On March 31, 2010, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a national strategy for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas development. In that announcement, the Administration outlined a three-pronged approach (U.S. Department of the Interior, 2010a): Development: "...expand development and production throughout the Gulf of Mexico, including resource-rich areas of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico..." Exploration: "...expand oil and gas exploration in frontier areas, such as the Arctic Ocean and areas in the Atlantic Ocean, to gather the information necessary to develop resources in the right places and the right ways." Conservation: "...calls for the protection of special areas like Bristol Bay in Alaska...national treasure[s] that we must protect for future generations." In a companion announcement (U.S. Department of the Interior, 2010b), within the Administration's "Exploration" component, the Secretary asked the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct an initial, independent evaluation of the science needs that would inform the Administration's consideration of the right places and the right ways in which to develop oil and gas resources in the Arctic OCS, particularly focused on the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas (fig. 1).