Fish Creek Watershed Observatory

Monitoring Arctic Aquatic Habitat in the Context of Land-use and Climate Change Impacts

Fish CAFE: Response of an Arctic Freshwater Ecosystem to Climate and Land-use Change in the Fish Creek Watershed, Beaufort Coastal Plain of Alaska

Project Description

The Fish Creek Watershed encompasses a diverse mosaic of aquatic habitats representing much of the Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska. Beyond surface water and permafrost responses caused by changes in climate, this landscape is subject to potential land-use impacts related to petroleum development in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska. This is an ideal setting to address aquatic habitat questions of longstanding interest to Arctic resource managers and scientists. Our multidisciplinary team is focusing on the broad hypothesis that surface-water availability, connectivity, and temperature mediate aquatic habitat and trophic dynamics. We are working to understand how these coupled processes form a shifting mosaic of freshwater habitats across the landscape by classifying, mapping, and modeling responses to past and future climate and land-use change. Our goal is to develop scenarios of freshwater habitat change in a spatial and temporal context that will provide a template to evaluate a range of potential future responses.

Conceptual Framework for the Fish CAFE Project

Global Hypothesis

Global hypothesis infographic


Global hypothesis infographic

Fish Creek Watershed in the Arctic Landscape

Map of Fish Creek Watershed in the Arctic Landscape