Researchers receive federal funds to study Cook Inlet belugas

The grant program supports management, research and outreach campaigns for conservation of wildlife.

In this September 2017 file photo from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, beluga whales arch their backs through the surface of the water. Of Alaska’s five distinct beluga whale populations, only Cook Inlet’s is listed as endangered. (Courtesy the Alaska Department of Fish and Game)

In this September 2017 file photo from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, beluga whales arch their backs through the surface of the water. Of Alaska’s five distinct beluga whale populations, only Cook Inlet’s is listed as endangered. (Courtesy the Alaska Department of Fish and Game)

Scientists studying belugas in Cook Inlet received federal funds to continue research on the endangered species.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game has been awarded $1.7 million in three grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through the Species Recovery Grants to States Program. The program is designed to support management, research and outreach campaigns for the conservation of wildlife on the endangered species list, an Aug. 9 press release from Congressman Don Young, who voted in support of the funding, said.

A $443,579, three-year award goes toward research for adult female Steller sea lions in western Alaska. The goal of the research is to provide updated, fine-scale, understanding of adult female Steller sea lion foraging habitat, and to determine the environmental factors influencing the timing and location of foraging behavior, thus providing better information to meet management needs, according to NOAA.

The other two grants help fund research for the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale population. The grants are $850,641 and $409,802 and aim to strengthen conservation and management strategies for the beluga population in Southcentral Alaska. The grants will fund research that explore the belugas habitat use and how disturbance from noise may impact their way of finding food and communicating with other whales.

“The Alaska Department of Fish and Game does important work on behalf of Alaska’s unique ecosystems, and I have no doubt that this funding will go a long way to help better guide management practices for the western distinct population segment of the species range,” Young said in the release. “The funding will not only help us better understand foraging ecology and habitat disturbances, but will also assist the Department of Fish and Game in the development of a long-term strategy for population recovery. I recognize how important Alaska’s diverse wildlife population is to our culture and way of life.”

Young said he will continue supporting efforts to ensure future generations of Alaskans can observe and learn about wild animals for years to come.

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchor Point house fire leaves one dead, one in serious condition

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Snow and debris from an avalanche can be seen near Mile 45 on the Seward Highway on Monday, March 29, 2021. (Photo courtesy Goldie Shealy)
Center promotes avalanche awareness

The Chugach Avalanche Center in Girdwood will begin its daily forecasts Saturday.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Historic sockeye run predicted for Bristol Bay

ADF&G says 2022 run could break this year’s record

The entrance to the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in the Tongass National Forest was covered in snow on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, a day after federal authorities announced the next step in restoring the 2001 Roadless Rule on the forest. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Feds put freeze on Roadless Rule rollback

On the Roadless Rule again.

tease
Alaska man pleads not guilty to threatening 2 US senators

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.

Commercial fishing vessels are seen here on the Kenai River on July 10, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Fishing industry takes a hit during pandemic

Overall fish harvesting jobs in Alaska dropped by the widest margin since 2000 — 14.1% — in 2020.

FILE - The Olympic rings stand atop a sign at the entrance to the Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., on July 8, 2020. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, declared "squaw" to be a derogatory term and said she is taking steps to remove the term from federal government use and to replace other derogatory place names. The popular California ski resort changed its name to Palisades Tahoe earlier this year. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)
Interior secretary seeks to rid U.S. of derogatory place names

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday formally declared… Continue reading

Most Read