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Dragonfly Day Save the Date!

The 10th annual Dragonfly Day will be a virtual event hosted by USFWS Kanuti Wildlife Refuge. In the past, this event was an outdoor fair held at Tanana Lakes Recreation Area, where families learned to net and released wild dragonflies. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, Environmental Education Specialist Ally Morris is now re-engineering the outdoor fair into an online event. The online program starting 27 June, will include information on the life cycle of dragonflies, techniques for observing dragonflies, and art projects. Lots of activities for families to introduce their children to the world of dragonflies. To promote this event, Friends funded the printing of holographic dragonfly stickers using the flyer artwork created by Sara Wolman. More information on this event can be found here.



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Tracking red-legged kittiwakes across the Bering Sea

By Brie Drummond, Wildlife Biologist at Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge

A special bird that few people see, red-legged kittiwakes nest on only a few remote islands in the Bering Sea.  With few breeding colonies and a highly specialized diet of myctophid fish, red-legged kittiwakes are especially vulnerable to changes in their breeding and marine foraging habitats, including those brought about by climate change and introduced predators.  All red-legged kittiwakes in Alaska (85% of the global population) breed on Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.  For the last four decades, Refuge staff have collected extensive data on this species during the summer breeding season, including numbers of birds returning to colonies each year, numbers of chicks hatching and fledging, and what chicks are fed.  However, we know very little about what happens to red-legged kittiwakes the rest of the year.  Research on other seabird species shows that winter conditions can play a large role in both survival and success at the colony the following summer, so we wanted to learn more about what kittiwakes experienced when away from the colony. 


Red-legged kittiwakes (photo by Brie Drummond, AMNWR)

We used geolocation loggers (or geolocators) to record locations and behaviors of red-legged kittiwakes during the winters of 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.  Geolocators are small data recording devices (~1 gram or the size and weight of a large raisin) that attach to a plastic leg band and record light levels and immersion in saltwater.  From those data, we generate twice-daily latitude and longitude positions for each bird and estimate how birds spent their time (flying, sitting on the water, or actively foraging). 

To explore whether red-legged kittiwakes from different colonies had similar wintering locations and behavior, we deployed geolocators on birds from the two largest breeding colonies in Alaska, St. George Island in the Pribilof Islands and Buldir Island in the western Aleutian Islands, separated by1000 kilometers.  We captured and tagged kittiwakes during the summer breeding season when birds were attending nests at the colonies.  Geolocators do not transmit data remotely, so biologists must recapture the birds in subsequent breeding seasons in order to retrieve devices and download data.  For the St. George component of the study, we collaborated with Dr. Rachael Orben, an Oregon State University researcher.

We found where red-legged kittiwakes from the two colonies spent the winters depended on the time of year.  Birds from both locations left their breeding colony in late August or early September.  During the fall and early winter (October-December), St. George kittiwakes were in the Bering Sea whereas Buldir kittiwakes were thousands of miles west off the Russian coast in the Sea of Okhotsk.  However, during late winter (January-March), the two colonies overlapped in their distribution, especially in an area east of the Kuril Islands.  By April, birds were back at their respective breeding colonies.  These patterns were almost identical during the two winters of our study.

From the behavior data, we learned that birds from both colonies had similar activity budgets during the non-breeding season, spending most of the night sitting on water and flying during the day.  Most active foraging occurred the hour before and after dawn; this may reflect foraging for myctophids, which are generally available at the ocean’s surface only at night.

We learned important information about where and how red-legged kittiwakes from Alaska’s two largest colonies spend their time when away from the breeding grounds.  The region east of the Kuril Islands appears to be crucial for the global red-legged kittiwake population; interestingly, this area is a winter vacation hotspot for many other Alaskan seabirds.  We hope to publish these data in a scientific journal soon to share this information with other seabird researchers.




Izembek Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 2, 2020

Contacts:

David Raskin, president of Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges, davidc.raskin@me.com, 425-209-9009

Gwen Dobbs, director of media relations, Defenders of Wildlife, gdobbs@defenders.com, 202-329-9295

Corey Himrod, Senior Communications Manager, Alaska Wilderness League, Corey@alaskawild.org, 202-266-0426

Fran Mauer, representative of Alaska Chapter Wilderness Watch, fmauer@mosquitonet.com, 907-455-6829 or 907-978-1109

Dawnell Smith, communications director, Trustees for Alaska,

dsmith@trustees.org, 907-433-2013

Court shuts down Interior’s second illegal land deal with King Cove Corp

Ruling sustains protections for vital wetlands in Izembek and for public lands everywhere

A federal District Court decision released late yesterday resoundingly shut down the Interior Department’s second attempt at an illegal land exchange with the King Cove Corporation to make way for a road through vital protected wetlands in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.   

“For the second time, the Court has told the road proponents that invading the Izembek Wilderness and damaging the biological heart of the Refuge to build an unnecessary and expensive road is unacceptable,” said David C. Raskin, president of Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges. “Let us hope that this decades-long, misguided effort is finally over, and the natural habitat and wildlife that depend on the Izembek Refuge will continue to be protected in perpetuity.”

Trustees for Alaska filed the lawsuit in January 2020 on behalf of nine groups. A court ruling in March 2019 voided Interior’s previous land swap agreement, nearly identical to the Agreement vacated by the Court yesterday. Interior appealed the court’s decision in the first lawsuit, but then entered into another unlawful land deal behind closed doors while that appeal was pending. The second land swap deal had violated the same laws as the first, but would have been even more damaging by allowing commercial use of any future road.

“The Court found that Interior broke the law again to benefit commercial interests, with no regard for the consequences to public lands, water, or wildlife,” said Bridget Psarianos, staff attorney with Trustees for Alaska. “Interior’s continued and failed attempts to dodge the laws mandating protections of our National Wildlife Refuges is an insult to the American public. We are thrilled the Court rejected this corrupt and illegal land exchange, finding that it is contrary to the purposes of Izembek and ANILCA, and that such an exchange could not be done without Congressional approval. We hope this is last time we need to ask a Court to reject such an exchange.”.”

Like the first lawsuit, the second one argued that Interior cannot use the land exchange provision of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act to gut a National Wildlife Refuge and congressionally designated wilderness. Groups also argued that Interior circumvented public process, environmental review, and congressional approval.

Commercial and private interests have advocated for a road for decades. Under the Trump Administration, Interior has made repeated attempts to push through a land swap intended to trade Refuge and Wilderness lands to make way for a road.

The Court held that Interior violated ANILCA in two ways. First, the exchange does not meet ANILCA’s conservation purposes or the specific purposes of Izembek Refuge to protect wilderness and wildlife values. The court also agreed that the Exchange Agreement is an approval of a transportation system that falls within the ambit of ANILCA Title XI. As a result, Interior could not enter this exchange without approval from Congress and the President. Finally, the Court found — as in the previous lawsuit — that the Secretary failed to provide adequate reasoning to support the change in policy in favor of a land exchange and a road through Izembek.

GROUP STATEMENTS:

“The court has seen through the Trump administration’s illegal attempt to trade away the globally-renowned wildlife habitat and congressionally-designated wilderness lands of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge,” said Nicole Whittington-Evans, Alaska Program Director for Defenders of Wildlife. “This is a victory for an ecologically irreplaceable area and the black brant, Emperor geese, brown bears and stunning array of other wildlife that call it home.”

“The wilderness values of the Izembek Wildlife Refuge are irreplaceable. Unlawfully giving away public land to build a road right through its heart that could be used for commercial use is characteristic of this administration’s constant catering to private interests,” said Kristen Miller, Conservation Director at Alaska Wilderness League. “We applaud the court’s judgment today. Building a road through federal wilderness would have been a bad deal for taxpayers and a bad deal for the environment, especially when there are other, safer options available.”

“Once again, an illegal land trade scheme by the Trump administration to build a road across the Izembek Refuge Wilderness has been stopped by a court decision.” said Fran Mauer, Alaska Chapter of Wilderness Watch. “This decision not only protects the incomparable wildlife and wilderness of Izembek, but it also helps to preserve the integrity of the National Wilderness Preservation System from a harmful precedent.”

“Today’s court decision once again holds the administration accountable for another blatant attempt to circumvent public process and environmental review,” said Sarah Greenberger, interim chief conservation officer and senior vice president for conservation policy at National Audubon Society. “Nearly every single Pacific Brant stops over in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge during migration each year. Paving the way for a road through this Refuge would put this bird population and others at significant risk. Any attempt to skirt the law and disrupt this vital habitat will be met with our strong opposition.”

“A road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge would be a costly and ineffective use of taxpayer dollars, and would severely damage this important wilderness,” said Dan Ritzman, Director of the Sierra Club’s Lands Water Wildlife Campaign. “This deal has been repeatedly studied and consistently rejected for good reason, and we’re glad to see the court reject it once again.”

“Great news today. The Courts have once again protected the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge when the Administration has tried so hard to do the opposite,” says Geoffrey Haskett, President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association.  “The Administration keeps trying to plow this road through this magnificent wilderness ignoring all previous decisions to protect it. The rule of law prevails and the Izembek Refuge remains protected. This is an enormous victory protecting an incredible wilderness.”

“This is an enormous victory for one of the most spectacular places on the planet,” said Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The court shot down the Trump administration’s arrogance and hubris. We’re so grateful the judge recognized that there is absolutely no basis to overturn the decades of science and study that has already been done. All of this analysis agreed that bulldozing a road through the heart of Izembek would devastate one of the world’s most ecologically significant wildlife refuges.”




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Advocacy Report June 2020


By: David Raskin, Friends President

We had a HUGE victory on Izembek (see below). Otherwise, it has been relatively quiet in terms of new developments.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

We are still waiting for the Secretary of Interior to issue the Record of Decision (ROD). The biological issues and uncertainty of a successful lease sale may be causing rethinking at DOI. However, there has been no news to date.    

The ARDC campaign’s meetings with executives of oil companies and financial institutions concerning the dangers of Arctic drilling and the financial risks of supporting such efforts are now focused on pressuring Bank of America to join the other major financial institutions in refusing to fund oil development in the arctic.


Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

On June 1, the Federal District Court issued a resounding defeat to the proponents of the Izembek land exchange by nullifying the pending land exchange with King Cove. The decision essentially blocks any future attempts without congressional legislation signed by the president. The Izembek press release by Trustees for Alaska describes this marvelous decision in more detail. This decision hopefully puts an end to almost four decades of unsuccessful attempts to invade the Izembek Wilderness. We are extremely grateful to Trustees and all of our conservation partners for their untiring efforts to finally achieve this wonderful result that protects and preserves the Izembek Refuge for the foreseeable future.

Kenai Predator Control and Hunting Regulations

The proposed Kenai Refuge predator control regulations still have not been released, but we continue to expect them soon. Meanwhile the continuing intervention in the litigation by Friends and our conservation partners supports the effort to protect brown bears and reasonable hunting restrictions promulgated for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Wilderness in Alaska.




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Refuges Step up Their Virtual Game: You are the Winner!

Need a stunning backdrop for your next zoom meeting?  How about a quick virtual yoga break with wildlife?  Are the kids getting you down?  Need new distractions for them where they will also learn something?  Dreaming of escaping to a wild place teeming with wildlife?  Alaska’s Refuges have you covered!  Check out these offerings.

  • Eagle, puffin, walrus or salmon to loom over your shoulder during your next zoom meeting.  Download the zoom backgrounds here.
  • Arctic Refuge Wildlife Yoga with Refuge Ranger Allyssa Morris. On Facebook here.  Also Kanuti Refuge Wildlife Yoga. and coming soon – Yukon Flats Wildlife Yoga
  • Spring ice fishing story time for kids with Selawik National Wildlife Refuge Ranger Brittany Sweeney.
  • A hot-off-the presses virtual tour of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.  Stunning scenery and impressive wildlife footage of bears, fish and birds highlight this 17-minute film made by Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  Download here.

I am hoping we can embed these urls  maybe the highlighted words would be best to link

Caption:  Would two photos side by side work or not enough width?  Maybe best to stick with one for those who view on phones. If one I am thinking the eagle what do you think?

Alaska Regional Friends Coordinator Helen Strackeljahn models one (some) of the wildlife zoom backgrounds available from Alaska Refuges online.  Helen is our principle contact in the Fish & Wildlife Service and is a great supporter of Friends.




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Hunting the Invasive Elodea in the Yukon Basin: You Can Help

By Delia Vargas-Kretsinger, wildlife biologist at Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge

Elodea, the genus for waterweed, can be a nasty plant outside its native range. Known as the first submersed aquatic invasive plant to establish in Alaska, it propagates vegetatively from stem fragments. These fragments hitchhike on boats, trailers and float plane rudders to waterbodies all over Alaska where they can establish and spread quickly. Elodea degrades aquatic habitats by reducing oxygen, increasing sedimentation, altering stream flow and displacing native flora. Dense infestations impede boat navigation into hunting and fishing areas, even hindering floatplane operations.


Rosemary McGuire (FWSCD crew) sampling Bettles floatpond.

Elodea was probably introduced to the Fairbanks area via an aquarium dump. Chena Slough was chock full of Elodea when it was first identified there in 2009 by a couple of Forest Service scientists. Fortuitously, they had a copy of the Introduction to Common Native & Potential Invasive Freshwater Plants in Alaska.

The discovery led invasive species managers to think about where else Elodea had spread. The Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation District (FSWCD) took the early lead, conducting Elodea surveys in Chena Slough and popular lakes in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, even as fragments continued to flow down the Chena River. A fellow Fairbanksan said in 2015 that Elodea could be seen adrift in the current from the shore of the Chena Pump House Restaurant.


In 2015 I worked with the National Park Service, Fairbanks Soil and Water Conservation District (FSWCD), University of Alaska Fairbanks and other USFWS biologists to survey for Elodea downstream of Fairbanks. It has been found in Totchaket Slough and Manley Hot Springs Slough on the Tanana River, apparently in route to the Yukon River. The Koyukuk, Nowitna, Innoko, Kanuti and Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuges are all at risk, either downstream of known Elodea infestations or within the dispersal range of floatplanes.   

Data sheet

When we considered the scope of the area and the abundance of waterbodies associated with the Yukon River and its major tributaries (Tanana and Koyukuk Rivers), it became clear pretty quickly that we’d have to weed out waterbodies that did not fit the habitat criteria for Elodea. In flowing systems, Elodea seems to prefer low velocity and clear water. Known infestations on the Tanana were found in sloughs with only one entrance (no upper mouth) so this is something we key into when reviewing aerial and satellite imagery. And, of course, we look for waterbodies with a clear connection to the main river. Then, navigating with an iPad, we search for Elodea from the boat or shore, using throw rakes to sample the water column. GPS coordinates are collected for each throw rake location. Collectively we put in a lot of boat time on these rivers.


Delia Vargas surveying Totchaket Slough

The good news is that even as we survey for Elodea, the FSWCD has begun treating infestations in the Fairbanks area with fluridone, an aquatic herbicide that at extremely low doses can eradicate Elodea but not native flora. To date, fluridone has been applied in Chena and Totchaket Sloughs, Chena Lake and Bathing Beauty Pond.  Birch Lake and Manley Hot Springs Slough will be treated this spring, but the coronavirus may derail that schedule.  Similarly, we had planned to survey the middle Yukon River this summer but the pandemic has put that on hold for now.

We are hopeful that Elodea can be contained and eradicated before it spreads further, but we need your help. Inspect your boat, plane and fishing gear before traveling to other waterbodies. If you see an aquatic plant that looks different, take a photo, note the location and REPORT IT: 1-877-INVASIV (468-2748).  Here’s a great app to help you identify Elodea and other weeds: Help us keep our waters free of invasives!




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Advocacy Report May 2020

By: David Raskin, Friends President 

Secretary of Interior Bernhardt has instructed DOI personnel to push forward in spite of the Covid-19 epidemic and shutdowns. However, the dramatic drop in oil consumption and the glut of oil that has strained the US storage capacity have increased the problems for the Trump administration’s push to expand oil and gas development.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

We still have no specific update on when the Secretary of Interior will issue the Record of Decision (ROD). There are indications that DOI is having difficulty overcoming the problems posed by the threats to polar bears that would accompany oil and gas activity on the Coastal Plain. The excellent study authored by scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey (Seismic survey design and potential impacts to maternal polar bear dens) demonstrates the extreme difficulty of legally conducting oil exploration in critical denning habitat for the threatened Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears, which increasingly den on the coastal plain due to the climate-driven loss of sea ice. This research compounds the many problems faced by the proposed oil leasing program.

The Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign’s meetings with executives of oil companies and financial institutions concerning the dangers of Arctic drilling and the financial risks of supporting such efforts continue to produce impressive results. Four of the five major US financial institutions (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo) have now adopted policies that prohibit financing of oil and gas development in the Arctic, only Bank of America has not acted. The crash of oil prices has created problems for the pending sale of BP’s Alaska assets to Hilcorp. These are very positive developments in the decades-long battle to save and preserve the Arctic Refuge and its subsistence and cultural values!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published proposed regulations in the Federal Register to improve hunting and fishing opportunities across the National Wildlife Refuge System.  Included in this broader package is a proposal that would prohibit the use of domestic sheep, goats, and camelids (i.e., llamas and alpacas) on Arctic National Wildlife Refuge lands due to concerns about disease transmission to Dall Sheep and other wildlife. Please click here to review the proposed regulation and submit comments by June 8, 2020. There will be a virtual hearing Wednesday, May 13 starting at 3:00 PM (AST). Register in advance for this public hearing here.   

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing the information needed to join the meeting. 

Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

It seems that the Court is preparing to issue a decision in our federal lawsuit to stop the land transfer and road, and we look to another ruling in our favor. In the meantime, DOI issued a contract for the cultural and contaminants survey that is planned for September-October. No other on-the-ground activities are planned for the coming summer field season. We will provide updates as this lawsuit works its way through the legal process.

Kenai Predator Control and Hunting Regulations

The proposed Kenai Refuge predator control regulations still have not been released, but we continue to expect them soon. Meanwhile the continuing intervention in the litigation by Friends and our conservation partners supports the effort to protect brown bears and reasonable hunting restrictions promulgated for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and Wilderness in Alaska.




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Refuges in the Time of Covid-19; Update

Uncertainty is still the norm for Alaska Refuges and Friends but here are some things we know. 

For Visitors

  • Refuge lands – OPEN to public use as they have been throughout the pandemic.
  • Trails, public use cabins and campgrounds – OPEN except for Skyline and Lower Kenai River Trail on the Kenai Refuge due to fire damage.
  • Visitor Centers, events and programs – CLOSED.  Do not expect openings until perhaps July.

Unless you have your own float plane, getting to the more remote refuges is still problematic.  Over 120 villages and tribes have adopted regulations and resolutions limiting access to their villages and lands.  It is not clear how many charter operators will be working.  Your best bet for getting out are the refuges you can drive to like Kenai and Tetlin.  Please contact the refuge you wish to visit for more specific information. 

For Refuges

  • Offices – CLOSED with staff working from home but expect a gradual opening later in the month.
  • Field projects- MANY CANCELED.  A multitude of factors have doomed this field season on many refuges including state and village travel restrictions, difficulty of meeting CDC guidelines in a field camp setting and quarantine requirements for out of state crews and more. 
  • Youth Programs – MANY CANCELED.  YCC and Native Stewardship camps have been canceled on many refuges but are still on the books for camps scheduled for late summer.
  • Law Enforcement – ON THE JOB

Refuges are taking a cautionary approach to protect staff and communities.  Canceled field work will in some cases interrupt a decade or more of continuous data needed to spot trends and trouble spots, put field crews out of work, and deprive decision makers of needed information.  Loss of youth programs will break an important connection between refuges and communities.

For Friends

Projects – CANCELLED at least through the end of June.

In this time when we cannot physically help refuges as volunteers, we can still advocate, learn more about refuges and above all enjoy and experience our National Wildlife Refuges.




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28th Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival

The 28th annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival is taking place online May 7-10th.  Join us in the celebration of shorebirds, public lands and springtime in Alaska.
 
The virtual Festival is a place where you can can connect with our beloved shorebirds wherever you are.  Report sightings, follow our daily Birders’ Blog, and view the real-time sightings map to follow what’s flying through Kachemak Bay!  Events will be added daily throughout the weekend, so visit us each day of the Festival for talks, identification tips, quizes and more.
 
You can show your support for the Festival by purchasing your 2020 Festival gear, bidding on our 6×6 Bird Art & Trip Auction, or joining the Crane Club.  Share your shorebird celebration with the Festival community by using #KBayShorebird2020 in your social media posts.  




Unseen Worms Change Boreal Forests: Don’t Dump Your Bait!

By Matt Bowser, Entomologist at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

In September 2018, we hosted two earthworm experts from the University of Minnesota at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.  Dr. Kyungsoo Yoo and graduate student Adrian Wackett study how earthworms alter soils in the American Midwest and northern Europe, places where exotic earthworms have been around for a long time.  In Alaska, with the possible exception of one species, all earthworms have been recently introduced. The Kenai Peninsula offered these scientists a chance to study incipient populations of earthworms that we had documented just a few years ago. To read the report, click here.

They chose to work at Stormy Lake in Nikiski, where nightcrawlers were dumped near the public boat launch. Nightcrawlers (Lumbricus spp.) make vertical burrows and feed on surface litter, changing soils more dramatically than other earthworm species introduced to our area. Adrian and Dr. Yoo remarked they had never seen such abundant nightcrawlers as what they saw at Stormy Lake.  Earthworm biomass was twice as high as anything published online. Using their data, I estimated 1,300 pounds of earthworms per acre at Stormy Lake.  To put this in perspective, a 1,300-pound moose needs ~500 acres in good habitat.  So earthworms can outweigh moose by 500 times on an acre of boreal forest!





Photo: University of Minnesota graduate student Adrian Wackett digs a soil core near a public boat launch on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to examine the effects of a recent introduction of nightcrawlers

Why do earthworms flourish here? We suspect a bountiful food supply of leaf litter with little competition from other worm species. We also witnessed a new phenomenon. As the nightcrawlers invaded new areas, they buried the leaf litter with mineral soil brought up from below. In areas with older infestations where nightcrawlers had more time to multiply, they had consumed all litter and humus layers.

You have likely heard that earthworms improve garden soils.  This is true—cultivated plants generally benefit from earthworms.  But not everyone in the natural ecological community wins.  Exotic earthworms have caused problems in other parts of northern North America. By fundamentally changing the structure and properties of soils through their feeding, introduced earthworms have caused declines in native plants, fungi and animals that depend on thick leaf litter. Ferns, orchids and shrews, for example, tend to do poorly where earthworms occur while grasses and exotic plants fare better. Earthworms can even change which tree species repopulate a forest by altering seed and seedling survival. Thankfully, nightcrawlers remain absent from most of the Kenai Peninsula. On the Kenai Refuge, nightcrawlers are found only at a few boat launches, the result of what is termed “bait abandonment.”


On their own, nightcrawlers spread more slowly than most glaciers move. It would take five centuries for them to colonize Stormy Lake’s shoreline. Robins and other birds could transport earthworms, but this is an unlikely vector.  Nightcrawlers sexually reproduce, which means robins would have to drop multiple live nightcrawlers in the same vicinity to start a new population. Even if this did occur, robins tend to carry food only short distances, so this transport medium would not greatly accelerate dispersal rates. Earthworms can disperse faster by streams, but almost all their known long-range dispersal has been by people.

Here on the Kenai Refuge and in Alaska generally, where nightcrawlers arrived only recently, we still have a chance to conserve naturally diverse and naturally functioning forest ecosystems. In Canada and some northern U.S. states, organizations and governmental entities have sought to change people’s behavior by educating them about problems caused by exotic earthworms. Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota took it a step further by prohibiting live bait partly to prevent the spread of invasive earthworms. These public outreach efforts and regulations may reduce the long-range spread of exotic earthworms, but people continue to transport earthworms to new areas. We are currently assessing the potential for pesticides tested at airports and golf courses to eradicate small populations of nightcrawlers.




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