Enhancing understanding and appreciation of the Kachemak Bay estuary and adjacent waters to ensure that these ecosystems remain healthy and productive
The Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (KBNERR) is headquartered in Homer, on the southern end of the Kenai Peninsula in Southcentral Alaska. The Reserve’s 372,000 acres offer a rich ecosystem where an abundance of marine mammals, birds, fish, plants and other aquatic organisms thrive. As an estuary, Kachemak Bay is a geographically protected bay where freshwater streams, glacial meltwater, and tidally driven ocean waters merge. KBNERR was designated in 1999 and remains the only sub-arctic reserve in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS). The NERRS is a network of 29 coastal sites that serve as living laboratories to support long-term water quality monitoring, research, education, training, and stewardship.
KBNERR is a state-federal-local partnership managed by the Alaska Center for Conservation Science at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with input from the KBNERR community council made up of community members and state and federal agency partners. KBNERR staff conduct research and monitoring in watershed, coastal, and marine environments and share findings with area planners, resource managers, and the public to support successful coastal management strategies. Coastal Training Program and education staff outreach data and lessons learned through professional presentations, trainings, workshops, and educational programs for local communities, stakeholders, and school groups.
Additionally, KBNERR provides ongoing opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, and visiting scientists to conduct research on coastal topics such as ecosystem dynamics, coastal currents, salmon biology, harmful algal blooms, ocean acidification, bivalve populations, and socio-ecological issues. Using this approach, KBNERR contributes to the understanding of coastal system responses to human and natural disturbances within Kachemak Bay and the greater Cook Inlet region.