ARCUS Member Highlight: ABR., Inc.

By: Amy Turner, Project Management Support Specialist and Proposal Coordinator, ABR, Inc.

ABR

Note: "Witness the Arctic" regularly features the research and related programs of ARCUS member institutions. This article spotlights ABR, Inc.—Environmental Research & Services in Fairbanks, Alaska

ABR, Inc.—Environmental Research & Services (formerly Alaska Biological Research) is a professional environmental consulting group founded in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1976. We are dedicated to promoting rigorous and objective science and measure our success by a triple bottom line philosophy: economic viability, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility. Our team of over 50 scientists and support staff in office in Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska serves a diverse array of clients, including the oil, gas, mining and timber sectors of private industry; resources management agencies; the military; Native entities; and utilities. Our services include: wildlife sciences; fisheries and aquatic sciences; marine science; wetland, vegetation, and landscape ecology; statistics, Geographic Information System (GIS), and database management; and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and permitting.

Wildlife Sciences

ABR has been conducting caribou research on the North Slope since the mid-1970s. The work has focused on the effects of roads, pipelines and other development, distribution and movements during the calving and insect seasons, habitat selection and movement rates, and measurement of snow cover and vegetation with satellite imagery. Photo courtesy of ABR, Inc.ABR has been conducting caribou research on the North Slope since the mid-1970s. The work has focused on the effects of roads, pipelines and other development, distribution and movements during the calving and insect seasons, habitat selection and movement rates, and measurement of snow cover and vegetation with satellite imagery. Photo courtesy of ABR, Inc.

ABR currently employs about 15 ornithologists and mammalogists with extensive experience in both terrestrial and marine environments. We provide state-of-the-art study designs and analyses employing traditional surveys methods (e.g., aerial and ground surveys) and remote sensing techniques (e.g., radar ornithology and satellite telemetry). We also take pride in our abilities to deploy large, experienced field crews, to operate safely in remote field situations, and to collaborate with resource agencies and local stakeholders. Our in-house capabilities in statistics, GIS, data management, and landscape ecology provide comprehensive studies of wildlife and their habitats. These capabilities allow us to develop defensible, quantitative solutions to NEPA, permitting, and management issues.

Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

ABR has conducted detailed yearly monitoring of Arctic Cisco from the Colville River delta for ConocoPhillips Alaska since 2007 due to the importance of this species as a staple in the diet of Nuiqsut residents. The goals of the program are to obtain estimates of the total effort and catch data and to provide future harvest predictions. Photo courtesy of ABR, Inc.ABR has conducted detailed yearly monitoring of Arctic Cisco from the Colville River delta for ConocoPhillips Alaska since 2007 due to the importance of this species as a staple in the diet of Nuiqsut residents. The goals of the program are to obtain estimates of the total effort and catch data and to provide future harvest predictions. Photo courtesy of ABR, Inc.

ABR’s Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program specializes in providing environmental documentation of aquatic resources, including fish assemblages, fish habitat, and water quality, to those organizations who are either working to develop resources (e.g., the oil and gas, mining, hydroelectric industries) or who are working to manage or restore aquatic habitats, water quality and fisheries resources. Our client list includes state and local government agencies, not-for-profit organizations, and private industry. We are experienced with surveys in freshwater lakes, streams, large rivers, and nearshore marine environments throughout Alaska.

Marine Science

ABR provided expert observers to locate and identify threatened Steller’s Eiders and marine mammals (especially cetaceans) occurring near the tracklines of seismic survey ships working in Cook Inlet. We helped the ships stay within their permit guidelines for both the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Photo courtesy of ABR, Inc.ABR provided expert observers to locate and identify threatened Steller’s Eiders and marine mammals (especially cetaceans) occurring near the tracklines of seismic survey ships working in Cook Inlet. We helped the ships stay within their permit guidelines for both the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Photo courtesy of ABR, Inc.

ABR’s Marine Science Program is staffed by biological oceanographers, and seabird and marine mammal biologists experienced with ecosystems from tropical to Arctic waters. Our scientists have conducted studies in nearshore and offshore marine environments throughout Alaska from the Beaufort Sea to the Gulf of Alaska and in Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. We have led and participated in multidisciplinary oceanographic studies that integrate physical and biological oceanography to characterize marine communities. We also have conducted short-term and long-term studies on the effects of oil spills and other anthropogenic activities on seabirds and marine mammals, including monitoring for compliance with Incidental Harassment Authorizations. Our specific areas of expertise and services include marine ecology, seabirds, marine mammals, and impact assessments in the marine environment.

Wetland, Vegetation, and Landscape Ecology

ABR has worked with the National Park Service since 2002 to map local-scale ecosystems and soils on 10 units within the national park system in Alaska. Using ecological land survey methods, we have mapped soils on nearly 32 million acres over a 12-year period. Photo courtesy of ABR, Inc.ABR has worked with the National Park Service since 2002 to map local-scale ecosystems and soils on 10 units within the national park system in Alaska. Using ecological land survey methods, we have mapped soils on nearly 32 million acres over a 12-year period. Photo courtesy of ABR, Inc.

ABR’s Vegetation Science Program is staffed by ecologists, wetland scientists, and land rehabilitation experts with decades of research experience in Alaska and other northern environments. A particular strength of our team is our ability to integrate field survey data with high-resolution imagery and other remote sensing data to characterize properties of vegetation, wetlands, and other natural resources relevant to land management issues and regulatory requirements. Our mapping and data products are used to support the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements and Biological Assessments; landscape evaluations and risk assessments; wetland determinations and aquatic site assessments; and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) applications.


Statistics, Geographic Information System (GIS), and Database Management

ABR has monitored Brant and Snow Goose productivity along the central Arctic Coastal Plain since 1992 for the North Slope Borough. Aerial surveys have been used to monitoring Snow Goose and Brant colonies. In most years since 2000, with the assistance of North Slope Borough staff and residents, brood-rearing/molting Snow Geese were captured for banding. Recapture return data have been an important contribution to flyway management. Photo courtesy of ABR, Inc.ABR has monitored Brant and Snow Goose productivity along the central Arctic Coastal Plain since 1992 for the North Slope Borough. Aerial surveys have been used to monitoring Snow Goose and Brant colonies. In most years since 2000, with the assistance of North Slope Borough staff and residents, brood-rearing/molting Snow Geese were captured for banding. Recapture return data have been an important contribution to flyway management. Photo courtesy of ABR, Inc.

ABR is an innovative company that helps set the pace of rapid developments in data collection, management, and analysis. Our team includes ecologists and statisticians with strong technical skills in programming, as well as information technology professionals with a passion for environmental services. We use efficient tools to organize, manage, and synthesize datasets that are often large and complex and deliver a variety of data reports and products to meet our clients’ needs. Our GIS Department has extensive experience in GIS systems including ArcGIS, Arc/Info, ER Mapper, Erdas Imaging, and AutoCAD. Our experience with remote sensing formats includes high-resolution aerial photography, IKONOS, Landsat, SPOT, MODIS, and AVHRR imagery. We routinely produce maps of high technical and artistic quality that meet or exceed U.S. Geological Survey map accuracy standards. Our combination of field and technical experience allows us to effectively integrate scientific knowledge with spatial information.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Permitting

ABR’s senior scientists have extensive training and experience with the NEPA process and related environmental documentation and permitting issues. We have led or participated as Subject Matter Experts in numerous Environmental Impact Statements, Environmental Assessments, and Categorical Exclusions. The vast experience of our scientists is a valuable asset to our clients when conducting data gap analyses or when describing biological resources potentially affected by proposed development activities. ABR has earned the respect of the resource agencies because of our reputation for scientific rigor and unbiased reporting.

ABR serves a diversity of clients, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to nonprofit organizations and government agencies, all of whom come to us for science-based solutions to resource issues. Because of our reputation for objective and rigorous work, our services are valued by not only our clients but also by many of the stakeholders who are affected by how resource issues are resolved. We also value collaborative and multidisciplinary projects, which leads to collaborations with scientists from academia, government agencies, and other consulting firms.

For more information, please visit our website or contact one of our Directors:

Adrian Gall, Director of Research agall [at] abrinc.com or phone (907) 455-6777 ext.125

Terry Schick, Director of Business Development tschick [at] abrinc.com or phone (907) 344-6777 ext. 202