An agreement to protect Beringia?

sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)September 22, 2012

I am somewhat stunned about this little bit of news and wonder why it has not been in the headlines before this. I'm afraid you will have to do some reading about it if you are interested. You should be interested. It will have a major impact on our access to the entire North Pacific, the North Pacific fishing grounds, the Alaskan oil fields and the major natural resources of Alaska and the surrounding oceans, access to the Arctic from the Pacific Ocean, essentially the entire economy of the state of Alaska and possibly even Canadian access to the Pacific. Russia will gain a major interest in the control of all of it which it has been trying to regain since it began to regret selling Alaska to the US. I don't see much that the US will gain except the dubious "protection" of a walrus population that has been growing drastically over the past few decades.

The basic story is that there is going to be an agreement signed between the US and Russia (in 2013 by Hillary Clinton)to "protect" a landmass that disappeared more than 13,000 years ago. Now I am all for paying attention to conservation and ecology, but this is more than ecology. This is a major shift in Geopolitics. The story only barely mentions the resistance of Alaskan native populations. Where is the coverage of the reactions of the governments of Alaska and Canada? Why is what amounts to a major treaty being done through the Parks Service???

Here is a link that might be useful: You have got to be kidding me!

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david52 Zone 6

I don't see the problem - it looks like Russia and the US are trying to protect what they can of a common ecosystem/inhabitants which is undergoing drastic climate change and will shortly be opening up to massive development for shipping, oil and gas, mining, etc.

begin quote: "An agreement between Russia and the United States, expected to be reached by the end of the week, would create a common protected area in the Beringia region, where Native people share familial ties, hunting quotas and a common language. Federal officials at high levels of government hope these common roots can strengthen the overall relationship between the two countries.

Beringia is the area where the land bridge connecting what is now Siberia and Alaska existed 10,000 to 25,000 years ago. The land bridge allowed animals, plants and humans to migrate across its grassy plain in the Arctic. As glacial waters melted, the bridge eventually became submerged, but the people in the regions remain connected to one another to this day by familial ties, traditions, language and environment. The people in the region also share subsistence quotas for hunting of several species, including bowhead whales.

How did the Transboundary Agreement come about?
The idea for an International Park in Beringia has been floating around since the 1960s, but an agreement between then-president Bush and Gorbachev started it on its course.

The Shared Beringian Heritage Program, created in 1991 by former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, was originally formed to establish an International Park.

In 2009, the interest for such an agreement was renewed at high levels of government in hopes that a common bond would stengthen international relations. In 2011, President Obama released a statement pledging for increased cooperation between the U.S. and Russia.

However, the creation of such an International Park, with its regulations and "lock down" of land, was met with resistance by Native people, according to Janis Kozlowski, program manager at the Beringian Heritage Program. Memories of past legislation where the federal government made promises it didn't keep still haunt them. A Transboundary Agreement would create a similar agreement at a lower level.

What would the Transboundary Agreement do?
The agreement would unite protected federal lands under a low-level agreement between nations.

"The purpose is to strengthen the relationship and maintain the ties between indigenous people, scientists, educators, hunters, elders and youth in the region through a formal understanding" the Beringian Heritage Program's website says.

The U.S. has proposed to contribute the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, on the northern side of the Seward Peninsula, and the Cape Krusenstern National Monument, which lies to the northwest, between Kotzebue and Kivalina. In Russia, the proposed contributions would exist in 5 larger parks and several smaller ones.

There would be no change in management of the lands; all land would remain subject to the laws of its respective nation.

What are the risks?
In Russia, the lands proposed to be designated to the Transboundary Agreement are protected as a regional park under Chukotka regional management. This management guarantees subsistence rights for the Siberian Yup'ik people. Under a Transboundary Agreement, the lands would switch to federal designation, and some Alaska Native groups have expressed concern that the Russian government has not yet issued any formal declaration that guarantees the continuation of these rights.

Alaska Natives don't want to be support an agreement that turns out to have negative consequences for their cousins in Russia, Kozlowski said. They want proof that their neighbors will be protected.

What are the benefits?
The hope is that the Transboundary Agreement would strengthen ties between Russia and the U.S.; it would foster cooperation and create greater linkages between the nations.

It is also hoped that the increased attention to the region will support tourism to the region.

A statement from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov is expected to be released on Thursday or Friday.

The Shared Berigian Heritage Program will continue consulting with people in the region and soliciting projects. It has just held its call for proposals for this year, and it received a wide variety, everything from fish and wildlife services to reindeer herding". end quote

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 10:18AM
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Well, according to what I've been reading, we SHOULD go with a conservation program for that area of the globe, if we're going to do anything, and stop stripping it clean of fossil fuels. The science that was only a prediction some 30 odd years ago is now fact... our planet is getting warmer, and it's mostly due to humankind's burning of fossil fuels and the release of carbon dioxide, aerosols, chlorofluorocarbons, and other gases into our atmosphere and stratosphere.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 1:39PM
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I June I posted abut Wes Riddle wanting to impeach the President for signing an agreement that goes back to Bush that recognized Russia's territorial rights to certain Island's in the region. Much of this final work goes back to Gorbachev & the first Bush work regarding the region.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 6:25PM
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There is an absolutely fascinating documentary about the town of Shishmaref and the effect that global warming is having there-they expect to lose the entire town and it is devastating to the local people to be facing having to move. Shishmaref is within the boundaries of the Bering National Preserve. The documentary has played on the documentary channel from time to time in the past few months.
Sleepless-as to why the National Park Service-well the preserve is part of the park service and I assume they would be the ones to work with the Russian park service. We have International protection agreements with Canada for some of our boundary parks like North Cascades and Glacier. Life as we know it does not seem to have ended.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 6:53PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

This has little or nothing to do with protecting the critters. That is so incidental it might as well not exist. With the expected population increase in the area of discussion the critters are going to be negatively affected. It has to do with the massive geothermal potential of the area. See the link.

The US has recently transferred possession of two islands to the Russians as part of the proposed agreements.

It makes no sense for this to be handled through the Parks system.

Here is a link that might be useful: Geothermal is the real subject.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 8:36PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

This "agreement" has little or nothing to do with protecting the critters. In fact they may well suffer as a result since what it does have to do with is Geothermal energy and Russia's need to develop an industrial and economic base in an undeveloped but potentially mineral resource and energy rich area. The Russians don't have any parks in that area.(Do they even have a parks system as we know it?)There is nothing to connect to the Alaskan park system. If you look at a map of the proposed parks it shows a massive bay which is frozen most of the year. It looks like the introduction of infrastructure for a park utilizing geothermal technology would allow the creation of a bay open most of the year that would be a major economic bonus for Russia and greater access to the Arctic. And incidentally less area for the critters.

I have nothing against the development of Geothermal energy but why the secrecy? Why are they using the Parks Dept. for a major treaty? Are they trying to bypass Congress again?

This is a breakdown of the "memorandum" :
U.S.-Russia Action on Antarctica, Interregional Areas, Beringia

08 September 2012
Office of the Spokesperson
September 8, 2012


U.S.-Russia Cooperation on Antarctica, Interregional Areas, and Beringia

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Vladivostok, Russia on September 8, 2012 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Antarctica and to issue Joint Statements on Pursuing a Transboundary Area of Shared Beringian Heritage and on Enhancing Interregional Cooperation. The United States and Russia conduct some of the most extensive and diverse scientific activities in Antarctica, and are among the original architects and signatories of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty.

Antarctic Cooperation

The Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Antarctica will:

� Strengthen cooperation and significantly improve coordination of bilateral policies, science, logistics, search and rescue, training, and public outreach in Antarctica.

� Reinforce cooperative activities already taking place. For the first time, the United States and Russia are jointly conducting inspections of foreign facilities in Antarctica, which will take place in two phases in 2012.

Interregional Cooperation

The Joint Statement on Interregional Cooperation will:

� Encourage closer state and municipal ties, such as sister-city initiatives, with the goal of stimulating increased U.S.-Russia trade and investment links at the local level.

� Facilitate exchanges on state and municipal governance, paying close attention to e-government issues as well as the development of projects, including infrastructure development, along with plans to exchange delegations from local governments.

� Foster business ties between our two countries at the sub-national level, particularly between the Pacific Northwest and the Russian Far East, where investments like ExxonMobil�s on Sakhalin Island, as well as our increased U.S. agricultural exports, are already making headway in our economic relationship.


The Joint Statement on Pursuing a Transboundary Area of Shared Beringian Heritage represents the first time the United States and Russia have stated their intention to formally link National Parks in Alaska - the Bering Land Bridge Natural Preserve and the Cape Krusenstern National Monument - with the soon-to-be-designated Beringia National Park in Chukhotka, Russia.

Read more:

By the way, this area called Beringia reaches hundreds of miles through Alaska and into Canada. In fact the southern edge of Beringia reaches the northern border of Washington state.

Here is a link that might be useful: What happened to the rest?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 8:47PM
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I must be missing something? It's talking about 3 different areas. Sakhalin Is Off The North of Japan and is not part of this region There are huge fields of Kamchatka also not part of this Region. The antarctic which is also described is the other side of the planet.
Russia's the largest energy producer in the world & The Trans Siberian Pipeline with China will make it an even bigger player in the Region as well as a major energy supplier to Japan. This has been written about for the last several years.
I still see nothing about development of that region in question in whats written above could you provide specific on line evidence that makes that clear.

Yes Russia has National Parks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Maps Regions

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:31AM
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Both sides of the Fence have had joint projects concerning wildlife going back to 1972.

Just doing some research not as a counter but as a buttress n to a history that says that the Evil Empire has been working with the US Fish & Wildlife society for quite awhile.

"In its history,the Russian Bird Ringing Center has had 200,000 band returns. Of those, 70,000
were birds migrating between Russia and North America."

I Am concerned with drilling in the Arctic Ocean but it's not even close to the region & it is a partnership with Exxon and that's in the Prirazlomnoye Oilfield's in Tha Barents Sea area.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:54AM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Labrea, since the link is an official release from the US State Department, I have to wonder just why they rehashed the 1959 Antarctic agreement in this announcement without connecting it to a proposed agreement for the Arctic and why it seems there are only two proposed signatories. But that is what the release says or seems to say. It seems to me that a great deal is being left out. This sounds like another of those cases where "it has to be passed so we can find out what is in it".

Thank you for the information on Russian Parks, but your site's map presents more questions. It appears the entire country is designated as parks. That leads me to ask again whether Russia's Parks and protected areas are like ours and why the agreement(sounds like a treaty to me)is the Parks on our side and the Ministry(?) of Natural Resources on the Russian side.

I keep reading and the more I read the more it appears that what is being told to the public is deliberately misleading. You can't tell me that Russia is going to forego the oil and mineral deposits or the geothermal energy potential let alone the other natural wealth available there. They are already subsidizing the population in that area although it supplies 20% of the countries seafood. It is too valuable an asset to give up the right to use it.

I want to read this agreement, in full before it is signed. There is obviously no hurry since Russia has been putting parts of it off for decades.

Read the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Why would they want to give all this up?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 7:15PM
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OK I see what your saying! The map only indicate region that contain some form of State Park or Preserve!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 7:53PM
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I am just guessing but I would say that Russian parks are administered through the Ministry of Natural Resources. Our National Parks are Administered through the Department of the Interior and it has say over-(OMG!!!!) natural resources-in other words they seem like similar organizations. The degree of protection given to our National Parks is not usually the same as parks in other countries. They are closer to our National Recreation Areas and National Preserves-each has its own set of rules and levels of resource protection. Since we invented the concept of National Parks more or less, most countries follow our model to some extent. I am not understanding why you have so much concern for the National Park Service being the lead agency here- Sleepless, do you have some sort of issue with National Parks? It is their area of expertise.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:26PM
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There's also a proposed tunnel to connect the US, Russia & Canada by rail. Guess that stupid purchase by Warren Buffet might pay off. I did a few searches looking Russian energy interests objection to the creation of the area can't find any.
Ah well! Thanks for the information should be good for EXXON!

Here is a link that might be useful: Choo choo

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 10:59PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Gee, you know I wouldn't have as much concern if the "agreement"(still sounds like a treaty) was being handled by the Department of the Interior. That way it would have more of a chance of going through the process of approval by Congress as Treaties are supposed to. Having it handled by the Parks Dept. is like expecting a local DNR rep. to perform brain surgery. The difference in levels of responsibility is enormous.

As for the Russian system, I keep asking, is their system comparable to ours and all I get in return is snark. From the small exposure I have had to their system it sounds like it is something written about by John Muir at the very beginning of the development of our Parks systems. It is like trying to call the Great Plains at the beginning of the 1800s a park.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 5:13AM
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Ah sleepless that's not nice! I said I can see what your saying! That's not snark that's an agreement. You go read the links I reread yours to try to see your ideas and agreed with you or didn't you get that!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 11:05AM
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Sleepless-the National Park Service is the Department of Interior. It is the branch of the Department of Interior that oversees most classes of protected Lands. They negotiate with big business all the time which would be the equivalent of dealing with countries. They dont get to do a thing without over sight. Jon Jarvis, the director of the NPS, is exceptional, and will definitly have a good team working on this-something you might not be able to say in any administration.

This sounds like an interesting concept in Parks. It would certainly be better for both countries to work together than at odds.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 1:30PM
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- I'd never heard or read about any of this, thank you for posting this topic Sleepless.

I have been reading and re-reading all links and comments, I hope this thread will continue.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 2:41PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Labrea, my comment was not directed to you. Thank you for not immediately dismissing my questions.

I have to try to get through the mess left by the contractor so I can clean the pond. I'll continue this evening.

So far I have gone through twenty screens of references and have found only one attribute to the mainstream media and that one was misleading. If I had not been a science junky I would not have noticed that one. The photo of the walrus was particularly attention getting since the pile on is and always has been typical behavior rather than an anomaly.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 3:58PM
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I only became familiar with some of it last year when I was doing stock research around Exxons deals with Rosneft & all the fall through deals with developing the fields off & on Kamchatka.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 5:20PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

New oil, gas and thermal energy fields as well as mineral deposits in the north Pacific seem to be the object of attention of several nations. China is making formal claim to a tiny group of "islands" that have been claimed by Japan for some time. So is Taiwan. Some of these are no more than rocks sticking above the surface.

The point? If they can claim these islands they have the legal right to mine and drill for 200 miles around those land massses. If Russia and the US can give an entire area, underwater or not, a legal identity such as Beringia they can claim all those rights too. Not just around the islands which are simply upthrusts from that land mass, but the whole area called Beringia included in the Parks or not.
I think there is a whole lot more to this than saving the critters.

This from Huffington Post:
"The Daioyu/Senkaku Islands consist of five uninhabited islets and three barren rocks. Approximately 120 nautical miles southwest of Okinawa, the islands are situated on a continental shelf with the Xihu/Okinawa trough to the south separating them from the nearby Ryukyu Islands.

Japan assumed control of Taiwan and the Daioyu/Senkaku islands after the Sino-Japanese War in 1895. Upon Japan's defeat in World War II, Japan returned Taiwan to China, but made no specific mention of the disputed islands in any subsequent document.

For several decades after 1945, the United States administered the islands as part of the post-war occupation of Okinawa. The islands generated little attention during this time, though U.S. oil companies conducted minimal exploration in the area. In 1969, a report by the UN Committee for Coordination of Joint Prospecting for Mineral Resources in Asian Offshore Areas (CCOP) indicated possible large hydrocarbon deposits in the waters around the Daioyu/Senkaku islands, reigniting interest in the area. Although China had not previously disputed Japanese claims, the PRC claimed the islands in May 1970 after Japan and Taiwan held talks on joint exploration of energy resources in the East China Sea. When the United States and Japan signed the Okinawa Reversion Treaty returning the disputed islands to Japanese control as part of the Okinawa islands, both the PRC and Taiwan challenged the treaty.

China claims the disputed land based on historic use of the islands as navigational aids. In addition, the government links the territory to the 1895 Shimonoseki Peace Treaty that removed Japanese claims to Taiwan and Chinese lands after World War II.

Japan claims that it incorporated the islands as vacant territory (terra nullius) in 1895 and points to continuous administration of the islands since that time as part of the Nansei Shoto island group. According to the Japanese, this makes ownership of the islands a separate issue from Taiwan and the Shimonoseki treaty. Japan cites the lack of Chinese demands on the area prior to 1970 as further validation for its claim."

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 7:15PM
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