Caribou Mitigation in an Arctic Oilfield

by Scott B. Robertson, ARCO Alaska Inc, Anchorage, AK, USA,
James A. Curatolo, ARCO Alaska Inc, Anchorage, AK, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '87


The Kuparuk oilfield on the Arctic coastal plain of Alaska is in an area of traditional summer use by the Central Arctic Caribou Herd, who use it for calving, feeding, and insect relief. Several years of investigation have been focused on determining to what degree structures (especially roads and pipelines) and activities may present problems to caribou moving through the oilfield, and determining which mitigation techniques are most efficient in allowing relative freedom of movement. Structures that were found not to be barriers to movement through the field were roads with and without traffic, pipelines next to roads with little traffic, and pipelines away from roads. The one situation where caribou had significantly lower crossing success than at controls was pipeline next to road with traffic. The best mitigation techniques are elevating the pipeline 5 ft (1. 5 m) above the tundra and separating the pipeline at least 400 ft from roads with traffic. Caribou ramps were found not to be effective in increasing crossing success and were not used when traffic was present.

Subject Headings: Traffic management | Highway barriers | Resource management | Coastal plains | Pipeline crossing | Vegetation | Cold regions | Ramps (road) | Arctic | Alaska | United States

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