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Journal Article

Ice roads through lake-rich Arctic watersheds: Integrating climate uncertainty and freshwater habitat responses into adaptive management


Arp,  C. D.
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Whitman,  M. S.
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Jones,  B. M.
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Nigro,  D. A.
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Alexeev,  V. A.
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Gädeke,  Anne
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Fritz,  S.
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Daanen,  R.
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Liljedahl,  A. K.
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Adams,  F. J.
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Gaglioti,  B. V.
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Grosse,  G.
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Heim,  K. C.
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Beaver,  J. R.
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Cai,  L.
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Engram,  M.
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Uher-Koch,  H. R.
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Arp, C. D., Whitman, M. S., Jones, B. M., Nigro, D. A., Alexeev, V. A., Gädeke, A., Fritz, S., Daanen, R., Liljedahl, A. K., Adams, F. J., Gaglioti, B. V., Grosse, G., Heim, K. C., Beaver, J. R., Cai, L., Engram, M., Uher-Koch, H. R. (2019): Ice roads through lake-rich Arctic watersheds: Integrating climate uncertainty and freshwater habitat responses into adaptive management. - Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 51, 1, 9-23.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_23739
Vast mosaics of lakes, wetlands, and rivers on the Arctic Coastal Plain give the impression of water surplus. Yet long winters lock freshwater resources in ice, limiting freshwater habitats and water supply for human uses. Increasingly the petroleum industry relies on lakes to build temporary ice roads for winter oil exploration. Permitting water withdrawal for ice roads in Arctic Alaska is dependent on lake depth, ice thickness, and the fish species present. Recent winter warming suggests that more winter water will be available for ice- road construction, yet high interannual variability in ice thickness and summer precipitation complicates habitat impact assessments. To address these concerns, multidisciplinary researchers are working to understand how Arctic freshwater habitats are responding to changes in both climate and water use in northern Alaska. The dynamics of habitat availability and connectivity are being linked to how food webs support fish and waterbirds across diverse freshwater habitats. Moving toward watershed-scale habitat classification coupled with scenario analysis of climate extremes and water withdrawal is increasingly relevant to future resource management decisions in this region. Such progressive refinement in understanding responses to change provides an example of adaptive management focused on ensuring responsible resource development in the Arctic.