Surveying snow in arctic determine its effects on reindeer herding

TitleSurveying snow in arctic determine its effects on reindeer herding
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1978
AuthorsClagett, G. P.
Conference Name46th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 46th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1978
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationOtter Rock, Oregon
KeywordsSnow cover, Snow hardness, Snow trafficability

Reindeer herding in Western Alaska is being upgraded with the introduction of modern management techniques. Alaskan Eskimos intend to maximize meat production of their herds to augment subsistence dependency on a dwindling caribou population. An intensive management plan is being produced for over 4.5 million acres of the Seward Peninsula based on soil, vegetation and snow surveys. 95% of the reindeer range is windy, treeless tundra where the snow cover is relatively uniform and shallow. However, relentless winds pack the snow into slabs and crusts that greatly limit forage availability during critical winter months. Data from the first year's snow measurements present an interesting picture of the wind induced effects and indicate a solid basis for establishing mangement guidelines. The main instrument used was a RAM Penetrometer which deliniates the location, thickness and relative hardness of the various layers within the snow profile.