Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey Coastal Plain Alaska 2011

Larned, William W.
Stehn, Robert S.
Platte, Robert M.
USFWS -Migratory Bird Management - Alaska
Publication Date: 

Waterfowl breeding population surveys have been completed annually on the Arctic Coastal Plain of
Alaska since 1986. Methods for the 2011 Arctic Coastal Plain Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey (ACP
survey) were similar to those employed since 2007, when a single survey was implemented to address objectives of
two pre-existing surveys: the geographically comprehensive 1986 ACP survey conducted in mid-June to early July,
and the geographically limited 1992-2006 North Slope Eider Survey, conducted in early to mid June to target the
early phenology and breeding range of eiders. The current ACP survey covers 57,336 km2, an area similar to the
1986 ACP survey but timed similar to the 1992-06 North Slope Eider Survey. The current design incorporates an
annually-shifting transect grid, completed and repeated on a 4-year rotational basis. The survey flown in 2011
began the second 4-year set. Data collection methods follow the Standard Operating Standards (U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service 1987) adopted for breeding pair surveys by natural resource
agencies throughout North America. Here, we present waterfowl spatial distribution, breeding densities, and
comparisons with average 1986-2006 indices, using data from the entire ACP survey area (57,336 km2). For longterm
consistency in phenological survey timing we restrict trend analysis to data from the northern coastal region
that corresponds to the former North Slope Eider Survey area (30,465 km2). We test for population growth rates
significantly greater or less than 1.0 (with significance probability <0.10) for all survey years (1992-2011) and for
the most recent 10 years (2002-2011). Of these, the 1992-2011 growth rates for red-throated loon, mallard and
green-winged teal were <1.0, while those for yellow-billed loon, Sabine’s gull, Arctic tern, red-breasted merganser,
scaup, king eider, white-winged scoter, lesser snow goose, greater white-fronted goose, black brant, tundra swan,
sandhill crane, and Golden eagle were >1.0. During the most recent 10 years, growth rates of jaegers, glaucous
gulls, Sabine’s gulls, green-winged teal, scaup, king eider, black scoter, greater white-fronted geese, tundra swans
and sandhill cranes were >1.0. Indices for greater white-fronted geese and tundra swans have been well above
earlier levels for 5 consecutive years.