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Project Information

Title: Pigeon Guillemot Restoration Research in Prince William Sound, Alaska

Project Year and Number: 2018: 18100853

Other Fiscal Years and Numbers for this Project: 2018: 11100853, 2017: 17100853, 2017: 11100853, 2016: 16100853, 2016: 11100853, 2015: 15100853, 2015: 11100853, 2014: 11100853-Am.8.29.13, 2014: 11100853, 2013: 11100853, 2012: 11100853, 2011: 11100853

Principal Investigator (PI): David Irons, USFWS

Assisting Personnel: Robb Kaler

Research Location:

Restoration Category: Research

Injured Resources Addressed: Pigeon Guillemot

Abstract: This project is providing an opportunity to restore the population of Pigeon Guillemots (Cepphus columba) in Prince William Sound, Alaska, which had fallen by more than 90% at the Naked Island Group since 1989. A restoration plan for Pigeon Guillemots in PWS was prepared to address the species’ lack of population recovery following injury by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Predation on nests and adults by mink is now the primary limiting factor for guillemot reproductive success and population recovery at the most important historical nesting site for guillemots in PWS (i.e., the Naked Island group). Mink on the Naked Island group are descended in part from fur farm stock and arrived on the island group during the 1980s. The goal of the project is to remove all mink from the Pigeon Guillemot nesting areas and allow for recovery to occur. FY18 is the 5th year of the 5-year project. We trapped for the first time in the winter and spring of 2014, at which time 76 mink were killed. During the 2015 trapping season 23 mink were killed in localized areas. During the 2016 trapping season seven mink were killed. Five were trapped on Peak Island and two were trapped on Naked Island, no mink were trapped on Storey Island. During the 2017 field season we caught no mink, but we had snow for the first time in 4 years and we saw mink tracks. While we believe few mink remain in the pigeon guillemot nesting areas, we will trap again in 2018. Counts of pigeon guillemots at Peak, Naked and Story Islands has more than doubled since 2014; 69 birds in 2014, 95 birds in 2015, 151 birds in 2016 and 169 in 2017! Numbers of pigeon guillemots counted at control islands did not have an increase. We did not expect to see this large of increase in birds this quickly. We surveyed for breeding guillemots and found the number of nests had more than quadrupled since 2014; 11 nests in 2014, 30 nests in 2015, 39 nests in 2016 and 52 in 2017. Colonies are starting to form with up to 10 nests in one area. Productivity during the chick stage was high, around 80%, indicating that the adults could find enough food for their chicks.


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Proposal: View PDF (154 KB)

Funding Recommendations: View

Funding Detail For: 2018

Quarterly Project Tasks For: 2018

Annual Report: 2018: Due 03/31/2019

Final Report: Draft Final Report Due 4/15/19

Publications from this Project: None Available

More information may be available for this project under other years:

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Project Number Proposal Annual Reports Final Report Data
2018: 11100853 View (PDF) 2018: Due 03/31/2019
Final Report Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us No datasets
2017: 17100853 View (PDF) 2017: View (PDF)
See Project 11100853 No datasets
2017: 11100853 View (PDF) 2017: View (PDF)
Final Report Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us No datasets
2016: 16100853 View (PDF) 2016: View (PDF)
See Project 11100853 No datasets
2016: 11100853 View (PDF) 2016: View (PDF)
Final Report Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us No datasets
2015: 15100853 View (PDF) 2015: View (PDF)
See Project 11100853 No datasets
2015: 11100853 View (PDF) 2015: View (PDF)
Final Report Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us No datasets
2014: 11100853-Am.8.29.13 View (PDF) 2014: View (PDF)
See Project 11100853 No datasets
2014: 11100853 View (PDF) 2014: View (PDF)
2013: Not Applicable
2012: Not Applicable
2011: View (PDF)
Final Report Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us No datasets