Promoting Resilient Groundwater and Holistic Watershed Management in Alaska’s Kenai Lowlands

Date and Time: 
Tue, 04/27/2021 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Speaker(s): 
Coowe Walker and Mark Rains

In Alaska’s Kenai Lowlands, groundwater is key to healthy watersheds and resilient salmon, farms, and communities. Groundwater discharge provides important ecological services to salmon streams by moderating temperatures, maintaining stream flows, delivering nutrients, and creating overwintering habitat. To better understand the availability of groundwater and how human activities impact this resource, researchers at the Kachemak Bay Reserve and the University of South Florida built a predictive model that shows the depth and extent of aquifers and predicts groundwater discharge and recharge.

In this webinar, project team members will share how their findings generated new insight into groundwater in southern Kenai Lowland watersheds, and how their model revealed the precariousness of groundwater resources and the potential for competition among users. They will discuss how engagement with stakeholders has increased awareness of the need to actively manage this limited resource, and how the community has begun to shift policies and practices to build toward more resilient groundwater resources.

Learn more about the speakers:

Coowe Walker, Manager, Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Coowe has worked at the Kachemak Bay NERR as a watershed ecologist since the Reserve was designated in 1999, and has served as the reserve manager for three years. She has been leading efforts to understand ecosystem service values of coastal peatlands in the Kachemak Bay area that are important for salmon streams, and also represent potentially large stores of carbon.

Learn more about Kachemak Bay

Mark RainsProfessor, University of South Florida

Mark Rains is a Professor of Geology at the University of South Florida and the Chief Science Officer for the State of Florida. His research is focused on hydrological connectivity from ridges to reefs, especially between hill slopes, wetlands, and headwater streams; the roles that hydrological processes play in governing ecosystem structure and function; and the roles that science plays in informing water-related law, policy, and decision-making.

Learn more about Mark's work

Learn more about the project: Promoting Resilient Groundwater Resources and Holistic Watershed Management in the Southern Kenai Lowlands

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Referenced Project(s): 
Promoting Resilient Groundwater Resources and Holistic Watershed Management in the Southern Kenai Lowlands