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 shared 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 discussed 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.