Teshekpuk Lake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Teshekpuk Lake
Teshekpuk.ASTER.2000-08-15.jpg
False-color image of Teshekpuk Lake (on left side of image) and the North Slope. Green indicates vegetation and blue indicates water. Some bodies of water also appear in off-white or yellowish, probably due to different amounts of sediment in the water and/or the sun angle. The Beaufort Sea is at the top of the scene.
Location North Slope Borough, Alaska
Coordinates Coordinates: 70°34′17″N 153°30′51″W / 70.57139°N 153.51417°W / 70.57139; -153.51417[1]
Basin countries United States
Max. width 22 mi (35 km)[1]
Surface elevation 7 ft (2.1 m)[1]
References [1]

Teshekpuk Lake is a 22 miles (35 km)-wide lake on the Arctic coast of the U.S. state of Alaska, South of Pitt Point, 12 miles (19 km) East of Harrison Bay, 80 miles (130 km) East of Point Barrow.[1]

Etymology[edit]

Its name comes from the Iñupiaq language, as recorded by Rochfort Maguire as Tasok-poh in 1854, and reported to mean "big enclosed coastal water" or "big coastal lake".[1][2]

Also known as:[1]

  • Lake Teshekpuk
  • Tasekpuk Lake
  • Tasirkpuk Lake
  • Tasyukpun

Environment[edit]

In July 2007, a study reported that the disappearance of sea ice near Teshekpuk Lake is causing rapid erosion in the marshy, wildlife-rich area. In some places, the sea has pushed in half a mile and salt water has contaminated freshwater lakes. According to the study, migratory birds, caribou and other wildlife populations have lost habitat, and the sparse human infrastructure along the coastline has been damaged. According to Stan Senner, executive director of Audubon Alaska, "The area (Teshekpuk Lake) is one of the most important areas in the entire Arctic, and I don't just mean in Arctic Alaska...It is simply the most important goose-molting area in the Arctic."[3]

Drilling controversy[edit]

On January 11, 2006, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) approved oil and gas drilling on approximately 500,000 acres (2,000 km²) of land in and around Teshekpuk Lake on Alaska's North Slope within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Up to 90,000 geese congregate in this area in summer to undergo wing molt, and up to 46,000 caribou use the area for both calving and migration. Some environmental groups contested the DOI decision to allow drilling. The decision stipulated that no surface drilling would be allowed on land considered crucial for molting geese or caribou, and a maximum of 2,100 acres (8.5 km²) in seven different zones could be permanently disturbed on the surface.

On September 25, 2006, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska issued a decision that removed the wildlife habitat around Teshekpuk Lake from an oil and gas lease sale that was held on September 27. The court found that the U.S. government's environmental analysis had violated federal environmental laws. The ruling struck down the Interior Department's leasing plan for the area, prohibiting the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from leasing more than 400,000 acres (1,600 km²) around the lake. Prior to the decision, led by a coalition of environmental organizations and Alaskan Natives, U.S. citizens sent over 300,000 comments to the Secretary of Interior and the CEO of ConocoPhillips.

Environmentalists and the region's Iñupiat have also cited the impacts of global climate change as a reason to oppose drilling in land near Teshekpuk Lake.[3]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]