Home » AOOS expands Alaska Native representation on board of directors

AOOS expands Alaska Native representation on board of directors

Mar 6, 2024

This year, the Alaska Ocean Observing System is committed to enhancing Alaska Native representation on its board of directors by expanding from one to four seats. The organization is currently reaching out to leaders within Alaska Native Organizations across the state to identify interested entities.

As a non-profit organization, AOOS is dedicated to supporting various programs aimed at promoting safe marine navigation, coastal hazard mitigation, water quality monitoring, and fostering a deeper understanding of ecosystem and climate changes. AOOS is primarily funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as one of 11 regional associations within the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System, and plays a crucial role in advancing oceanographic research and observation efforts in Alaska.


Skiffs anchored in a slough within the Bering Sea community of Quinhagak. Photo by Alice Bailey.

The AOOS board comprises representatives from state and federal agencies, research institutions, industries, and other relevant organizations. These board members play a vital role in providing input on the allocation of federal funding for both new and ongoing projects, fostering new partnerships, and shaping the organization’s strategic direction, particularly concerning coastal communities.

Currently, a representative from the Indigenous People’s Council of Marine Mammals serves on the board. AOOS aims to broaden representation by seeking individuals from various Alaska Native Organizations, including 1) co-management organizations, 2) for-profit Alaska Native organizations, 3) non-profit Alaska Native organizations, and 4) federally recognized Tribes, Native regional governments, and Native regional boroughs.

“We recognize that a single individual cannot adequately represent all members, but we believe it is essential to incorporate diverse perspectives at the decision-making table,” stated AOOS Executive Director Sheyna Wisdom.

Recently, board members participated in the review of project proposals related to coastal resilience and provided guidance to AOOS in allocating $5 million in funding received under the Inflation Reduction Act. Many of the newly approved projects feature collaborations with Indigenous partners. Notable AOOS initiatives include the wave buoy program led by the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, the Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook (in collaboration with multiple partners), initiatives addressing harmful algal blooms and ocean acidification (with collaborations statewide), and efforts focused on oceanography, water levels, erosion, and fisheries management.

AOOS aims to finalize the selection of new board members by September 2024.

For further details, please contact Sheyna Wisdom at 907-748-5864 or via email at wisdom@aoos.org. Additional information is available on the AOOS website at www.aoos.org.