Interior's plan to protect Western Arctic finalized: Good news for birds, caribou

Habitat for birds, caribou and other wildlife in the Western Arctic will be protected under the new plan. 

Flickr: Western Arctic National Parkland

Good news for caribou and other wildlife in the Western Arctic

After years of fighting to protect Alaska’s western Arctic from unrestricted oil drilling, our campaign to protect America’s largest tract of public land has paid off.

With the issuing of its Record of Decision on a final management plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the U.S. Department of Interior has made final its plans to protect "Special Areas" containing important wildlife habitat for caribou, migratory birds, polar bears and wolves.

This decision is what we’ve been working for. It will help protect animals in this land teeming with Arctic wildlife. It also protects Alaska Native communities who depend on western Arctic land to feed their families and preserve their culture.

Slideshow: Birds of the Western Arctic (NPR-A)

A total of 11 million acres of the NPR-A will be protected from oil and gas development while still allowing industry access to 72 percent of the reserve’s economically recoverable oil.

So the reserve will help meet America’s demand for energy, and irreplaceable habitat will be set aside to ensure its protection for future generations.

That’s fair, balanced, and cause for celebration.

Your support of The Wilderness Society and your letters and comments on behalf of the Arctic are a huge part of this success. And that’s something to celebrate, too.

Facts about the NPR-A, Western Arctic: 

  • The NPR-A is also known as the Western Arctic Reserve.

  •  It is America’s largest tract of public land.

  • The area is home to caribou herds and Teshekpuk lake, a globally significant bird area. 

Birds of the Western Arctic

Birds that rely on the Western Arctic Reserve include: King Eiders, black brant, yellow billed loons, tundra swans, snow geese, northern pintails. 

Teshekpuk Lake Special Area within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska:

View National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska in a larger map

See also: 

Good news for caribou in the Western Arctic

Living among the Arctic Caribou at Teshekpuk Lake

Victories in Alaska