Pacific Northwest

Level II Ducks Unlimited conservation priority area, breeding grounds for harlequin ducks, threatened by urban sprawl

© Shawn Schmidt

The Pacific Northwest region extends from Cook Inlet on the south coast of Alaska through coastal Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon to northern California. The important waterfowl habitats tend to be similar estuarine, riverine and forested wetland landforms throughout the region. However, the intensity of land use and future threats to waterfowl conservation are extremely different between, for example, the wilderness of Alaska and the urbanized Fraser River delta. Strategic plans for this region have been prepared in three sections: Alaska, British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

Importance to waterfowl

  • The Olympic Mountains in Washington and coastal areas of the Outer Sound support the densest U.S. breeding population of harlequin ducks.
  • The Copper River Delta supports the world's largest populations of nesting trumpeter swans and dusky Canada geese.
  • More than 10 million waterfowl use the Yakutat, Stikine, Tsiu, Copper and Susitna flats in spring migration.

Habitat issues

  • Pacific Northwest mapContinuing wetland loss due to urban sprawl and expansion.
  • Extensive threat to waterfowl from contamination of the estuarine habitat by industry.
  • Many of the aquatic beds have been destroyed or reduced because of shellfish mariculture, wetland drainage and water quality problems.
  • Sea level rise may reduce the amount of suitable shallow water habitat.

DU's conservation focus

  • In 1996, DU launched its Pacific Northwest Program to protect and restore critical wetland and wildlife habitat in Washington and Oregon.
  • In 2000, a satellite field office was opened in Vancouver, Wash., to manage programs that now include Alaska, Idaho and Hawaii in addition to Washington and Oregon.
  • Biologists and engineers are working with private landowners, state and federal agencies, private foundations and corporations to protect and preserve the remaining wetlands.
  • Restoration of floodplains and other freshwater wetlands use techniques that attempt to replicate natural hydrological cycles through water control.

States in the Pacific Northwest region

Alaska | CaliforniaOregon | Washington

Canadian provinces in the Pacific Northwest region

British Columbia

More information