Thank President Obama for protecting the Northern Bering Sea and Bering Strait in Alaska
President Obama signed an Executive Order to designate the Northern Bering Strait Climate Resilience Area to help protect millions of marine mammals, and the cultural heritage and food security of local communities and Alaska Native tribes.
The Northern Bering Sea and Bering Strait region in Alaska supports iconic wildlife such as polar bears, ice seals, walruses, and beluga and bowhead whales; and is home to small coastal and island communities that have inhabited the region for thousands of years. The designation of the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area protects the region’s marine resources and ensures the use of local communities’ Indigenous Knowledge in future management decisions.
Join us today in thanking President Obama for his leadership to protect the oceans.
This historic designation recognizes the importance of the area, the threats facing it, and the need to include tribes and communities in management decisions.
Dear President Obama,
Thank you for creating the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area. We appreciate your leadership, your willingness to listen to coastal tribes and communities in Alaska, and the steps you have taken to protect one of the most historically, environmentally and culturally significant places on our planet. The protections and processes created for the Northern Bering Sea and Bering Strait will help build resilience in a region facing significant impacts from climate change and will help ensure that local voices and knowledge are part of management decisions in the future.
The Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area supports one of the largest marine mammal migrations in the world, as millions of animals, including beluga and bowhead whales, walruses and seals, travel through the funnel of the Bering Strait every year on their way to and from feeding and breeding grounds in the Arctic Ocean. Millions of seabirds, from multiple continents, make their way to the Arctic each spring to take advantage of the seasonal burst of productivity which also supports invertebrates and fish.
As you witnessed last year, the Arctic faces significant threats. Climate change and the rapid depletion of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean are altering the ecology of the area, as the ice melts earlier in the year and freezes again later. This loss of sea ice threatens hunting and fishing opportunities and overall food security for the Alaska Native tribes who depend on the abundant resources of the region. At the same time, the region which is ice-free for longer periods than ever, is increasingly vulnerable to threats from increased shipping, expanded industrial fisheries, and offshore oil and gas development. These stresses, combined with the existing threats from climate change, place the people, the animals, and this unique ecosystem at grave risk.
Your actions have helped address these threats and protect this important place. We appreciate your leadership to build community resilience, mitigate the risks posed by climate change, and protect the traditional culture of this globally significant place. Thank you.