What We Do

Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge sustains Alaska’s largest boreal wetland basin. 

Management and Conservation

The Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge is managed for the purposes identified in the Alaska National Interests Lands Conservation Act:

  1. to conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity, including but not limited to canvasbacks and other migratory birds; Dall sheep; bears; moose; wolves, wolverines and other furbearers; caribou (including participation in coordinated ecological studies and management of the Porcupine and Fortymile caribou herds); and salmon;
  2. to fulfill the international treaty obligations of the United States with respect to fish and wildlife and their habitats;
  3. to provide, in a manner consistent with the purposes set forth in subparagraphs (i) and (ii), the opportunity for continued subsistence uses by local residents;
  4. to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable and in a manner consistent with the purposes set forth in paragraph (i), water quality and necessary water quantity within the refuge.

The refuge fulfills these purposes in part by working with partner agencies and organizations to conduct scientific research, manage fire, ensure continued opportunities for subsistence users, and regulate visitor and commercial use of the refuge. 

Our Projects and Research

We've got a number of ongoing projects and are noticing changes to the refuge including the following:

  • Warmer temperatures, especially in winter
  • Thawing permafrost and changing plants
  • Lake drying and changing water conditions
  • More frequent large wildfires
  • Arrival of more southern wildlife species

Law Enforcement

Alaska’s 16 National Wildlife Refuges are patrolled and protected by Federal Wildlife Officers. Federal Wildlife Officers are law enforcement professionals charged with protecting natural resources and public safety across the National Wildlife Refuge System. Their jobs may entail welcoming early morning refuge visitors, checking hunter licenses alongside state wildlife officers, helping refuge staff conduct biological surveys or giving a safety presentation to local schoolchildren. Using vehicles, snow machines, OHVs, boats, and even planes, Federal Wildlife Officers continue to connect and build relationships with the people of Alaska, rural and urban. Anyone with questions regarding USFWS law enforcement is encouraged to contact a local officer. For all who enjoy and rely upon the resources in National Wildlife Refuges, the USFWS Division of Refuge Law Enforcement is here to protect those resources for future generations.  Learn more, visit the Refuge Law Enforcement page.