR) Technicians load the simulated wounded soldiers onto a Canadian SAR helicopter. The role players will be transported out of Donnelly drop zone, the location of the simulated downed aircraft, to a medical treatment facility. The simulated response was conducted as a part of a Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) in the Arctic region. The Joint Task Force-Alaska, Alaska National Guard, U.S. Army Alaska, Canadian Joint Operations Command, Arctic Search and Rescue Exercise aimed to increase the collective interoperability between the U.S. and Canada. Photo by U.S. Army.