National Wildlife Refuge System

Scenic Views of Simeonof NWR Scenic Views of Simeonof NWR Scenic Views of Simeonof NWR Scenic Views of Simeonof NWR

Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) - Simeonof Wilderness

Air Quality Related Values

An Air Quality Related Value (AQRV) is a resource, as identified by the Federal Land Manager, for one or more federal areas, that may be adversely affected by a change in air quality. The resource may include visibility or a specific scenic, cultural, physical, biological, ecological, or recreational resource identified by the Federal Land Manager for a particular area.

 

Aquatic Resources

There are ponds and wetlands on Simeonof Island. Numerous small streams drain the valleys and empty into the ponds. The aquatic resources associated with these areas are air quality related values (AQRVs) that are sensitive to pollutants deposited from the atmosphere. The sensitivity of these resources has not been investigated. However, they may be sensitive to sulfur and nitrogen deposition; in addition, they may be affected by toxic metals and organic pollutants deposited from the atmosphere.

 

Fauna/Wildlife

The wilderness provides sanctuary and nesting areas to colonies of birds. More than fifty-five species of birds have been identified on Simeonof including, oystercatchers, Arctic terns, mew gulls, willow ptarmigan and several colonies of glaucous-winged gulls which nest on the Murie Islets. Simeonof is home to the bald eagle which is afforded special protection under the Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940. Other species that use the refuge include sea otters, hair seals, walruses, Arctic foxes, ground squirrels, and at least 17 species of whales have been identified.

Birds, fish, and other wildlife are considered sensitive AQRVs as they may be affected by atmospheric deposition of pollutants such as mercury and other toxics. In addition, air pollution may indirectly affect wildlife by causing habitat degradation.

 

Soils

Soils of Simeonof Island are mainly well-drained, silt loam soils. The susceptibility of Simeonof soils to atmospheric deposition has not been investigated.

 

Vegetation

The vegetation of Simeonof Island is naturally treeless and primarily consists of natural coastal cliff, meadow, and dune vegetation. A variety of wetland communities and forbs, willows and alders grow in sheltered sites. All plants are low growing and only the annual growth of a few forbs and grasses exceeds one foot in height. Willows, the only shrubs present, are dwarf forms. Published accounts record a total of 188 taxa of lichens on the Simeonof Wilderness Area. Lichens are an important ecosystem component in Simeonof. Several genera of lichens found in Simeonof are known to be sensitive to air pollutants (from studies in the Pacific Northwest ) and include Alectoria, Ramalina, Lobaria, and Nephroma. These lichens are considered sensitive AQRV’s. The following links detail plant species sensitive to ozone.

 

Visibility

Visibility is a sensitive AQRV at Simeonof. Visibility may be affected long-range transport of haze or pollutant plumes. The link provided below is to the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) website for access to visibility data.

Last updated: November 13, 2012