Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Kenai Fjords National Park

The Natural Resource Condition Assessment (NRCA) Program provides framework, funding, and publishing support to parks to aid in the synthesis and documentation of natural resource conditions. Condition assessment reports are a tool to describe selected park resources, and record a snapshot of their current condition, identify trends, and identify potential or current threats and stressors. Understanding the condition and trend of natural resources is key for parks and NPS planners to appropriately prioritize and allocate stewardship resources.

Purple flowers grow from grass alongside a glacier.
Exit glacier with Lupine.

NPS/Mark Thompson photo.

Kenai Fjords National Park is located on the east coast of the Kenai Peninsula in south central Alaska. Nearly 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, Kenai Fjords' crowning feature. Wildlife thrives in icy waters and lush forests around this vast expanse of ice. Sugpiaq people relied on these resources to nurture a life entwined with the sea. Today, shrinking glaciers bear witness to the effects of our changing climate.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2015

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes present in this park, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was conducted and published in 2015. National Park Service representatives and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota collaborated to examine park needs and available data. This team chose to evaluate nine resource topics:

- Landform-coastal landing areas

- Black bear

- Bald eagles

- Marine birds

- Black oystercatcher

- Salmon

- Hydology - Exit Gracier area, Exit Creeek channel migration

- Glaciers

- Coastal geomorphology - visual changes

Overall, the natural resources within Kenai Fjords National Park were considered to be in good condition. Three resource topics (black bear, black oystercatcher and salmon) were given a good condition status. One resource topic (glaciers) was given a condition status of significant concern. The five remaining resource topics (landform, bald eagles, marine birds, hydrology, and coastal geomorphology) were not assigned a condition status due to insufficient data. Climate change is the most relevant, long-term threat to the resources found within Kenai Fjords. Other threats include oil spills and marine debris.

For other reports and natural resource datasets visit the NPS Data Store.

Source: Data Store Collection 7765 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Last updated: February 25, 2022


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