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Kachemak Bay, Alaska

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Kachemak Bay Habitat Focus Area iconLocated in southern Cook Inlet, the Kachemak Bay Habitat Focus Area supports important recreational, subsistence, and commercial fishing. The area is also important for marine transportation, tourism, and threatened and endangered species. The bay provides a remarkably fertile environment for both fish and shellfish. The abundant marine life draws waterfowl, shorebirds, moose, and bears. Marine mammals, including otters, seals, porpoise, and a variety of whales, live in the bay year round.

Two bald eagles perch on branch, in front of snowy mountains
(NOAA)

Kachemak Bay has been named a State of Alaska Critical Habitat Area and a National Estuarine Research Reserve. In fact, it is the largest in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. The reserve provides opportunities for long-term monitoring and research activities, habitat mapping, studies related to salmon habitat, and training and education programs.

 

 

 

 

THREATS

The region has experienced significant declines in shrimp and crab that have not recovered despite fishery closures.

The Bay’s ecological richness is vulnerable to development activities in Cook Inlet. Alaska is also on the front lines of changes that include the melting of the polar ice cap, retreating glaciers, and the spread of invasive species. These changes could have profound impacts on the economy and on the ecological diversity of the marine and coastal ecosystems.

OBJECTIVES

  • Develop customized resource assessment and management tools for local, state, and federal use
  • Monitor and plan for marine invasive species
  • Develop habitat visualization and assessment tool
  • Develop user-friendly trajectory tool based on ocean circulation model for spill response planning and larval transport
  • Develop risk assessment tool for harmful algal bloom
  • Develop ocean acidification risk assessment tool for marine animals and plants

COLLABORATION

  • State of Alaska
  • University of Alaska
  • Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies
  • Seldovia Village Tribe
  • Port Graham Village Tribe
  • Nanwalek Tribal Council
  • Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
  • Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council
  • City of Homer
  • City of Seldovia
  • Kenai Peninsula Borough

NEXT STEPS

The NOAA Kachemak Bay Habitat Focus Area Implementation Planning Team is currently developing an implementation plan and reaching out to stakeholders and potential partners.

Fact Sheet

Please email questions to Erika Ammann.