Progress to Date

Planning.—The idea of extending the Kuril Island Project to include Sakhalin has been developing over the last four years, ever since the completion of our second expedition in 1995 when we were convinced of our long-term ability to carry out such complex surveys. Considerable planning with Russian and Japanese scientists has taken place over the past year and especially in recent months. Details of our plan were solidified during a visit to Hakodate and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (9-16 October 1999), where I met with my Russian and Japanese counterparts (Drs. Bogatov and Yabe) and with Dr. Nataliya I. Onischenko, Chief of the State Committee for the Protection of the Environment and Natural Resources of the Sakhalin Region. Dr. Onischenko assured us of her interest and full cooperation in the project.

In every way, Sakhalin is a natural extension of the work we have accomplished over the last seven summer seasons, starting with our successful “Proof of Concept” award granted in 1994. What we propose here is not radically different from what we have been doing in the Kurils. The Kuril Island Project has been enormously successful and we fully expect to do no less on Sakhalin. Thanks in great part to our Russian colleagues, everything is in place to continue our international collaboration for another five years.

Preliminary Visits.—While no member of the proposed American team and only two members of the Japanese team have actually worked on Sakhalin, nearly all of us have had extensive field experience in the Kuril Islands and in other northern climes, including Central Asia and Siberia (see Results of Prior NSF Support, pp. 1-2). Still, the Russian team is by far the most experienced: all members have worked for years in the Russian Far East, including the Kuril Islands, and most have participated in field projects on Sakhalin.

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