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ANWR Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; What is at stake; removed USFWS website; photos, maps, descriptions

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owl, muskox, wolf, butterflyArctic National Wildlife Refuge
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Why we archived the ANWR website at

Dolly Varden

map of dolly varden locations

Blue dots show rearing areas. Blue crosshatching shows coastal feeding and migration areas.

Dolly Varden have adapted to the rigors of the climatic and physical environment of the arctic. For almost nine months of the year, the fish are confined to relatively small reaches of stream and river channels for overwintering. The available overwintering habitat is critical to their survival and is considered to be the major limiting factor for populations of arctic fishes. After break-up, which begins in late may or early June, the distribution of Dolly Varden expands to streams and river channels that were previously frozen, and to the nearshore coastal waters for feeding and rearing. Unobstructed migration to feeding areas is important if Dolly Varden are to make the best use of the limited open water season in the Arctic. During this short period, the fish grow, accumulating fats to aid in their survival through the winter.

Juvenile Dolly Varden remain in the rivers for several years. Between the ages of two and four years, juvenile anadromous char complete their transformation to smolt. The fish then migrate to nearshore coastal waters where they spend the summer months feeding on macroinvertebrates. Dolly Varden maintain a strong fidelity to overwintering and spawning areas in the rivers they return to in late August through September. Spawning may occur from August through late September. Overwintering and spawning areas are associated with springs which flow year round. Dolly Varden generally mature after five years.


Craig P. 1984. Fish use of coastal waters of the Alaskan Beaufort Sea: a review. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 113:265-282.

Craig, P. 1989. An introduction to anadromous fish in the Alaskan Arctic. In D.W. Norton, editor. Research advances on anadromous fish in arctic Alaska and Canada. Biological papers of the University of Alaska Number 24:27-54.

McCart, P. 1980. A review of the systematics and ecology of Arctic char, Salvelinus alpinus, in the western Arctic. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Science Number 935.

Underwood, T.J., J.A. Gordon, M.J. Millard, L.A. Thorpe, and B.M. Osborne. 1995. Characteristics of selected fish populations of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal waters, final report, 1988-1991. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fairbanks Fishery Resource Office, Alaska Fisheries Technical Report Number 28, Fairbanks, Alaska.

Wiswar, D.W. 1992. Summer distribution of arctic fishes in the Okpilak, Akutoktak, Katakturuk, and Jago rivers, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, 1990. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Fisheries Technical Report Number 17, Fairbanks, Alaska.

Wiswar, D.W. 1994. Summer Distribution of Arctic Fishes in the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, 1991 with emphasis on selected lakes, tundra streams, and the Sadlerochit River drainage. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Fisheries Technical Report Number 27, Fairbanks, Alaska.

Refuges: where wildlife comes first

Refuge Information | Wildlife | Habitat | People
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Text and graphics by USFWS staff
Last modified 28 July 2000

Why we archived the ANWR website at

Note: This is the archive of the FWS Arctic National Wildlife Refuge website. In December, 2001 FWS took this website offline, making it unavailable to the public. It includes 90 plus pages of information and many maps. As of 2006 the important information contained in this, the original "unsanitized" version of the FWS website, has yet to return to the internet, so we will continue to maintain it here as a permanent archive to help inform activists and concerned citizens. If you find any broken links, please report them to me at [email protected] and I will attempt to make the repairs. January, 2008 update - A small part of the original information that was present in 2001 has made it back into the current ANWR website. There is also an archive that contains a small amount of the original information, but it is not readily available from the main website.

Click here to visit our homepage. Click here for NRDC's message about ANWR from Robert Redford.

For more information on why this website was "pulled," Check here. And, you can also view the maps of caribou calving areas that the FWS did not want you to see here.

January 29, 2008: Visit Our New ANWR News for Updates

This page should be cited as follows:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2001. Potential impacts of proposed oil and gas
       development on the Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain: Historical overview and
       issues of concern. Web page of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge,
       Fairbanks, Alaska. 17 January 2001.

Archived by Visit us at is an independent firm specializing in the publication of educational and research resources. We created the first U.S. based interactive toxic chemical facility maps on the internet in 1996 and we have been online ever since. Learn more about us and view some of our projects and services.

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