Source: by Emma St. John/ USFWS
Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge is a vast, flat wetland and tundra landscape that protects a wide variety of birds, mammals, and fish in Southwest Alaska. Alaska's two largest rivers, the Yukon and the Kuskokwim, form the heart of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. Almost 70 percent of the refuge is below 100 feet in elevation. The preserve encompasses a broad, flat delta made up of rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds.
Canada: 77,538 km sq
The delta is abundant with wildlife and hosts one of the largest congregations of water birds in the world. A spectacle takes place every spring as millions of ducks, geese, and other water birds return to the refuge to nest. Hundreds of miles of rivers and streams also provide spawning and rearing habitat for 44 species of fish. Brown and black bears, caribou, moose, wolves, and musk oxen inhabit the drier uplands. Along the coast, the Bering Sea waters host various marine mammals, including whales that pass during migration.
The area has been home to Alaska Native peoples for thousands of years. Refuge lands were first set aside by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909 as a preserve and breeding ground for birds. Later in 1980 several refuges in the area were combined to create the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge.
The narrow strip of coast is the most productive goose nesting habitat in Alaska, while the drier uplands are inhabited by brown and black bears, caribou, moose, wolves, coyote, lynx and musk oxen.This is a region rich in culture, where residents depend on resources to support an active subsistence way of life. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta is among the most populated rural areas in Alaska, with over 50 Indigenous communities.
The Yukon Delta Refuge works with partners and communities to conserve fish and wildlife populations and their habitats. Biologists conduct monitoring and research efforts on species of natural and cultural significance. The refuge also offers various recreational opportunities to visitors and residents alike, including hiking, camping, fishing, birdwatching.
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