BOEM Alaska Region Current Status

One objective identified under the National Ocean Policy (NOP) - looks towards strengthening Regional Partnerships. These partnerships are voluntary. Other regions have utilized multi- State forums, established by state governors, which identify shared priorities and take action on a range of issues relevant to their region. The Alaska Region (AKR) is unique in that it is a single State with extensive geographic boundaries, over 200 federally recognized tribes, and a variety of stakeholders. The AKR operates with many existing processes to address both the economic and ecological health in the Region. Many of these existing processes could benefit from improved coordination among Federal offices within Alaska. NOP provides multiple tools for interagency coordination on marine issues.

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) is currently the lead facilitator for Federal agencies for NOP objectives in the Alaska Region, after which the Federal co-lead position will rotate to BOEM. Presently, BOEM will continue to be an active partner and support the USCG as well as the State of Alaska with their co-lead responsibilities. This facilitator role will continue to strengthen our regional partnerships among federal agencies. The State of Alaska and Tribal organizations will benefit from improved coordination within the Federal agencies, and this would lead to better information for decision making at the regional and local levels. Examples of BOEM Alaska Region's current engagement, as it applies to NOP objectives are detailed below.

BOEM Engagement:

  • In 2011, the Obama administration founded an Interagency Working Group for the coordination of domestic energy development and permitting in Alaska. BOEM's role is to share scientific data that informs both decision makers and the public on oil and gas activities in Alaska's Outer Continental Shelf; aid in building a framework for a more integrated approach for evaluating infrastructure development in the Alaskan Arctic; help the working group identify natural, anthropogenic, and economic resources; and assist in coordination efforts with Federal, State, local and tribal entities. BOEM has provided information links to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission for the newly created Arctic Portal.
  • The BOEM Alaska Region is partners within the North Slope Science Initiative in an intergovernmental effort to increase collaboration at the Federal, State, and local levels to address the research, inventory, and monitoring needs as they relate to development activities on the North Slope of Alaska.
  • BOEM is also supporting NOAA's "STAMP" Arctic mapping tool through Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS). In order to develop a solid working relationship with the State, the STAMP will focus on State fishery need- and develop data integration and visualization tools that could be used to help plan for future decision-making regarding potential commercial fisheries in the Northern Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea. The Alaska Region has partnered on this project by providing funding to compile the spatial and temporal data for an integrated ecosystem research project, 'Arctic Ecosystem Integrated Survey'. Other partners in the project include National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and University of Alaska- Fairbanks.
  • Additionally, updated imagery, mapping, and habitat types between the shoreline between Kotzebue and Kaktovik has been completed as part of the 'ShoreZone along the North Slope of Alaska' a partnership with BOEM, NOAA, National Park Service and the Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (ALCC). Web posting of data is anticipated in the near term.