Establishing Purposes


(Adam Grimm/USFWS) 
Yukon Flats Refuge is one of 16 Alaskan Refuges and the third largest refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The National Wildlife Refuge System is the only national network of lands in the world set aside principally for the management of fish and wildlife resources.


On December 1, 1978, President Jimmy Carter used his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create 17 national monuments in Alaska; included was the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Monument. When the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) was passed on December 2, 1980, the monument designation was dropped, boundary adjustments were made, and the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge was created.

Section 302(9)(B) of ANILCA sets forth the following major purposes for which the Yukon Flats Refuge was established and shall be managed:

 i.      to conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity including, but not limited to, canvasbacks and other migratory birds, Dall sheep, bears, moose, wolves, wolverines and other furbearers, caribou (including participation in coordinated ecological studies and management of the Porcupine and Fortymile caribou herds), and salmon;  

ii.      to fulfill the international treaty obligations of the United States with respect to fish and wildlife and their habitats;  

iii.     to provide, in a manner consistent with the purposes set forth in (i) and (ii), the opportunity for continued subsistence uses by local residents; and  

iv.     to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable and in a manner consistent with the purposes set forth in (i), water quality and necessary water quantity within the refuge  

The ANILCA also required the development of a management plan, with appropriate reviews, for the refuge. See our conservation page for more on this "comprehensive conservation plan."