At the center of the 417,533-acre Izembek National Wildlife Refuge are two lagoons, Izembek and Kinzarof. These lagoons are separated by a narrow isthmus about three miles wide. Combined, the lagoons, their watersheds, and the isthmus—the lagoons complex—make up the ecological heart of the refuge. The area has been recognized internationally for having some of the most striking wildlife and wilderness values in the northern hemisphere.
A proposed road recently reviewed as the result of P.L. 111-11 (the 2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act) would have cut through the center of this isthmus, fragmenting and degrading the ecological integrity of the lagoons complex, resulting in impacts extending well beyond the road and affecting the conservation value of the entire refuge.