Redoubt Bay is a large embayment on the west coast of Cook Inlet, approximately 40 miles southwest of Anchorage. Its shoreline extends north from Harriet Point about 64 km to Kustatan on the West Foreland. The bay is fed by three major rivers (Drift, Big and Kustatan) and numerous smaller creeks. Except for Kustalan Ridge (most of which lies between Trading Bay State Game Refuge and Redoubt Bay Critical Habitat Area) and scattered mounds or buttes, the land from the coast inland is mostly wetlands less than 100 feet in elevation until it meets the abrupt slopes of the Alaska Range. The terrain is primarily influenced by glacial processes. Extensive unvegetated intertidal mud and sandflats (95km2) occur the length of the shoreline and a similar amount of vegetated and ponded intertidal habitat lies adjacent.

Ornithological Summary

Redoubt Bay supports over 70 percent of all shorebirds using Cook Inlet during spring migration (average 32,000 per day). It was identified as a potential Hemispheric Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site, using criteria of >500,000 birds or >30% of a species' flyway population, based on numbers for Rock Sandpipers, Western Sandpipers (1 million individuals and 30-50% of the Pacific Flyway population) and total shorebirds. It met criteria for an International Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site (>100,000 birds or >15% of a species' flyway population) for Dunlin (6). High single day counts of "small sandpipers" during the peak of spring migration in 1997 and 1998 were 163,000 and 103,000, respectively. Redoubt Bay alone accounted for 49% of the 1.2 million shorebird-days of use recorded during a series of aerial surveys and on-ground studies during 1997 and 1998 (5).
Redoubt Bay also provides habitat for hundreds of thousands of waterfowl on their way to and from nesting grounds to the north, and during the summer is an important waterfowl nesting area itself for ducks, geese, swans, and scores of other birds. During spring, summer, and early fall, it supports the largest known concentration of Tule White-fronted Geese in the world. The area's wetlands are also heavily used by Cackling Canada Geese, Taverner's Canada Geese, Lesser Canada Geese, Snow Geese, and Tundra and Trumpeter Swans. Several tens of thousands of ducks breed here, including pintail, mallard, green-winged teal, wigeon, shoveler, scaup, canvasback, and common eider (9).
Species of conservation concern present that do not meet criteria thresholds include the Whimbrel, Golden-Plover spp, Surfbird, and Red-throated Loon (1.,5.).

Ducks: breeding; 8 counts; year of latest survey 1978; minimum 203 (P); maximum 19,215 (B); abundant; 4bi.

Shorebirds: passage (spring); year of latest survey 1998; minimum 200(A); maximum 162,291 (A); abundant; 4bi.

Shorebirds: Passage; 1993; 114, 378; 4biv

Conservation Issues

Cook Inlet is a major site for oil and gas exploration and development in Alaska. Development of new and modifications of existing oil production facilities greatly increase the chances of direct and indirect impacts to waterbirds and their habitats.

Ownership

The northern half of Redoubt Bay is a State Critical Habitat Area. The southern portion of Redoubt Bay is owned by the State of Alaska, and native corporations.

Off-road use of motorized vehicles (except snow machines, boats, and the landing of aircraft) in the critical habitat area requires a special area permit from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Habitat

The terrain is primarily influenced by glacial processes. Extensive unvegetated intertidal mud and sandflats (95 km2) occur the length of the shoreline and a similar amount of vegetated and ponded intertidal habitat lies adjacent.

Intertidal mudflats 142 km2
Vegetated intertidal 93 km2
Unvegetated intertidal 123 km2

Land Use

Redoubt Bay is one of the most popular non-road accessible waterfowl hunting areas in the state. Waterfowl hunters get to the area by boat or plane and annually spend over 500 hunter-days harvesting several thousand ducks and several hundred geese. Fly-in sport fishing on Big River Lake and the Kustatan River is a popular and growing activity. A small commercial gillnet fishery is present along the shores of Redoubt Bay.

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