Alaska Environmental Studies

The Alaska Environmental Studies Program was initiated by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1974 in response to the Federal Government’s decision to propose areas of Alaska for offshore gas and oil development. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to conduct environmental studies to obtain information pertinent to sound leasing decisions as well as to monitor the human, marine and coastal environments.

Over the last four decades, the Alaska Region’s Environmental Studies Program has funded more than $450 million in research.

Nationally, BOEM's Environmental Studies Program has contracted for more than $600 million dollars of studies throughout the coastal zone of the continental United States. These funds have supported studies of all aspects needed for a thorough understanding of the complex nature of the Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf and have aided in the wise protection of its valuable resources. BOEM uses information from the studies program in evaluating potential environmental problems associated with all levels of oil and gas activities.

Alaska Annual Studies Plan

The Plan contains brief profiles of ongoing and proposed studies. The Plan also describes background, strategic overview, projected Outer Continental Shelf activities, examples of affected decisions, information sorted by discipline, and information needs.

Alaska Region Ongoing Studies

Ongoing Studies Table - This table, updated quarterly, contains links to all studies that the Alaska Region's Environmental Studies Program is currently undertaking, and those that are in the planning stages. Studies are broken down into seven categories: Physical Oceanography, Fates and Effects, Habitat and Ecology, Marine Mammals and Protected Species, Social Systems, Information Management, and Integrated Studies.

Where can I obtain study reports?  

The Environmental Studies Program Information System (ESPIS) is a searchable database of all completed Environmental Studies Program reports. It includes technical summaries of more than 700 BOEM-sponsored environmental research projects, and more than 2,000 full research reports. The information is grouped geographically by BOEM region -- Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, Pacific, or Alaska. (There is also a "national" category, which comprises research that pertains to more than one geographic region -- for example, the effects of wind on oil spill spreading).