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 part of a national network of 29 reserves that are supported through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a state partner. In the national network of National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), Kachemak Bay represents a high latitude, fjord estuary type. KBNERRs state partner is the Alaska Center for Conservation Science (ACCS) at the University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA). We also work closely with the KBNERR Community Council, a committed group of local residents and agency partners who meet quarterly to connect with KBNERR programs.
Kachemak Bay represents a special piece of Alaska’s coastline with beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and a vibrant local community that draws deeply from the ecosystem for its well-being. Our work is dedicated to conducting research, monitoring, education, trainings and community engagement that bring understanding of regional ecosystems, and to assist people in making informed decisions that promote conservation and stewardship. We serve as a magnet and platform for researchers and students from the state of Alaska and around the country. Our areas of focus include coastal ecology, watershed ecology, and oceanography. We study the processes that contribute to the tremendous productivity of fish, shellfish, birds and mammals in the region, and the consequences of climate change and human activities to the resources we value. We provide a bridge between science and management, working with stakeholders, from children to adults, in remote villages, as well as cities. For more information on some of the various marine species found in the Kachemak bay area, visit our data catalog.
KBNERR Management plan: The Kachemak Bay Reserve’s 5-year Management Plan is now available.
Manager | kschake (at) alaska.edu | (907) 235-1593
Katherine joined the Kachemak Bay NERR team as Reserve Manager in 2023. She brings two decades of diverse career experience working in both the private and nonprofit sectors throughout Alaska. A deep sense of stewardship has driven her work as a naturalist guide, coordinator for statewide salmon data synthesis working groups and invasive species partnerships, and as a geospatial project manager. Katherine values partnerships as an avenue for accomplishing shared conservation goals across the vast geography of Alaska and within Kachemak Bay. She holds a Masters Certificate in Remote Sensing from Penn State University, a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Minnesota, and an A.A. Degree from Franklin College Switzerland.
Syverine Bentz, M.S.
Coastal Training Program Coordinator | syverine (at) alaska.edu
Syverine Bentz has a B.S. in Geology and an M.S. in Earth Sciences from Montana State University with a focus on sedimentary geology and spatial science. Her primary interests include landscape change, coastal processes, and ecosystem services. She grew up on Kachemak Bay and started as a science collaborative and discovery lab volunteer at KBNERR. She currently works in the Coastal Training Program providing workshops, trainings and technical assistance. She enjoys translating science for stakeholders and values collaborations between scientists, decision-makers and local community members.
Ingrid Harrald, M.S.
Education Coordinator | ieharrald (at) alaska.edu
Ingrid Harrald joined the Research Reserve in January 2022. She first came to Alaska in 1996 and spent a large portion of her adult life on remote islands studying seabirds. She has worked as both a scientist and educator with many local organizations, including Cook Inletkeeper and USFWS. She has a degree in Biology/Psychology and a Masters in Social Work. She is interested in how we can build community around our environment, sense of place, citizen science, and social justice in the sciences. She hopes her work in education will help inspire the next generation of conservation biologists.
Lauren Sutton, PhD
Research Coordinator | lsutton7 (at) alaska.edu | (907) 235-1504
Lauren has a PhD in Marine Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks along with a BS in Environmental Science and a BA in Bio-cultural Anthropology, both from Western Washington University. Her PhD focused on the diversity of Alaskan Arctic epibenthic communities and their interactions with a changing climate. As Research Coordinator, Lauren’s interests include using long-term environmental monitoring data to inform about biological communities, understanding how diversity is influenced by Kachemak Bay’s dynamic climate, and collaborating across disciplines.
Research Assistant | jmarguetajacobs (at) alaska.edu
Jacob Argueta earned a B.S. in Environmental Science and Management with a minor in Geographic Information Systems from Portland State University. As a research assistant at the Research Reserve, Jacob works on a variety of watershed projects. His research interests include watershed ecology, remote sensing and change mapping, UAS applications in the natural sciences, and fish ecology.
Biological Technician & Education Specialist
Conrad is a biologist and naturalist residing in Homer, Alaska. He works as a seasonal botanist, collecting plant data in Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet salt marshes for intertidal habitat projects. These projects entail identifying and habitat mapping of saltmarsh and riparian vascular plant ecosites, as well as the classification of the plant communities associated with these habitats. He is also an accomplished artist in the media of pen-and-ink and scrimshaw. Conrad wrote a guide to spineless wonders of the north, Alaska Seashore Creatures. He is also the author of Alaska Ocean ABCs, a colorful children’s book. Over the years he has produced several biological illustrations for many different institutions worldwide.
Aquatic Biologist | cguo2 (at) alaska.edu
Chris has a B.S. in marine biology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Currently a graduate student in the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at UAF, his research focuses on topics in coastal ecology. He is interested in understanding how estuarine and nearshore habitats support their biological communities and food web linkages, particularly for juvenile fish species.
Jasmine Maurer, M.S.
Harmful Species Lead | jrmaurer (at) alaska.edu | (907) 235-1505
Jasmine Maurer has worked at the Reserve since 2012, starting as a field biologist in the watershed program and now leading the Harmful Species Program. She grew up in Homer and received a B.S. in environmental science and biology from Oregon State University and a M.S. in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Labs, California State University with a focus on Ichthyology. Jasmine enjoys living, learning and studying the marine environment and its inhabitants. She is eager to share her work with others and contribute to understanding our changing marine systems.
Kim Schuster, M.S.
Harmful Species Biologist | kkschuster (at) alaska.edu
Kim received her B.S. in Marine Biology from UCSC and her M.S. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she studied benthic invertebrates in the Chukchi Sea. Kim moved to Homer in 2015 and started working at KBNERR in 2022. Her work currently focuses on invasive species in Alaska, managing the Alaska Non-indigenous Aquatic Species Clearinghouse and monitoring for harmful algal blooms in Kachemak Bay. Kim’s work as an ecologist also inspires her artwork, which you can find on display at Ptarmigan Arts in Homer.
Administrative Specialist | bjpeters (at) alaska.edu
Ben has been working at the Reserve since 2021, where he focuses on the Reserve’s communications, particularly with the KBNERR Community Council. However, he is often pulled wherever Reserve programs actively need support, be it in the office, the field, or the classroom. Ben graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine where he studied documentary production. Immersing himself in the rivers and mountains of Maine sparked his passion for conservation science, and his appreciation for the connectivity between humans and the natural world only deepened as he got to know Alaska and Kachemak Bay. Ben is dedicated to amplifying the Reserve’s message to protect and better understand the biological communities that define the places we love and choose to call home.