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Habitat

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  • Pacific Coast

    Pacific Coast

    In addition to its scenic value, the spectacularly rugged Pacific coast with its cliffs, bays, fjords, and streams support a diversity of fish and wildlife resources. These include nesting bald eagles, at least eight nesting species of seabirds, including puffins, cormorants, kittiwakes, and guillemots, and wintering waterfowl such as emperor geese, harlequin ducks, and the threatened Steller’s eider. All five species of Pacific salmon spawn in these coastal drainages including the commercially significant sockeye run into the Chignik system. Harbor seals, sea otters, and Steller sea lions of the threatened western population haul out along the coast, and local residents report that gray whales enter the refuge boundary in spring to forage in Chignik Lagoon. Brown bear forage in coastal sedge meadows in spring and in coastal drainages for spawning salmon in summer and fall. More than a thousand caribou summer in the coastal drainages and mountains of the Pacific coast of the Ugashik Unit, and moose are common, as well. The frequent fog, rain, and wind contribute to the beauty of the coast. On clear days when glacier-covered volcanoes rise above the rocky coast, it is spectacular.

  • Ugashik Lakes

    Ugashik Lake

    The Ugashik Lakes are world renowned for trophy arctic grayling fishing (the Alaska record was set here). The lakes also support large concentrations of lake trout, provide key feeding habitat for large numbers of sockeye and coho salmon. The Ugashik Narrows has outstanding recreational opportunities for angling for trophy arctic grayling, and other popular sport fish. The Narrows is a unique geologic feature on the Alaska Peninsula, where two of the largest lakes in the area are joined by a shallow flowing channel. The Narrows was also important to prehistoric Native communities.

  • Dog Salmon River, Mother Goose River, and King Salmon River

    Mother Goose Lake

    These drainages constitute a major portion of the high-quality winter moose habitat on the central Alaska Peninsula. Scattered stands of poplar form the last remnant of forest on the Alaska Peninsula as one moves farther southwest, petering out at Mother Goose Lake and along its outlet, the King Salmon River. This forest provides locally unique habitat to many species of breeding songbirds, as well as hare and lynx. These drainages also include a substantial part of the limited nesting range of the Alaskan subspecies of the marbled godwit. They support runs of all five species of Pacific salmon, as well as resident populations of arctic char, Dolly Varden, and other species. Both drainages originate in the glaciers and snowfields of Mt. Kialagvik, the active Chiginagak volcano, and surrounding mountains, which provide spectacular scenic backgrounds to the Dog Salmon River meandering through its marshes and to beautiful Mother Goose Lake.

  • Balck Lake-Chignik Lake Area

    Chignik Lake

    The Black Lake-Chignik Lake area harbors one of the most dense seasonal concentrations of brown bears in North America. The tributaries of the Chignik and Alec Rivers (Chignik Unit) provide the best example on the Refuge of high concentrations of spawning sockeye salmon and the large number of brown bears they attract. As many as 500 bears congregate on these streams during August. Although this type of value is found on other rivers in the region, the size of the run and the number of bears that depend on it are truly exemplary on these streams.

  • Castle Cape Fjords

    Castle Cape Fjords

    The Castle Cape Fjords in the Chignik Unit consist of extremely rugged mountains deeply indented by the sea. The rocks exhibit a pattern of contrasting dark and light layers that is so pronounced that the cape serves as a famous landmark to ships.

  • Mount Veniaminof

    Mount Veniaminof

    Mount Veniaminof, one of Alaska’s active volcanoes, last erupted in 1995. The volcano is massive. The summit crater is about 5.2 miles in diameter and contains a 25-square mile cupped ice field – the most extensive crater glacier in North America. It is the only known glacier on the continent with an active volcanic vent in its center. In 1967, Mount Veniaminof was designated as a National Natural Landmark. The spectacular Upper Sandy River originates in the glaciers of Veniaminof and flows through a still raw volcanic landscape before forming a delta above Sandy Lake.

Last Updated: Jul 26, 2012
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