Browsing Journal of Range Management, Volume 48, Number 3 (May 1995) by Subjects
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Observation: Botanical and other characteristics in Arctic salt-affected coastal areasThis study was designed to provide information on cover, botanical composition, and frequency of major plant species in a brood-rearing area used by migratory geese south of Howe Island on the Sagavanirktok River Delta near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The area is split by the Endicott road and the information was also used to gain preliminary information concerning the effect of the road on goose and caribou activity. Transects on the east and west sides of the access road at the base of the Endicott causeway were established to evaluate occurrences of vegetation, goose fecal pellets, caribou tracks, and coastal debris. The point intercept method characterized plant cover, species frequency, and botanical composition. The recorded occurrence of fecal pellets and tracks on the transects were used as estimates of the presence of geese and caribou. Vegetative cover was 21% west and 38% east of the road near the Endicott causeway base in 1991. The 3 species most prominent west of the road were Carex sub-spathacea Wormsk., Salix spp., and Puccinellia phryganodes (Trin.) Scribn. & Merr. (botanical composition of 26, 23, and 21%, respectively). East of the road, Salix spp. (43%) dominated botanical composition followed by Carex aquatilis Wahlenb. (13%) and Dryas integrifolia M. Vahl (11%). The west and east sides differed botanically. Caribou tracks were observed in 60% of the transects on both sides of the road and goose fecal pellets were more prevalent on the west side (86%) than on the east side (48%). Geese pellets and caribou tracks occurred in different locations in the study area. Goose fecal pellets were from all goose species and may have included more than 1 year.