Survey of Alaska and Yukon Begins

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Written by Ed Mallek
Saturday, May 16, 2009

Photo of Ed Mallek.We started our survey of Alaska and the Yukon Territory today. This is my fourth year on this route, while my observer, Debbie Groves, has been on it for 18 years. We took off out of Cordova, Alaska this morning. The weather conditions were good, and bird distributions were about what we have come to expect.  Conditions on this survey area remain fairly consistent from year to year, unlike some of the other areas, where conditions may swing from total drought one year to flooding the next. We have seen some flooding along some of the rivers, which makes great habitat—not only for waterfowl, but for moose and other wildlife as well. This is the 33rd year that our highly modified Turbine Beaver airplane has been used on the survey. It was built in 1972 and has been used on this survey ever since 1977. It was built specifically to do wildlife surveys. With its Garrett engine, it has increased visibility and larger fuel load than other Beavers. It is a one of a kind aircraft.

Habitat around the flooded Innoko River.

Koyukuk River flood.