Ariel View of Nowitna

Viewed from the air, the Nowitna refuge presents a mosaic of wet meadows, white spruce and black spruce forests, paper birch, balsam poplar, alders and willows. These communities are characteristic of interior Alaska but the refuge has more forested lands than most Alaskan refuges. The area is characterized by two main floodplains: the Yukon and Nowitna Rivers. These and numerous smaller rivers are constantly changing course by forming and then cutting through oxbow bends, creating isolated oxbow lakes which are ideal nesting areas for swans, geese and ducks. White spruce occurs in dense stands along rives in well drained soils. Black spruce muskegs or bogs are common in lowlands and on north-facing slopes where permafrost occurs. Alpine vegetation (tundra) occurs on the tops of hills and ridges