This program was funded through the competitive grant process with the NMFS/ Steller Sea Lion Research Initiative. It took a two-phase approach. First, local and traditional knowledge of Steller Sea Lion surveys were conducted over the first three years in a number of communities throughout coastal Alaska.
From the survey effort, local and seasonal Steller sea lion haulouts were identified and monitoring methods were developed: Steller Sea Lion Photographic Monitoring of Local Seasonal Haulouts.
Those methods were first field tested and then implemented by the Native Village of Eyak through three Prince William Sound surveys. In each survey, 34 identified haulouts were surveyed. Data collected included a total count on each site, age and sex estimations, and current environmental conditions. If branded sea lions were observed, the surveyors noted the brand ID and total numbers of branded sea lions.
Lastly, through partnership with the Native Village of Old Harbor, draft biosampling protocols were developed: Alaska Native Hunter's Photographic Guide to Sea Lion Biosampling. These draft protocols were then later refined and became the basis for our Steller Sea Lion Biosampling Program.
Edited 6 August 2009