As part of the National Wetlands Inventory, we are mapping and digitizing high priority wetlands in Alaska’s 16 National Wildlife Refuges. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency tasked with providing public information on the status and trends of our Nation's wetlands. Our National Wetlands Inventory provides detailed information on the abundance, characteristics, and distribution of U.S. wetlands.

Alaska is in a unique situation when it comes to statewide mapping initiatives. The Alaska Mapping Executive Committee and the Alaska Geospatial Council have facilitated numerous opportunities for agencies and organizations to partner across the vast state to accomplish common mapping objectives. We're working closely with partners, particularly the Bureau of Land Management, to co-map entire regions of the state.

National Wildlife Refuge Mapping Status in Alaska

  • Arctic: Project plans to complete the entire Arctic refuge are in place. The 1002 area will be completed first and then the remainder of the refuge. The coastal plain is characterized by broad palustrine scrub-shrub wetland complexes underlain by deep continuous permafrost. The southern portion of the refuge includes broad systems of multi-channeled rivers, groundwater fed systems and large lakes. All field work for the Arctic Refuge work has been complete.

  • Alaska Maritime: Completing the inventory of Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge may be our largest challenge, as geographically, it spans the largest distances of any refuge. At this time, much of the Aleutian Islands are unmapped and we do not have plans in place for mapping yet. However, there are about 500,000 acres of mapping occurring, mainly in southcentral Alaska. 

  • Alaska Peninsula and Becharof: About 1.6 million acres of Alaska Peninsula began in 2021 and field work is scheduled to occur in 2022. This mapping project includes concurrent creation of the National Hydrography Data.

  • Innoko: All of Innoko National Wildlife Refuge is under contract or agreement to be mapped. This project is being completed as part of a broader “Western Alaska” National Wetlands Inventory project that includes Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge and lands that lie between the two refuges. We are hopefully field work can occur in 2022.

  • Kanuti: All of Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge is under contract or agreements to have complete inventory coverage. It's a mix of multiple Bureau of Land Management projects and the Service's Kanuti-Yukon Flats project which was developed to complete the inventory across those two refuges.

  • Kodiak: All of Kodiak and Afognak Islands are scheduled to have complete inventory coverage through an award from the Exon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council. They will also have updated concurrently developed National Hydrography Data. Field work for this project is scheduled for Summer 2022.

  • Kenai: The Kenai refuge is one of the few refuges with complete legacy inventory coverage (from the 1970s and 80s). The southern portion of Kenai (approximately 1.4 million acres) is scheduled to receive an inventory update through an award from the Exon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council. This project is in its infancy and we expect it to be completed around 2025.

  • Koyukuk and Nowitna: All of Koyukuk and Nowitna refuges are under contract for completion along with nearby Bureau of Land Management lands. This was designed so we could have regionally consistent mapping.

  • Selawik:  A wetlands inventory was completed for Selawik in 2019.

  • Tetlin: Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge has quite a bit of legacy inventory data, but there were some gaps. We just initiated the Tetlin-Eastern Alaska project to complete coverage across Tetlin refuge. Once complete, we will be able to evaluate how the different mapping conventions over the years have resulted in generally similar, or different, data.

  • Togiak: Togiak National Wildlife Refuge has about 530,000 acres of mapping occurring through a variety of projects (the refuge is over 4.4 million acres). These include Bureau of Land Management projects along the boundary, the southern extents of the Western Alaska and Lower Kuskokwim projects. The Lower Kuskokwim project is scheduled to be complete in early 2022. 

  • Yukon Delta: Yukon Delta is under agreement to complete inventory coverage across more than 23 million acres. This is through two projects, the Lower Kuskokwim which is scheduled to be complete in early 2022 and The western Alaska project which is scheduled to be complete in 2024. 

  • Yukon Flats: The inventory of Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge is in progress and will have complete inventory coverage. Currently, there are two Bureau of Land Management projects with active mapping along edges of the refuge and the Service's Kanuti-Yukon Flats project covering the remaining 3.4 million acres of the refuge that does not have existing National Wetlands Inventory coverage.  

     

 

Contact Information

Programs

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency tasked with providing information to the public on the extent and status of the nation’s wetland and deepwater habitats, as well as changes to these habitats over time.
The Ecological Services Program works to restore and protect healthy populations of fish, wildlife, and plants and the environments upon which they depend. Using the best available science, we work with federal, state, Tribal, local, and non-profit stakeholders, as well as private land owners, to...

Facilities

The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge stretches from the spectacular volcanic islands of the Aleutian chain to the Inside Passage, and north to the Chukchi Sea, providing essential habitat for marine mammals and some 40 million seabirds, representing more than 30 species.
Alaska Peninsula Refuge presents a breathtakingly dramatic landscape made up of active volcanoes, towering mountain peaks, rolling tundra and rugged, wave-battered coastlines. The Bristol Bay side of the Refuge consists primarily of tundra, lakes and wetlands. From these coastal lowlands, the...
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge sustains people, wildlife, and fish in the northeastern corner of Alaska, a vast landscape of rich cultural traditions and thriving ecological diversity. It is located on the traditional homelands of the Iñupiat and Gwichʼin peoples. Approximately the size of...
The Becharof National Wildlife Refuge is a diverse and beautiful place that includes the largest lake in the Refuge system, an active volcano, unusual geological features, historically significant landmarks, and a federally-designated Wilderness. From the windswept Pacific coast to the rugged peaks...
Alaska's Izembek National Wildlife Refuge lies between the highly productive waters of the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. The heart of the refuge is Izembek Lagoon, a coastal ecosystem that's home to one of the world's largest eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds. Hundreds of thousands of waterfowl,...
The Athabascan name for Kanuti is "Kk'toonootne" which translates to "well traveled river by both man and animals." Kanuti Refuge is about the size of the state of Delaware and straddles the Arctic Circle, with approximately a third of the Refuge above the Circle and two-thirds below it. Kanuti...
The Dena’ina people call this special place “Yaghanen” - the good land. It's also known as the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.  From ice fields and glaciers to tundra, forests, and coastal wetlands, the Kenai Refuge is often called “Alaska in miniature." Biodiversity is unusually high for this...
Within Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, you'll never be more than 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Here, Kodiak brown bears gorge on salmon and mountains rise 4,000 feet from craggy coastlines, misty fiords, and deep glacial valleys. Birds are prolific. Kodiak's climate is marine-influenced and...
Straddling the Arctic Circle in a remote corner of northwestern Alaska lies Selawik Refuge, a special place of extreme climate, free-flowing rivers, and abundant wildlife. Here where the boreal forest of interior Alaska meets the Arctic tundra, thousands of waterfowl, shorebirds, fish, insects and...
Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge is nestled within the Upper Tanana River Valley, the abundant wetlands and forests of the Refuge welcome thousands of birds and people crossing the border into Alaska each year. The public lands and waters of the Upper Tanana offer opportunity for people to enjoy...
Dominated by the Ahklun Mountains in the north and the cold waters of Bristol Bay to the south, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge hosts a kaleidoscope of landscapes. The natural forces that have shaped this land range from the violent and powerful to the geologically patient. Earthquakes and...
Alaska's Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge is vast and productiive. The refuge nestles between Alaska’s largest rivers, the Yukon and the Kuskokwim Rivers, where the tundra meets the Bering Sea. Its diversity of habitats support one of the largest aggregations of waterbirds in the world. The...
Yukon Flats Refuge is the nation’s third largest wildlife refuge. With the Brooks Range to the north and the jagged limestone peaks of the White Mountains to the south, this refuge encompasses the so-called "Yukon Flats" - a vast fire-dependent area of wetlands, forest, bog, and low-lying ground...