The 2020 yearly status report on the marine ecosystem in Kachemak Bay, Alaska, is now available to the public.
Kachemak Bay had a frigid start to 2020, followed by warmer than average summer waters, and then the best winter snowpack since 2012. Pacific cod populations increased, as did mussels in intertidal areas, but seabird breeding success remained low. Though some field work was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers found ways to sample safely and start new projects, including listening for whales.
The yearly report consolidates and updates long-term marine monitoring and research findings from diverse government agencies and academic institutions, including the NCCOS Kasitsna Bay Laboratory and Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to highlight current conditions or new findings in the Bay.
Kachemak Bay is a NOAA Habitat Focus Area that supports important recreational, subsistence, and commercial fisheries. The area is also important for marine transportation, tourism, and threatened and endangered species. Current management challenges in the Bay include changing climate conditions, declines in some fish and shellfish populations, and increasing harmful algal bloom events.
The State of Kachemak Bay is intended to be an annual report offering a cross-disciplinary summary of recent findings for people working and living in the region.
The 2020 report is one of several products from the NCCOS Ecological Assessment for Kachemak Bay, Alaska: Science Tools to Inform Management project.