Understanding aquatic habitat and water resource responses to rapid and ongoing changes in both climate and land-use guides science in the Fish Creek Watershed Observatory (FCWO). Starting with river gauging and climate monitoring in 2001, aquatic habitat observations and research in and around the Fish Creek Watershed have gradually expanded in step with resource management needs in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A). Targeted lake and stream monitoring and fish habitat studies in the Greater Moose’s Tooth Unit and most recently the Willow Unit are providing site specific data prior to new petroleum development. More broadly, watershed-scale interdisciplinary science in the FCWO merges geographic analysis and classification with climate and hydrologic modeling and biological inventories to understand scenarios of land-use and climate change to inform adaptive management. Data and scientific finding from the FCWO are additionally intended to serve as a model for other lands and waters of the NPR-A and the broader Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska.
Funding: Bureau of Land Management (Arctic District Office), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (Alaska Fish and Wildlife Fund), National Science Foundation (1417300, 107481, 1806213), and Alaska Climate Science Center
Collaborators: Matthew Whitman, Richard Kemnitz, Stacey Fritz, Deb Nigro, and Matt Ferderbar (BLM); Matt Schellekens and Frank Urban (USGS); Mark Wipfli and Jeff Falke (USGS/UAF); Allen Bondurant, Anna Liljedahl, Ben Jones, and Vladimir Alexeev (UAF); Ronald Daanen (ADNR-DGGS); and John Olsen (DRI);