Nisutlin River Delta National Wildlife Area
The Nisutlin River Delta National Wildlife Area (NWA) is southern Yukon's most important fall staging site for migratory waterbirds. This 5,483 hectares (ha) NWA includes the delta at the mouth of the Nisutlin River. It is the most extensive inland freshwater delta in the Yukon.
Thousands of ducks, geese, and swans feed along the delta each year, along with hundreds of shorebirds. The delta is very important for migrating waterbirds in the fall because suitable feeding areas in the region are limited by high water levels. The NWA also provides excellent habitat for moose. In addition, habitat for some species assessed as Threatened or Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).
This NWA has great significance to the Teslin Tlingit people and is an important source of traditional foods. In 1995, the NWA was established under provisions in the Teslin Tlingit Council final land claim agreement. The main objectives for the NWA are to:
- conserve both nationally and locally important wildlife and wildlife habitat
- protect the traditional and ongoing use of resources by Teslin Tlingit
- protect the full range of wildlife and their habitats from activities which could reduce the ecosystem capability to support wildlife
- encourage public awareness and to appreciate the area's natural resources
Find more information on Nisutlin River Delta NWA in the summary table below.
Under the Canada Wildlife Act, NWAs are protected and managed in accordance with the Wildlife Area Regulations. The primary purpose of NWAs is to protect and conserve wildlife and wildlife habitat. For this purpose and according to the legislation, all activities in a NWA that could interfere with the conservation of wildlife can be prohibited. Consequently, most NWAs are not accessible to the public and all other activities are prohibited in all NWAs. However, some activities may be authorized through Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations or the issuance of permits as long as they are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWA Management and Activities section.
The Nisutlin River Delta NWA is the first of its kind in the Yukon. The NWA stands as an example of how a shared vision for conservation can be achieved through a First Nation land claim settlement agreement. It is managed by the Canadian Wildlife Service in cooperation with the Teslin Renewable Resources Council. This NWA is an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Category III. IUCN defines the NWA as a protected area managed mainly for the conservation of specific natural features (the Nisutlin River Delta).
Access to Nisutlin River Delta NWA is not restricted however there are no roads to the area and no facilities to accommodate public visitation. Some activities are allowed with special restrictions, as per the NWA management plan. Any authorized activities are listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations; signage is also posted at access points.
Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Nisutlin River Delta NWA, include:
- wildlife viewing
- allowing a dog to run at large with or without a leash longer than 3 metres, if the dog is under the control of the owner or of another person at all times
- participation in a group meal or group event involving 15 or more people
- operating a snowmobile
- lighting or maintaining a campfire, except during a period for which Yukon has issued a fire ban by ministerial order for any area adjacent to the wildlife area
- non-commercial berry picking
- boat launching and boat landing
- motorized boating, other than air boats, hovercraft and motorized personal watercraft and other than while towing a barge or platform
- non-motorized boating
- cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and skating
- sport hunting, except with toxic shot or with a commercial guide, in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Yukon for sport hunting in that territory, during the hour before sunrise and the hour after sunset, in addition to during the period referred to in subsection 3.1(3)
- sport fishing, except with a sinker that contains any amount of lead or with a commercial guide, in accordance with any applicable federal permit and any authorization required by the laws of Yukon for sport fishing in that territory
- carrying a firearm for self-defence
- sommercial wilderness tourism, in designated areas during designated periods, in accordance with any authorization required by the laws of Yukon for commercial wilderness tourism in that territory
- activities referred to in items 1 to 13 and 15 to 17 from sunset to sunrise, in addition to during the period referred to in subsection 3.1(3)
More information on access and permitting for the Nisutlin River Delta NWA can be obtained by contacting the Environment and Climate Change Canada regional office.
Nisutlin Bay, including the area within the Nisutlin River Delta NWA, is a former bombing range. This area was used by the Department of National Defence as a training area for aircraft. Military explosives and hazardous debris may remain in Nisutlin Bay and could cause serious injury or death. To obtain more information on unexploded explosive ordnance, please visit the Unexploded explosive ordnance website.
Map of the area
This map shows Nisutlin Bay in southern Yukon. The boundaries of Nisutlin River Delta National Wildlife Area (NWA) are indicated. The NWA covers the northern portion of Nisutlin Bay and extends on the lands northward along the Nisutlin River until it splits. The scale on the map is in kilometers. Permanent water, intermittant water, roads and highways are all indicated on the map. A small inset national map situates the NWA’s location in Canada.
This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries.
|Protected Area designation||National Wildlife Area|
|Latitude/Longitude||60°12' North / 133°30' West|
|Reason for creation of protected area||One of southern Yukon’s most important fall staging sites for migrating waterbirds:
|Date created (Gazetted)||1995 – Legal Description|
|International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Management Category||Natural Monument or Feature – Category (III)|
|Keystone or flagship species|
|Listed Species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA)|
|Main habitat type||An outstanding example of a productive inland river delta.|
|Non-native and invasive species||None|
|Main threats and challenges||No immediate trans-boundary threats to wildlife or habitat. Potential future affects from land use and recreational activities.|
|Management agency||Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service, Northern Conservation Division, Whitehorse, Yukon).|
|Public access and use||Authorized activities listed in Schedule I.1 of the Wildlife Area Regulations for Nisutlin River Delta NWA, include:
Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page, any notice posted at the NWA site and the law, the law prevails, as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity.
Environment and Climate Change Canada - Northern Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Program
91780 Alaska Highway
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)
- Date modified: