The Effects of the Endicott Development Project on the Boulder Patch, an Arctic Kelp Community in Stefansson Sound, Alaska


  • Larry R. Martin
  • Benny J. Gallaway



Benthos, Environmental impacts, Kelps, Marine biology, Offshore oil well drilling, Plant growth, Plant taxonomy, Primary production (Biology), Rocks, Sediment transport, Stefansson Sound, Alaska


The Boulder Patch in Stefansson Sound, Beaufort Sea, of Alaska harbors a diverse arctic kelp community in areas where rock cover exceeds 10%. In 1985, the Endicott Development Project, the first major offshore oil development in the Alaskan Arctic, was constructed shoreward of this community at the mouth of the Sagavanirktok River. A 7-year study was conducted to determine the effects of the development on kelp health and growth and taxa diversity of the overall community. No adverse effects were detected. The regional patterns of sediment transport served to protect the community from development-derived sediment loadings and discharges. Sediment transport patterns likely also contribute to the unusual presence of this community in the sound.

Key words: Boulder Patch, kelp, Laminaria solidungula, Beaufort Sea, productivity, colonization, epilithic community, epilithic flora, epilithic fauna, benthic community, sediment transport