Wide Bay, a large bay on the southern shore of the Alaska Peninsula, is separated from the Gulf of Alaska by a long chain of small islands. Imuya Bay, a smaller area immediately south of Wide Bay, is open to the Gulf. A diversity of terrestrial and marine landscapes is represented in this area. Wide Bay abuts the Aleutian Mountains to the northwest and a peninsula of steep mountains separates Wide Bay and Imuya Bay. A commonly used pass through the mountains leads from the head of Wide Bay to the Dog Salmon River drainage on the Bristol Bay side of the Alaska Peninsula. A large glacier is found just to the south. A braided glacial creek drains into the head of the bay along with numerous smaller creeks that support salmon, which attract brown bears. The islands and shoals support a variety of marine birds and mammals. An eel grass bed is present in a small bay on the north end of Wide Bay. The tidal area varies from shallow tidal mud flats to 80+ meters in depth.

{link:For IBA map, click here.|http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba/usibac/2009_P8/AK3233m_WideBay09.pdf}

Ornithological Summary

Spring and fall waterbird surveys by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (primarily King, Dau and Mallek) have documented at least 23 species of waterfowl and another dozen species of waterbirds using this area. Observers routinely find concentrations of several waterfowl species of conservation concern, including the Emperor Goose and Steller?s Eider. A study using satellite collars also determined that Emperor Geese overwinter in Wide Bay (Hupp et al. 2004). Ground-based surveys from a limited location on the coast identified 32 species of land birds using the terrestrial areas (Savage 2007). Several boat-based investigations by the US Fish & Wildlife Service have identified a number of seabird colonies on the coast and islands of this area. Van Pelt & Piatt (2005) observed several Kittlitz?s Murrelets and Marbled Murrelets in Wide Bay. Bald Eagle surveys of part of the bay indicate nesting (Savage and Hodges 2006), and Gyrfalcon have been noted during other surveys.

Hupp, J.W., Schmutz, J.A. & Ely, C.R. (2004) Migration, Winter Distribution and Spring Prenesting Interval of Emperor Geese. Unpublished Report, US Geological Survey, Anchorage, AK. 23pp.

Savage, S.E. (2007) Incidental Avian Observations (1986-2005) Northern Alaska Peninsula, with an Emphasis on field season 2004-2005. Unpublished Report, US Fish & Wildlife Service, King Salmon, AK. 64pp.

Savage, S. & Hodges, J. (2006) Bald Eagle Survey Pacific Coast of the Alaska Peninsula, Alaska, Spring 2005. Unpublished Report, US Fish & Wildlife Service, King Salmon, AK. 24 pp.

Van Pelt, T.I. & Piatt, J.F. (2005) Population status of Kittlitz?s Murrelet along the southern coast of the Alaska Peninsula. Final Report to US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey, Anchorage, Alaska. 63pp.

Conservation Issues

Currently, there are few threats to the area. The location is remote and difficult to access, so there are few visitors. The state manages the fishery well. The potential for oil pollution from fishing boats, barges and off-shore transportation is ever present. In the 1980s, the Dog Salmon River / Wide Bay corridor was considered as an oil-transportation corridor for proposed leases in Bristol Bay. The leases, which were bought back by the Federal government, are being proposed again. There are several large and active volcanoes in the area. Any rise in sea level would affect this coastal area.

Ownership

The Gulf of Alaska coast below mean high tide is under the ownership of the State of Alaska. The uplands are owned by the Federal government, the State of Alaska, or small parcels under private ownership. The federal management areas include: Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge (on shore) and Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (islands). The State of Alaska owns uplands around an old runway on the southwest side of the bay, the University of Alaska and Russian Greek Church each have a small parcel on the west side of the bay.

Habitat

This marine system includes Wide Bay (max depth >80 m) and the surrounding nearshore waters. The tidally influenced shallows include beaches of a variety of substrates and rocky shores. Glacially fed Kialagvik Creek and several other creeks that support anadromous fish populations flow into Wide Bay. The surrounding uplands include rocky, unvegetated slopes, alder and willow shrubland, ericaceous shrubland, riparian zones, and wet meadows. A large glacier is sits on the peninsula separating Wide Bay from Imuya Bay. An eelgrass bed is located in a small bay on the north end of Wide Bay.

Land Use

This area is remote and seldom visited, and human use is minimal. Commercial salmon fishermen may fish in the area or shelter from severe weather and storms in the bay. Sport hunters and anglers (guided or transported by air charter) occasionally come to the area for hunting and fishing. There are no native villages within 40 miles of the area and subsistence use is minimal. National Wildlife Refuge staff occasionally visit this area to conduct wildlife surveys.

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