The Western Alaska LCC, spanning over 750 miles from north to south, includes a wide diversity of terrain. Landscapes include the permafrost dominated tundra of the Seward Peninsula, complex river delta systems of the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers, abundant volcanoes of the Alaska Peninsula, and transitional forests of permafrost-free Kodiak Island.
Western Alaska streams are home to the world’s most abundant natural runs of salmon. Adjacent marine waters of the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska support the nation’s largest commercial fisheries. These rich fisheries support local communities both economically and as a critical component of a subsistence lifestyle.
Millions of seabirds breeding along the shore form a strong link between land and sea. Astounding numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds use coastal areas for breeding, migration, and wintering habitat. Caribou roam the land, as do healthy populations of moose, bears and wolves.
Local people throughout this region continue to live a subsistence way of life, dependent upon the continued health of both marine and terrestrial systems.
The Western Alaska LCC is home to three threatened species: sea otters, spectacled eiders, and Steller’s eiders; walrus, a species of concern, are found here too. Steller’s sea lions, short-tailed albatrosses, and eight species of whales in this region are endangered.
The mission of the Western Alaska Landscape Conservation Cooperative in this region is to bring partners together to coordinate, share, and develop applied science that can be used to inform conservation. There are conservation challenges, including the impacts of climate change, which are taking place across ownership boundaries and can most effectively be addressed through pooling of information and ideas.