Izembek Wildlife Refuge

Izembek

Izembek faces the Bering Sea on the tip of the Alaska Peninsula. The landscape includes volcanoes with glacier caps, valleys, and tundra uplands that slope into lagoons adjoining the Bering Sea.

Izembek Lagoon contains a valuable eelgrass bed (one of the largest in the world). The beds are part of a large estuary that provides a haven for migratory birds. The world's population of black brant (a small coastal goose), thousands of Canada and emperor geese, and other waterfowl congregate on the lagoon. They feed on eelgrass before flying south.

Most waterfowl arrive on the refuge in late August or early September. By early November a second wave of northern waterfowl (primarily sea ducks) arrive to winter on Izembek. The colorful Steller's eider (that nests on the arctic coast of Alaska and Siberia) is the most common wintering duck in the lagoon. In addition, thousands of shorebirds feed on invertebrates of the bay at low tide. At high tide they gather in such large flocks that in flight they appear as smoke clouds. Other wildlife includes brown bear, caribou, ptarmigan and furbearers.

Visitor Use

Izembek has outstanding waterfowl hunting. Ptarmigan are often hunted in conjunction with waterfowl. Caribou hunting is good. There are some roads (trails) to the refuge from Cold Bay but most of the refuge is accessible only by boat or foot.

For information contact

Refuge Manager - (907)532-2445
Izembek National Wildlife Refuge
Box 127
Cold Bay, AK 99571
FAX (907) 532-2549
r7izemwr@fws.gov