Resource Management

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In the wide-open spaces of northwest Alaska, natural forces continue to shape the land and wildlife as they have for centuries. The region is blessed with mostly abundant resources, and the human population remains low.  As a result, much of the work we do consists of "monitoring" wildlife populations, especially in light of the climate change currently occurring in the Arctic. We also work to build relationships among people who use and value the region's resources.

Resource management of Selawik Refuge is designed to maintain the natural environment of the refuge with minimal evidence of human changes.  Habitats are allowed to function and change through ecological processes.  Our focus is on understanding ecological systems and monitoring the health of resources on refuge lands.  Public use of the refuge is encouraged for subsistence activities, hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, photography, hiking, education, river floating and similar uses.  Special management actions apply to the Selawik Wilderness Area and the Selawik Wild River corridor, in order to preserve the special values recognized in these places by Congress.

The Selawik National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan lays out guidance for management of the refuge.  You can learn more about the planning process and download a summary or the full text of the plan from our conservation page.

Selawik Refuge works to conserve fish and wildlife species that in many cases spend only part of their lives on refuge lands.  Waterfowl, sheefish, and caribou are prime examples.  This requires us to work cooperatively with other agencies and various user groups to build consensus on how to manage these resources.  One example of this model is Selawik Refuge's long-time engagement with the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group.  The group's collaborative management plan allows state, federal and Alaska Native organizations to work together to ensure the long-term conservation of the caribou herd and the ecosystem on which it depends.  This type of cooperative natural resource management is becoming increasingly common in Alaska.  Supporting and actively participating in such efforts is one of Selawik Refuge's management objectives.