KEY NORTH AMERICAN MIGRATION SITES FOR
Red Knots & Semipalmated Sandpipers

Copper River Delta 

Country: USA

Region: Alaska,

Nearest city/town: Cordova

Site: Copper River Delta 

Species/Sub-species: REKN-roselaari

Total biogeographic population: 21,770

Count Method: Maximum day count

Count: 4,2501

% biogeographic pop. at site: 19.52

Season (primarily): Spring

Site recognition: WHSRN IBA

Site recognition (other): Copper River Delta Critical Habitat Area

Site description: Using the Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Type, the site's habitat characteristics are marine and coastal (coastal freshwater lagoons; includes freshwater delta lagoons). The land is owned by the U.S. Forest Service and private landowners. The U.S. Forest Service Cordova Ranger District staff members and a broad base of cooperators conduct plant association and ecology work, management studies, and fish and wildlife research, and habitat improvement projects throughout the Delta. The Copper River International Migratory Bird Initiative (CRIMBI) links the Copper River Delta with a variety of partners within the United States and Latin America. This initiative strengthens conservation, research, education, and funding for the Copper River area’s migratory bird resources through effective international partnerships, outreach, and on-the-ground action.

Known threats: Extraction of nonrenewable resources is a threat, and specifically energy production and mining (the threat from oil and gas drilling for the extraction of oil is high). The threat of pollution from offshore oil tanker spills is high, and from oil slicks is medium. Damaging recreational activities due to human disturbance from people in cars or motorcycles is also a medium threat. Excessive local air traffic and airboat use, and heavy, repeated ATV use and concentrated foot traffic on the mudflats can adversely affect invertebrates and interfere with and discourage shorebird use. There are several threats to the site related to physical alteration of the site. Geological events such as earthquakes and tsunamis represent a high threat. Another high threat is the plant succession on uplifted delta and ponds. In terms of climate change in the form of severe weather, habitat shifting and alteration due to sea-level rise (possibly decreasing the mudflat area) is another threat.

Notes: The site follows the WHSRN site boundaries. It includes Egg Island.

Sources: 1Cooper, E. and M. Gabrielson. 2014. Red Knot (Calidris canutus roselaari) surveys on the Copper River Delta during spring migration. Alaska Shorebird Group Annual Summary. http://www.fws.gov/alaska/mbsp/mbm/shorebirds/pdf/ASG%20Summaries_2014.pdf