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WCS applauds Dept. of Interior plan balancing conservation and energy development in NPR-A
Date:12/20/2012

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) lauded U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazars announcement of a final management plan for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) that balances wildlife conservation and energy development in the biggest public landscape in the country. The Integrated Activity Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final IAP/EIS) issued today by the Bureau of Land Management is the first comprehensive land management plan ever developed for the NPR-A.

By protecting extensive coastal plain habitat around Teshekpuk Lake, and the foothills around the Utukok uplands, the plan ensures that the most important Arctic wetlands and migratory corridors for caribou and migratory birds will be protected from development. Recent federal studies have reassessed the oil potential in this region to be but 10 percent of what was originally estimated.

It is critical that we save the worlds last great wild places, and the areas protected today certainly qualify, said WCS President and CEO Cristin Samper. Weve found that special places like Teshekpuk Lake are important to wildlife populations local to the area and to migratory species from around the world. Todays announcement from the U.S. government is one of global proportions.

Western Arctic Alaska is one of the most important regions for wildlife in all the Arctic. Critical habitat exists within the NPR-A for many species. This includes nesting grounds for millions of migratory birds and calving grounds for two of Alaskas largest and most important caribou herds. Over a decade of conservation science by WCS in the region has shown that wildlife in the NPR-A will benefit from a development approach that balances conservation interests and responsible oil and gas leasing.

WCS Chief Conservation Officer John Robinson said, Today marks the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication to conservation and science-based discovery. By uncov
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Contact: Scott Smith
ssmith@wcs.org
718-220-3698
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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