The Ivishak River begins in the Brooks Mountain Range within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The headwaters include Porcupine Lake and various springs originating in multiple steep mountain valleys. The river flows for approximately 80 miles before exiting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and another 15 miles before joining the Sagavanirktok River. Road access for the take-out, rather than aircraft access, makes the Ivishak River unique from other rivers in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and on the North Slope of Alaska. The Ivishak River has higher flows than most North Slope rivers, which is a result of its high-yield springs. The abundance of water at consistent temperatures creates exceptional fish spawning and overwintering habitat in the river.
December 2, 1980. The segment from its source, including all headwaters and an unnamed tributary from Porcupine Lake, within the boundary of the Arctic National Wildlife Range.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of determining all the “outstandingly remarkable values” of the Ivishak River. Preliminarily, through Comprehensive Conservation Plans and additional agency reviews, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has found these values as likely on the river: fish, hydrology, recreation, and scenery. A process is underway with public involvement in formally identifying and describing the outstanding values of this river. Ongoing planning efforts may further identify or clarify outstandingly remarkable values on this river.