Sishmaref Inlet is the largest of a series of barrier lagoons (Arctic/Ikpek) along the northwestern coast of the Seward Peninsula, extending about 160 km in length and averaging 1.1 km in width. The inlet represents the largest and most productive complex of salt marsh and intertidal mudflat habitats along Alaska's Chukchi and Beaufort Sea coasts.

Ornithological Summary

Connors and Connors (1985) and Stishov (1991) provide the only information about shorebird use of this area. Work by Connors there in 1977 and 1978 revealed August densities of 19 birds/ha over littoral habitats with an extrapolated population from a 17-18 August aerial/ground survey of 225,000 shorebirds along the barrier strip alone. The majority (>70%) of birds present in early August were Western Sandpipers; Dunlin numbers did not show a peak until the first week of September. For one taxa, Pacific Golden-Plover, Connors and Connors (1985) estimated peak population in August at 14,000 birds, almost all of which were juveniles.

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

Spectacled Eider: Sum B; survey 1980s; min pop 10s; A1. Migrating; min pop 100s.

Common Eider: B; pop <100. Migrating min pop 1000s; A4i.

Semipalmated Sandpiper: season-post-breeding.

Pacific Golden-Plover: season-Post breeding; min pop 14,000; A4i.

Total shorebirds: Season-breed/staging; min pop 200,000; A4iii.

Conservation Issues

Transportation of petroleum products.

Pollution with silt and chemical byproducts of mining, general habitat loss due to mining activity (Gold mining in Nome area)

Reindeer herding- trampling, habitat destruction.

Consumptive use through hunting.


Federal (National Park Service - Bering Land Bridge National Preserve), State of Alaska, and Native.


Intertidal mudflats; barrier islans/bars; sand spits; graminoid.sedge meadows.

Shoreline-915 km
Barrier beach/spit-136 km2
Vegetated intertidal-27 km2
Unvegetated intertidal-9 km2

Land Use

urbanization/industrial/transport; hunting; reindeer herding.

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