Biological Projects

One of the establishing purposes of the Nowitna Refuge is to "conserve fish and wildlife populations and their habitats in their natural diversity." To fulfill this mission, refuge biologists need to understand what wildlife species and habitats are found on the refuge (Inventory), how wildlife populations and habitats change through time (Monitoring), and the interaction between those resources and human activities (Management). Click on the links to the left to learn more about these programs:

Passerine monitoring programs at the Koyukuk/Nowitna Refuge Complex are conducted according to statewide and national protocols so that locally collected data can contribute to large-scale efforts to conserve and protect sensitive species. Statewide efforts are coordinated by Boreal Partners in Flight.

Christmas Bird Count: The Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) has provided the longest-term, most extensive and geographically comprehensive ornithological data set in America. A CBC has been conducted in Galena every year since 1982.

North American Migration Count: This national program was initiated in 1992 to provide an annual “snapshot” of spring migration. The count has been conducted in Galena most years.

Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS): The MAPS program was established in 1989 by the Institute of Bird Populations to provide long-term demographic data on landbird species throughout North America. The program uses standardized constant-effort mist netting to obtain indices of adult population size, post-fledging productivity, recruitment, and adult survivorship. A MAPS station was established near Galena in 1995, consisting of 10 net sites. The station was operated according to standard protocol for five consecutive summers. Data collected at Galena is being used in an effort to determine the effectiveness and long-term value of the MAPS program in Alaska.

Breeding Bird Survey (BBS): The BBS is a cooperative, continent-wide effort designed to gather and analyze information on breeding bird populations in North America north of Mexico. Surveys provide indices of species abundance based on annual point counts. The refuge complex conducts two complete routes and one half-route annually. The Galena BBS (half-route) incorporates most of Galena's limited road system, and has been run since 1985. The Nikolai Slough BBS is a river-route, surveyed by boat on the Yukon River and a tributary since 1986. The Ruby BBS uses the Ruby-Poorman road which lies approximately 10 miles west of the Nowitna NWR. This route has been conducted since 1994.