Alaksen National Wildlife Area
The Alaksen National Wildlife Area is located on Westham Island in the Corporation of Delta, in the province of British Columbia, Canada. It is an important stopover point for many species of birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway.
The Alaksen Area is located on the delta of the Fraser River, as it enters the Strait of Georgia. the Area comprises mostly cultivated farmland, but also includes freshwater and brackish tidal marsh wetlands, some woodland and shore flats. In addition to the cultivated crops, the site is vegetated by various grasses in the farmland; cattails, Lyngbye's sedge, and bulrushes in the intertidal zone; and Red alder, willows and Black cottonwood, along with snowberry, salmonberry, and blackberries in the wooded areas.
The National Wildlife Area was officially protected under the Canada Wildlife Act of 1973. On May 24, 1987 Alaksen was designated a Wetland of International Significance under the Ramsar Convention, in combination with the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, also on Westham Island. It was the ninth designated Canadian Ramsar site. It was chosen because it is "a major Pacific Flyway site for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds; an excellent example of deltaic and coastal tidal wetland environments; the largest migratory bird wintering area in Canada; and the largest estuarine habitat on the Pacific coast of Canada."
The Alaksen National Wildlife Area provides a valuable wildlife area very close to the urban centre of Metro Vancouver, allowing many educational opportunities. The cropland frequently floods in the winter and occasionally freezes over for short periods. Varied seasonal management practices provide valuable habitat to wintering waterfowl & other species of wildlife. Over forty species of waterfowl winter in the area, the most common being Canada goose, mallard, American widgeon, and lesser snow goose. Also abundant are raptors, including bald eagle, barn owl, and several species of falcon.
The reserve was used as a filming location for Huckleberry Finn and His Friends.
- Canada 9: Alaksen, British Columbia: Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands, 2001