Formed in 1998, ECO seeks to build tribal capacity for scientifically rigorous research activities and to encourage stewardship and conservation of the marine and terrestrial environments around St. Paul Island.
ECO provides diverse services and products for tribal members; St. Paul residents; local, regional, state, and federal partners; and other stakeholders in the Bering Sea. The department has maintained a co-management agreement with NOAA NMFS for the joint management of laaqudan, qawan and isuĝin since 2001.
ECO maintains an environmental program through funding from the EPA Indian Environmental General Assistance Program (IGAP); BIA Subsistence Resource funding; and a variety of competitive grants from a wide range of funding sources.
Visit our resources webpage for our most recent activity!
The first generation of the Indigenous Sentinels Network – then called the Bering Watch/Island Sentinel Program – began in the early 2000s when the ECO hired sentinels to monitor wildlife species and environmental conditions in the Pribilof Islands. The monitoring program has been refined over the last 20 years by Tribal employees, contractors, and local volunteers.
Data are now collected through iOS and Android applications or ‘Apps’. Information is stored in an online database to facilitate collaboration and data sharing amongst Tribes, communities, and partners. The insights that have been pulled from this program have provided significant benefits to the people of St. Paul Island and other Indigenous communities throughout Alaska.
During harvest season please report all subsistence takes of laaqudan (fur seals), qawan (sea lions), and isuĝin (harbor seals), including retrieved and struck and lost to ECO Island Sentinels within 24 – 48 hours, or NMFS on-island representative Jacob Merculief, within two business days.
Paul Melovidov – 901-546-4030
Aaron Lestenkof – 901-546-4450
Jacob Merculief – 901-546-4011
Please arrange with Island Sentinels (or NMFS on-island representative if outside of normal business hours) so that we may collect the snout at the time of retrieval. These data are incredibly valuable.
Dr. Lauren Divine
Natural Resources Specialist
Island Sentinel Coordinator
Indigenous Sentinels Coordinator