The Noatak River delta is Alaska's most northern river delta having extensive vegetated and unvegetated habitats. Overall, the Noatak Delta-Sisulik area is thought to be one of the two most important sites to shorebirds along the Chukchi Sea coast of Alaska.

Ornithological Summary

Dunlin are listed as the most abundant species using the area and are noted to occur there in "moderate" densities even into early October. Between early June and early September the average bi-weekly density of all shorebirds using vegetated intertidal habitats in the Sisulik Spit area of the western Noatak Delta was close to 8 birds/ha. These data when extrapolated to available habitat, suggests a average bi-weekly population of 73,000 shorebirds on salt marsh habitat alone. This qualifies the area as a WHSRN Regional reserve, but peak numbers of over 150,000 would elevate it to an International Reserve. Although data are lacking for shorebird use of the extensive unvegetated flats of the delta, one would expect, based on comparative use of similar habitats at other Chukchi Sea sites the over all number of shorebirds using the delta to well exceed 100,000 birds. These numbers well exceed the requirements for an IBA of global importance.

There are several tern colonies in the Noatak Delta. Total numbers of Aleutian terns exceed 1% of its global population and allow it to be qualified as an IBA of global importance by this criteria as well.

Until more recent data become available, however, this site is PENDING GLOBAL/CONTINENTAL status.

Shorebirds (peak numbers): 150,000 (A4iii, A3?)

Conservation Issues

Transportation of petroleum products and associated leakage and spills.

Consumptive use through hunting.


Suggested protection meaures:
-Adequate spill response preparedness.


Intertidal mudflats, Vegetated mudflats, and Graminoid/sedge meadows

Shoreline- 142 km
Barrier beach/spit- 8 km2
Vegetated intertidal- 96 km2
Unvegetated intertidal-39 km2

Land Use

hunting; urban industrial transport.

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