U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Nome Field Station
The BLM Anchorage Field Office maintains a field station in the western Alaska coastal community of Nome, on the shores of Norton Sound. The Nome Field Station is staffed by BLM Natural Resources Specialist Thomas Sparks.
What does BLM do in Nome country?
Land Transfer Program Support: A significant part of BLM’s work in the Nome area involves the land transfer program. The BLM Nome staff helps Native allotment applicants document their use of the land through on-the-ground field exams and works with villages in the region to complete final land transfers under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). Many ANCSA villages in the region are at or near full entitlement, which allows village corporations to focus on long-term plans for their communities.
Reindeer Grazing Program: Reindeer were introduced to Alaska from Siberia in 1891 as a stable food supply for rural residents of the Seward Peninsula after caribou populations declined. After reindeer numbers peaked in the early 1930s, the Reindeer Act of 1937 was passed to restrict ownership of reindeer herds to Alaska Natives.
The Nome Field Station works with the Anchorage Field Office to ensure the success of the reindeer grazing program under a cooperative agreement with the State of Alaska and the National Park Service. In December 2008, BLM completed a programmatic environmental assessment to guide reindeer grazing over the next decade on BLM-administered lands in western Alaska. The EA blends Alaska Native traditions with modern science in the decision-making process. The document identifies land health standards and adaptive management tools appropriate to reindeer grazing in the northern Alaska tundra environment, and seeks to maintain a balance between range health and a sustainable and economically viable reindeer industry.
Sensitive Species Management of Kigluaik Arctic char: The Nome Field Station assists in fisheries assessments of 6 glacially-formed lakes in the Kigluaik Mountains indicate resident populations of Arctic char that appear genetically distinct from other populations. These char are thought to be relict populations that survived the last glaciation in Beringia.
Kigluaik char typically grow only one inch per year. Males reach a maximum of 25 inches in 20-30 years (right: 20 to 30-year-old male Kig Arctic char). These char exhibit 3-4 year intervals between spawning, low annual production or replacement rate, and appear extremely susceptible to overfishing.
Kigluaik Arctic char were designated as a BLM Sensitive Species in 2004 due to their unique genetic makeup, geographic isolation, slow growth, and increasing regional fishing pressure. Fisheries biologists monitor Kigluaik Arctic char to track population trends.
Recreation Management: Nome is the end point of America's "Last Great Gold Rush Trail." The majority of the Iditarod National Historic Trail is located on public lands and easements managed by federal agencies and the State of Alaska.
BLM coordinates management of the trail under a cooperative agreement with other agencies and landowners along the trail system. We also work with numerous community groups and the nonprofit Iditarod National Historic Trail, Inc. Each year these groups contribute time and money to help BLM maintain and improve this popular historic trail. Maintenance and improvements are also supported in part by fees from commercial users operating on BLM public lands under Special Recreation Permit, such as the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.
The Nome Field Station maintains Salmon Lake Campground, 40 miles north of Nome on the Nome-Kougarok Road. The campground offers 6 campsites with fire pits and picnic tables, a natural boat launch at Salmon Lake, and an outhouse. The campground opens in late June after the Nome-Kougarok Road is free of snow and remains open until mid October, depending on snow and road conditions. The Salmon Lake area offers outstanding recreational opportunities. It’s the spawning grounds for the northernmost run of sockeye salmon in the United States.
The BLM Nome Field Station:
Right: Tom Sparks removes fuel drums at an abandoned dredge mine near the Fish River, east of Council.
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