The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

No, it's not a recently melted snowman, or a Rorschach Inkblot test, or a painting hanging in the Museum of Modern Art. It's a satellite image of Alaska's second largest lake -- Teshekpuk Lake. So why should you care? One word. Waterfowl.Field & Stream Online Editors
The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

If you're going to hunt, you need birds. Period. End of story. And Teshekpuk Lake is breeding and molting habitat like you've never seen; epic, glorious, magnificent habitat for 37,000 Pacific black brant, 82,000 pintails,15,000 Canada geese, 3,000 lesser snow geese and 35,000 white fronted geese. In case you didn't know, T-Lake waterfowl (like these Pacific brant) fly south in the fall, heading for a place we like to call "The Lower 48."Field & Stream Online Editors
The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

Biologists captured (and eventually banded) these snow geese at Teshekpuk Lake during the molt. Geese can't fly during this vulnerable period, so they have to walk or swim for their dinner. T-Lake's exceptional habitat provides geese with both food and security while they're molting.Field & Stream Online Editors
The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

More modern art? Nope, it's a map. The colored dots and triangles and squares represent the myriad places where waterfowl banded on Teshekpuk Lake have been recovered by hunters, biologists and other outdoorsmen. Those T-Lake birds sure get around.Field & Stream Online Editors
The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

This is where things get serious. Our current Administration would like to turn Teshekpuk Lake, which Delta Waterfowl has called "some of the most important waterfowl habitat in Alaska," into an industrial drilling complex. This photo was taken on Alaska's North Slope about 150 miles from T-Lake, and it illustrates the type of development we can expect if Teshekpuk Lake loses its protection.Field & Stream Online Editors
The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has demonstrated time and again that oil and gas are a much higher priority than wildlife habitat. (See "Losing Game" in the October, 2007 issue of Field & Stream.) We certainly need energy to keep America running, but do we really need to develop one of our most important waterfowl production areas? Especially since pintails, which use the T-Lake area by the tens of thousands, are already experiencing population declines.Field & Stream Online Editors
The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

Nobody can say for sure how many snow geese we'll lose if Teshekpuk Lake is opened for energy development. Or how many pintails, brant, scaup, white fronted geese, wigeon, Canada geese or tundra swans. We simply don't know. But according to Dr. Alan Wentz, Ducks Unlimited's national head of conservation, the effects are potentially "irreversible and catastrophic." As Dr. Wentz told us, "Alaska's Teshekpuk Lake is so critical to Pacific Black Brant and other waterfowl and wildlife that it should be permanently protected."Field & Stream Online Editors
The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

The Ducks of Teshekpuk Lake

Since waterfowl from Teshekpuk Lake are so important to hunters in the lower 48, conservation organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, the California Waterfowl Association, the Wildlife Management Institute, the Pacific Flyway Council are doing everything they can to protect the area from industrial development. You can help by clicking on the link and signing the T-Lake petition. The petition is at: http://www.sportsmansalliance4ak.org/Petition_TeshekpukLake.htmlField & Stream Online Editors