Aug 22 2014

USGS scientists investigate current and historical winter conditions in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta through integration of Indigenous Knowledge, snow and water chemistry data.

Alaska Climate Science Center and USGS Alaska Science Center hydrologist Ryan Toohey has joined fellow USGS researchers Paul Schuster and Nicole Herman-Mercer in conducting an innovative project known as “Strategic Needs of Water on the Yukon” or SNOWY.

The SNOWY project developed as the result of collaboration between Alaska Native communities, the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC), the Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge (ELOKA), the USGS, the US Forest Service and Colorado State University. SNOWY is an interdisciplinary research project funded by the National Science Foundation that investigates historical and current winter conditions in the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta using water chemistry, snow, GIS, and Indigenous Knowledge methodologies. Over 75 community members from 4 different communities participated in SNOWY by sharing their knowledge on historical winter conditions and activities. The research team also worked closely with three of the village schools to develop day long itineraries that included both classroom and field trips to research sites. While the primary data collection efforts occurred in winter of 2014, data analysis and validation continue with the end-result being several community research publications and a community-based online atlas.

Please visit this website for a more detailed factsheet on SNOWY.