Skip Navigation

Habitat

Lake reflection

The 1.9 million-acre Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge roughly encompasses the southwestern two-thirds of Kodiak Island, Uganik Island, the Red Peaks area on the northwest side of Afogank Island, and all of Ban Island. No place on the refuge is more than 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Inaccessible from the road system, the refuge provides a wilderness setting for fish, wildlife, and humans alike.

  • Rivers

    Karluk River

    Seven major river drainages and about 100 smaller streams and tributaries provide critical freshwater habitat for six species of Pacific salmon (Chinook, chum, coho, pink sockeye, steelhead), rainbow trout, Arctic char and Dolly Varden along with salmon-feeding wildlife, such as Kodiak brown bear, red fox, river otter, and bald eagle.

  • Wetlands

    wetlands

    Wetlands abound. The refuge has more than 800 miles of convoluted coastline and tidal zones, seven major watersheds, 11 large lakes, and many estuaries, shallow marshes, bogs, salt flats, and meadows.

  • Wet Tundra

    tundra

    Wet tundra with numerous potholes and rolling mountains characterize the southwestern portion of the refuge. This area, known as a refugium, remained ice-free during the last glaciation and allowed hardy species of plants and animals to survive. On drier sites crowberry heathland dominates upland vegetation cover.

  • Alpine

    Alpine

    The northern portion of the refuge on Kodiak Island is comprised of rugged mountains, alpine tundra, and heavy brush. Mountains in this area still harbor small, residual cirque glaciers. The tallest mountain on the island, 4,400-foot Koniag Peak, lies within the refuge.

  • Shrub Thickets

    Shrub

    The interior of the refuge is covered by dense vegetation. Fireweed and wild parsnip grow to five or six feet often mixed with salmonberry and rosebushes. Dense thickets of willow, alder and elderberry abound.

  • Spruce Forest

    Afognak

    On Afognak and Ban Islands, Sitka spruce forest is prevalent cover in lowlands and lower mountain slopes. Larger trees reach 150 feet in height.

  • Climate

    Climate

    A maritime climate maintains relatively temperate, wet conditions. Average high temperatures at sea level vary seasonally from the 30’s in January to the 60’s in July. In contrast, monthly rainfall totals, averaging 4 to 6 inches in Kodiak, show little seasonal variation. Some lowlands along the east side of Kodiak Island receive more than twice the amount of total annual rainfall as lowlands along the island’s westside due to storm travel patterns coupled with the rain shadow effect of mountains. Some mountains receive substantial snowfall and small glaciers ring the shadowed sides of tallest peaks

Last Updated: Apr 09, 2012
Return to main navigation