In an effort to monitor the condition of Alaska's offshore resources, scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science are sampling the water and seafloor life of the Chukchi Sea. The three-week research cruise supports the state's Department of Environmental Conservation, which is gathering baseline data on areas proposed for oil and gas surveys and drilling.
This need was brought into sharp focus last summer as NOAA and other Federal agencies scrambled to characterize contamination levels of water and land before Deepwater Horizon oil reached Gulf of Mexico shorelines.
Additionally, Alaskan decisionmakers seek solid scientific input as they craft oil and gas policy and meet Clean Water Act and state mandates.
The results of this cruise - which launched on September 4 and ends around September 20 - are expected in about a year.