The estuary with its surrounding coastal plains lie along the coast of Anadyr Bay 25 miles (40 km) south of the city of Anadyr, capital of the Chukotka Autonomous District (64° 10' N; 178° 15' E).
These vast, relatively undisturbed wetland complexes are best known for their significant populations of migrating, nesting and molting greater white-fronted geese, emperor geese, brant, bean geese, lesser sandhill cranes, spoon-billed sandpipers, and Aleutian terns. Nesting emperor geese approach 10 percent of their Asian population. The largest brant nesting colony in Asia inhabits Strela Spit with several thousand molting brant favoring Russkaya Koshka Spit. Coastal lagoons in the Tumanskiy refuge are especially important to aggregations of molting common eiders and greater scaup. Nesting whooper swans occur sporadically. There are nesting colonies of Aleutian terns on Zemlya Geka Spit. The combination of tundra-nesting species includes common and king eiders, long-tailed ducks, northern pintails, black scoters, Pacific golden-plovers, dunlins, gray plovers, red and red-necked phalaropes, and Temminck’s stints. The most abundant shorebirds on favored littoral and river-spit habitats in migration include dunlins, rufous-necked stints, red knots, gray plovers and long-billed dowitchers. Shorebird aggregations attract predatory peregrine falcons in summer.
Other notable wildlife: Beluga whales, harbor porpoise, and ringed, spotted and bearded seals follow fish runs into the major rivers. The Siberian salamander occurs here at the periphery of its range.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Oil development is being promoted in bird habitats of the Tundroviy refuge by the district administration with little apparent regard to its biodiversity values. Poaching can be a problem from time to time, especially in spring.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The zakazniks should be combined and upgraded to federally protected zapovednik status. A comprehensive resource analysis is needed to avoid unnecessary adverse impacts from proposed oil and gas development. Helicopter and airplane flights below 1,640 feet (500 m) over brant and emperor goose molting sites should be prohibited.
The majority of lands and waters are within two so-called hunting refuges: the 12,345,680 acres (500,000 ha) Tundroviy and 617,284 acres (250,000 ha) Avtatkul'. A third, the 987,654 acres (400,000 ha) Tumanskiy was terminated in 2001 by the Chukotka District Administration because of its oil and gas potential.
Habitat and land use
Estuary waters are bordered by coastal lagoons, marshes, sedge meadows, shingle beaches and sand spits. Tussock tundra with dwarf shrub-sedge-cottongrass and lichen communities predominate on the alluvial plains and piedmont areas. Wetland complexes consist of polygonal sphagnum bogs interspersed with numerous lakes, marshes, streams and rivers.
The two active zakazniks are under the jurisdiction of the district government with marine waters federally owned.