The Kenai River Flats is a highly productive intertidal estuarine wetland located at the mouth of the Kenai River, approximately 11 mi. north of Cape Kasilof on the east side of Cook Inlet. The area near the mouth of the river is strewn with rocky boulders, shoals, wrecks and other obstructions. The bars/ tide flats are very shallow and extend 2.3 miles offshore at low water. The Flats provides habitat for a variety of waterfowl, seabird, and shorebird species, as well as fish and mammals.

Ornithological Summary

Over one hundred species of birds have been documented on the Kenai River Flats. This site can support nearly the entire population of Wrangell Island (Siberia) Snow Geese during spring migration, usually between mid-April and May 1. Up to 6,500 Snow Geese per day rest and feed for a 3-l0 day period, building fat reserves crucial to their migration to Wrangell Island. (4.)

The Kenai River Flats is also important for Sandhill Crane, White-fronted Goose, Cackling Canada Goose, Black Brant, Trumpeter and Tundra Swan, Bald Eagle, Northern Pintail, Mallard, and American Wigeon. Common Snipe are most abundant in the fall, and thousands of Pectoral Sandpipers have been observed on the Flats during fall migration. Rare shorebird migrants include Sharp-tailed and Solitary Sandpipers, and Surfbirds. Predatory birds dependant upon the ducks and geese include the Peregrine Falcon and Northern Harrier. Large colonies of Herring and Mew Gulls are present on the Flats and some Glaucous-winged and Bonapart's Gulls also nest there. Nesting by Parasitic Jaegers has been documented [4].

Species of conservation concern (Alaska Audubon Watchlist) which are present but do not meet the criteria include Emperor Goose, Red-throated Loon, Pacific Golden-Plover, and Hudsonian Godwit.

Conservation Issues

Disturbance to birds, aquaculture/fisheries, industrilaization/urbanization, natural resource axtraction industry, filling-in of wetlands, recreation/tourism.

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