At 9.3 million hectares (23.5 million acres), the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A), located on Alaska’s North Slope, is the largest single block of federally managed land in the United States. The land in and around NPR-A is home to several Inuipiaq villages whose residents use NPR-A’s resources to support a subsistence lifestyle. Current management direction mandates the development of oil and gas resources while ensuring the protection of vital subsistence resources and wildlife habitat. To this end, NPR-A was selected as a demonstration area for implementing BLM’s Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring (AIM) program in Alaska.
A biophysical landscape stratification provides the backdrop for sample location selection. Given the logistical constraints of sampling across a vast landscape, a two-stage approach was developed whereby point locations were clustered within randomly selected blocks. Summaries of indicators by biophysical strata show clear differences between strata across this heterogeneous landscape, providing important baseline information about landscape variability within this remote region of the Arctic. Remote sensing techniques are under development using high-resolution aerial photography acquired at sample locations to extract monitoring indicators. These techniques will extend the functionality of field data and improve efficiency of data collection.
The AIM Strategy will move the BLM toward a new paradigm where core data describing resource conditions are digitally collected in the field, stored in spatially enabled databases, and analyzed to determine the impact and effectiveness of management decisions pertaining to the development of the oil and gas resources in NPR-A.