Chiniak Bay is a highly productive marine area located on the Northeastern coast of Kodiak Island. The city of Kodiak, the United States' third largest fishing port, the island's main commercial airport and the largest Coast Guard base in the North Pacific are all located in Chiniak Bay. There are approximately 75 miles of road along the perimeter of the bay providing recreational and subsistence access by residents and visitors to Kodiak.
The outer (marine) boundary of this site is designed to include all known Steller's Eider habitat around Woody Island, Long Island, Queer Island, Kalsin Island, and Cape Chiniak.
Chiniak Bay supports a minimum of 23 seabird colonies during the summer, and includes wintering habitat for numerous marine and land based avian species, including the Steller's Eider, Emperor Goose, and Yellow- billed Loon. A number of other species, such as the Black Oystercatcher, Marbled Murrelet, Peregrine Falcon, and Bald Eagle, are year round residents.
As the main population center, fishing port, aircraft hub, and Coast Guard facility in the Gulf of Alaska, Chiniak Bay has a number of potential threats to avian species. Continued growth of port and marine transportation facilities is expected along with expansion of the state airport. Extension of the airport runways would entail extensive filling of intertidal habitats critical to species of conservation concern detailed in this nomination. Oil pollution from boats and commercial facilities, and residential effluent, has historically occurred and may possibly occur again.
The land ownership is a complicated mixture of private, native, state, municipal, and federal entities with some ongoing overlapping claims.
Vegetation is dominated by a mixture of Sitka black spruce and cottonwood with a black birch, willow, and alder under story. The ground cover consists of a mixture of grasses, sedges, and forbs. Several large rivers and other freshwater streams having substantial tidal and estuarine habitats flow into Chiniak Bay. The coastline is dominated by rocky shorelines and cliffs with gravel and sand beaches at the heads of three small inner bays (Womens?, Middle, and Kalsin) that are encompassed by Chiniak Bay.
The city of Kodiak is the main population center on Kodiak Island and has a history of fishing, hunting, transportation, and military support activities. Kodiak is a popular tourist destination with a national and international reputation for scenic beauty and wildlife resources.