• Alaska Fuel Price Projections 2011-2030

      Schwoerer, Tobias; Saylor, Ben; Fay, Ginny (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011)
      This report and supporting spreadsheet outline Low, Medium, and High case fuel price projections for the years 2011-2030 for natural gas in Southcentral Alaska delivered to a utility-scale customer, diesel delivered to a PCE community utility tank, diesel delivered to a home in a PCE community, home heating oil purchased in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kenai, Ketchikan, Palmer, and Wasilla. The report provides documentation of the assumptions and methods that are used, while a companion Excel workbook contains the detailed projections.
    • Alaska Isolated Wind-Diesel Systems Performance and Economic Analysis

      Fay, Ginny; Schwoerer, Tobias; Keith, Katherine (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010)
      Most remote rural communities in Alaska use diesel to generate electricity, but the high price of diesel is causing an increasing number to add a local power source that’s also renewable—wind. Our analysis is preliminary; most existing systems are new. Adding wind to diesel systems makes economic sense to customers if wind energy costs less than the equivalent energy cost of diesel. Our review of project histories did reveal some potential ways of improving the economics and performance of rural wind-diesel systems. Those include geographically and technologically aggregating projects to take advantage of economies of scale; employing skilled project developers who use technological innovations to increase wind-energy generation; having clear power-purchase agreements; having skilled and motivated local operators; establishing remote monitoring to alert project managers about problems and record maintenance and performance data; and hiring people with expertise in Alaska’s harsh climate.
    • Aquatic Invasive Species Change Ecosystem Services from the World�s Largest Wild Sockeye Salmon Fisheries in Alaska

      Schwoerer, Tobias; Little, Joseph; Adkison, Milo (Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics, 6/3/2019)
      This study combines a multi-method approach to structured expert judgment with market valuation to forecast fisheries damages from introduced invasive species. The method is applied to a case study of Alaska�s first submersed aquatic invasive plant, Elodea spp., threatening Alaska�s salmon fisheries. Assuming that Elodea spp. remains unmanaged, estimated mean damages to commercial sockeye fisheries aggregated across Alaska amount to a potential $159 million annually with a 5% chance of exceeding $577 million annually ($2015 USD). The associated mean loss of natural capital amounts to $5.1 billion cumulatively over the next 100 years reaching $400 million after 10 years. Results from the expert elicitation indicate that there is a 35% chance of positive net benefits associated with the believed positive effects of Elodea spp. on sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). Despite the potential for positive net gains, the magnitude of the most probable damage estimate may justify substantial investment in keeping productive freshwater systems free of aquatic invasive species. The damage estimate for Alaska is significantly larger than similar estimates in the Great Lakes where ecosystems are already impaired by multiple aquatic invasive species, underscoring the value of keeping functioning ecosystems with global market value productive. This study is the first to estimate ecosystem service loss associated with introduction of an aquatic invasive species to freshwater habitat that supports the world�s most valuable wild sockeye salmon fisheries. Important policy implications related to natural resource management and efficient allocation of scarce resources are discussed
    • The Chaninik Wind Group

      Schwoerer, Tobias; Meiners, Dennis; Fay, Ginny (UNEP Risø Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development, 2011)
      The Chaninik Wind Group project, a collaboration between Native communities in remote areas of Alaska that harnesses wind power to reduce energy costs, promotes self sufficiency and economic development
    • Chapter 6: Vegetation

      Berman, Matthew; DeVelice, Robert; Hollingsworth, Teresa Nettleton; Bella, Elizabeth; Carlson, Matthew L.; Clark, Paul; Barrett, Tara; Hayward, Gregory D.; Lundquist, John; Magness, Dawn Robin; et al. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 2016)
      This assessment evaluates the effects of future climate change on a select set of ecological systems and ecosystem services in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula and Chugach National Forest regions. The focus of the assessment was established during a multi-agency/organization workshop that established the goal to conduct a rigorous evaluation of a limited range of topics rather than produce a broad overview. The report explores the potential consequences of climate change for: (a) snowpack, glaciers, and winter recreation; (b) coastal landscapes and associated environments, (c) vegetation, (d) salmon, and (e) a select set of wildlife species. During the next half century, directional change associated with warming temperatures and increased precipitation will result in dramatic reductions in snow cover at low elevations, continued retreat of glaciers, substantial changes in the hydrologic regime for an estimated 8.5 percent of watersheds, and potentially an increase in the abundance of pink salmon. In contrast to some portions of the Earth, apparent sealevel rise is likely to be low for much of the assessment region owing to interactions between tectonic processes and sea conditions. Shrubs and forests are projected to continue moving to higher elevations, reducing the extent of alpine tundra and potentially further affecting snow levels. Opportunities for alternative forms of outdoor recreation and subsistence activities that include sled-dog mushing, hiking, hunting, and travel using across-snow vehicles will change as snowpack levels, frozen soils, and vegetation change over time. There was a projected 66-percent increase in the estimated value of human structures (e.g. homes, businesses) that are at risk to fire in the next half century on the Kenai Peninsula, and a potential expansion of invasive plants, particularly along roads, trails, and waterways.
    • Hitchhikers on floats to Arctic freshwater: Private aviation and recreation loss from aquatic invasion

      Schwoerer, Tobias; Little, Joseph; Schmidt, Jennifer; Borash, Kyle (Springer Netherlands, 2019)
      This study of aviation-related recreation loss shows that a survey primarily aimed at collecting information on invasive species’ pathways can also be used to estimate changes in pathway-related ecosystem services. We present a case study for Elodea spp. (elodea), Alaska’s first known aquatic invasive plant, by combining respondents’ stated pre-invasion actual flights with stated post-invasion contingent behavior, plane operating costs, and site quality data. We asked pilots about the extent of continued flights should destinations become invaded and inhibit flight safety. We estimate a recreation demand model where the lost trip value to the average floatplane pilot whose destination is an elodea-invaded lake is US$185 (95 % CI $157, $211). Estimates of ecosystem damages incurred by private actors responsible for transmitting invaders can nudge actors to change behavior and inform adaptive ecosystem management. The policy and modeling implications of quantifying such damages and integration into more complex models are discussed.
    • Invasive Species Management Programs in Alaska: A Survey of Statewide Expenditures, 2007 - 11

      Schwoerer, Tobias; Federer, Rebekka; Ferren, Howard II (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 11/1/2012)
    • Ocean Acidification and Alaska

      Schwoerer, Tobias; Foy, Robert James (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska, 2019)
      This presentation outlines research questions and existing information regarding key commercial fisheries and the potential impact of ocean acidification in Alaska. Presented to the Alaska Board of Fisheries in October 2019.
    • Social Indicators for Arctic Mining

      Haley, Sharman; Szymoniak, Nick; Klick, Matthew; Crow, Andrew; Schwoerer, Tobias (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-05)
      This paper reviews and assesses the state of the data to describe and monitor mining trends in the pan-Arctic. It constructs a mining index and discusses its value as a social impact indicator and discusses drivers of change in Arctic mining. The widely available measures of mineral production and value are poor proxies for economic effects on Arctic communities. Trends in mining activity can be characterized as stasis or decline in mature regions of the Arctic, with strong growth in the frontier regions. World prices and the availability of large, undiscovered and untapped resources with favorable access and low political risk are the biggest drivers for Arctic mining, while climate change is a minor and locally variable factor. Historical data on mineral production and value is unavailable in electronic format for much of the Arctic, specifically Scandinavia and Russia; completing the historical record back to 1980 will require work with paper archives. The most critically needed improvement in data collection and reporting is to develop comparable measures of employment: the eight Arctic countries each use different definitions of employment, and different methodologies to collect the data. Furthermore, many countries do not report employment by county and industry, so the Arctic share of mining employment cannot be identified. More work needs to be done to develop indicator measures for ecosystem service flows. More work also needs to be done developing conceptual models of effects of mining activities on fate control, cultural continuity and ties to nature for local Arctic communities.