EAGLE RIVER FLATS FY 00
II-1. WATERBIRD UTILIZATION OF EAGLE RIVER FLATS FROM
AERIAL SURVEYS: APRILOCTOBER, 2000
William D. Eldridge
Aerial surveys to monitor waterbird use of Eagle River Flats (ERF) dur-
ing the spring, summer, and fall of 2000 were conducted by the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service as part of the ongoing waterbird mortality and moni-
toring studies of ERF sponsored by the U.S. Army at Ft. Richardson, An-
chorage, Alaska. Numbers of waterbirds were counted or estimated, re-
corded by species or species group, and classified by locations on ERF using
standardized study areas.
ERF experienced an earlier breakup in 2000 than in 1999, which was a
late year. The first half of the summer of 2000 was generally dry, and ERF
ponds were low or dry, similar to water conditions throughout Cook Inlet.
Extensive pumping was effective in drying large portions of ERF in 2000.
After pumping ceased in mid-August, ponds gradually refilled in most ar-
eas. Fall high tides did not occur until early October in 2000.
Tundra and trumpeter swans utilized ERF only in small numbers during
the spring of 2000; in fall, swan numbers peaked in mid-September at 189
birds, lower than in other recent years except 1999. Peak counts of geese
occurred on 27 April, primarily lesser snow geese; fall goose migration was
similar to other years except that fewer geese used ERF. Duck species utiliz-
ing ERF in 2000 were similar to other years. The mean number of ducks per
survey during summer, 127, was lower than the 19881997 mean of 190.
The mean number of ducks observed in the fall, 435, was considerably lower
than the 19881997 mean of 836 and is the third year in a row of markedly
lower fall numbers. This trend is likely related to the effects of pumping
and draining on both the amount of habitat available and the food resources.
Numbers of bald eagles were low in 2000, similar to recent years. Numbers
of shorebirds were lower than in recent years. The mew gull colony, for-
merly in Area D, now consists of just a few pairs. No breeding sandhill
cranes were observed on ERF in 2000.
III-1. EAGLE RIVER FLATS POND PUMPING REMEDIATION
PROJECT: SECOND-YEAR DEPLOYMENT UNDER THE
RECORD OF DECISION
Michael R. Walsh and Charles M. Collins
The 2000 field season is the second year of the remediation phase of the
Eagle River Flats project. This year, tidal predictions indicated a very poor
attenuation year at the Flats due to monthly inundation during lunar high
tides. However, due to the effectiveness of the tide gates in Areas C and A,
a successful treatment season occurred in Areas C and A. Work continued
at improving logistics, improving equipment reliability, and addressing con-
taminated areas adjacent to treated areas.
Deployment of the pump units was the same this year as last, with two
units in Area A (Ponds 256 and 258), three units in Area C (Ponds 146, 155,
and 183), and one unit in the C/D Area (Pond 730). The tide gates pre-
vented flooding during a critical tidal cycle in early June, when we pre-