The Goose Bay IBA encompasses all state lands, tidelands and submerged lands contained within the boundaries of the Goose Bay State Game Refuge. The site features a wetlands embayment drained by Goose Creek. Along its inland boundary, shrub habitat predominates. Fierce Knik Arm tides scour the outer shoreline of the eastern boundary.

Ornithological Summary

Goose Bay wetlands provide an important spring and fall resting and feeding area for waterfowl on their way to and from northern nesting grounds. Over twenty thousand geese stop to rest and feed in the refuge in the spring (mid-April to mid-May). Canada Geese are most numerous, with several thousand Snow Geese and an occasional Greater White-fronted Goose sighted as well. Several thousand Trumpeter and Tundra Swans can also be observed in the area during spring migration. When breakup is late and estuarine habitats in southern Cook Inlet are unavailable, this site and the Palmer-Wasilla agricultural fields are extremely important to geese.

Goose Bay was identified as part of a potential Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Regional Reserve site (the Knik River Flats site), using criteria of >20,000 birds or >5% of a species' flyway population. It is part of the first wetland habitat encountered by birds transiting major spring migration corridors from Prince William Sound and northeast interior Alaska, and may be a significant stop-over site for shorebirds. Single survey in mid-May 1985 and 1987 revealed several groups each of 50-100 Whimbrels, Greater Yellowlegs and Short-billed Dowitchers on vegetated areas of Goose Bay. However, more information is needed.

Species of conservation concern present that do not meet criteria threshold numbers include: Trumpeter Swan, Greater White-fronted Goose, and Whimbrel.

Conservation Issues

Disturbance to birds, animal/plant introductions, natural events, recreation/tourism, natural resource extraction industry.


100 percent overlap with Goose Bay State Game Refuge


Mixed forest; scrub; tidal river/enclosed tidal water; mudflats/sandflats; saltmarsh; river/stream.

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