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Alaska’s Kachemak Bay

NOAA has chosen Alaska’s Kachemak Bay as the next Habitat Focus Area under NOAA’s Habitat Blueprint.

Located in southern Cook Inlet, Kachemak Bay supports important recreational, subsistence, and commercial fishing, marine transportation, tourism, and threatened and endangered species. The bay provides a remarkably fertile environment for both fish and shellfish. The abundance of marine life draws waterfowl and shorebirds, as well as land mammals such as moose and bears. Marine mammals live in the bay year round, including otters, seals, porpoise, and various species of whales.

The value of Kachemak Bay habitats has been recognized by the bay’s designation as a State of Alaska Critical Habitat Area, and as a National Estuarine Research Reserve. In fact, Kachemak Bay is the largest reserve in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, and provides unique opportunities for long-term monitoring and research activities, habitat mapping, watershed studies related to salmon habitat, and training and education programs in the area.



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

The ecological richness is vulnerable to impacts from development activities in Cook Inlet and to changes in ocean acidity and hydrodynamics due to retreating glaciers.

Alaska is also on the front lines of ecological changes that include the melting of the polar ice cap and 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.


NOAA will address the vulnerability of Kachemak Bay’s habitats through restoration projects, long-term monitoring and research activities, habitat mapping, salmon habitat studies, and training and education programs in the area.





We have formed the Alaska Focus Area Implementation Team to develop an implementation plan and reach out to potential partners.


Please email any questions to Jeanne.Hanson at Jeanne.Hanson@noaa.gov.