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Project Information

Title: Continuing the Legacy: Prince William Sound Marine Bird Population Trends

Project Year and Number: 2019: 19120114-M

Other Fiscal Years and Numbers for this Project: None

Principal Investigator (PI): Kathy Kuletz, USFWS

Assisting Personnel: Robb Kaler

Research Location:

Restoration Category: Monitoring

Injured Resources Addressed: Barrow's Goldeneye , Black Oystercatchers , Common Loons , Common Murres , Cormorants , Harlequin Ducks , Kittlitz's Murrelets , Marbled Murrelets , Pigeon Guillemot , Recreation & Tourism

Abstract: We conduct small boat surveys to monitor the abundance of marine birds in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The surveys are conducted every two, even numbered, years and therefore occur during July 2018 and 2020 during the current Gulf Watch Alaska (GWA) funding cycle (FY17-21). Fifteen surveys over a 29-year period have monitored population trends of marine birds and mammals in Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. We use data collected to examine trends from summer to determine whether populations in the oiled zone are increasing, decreasing, or stable. We will also examine overall population trends for the Sound. Continued monitoring of marine birds and synthesis of the data are needed to determine whether populations injured by the spill are recovering. Data collected from 1989 to 2016 indicated that pigeon guillemots (Cepphus columba) and marbled murrelets (Brachyramphus marmoratus) are declining in the oiled areas of Prince William Sound. We have found high inter-annual variation in numbers of some bird species and therefore recommend continuing to conduct surveys every two years. These surveys are the primary means to evaluate recovery of most of these injured marine bird species. Surveys also benefit the nearshore and forage fish components of the GWA Long-term Monitoring program, as well as the Herring Research and Monitoring program. In FY18, we recently completed our July survey and have been working with other GWA investigators to integrate marine bird survey datasets for all of GWA to conduct analyses across-components and regions. We are not proposing changes to this project for FY19.

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Proposal: View PDF (321 KB)

Funding Recommendations: View

Funding Detail For: 2019

Quarterly Project Tasks For: 2019

Annual Report: 2019: Due 03/01/2020

Final Report: Draft Final Report Due 4/15/20

Publications from this Project: None Available