8 October 2020
Improving ice observations on rivers and lakes around Alaska is the major objective of the NSF-funded Fresh Eyes on Ice project. River cameras and lake ice buoys were located around the state during fall 2019 when INE scientists Chris Arp and Allen Bondurant visited students, teachers, and other community members in five rural villages. Camping out in school libraries added to the adventure of meeting with student ice observers and deciding on camera and buoy sites.
With village visit restrictions in 2020, FEOI scientists pivoted to instead locate cameras and buoys in more remote locations, forgoing meeting with new community monitoring team until COVID-19 clears. Assistance from ADF&G, NPS, and BLM, and most importantly pilot Scott Amy and NSF logistic provider CPS, Arp and Bondurant set up four new river ice cameras and seven snow-ice buoys on lakes.
This year researchers drove between Anchorage, Glennallen, and Fairbanks to transport heavy gear to the closest the airstrip to reach distant sites on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Wrangell Mts, and Yukon River and its tributaries by amphib float plane.
Adding to this real-time observation network will help inform a range of stakeholders as to freshwater freeze-up progression and ice travel conditions along with providing a range of arctic scientists and managers ground truth observations. Real-time data from cameras and buoys can be accessed at http://fresheyesonice.org/realtime-data/.