Anchorage Arctic Research Day on March 24

The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) and UAA are hosting the first Anchorage Arctic Research Day on Friday, March 24, in UAA’s Rasmuson Hall. The event is to provide information about the diversity of research and creative activity among Arctic researchers, and to foster new collaborations. There will be participants from government, industry, and academia, as well as not-for-profit and indigenous groups. Researchers from across the natural and social sciences, health, engineering, humanities, and arts will make presentations.

Diane Hirshberg of ISER co-organized the event with ARCUS, and she and Marie Lowe and Matthew Berman of ISER will also make presentations. Registration is free. Go to:

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Lunchtime Talk: Investigating Climatic Conditions in Ice Caves and Glacial Caves


Andreas Pflitsch is a professor of physical geography at Ruhr University in the German city of Bochum. He has studied climatic conditions in ice caves in a number of U.S. states since 1996.

At ISER, he’ll talk about his research in ice caves in Alaska and in glacial caves on volcanoes in Oregon and Washington. Many glaciers have far-reaching cave systems in the ice, and Dr. Pflitsch’s work is some of the first to assess climatic conditions in those caves. Join us at ISER to hear what he’s learned.

When: Thursday, March 23, 12 to 1
Where: ISER conference room,
Third floor, 1901 Bragaw Street, Suite 301

Parking is free. Call 907-786-7710 if you need directions.
Those who can’t attend in person can stream the talk live at:

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Coming to UAA in May: 2017 National Conference of Citizen Review Panels

The 2017 national conference of Citizen Review Panels (CRPs) will be held on the UAA campus May 10-12, hosted by the Alaska Citizen Review Panel and sponsored by a number of organizations inside and outside UAA. Diwakar Vadapalli, assistant professor of public policy at ISER, chairs the Alaska panel, and ISER is sponsoring the keynote speaker, Debra Schilling Wolfe, a nationally recognized expert on child welfare and executive director of the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice, and Research at the University of Pennsylvania.

Federal law requires all states to establish CPRs, to help protect children from abuse and neglect. The panels give the public opportunities to comment on policies of the agencies responsible for protecting children, and they also review child-protection policies and make recommendations for change.

To learn more about the conference and how to register, download the flier (PDF, 377KB).

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Effect of Alaska Fiscal Options on Children and Families

How might steps Alaska’s state government takes to balance its budget affect Alaska families? Different ways of closing the state’s $3 billion budget gap—the result of lower oil prices and dwindling oil revenues—will have different effects on households with and without children, according to a new report by Matthew Berman and Random Reamey of ISER. They looked specifically at how state income, sales, or property taxes and a cut in Permanent Fund dividends would affect incomes of households with and without children.

They found that a cut in PFDs would be by far the costliest measure for households with children—compared either with what they would pay under any of the tax measures, or with what PFD cuts would cost households without children. Households with children would pay about 2.5 times more of their per-person incomes than those without children, for every $100 million of revenue raised.

Download the summary (PDF, 696KB) or the report (PDF, 702KB), Effects of Alaska Fiscal Options on Children and Families. If you have questions, call Matthew Berman, professor of economics, at 907-786-5426

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Understanding Water Rights in Alaska

No one has automatic rights to use water in Alaska: the state constitution defines water as a public resource, and the state government decides who can use water, how much, and for what. That’s true on both public and private land, and for all landowners—government agencies, businesses, and individual Alaskans.

Anyone who wants to use a significant amount of water has to apply to the state for water rights. A new paper by Marie Lowe and Linda Leask of ISER explains the basics of water rights in Alaska: what they are, when you need them, how to apply for them, and how many have been issued so far.

Download the paper, Understanding Water Rights in Alaska (PDF, 637KB). A supplemental file (PDF, 3.9MB) of some cited references is also available. If you have questions, get in touch with Marie Lowe, associate professor of public policy, at or 907-786-6534.

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