Natural Resource Condition Assessment

several orcas swim in turquoise waters near a forested shore
From marine mammals to glaciers and shorelines, the Natural Resource Condition Assessment examines the health of key components of the Glacier Bay environment. NPS Photo
The Glacier Bay Natural Resource Condition Assessment is a comprehensive study of the current conditions of important park natural resources. Using the wealth of scientific data and knowledge researchers have gathered in Glacier Bay, this document synthesizes findings to capture a snapshot-in-time of key ecologic components, and the threats they face.

Understanding the current condition of Glacier Bay's natural resources helps park managers to determine priorities, make management decisions, and communicate with our partners and visitors about how we can protect this environment.

Explore the sections of the Natural Resource Condition Assessment PDF to dive deeper into the natural heritage of this living laboratory and discover what we found.

Note: This is a 20MB PDF file. Please wait for the PDF to load entirely, and then it will redirect to the appropriate section.


a young moose with a flower in its mouth stands in tall vegetation


How are moose adapting to habitat change, plant succession, and predation, among other factors?

a subadult bear overturns rocks on a beach


What role has human conflict, interspecies competition, and other stressors played on Glacier Bay black and brown bears?

a lone mountain goat stands on a rocky cliff edge

Mountain Goats

Is climate change, rising tree lines, and predation changing the population trends of mountain goats?

a single harbor seal stars from an iceberg

Harbor Seal

How have stressors like killer whale predation, pollutants, and vessel traffic affected harbor seal populations?

a humpback whale breaches out of the ocea

Humpback Whales

Are humpback whale populations affected by underwater vessel noise, fishing gear, and vessel strikes?

a sea otter holds food near its face in calm water

Sea Otters

Sea otter populations have rebounded incredibly in the past decade. What factors are impacting sea otter populations in the park?

a harbor porpoise swims near the surface in calm water

Harbor Porpoise

Are harbor porpoise populations changing due to predation, disease, pollutions, or other factors?

a group of steller sea lions on a rock with mountains in the background

Steller Sea Lions

Are Steller sea lion populations increasing? What health threats do sea lions face in the park?



a small bright yellow bird sits on a branch

Breeding Landbirds

What trends have been observed in landbird species of conservation concern due to environmental contaminants, habitat loss, and disease?

a glaucous-winged gull flies close up

Glaucous-winged Gulls

Is plant succession and egg harvest having an impact on the Glaucous-winged gulls in Glacier Bay?

a marbled murrelet with a fish in its mouth floats in water

Murrelets (Kittlitz's and Marbled)

Has altered habitat due, availability of nutrients, and disturbances from marine vessels affected the murrelet populations in the park?

a surf scoter swims in glassy waters

Sea Ducks

How are changes in forage species, climate change, and other stressors impacting the habits and population characteristics of sea ducks?



sockeye salmon thrash in clear waters of a stream

Anadromous Fish

Are anadromous fish affected by stressors such as ocean acidification, habitat change, and harvesting?

small fish swim in clear water near a starfish

Mid-trophic Level Marine Forage Fish

What role are changes in ocean climate, increased predation, underwater noise, and other impacts having on marine forage fish?

a large halibut with a hand for scale at the surface of the water

Pacific Halibut

How are halibut populations in the park responding to pollutants, climate change, harvest, and competition?


Biotic Communities

a crab sits on a bed of kelp

Marine Invertebrates

How are marine invertebrates impacted by harvesting and disease in the park?

macro shot of small green plants


How are invasive species and climate change impacting the plant communities in Glacier Bay?

a small toad sits on rocks


What is climate change, disease, and other factors doing to the western toad?


Physical Characteristics

a tidewater glacier with mountains surrounding


How is climate change affecting Glacier Bay's glaciers? Are there changes in glacial extent and surface elevation?

an aerial image of a rocky coastline

Marine Shoreline

How are campers and boats affecting the condition of Glacier Bay's marine shoreline?

islands and mountains on a clear day


Undeveloped, untrammeled, or primitive; how are changes in visitor use, park management, and invasive species affecting wilderness?


Environmental Quality

strange tufts of cloud over mountainous islands on a sunny day

Air Quality

How is the air quality in Glacier Bay impacted by industrial activity and other contaminants?

turquoise waters near a sandy beach and mountains

Water Quality

What freshwater and marine contaminants are affecting the park?

a humpback whale tail breaches the surface of the water

Underwater Soundscape

How is vessel noise affecting natural ambient sound level in the waters of the bay?

Last updated: March 23, 2018

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