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).

Shoreline within the Nisutlin River Delta
Shoreline at Nisutlin River Delta NWA

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
Aerial vew of the Nisutlin River Delta
Aerial view Nisutlin River Delta NWA

More information on Nisutlin River Delta NWA is provided 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 their 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 activities are prohibited. However, some activities may be authorized through public notice or the issuance of permits as long as they are consistent with the management plan goals for the NWA. For more information, consult the NWAs 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. 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. Public notices listing the authorized activities within the wildlife area are posted at access points, such as:

  • hunting
  • fishing
  • some recreational activities

To protect habitat, the use of ATVs, personal watercrafts, air boats, and hovercrafts are prohibited.

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.

Safety notice

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

Map of the Nisutlin River Delta
Map of Nisutlin River Delta NWA
Long description

Map showing 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. An inset situates the NWA in Canada.

This map is for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to define legal boundaries.

Summary table

Table summary
Category Information
Protected Area designation NWA
Province/Territory Yukon
Latitude/Longitude 60°12' North / 133°30' West
Size 5,483 ha
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)
Additional designations
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
Additional link
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 The public is allowed to access the NWA; however, there are no roads to the site or any buildings, facilities or infrastructure for visitors. Environment and Climate Change Canada does not offer services for visitor safety in NWAs.

Note: If there is a discrepancy between the information presented on this web page and any notice posted at the NWA site, the notice prevails as it is the legal instrument authorizing the activity

Contact us

Environment and Climate Change Canada - Northern Region
Canadian Wildlife Service
Protected Areas Program
91780 Alaska Highway
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
Y1A 5X7

Toll-free: 1-800-668-6767 (in Canada only)

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