Important Bird Areas

Cinder River-Hook Lagoon


The Cinder-Hook Lagoon complex is located on the north shore of the Alaska Peninsula, midway between Port Heiden and Ugashik Bay.

Cinder Lagoon (70 km) is the larger of the two estuaries that comprise this site. It is fed by Cinder River at one end and Mud Creek on the other. Hook Lagoon (30 km) is fed by a single unnamed creek to the south.

The two lagoons are separated from each other by a 2 km-wide sedge and graminoid meadow. Cinder Lagoon is open to Bristol Bay through a 1.5 km-wide mouth that is protected on both sides by sand spits. Habitat within both lagoons is mostly unvegetated mudflats and mixed mud- and sandflats. The area surrounding both lagoons and inland 15-20 km is a mosaic of wet sedge, dwarf shrub, and graminoid meadows, interspersed with numerous ponds and lakes. Both lagoons fall within the Cinder River State Critical Habitat Area.

Ornithological Summary

Lagoons and adjacent offshore area 5-10km wide is an important spring-autumn staging area for waterfowl. More than 1% of Emperor Goose population occurs in this area. Based on the percentage of the species population using the lagoons this site qualifies as an IBA of global importance.
The site has been the focus of numerous early spring and late autumn aerial surveys and on ground studies of waterfowl (WHSRN profiles; Gill et al. 1987; Schmutz et al. 1994;). There remains however no shorebird information from the area for summer months. Twenty five species of shorebirds have been recorded from the area about a dozen of them breed locally. Spring observations produced records of several thousand birds while autumn surveys - up to 70,000 birds, most of which were Dunlins and Rock Sandpipers. However Marbled and Bar-tailed godwits, Western Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitchers, Greater Yellowlegs, Sharp-tailed and Pectoral Sandpipers occur in significant numbers as well (WHSRN profiles).
Based on total numbers supported, this site qualifies as a WHSRN Regional Reserve and IBA of global importance.

Surveys for STEI, EMGO, BLSC 1980-2001.

Total shorebirds: Aut, 1987, 1994; 70,000; A4iii