Selawik National Wildlife Refuge
|Selawik National Wildlife Refuge|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Selawik Refuge Wetlands
|Alaska, United States|
|Location||Alaska, United States|
|Nearest city||Selawik, Alaska|
|Area||3,400 sq mi (8,800 km2)|
|Governing body||U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service|
The 3,400 square mile (8,700 km²) refuge is situated on the Arctic Circle to the east of Kotzebue Sound. It is bounded on the north by the Waring Mountains and Kobuk Valley National Park; and to the south by the Selawik Hills and the Purcell Mountains. Refuge lands extend eastward toward the headwaters of the Selawik River and the Continental Divide. The refuge is administered from offices in Kotzebue.
Some of the land includes alpine tundra, arctic tundra, taiga, lake and wetland complexes, large river deltas, open grass and sedge meadows, and previously glaciated mountains and river valleys. Rolling, vegetated sand dunes were formed by the last retreat of the glaciers. These dunes are the remnant of a much larger system that once included the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes to the north.
This area is a transition zone where the northernmost boreal forests give way to open Arctic tundra. The Selawik and Kobuk River deltas, located on the eastern shores of Selawik Lake and Hotham Inlet (Kobuk Lake), provide habitat for migratory bird species. The complex array of freshwater and brackish lakes, riparian areas, and wet meadows, provide habitat and large, undisturbed, tracts for a variety of wildlife species. The approximately 21,000 lakes that occur on refuge lowlands create a large Arctic tundra lake complex.
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