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Alaska Department of Fish and Game

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Cape Newenham — State Game Refuge
Fish and Wildlife


Each spring and fall, hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese, and shorebirds stop at Chagvan Bay to rest and feed on their way to and from nesting grounds located further north. The bay is especially critical to black brant that stop in the spring to feed on eelgrass. Large numbers of emperor geese, Taverner's Canada geese, and pintails also stop over during migration. Brant and emperor geese feed upon the bay's large extensive eelgrass beds, refueling for their major migrations. Other waterfowl species that depend upon the area include greater white-fronted geese, northern shoveler, scaup, mallard, American green-winged teal, red-breasted merganser, black and white-winged scoters, harlequin, oldsquaw, and all three species of eider. The most numerous shorebirds are dunlin, western sandpipers, rock sandpipers, and bartailed godwit.


Sea lions, harbor seals, and walrus frequent the waters of Chagvan Bay. Gray and beluga whales move through the area as well. Brown bears scavenge the beaches and, occasionally, caribou seek wind-cleared grazing along the breezy coast in winter. Smaller mammals, including river otters, mink, red fox, and wolverine can be spotted along the coast as well.


Herring spawn on eelgrass in Chagvan Bay in the spring. Whitefish, Arctic char, and five species of Pacific salmon (pink, chum, coho, sockeye, and king) move through Chagvan Bay into the Kinegnak River system.

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