Anchor River/Fritz Creek —
Critical Habitat Area
Fish and Wildlife
Bird populations of the river bottoms are typical of riparian and bog habitats. In the winter, birds most likely to be seen include willow ptarmigan feeding on willow buds; goshawks or an occasional snowy owl feeding on small birds, rodents, and other prey; and ravens scavenging for carrion. Sandhill cranes and trumpeter swans may be glimpsed during spring migration. Snipe, yellowlegs, and long-billed dowitchers nest in the area's bog habitat in summer. Mature cottonwood trees in the Anchor River drainage have been used for nesting by bald eagles. Spruce grouse can be found in the spruce forests year-round. And in season, chickadees, thrushes, sparrows, kinglets, grosbeaks, redpolls, crossbills, and the occasional woodpecker can be seen and heard.
In an average winter, riparian (streamside) habitat in these drainages provides good willow browse for up to 500 moose, or about 20 percent of the southern Kenai Peninsula moose population. Winter densities of 23-28 moose per square mile have been documented in Beaver Flats and Fritz Creek, within the critical habitat area. Moose are drawn to the area by concentrated food supplies, good cover, and moderate snow levels. Moose remain in the critical habitat area through the spring and calve there as well. In the fall, rutting moose use portions of the critical habitat area north of Beaver Creek.
The Anchor River bottomland also supports healthy populations of brown bear, black bear, and bald eagles that feed on spawning salmon in summer months. Beaver, river otter, coyote, and wolf frequent the area.
The Anchor River provides spawning and rearing habitat for king and coho salmon, steelhead/rainbow trout, and Dolly Varden char. The lower reaches support pink salmon. The lower reaches of Fritz Creek support a run of pink salmon.