The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta of Alaska is a globally important region for numerous avian species including millions of migrating and nesting waterbirds. Climate change effects such as sea level rise and increased storm frequency and intensity have the potential to impact waterbird populations and breeding habitat. In order to determine the potential impacts of these climate-mediated changes, we investigated both short-term and long-term impacts of storm surges to geese and eider species that commonly breed on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
To do this, we used 29 years of ground-based surveys conducted as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s long-term waterbird monitoring program along with flood indices modeled for 10 of the largest storms since the 1990s. We will discuss the results of this project, as well as potential limitations and suggested paths forward.
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