DU in Alaska: From an intern’s perspective

Nathan Boma recently spent the summer as Ducks Unlimited’s summer intern in Alaska for the Dusky Canada Goose Program and chronicled his work for readers. Boma was tasked with providing staff support to the US Forest Service – Chugach National Forest, which is the site of the Copper River Delta and the lone nesting location for the entire population of Dusky Canada Goose. Dusky’s have a small population that teeters on special status listing, and the program looks to provide habitat and nesting opportunities that would prevent that listing and ideally increase the population.

Howdy folks. Summer is cruising right along and it seems like we have skipped over June. For us, the month was focused around nest island monitoring. We spent 8 days out at camp from the 13th to the 20th monitoring just under 400 islands. The nest island program was started in the 80’s to help boost the nesting success of dusky Canada geese. The program placed artificial islands with transplanted sweet gale shrubs on ponds throughout the Copper River Delta. We spent our trip out at camp checking the islands for dusky nests and recording nest fate. We also observed the condition of the islands to see if any maintenance was required. Two common problems that require maintenance are missing anchors or landscaping issues with sweet gale plants. Beavers and other critters can create significant obstacles for establishing shrubs on islands as well as large ponds that create significant wave action.

To read about Nathan’s adventures and the work Ducks Unlimited is doing in Alaska, visit Nathan’s blog here.