Ocean and Coastal Management in Alaska

photo of Alaska

The local community pursued the designation of Kachemak Bay as a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) to preserve the lifestyle and economy of the region. Kachemak NERR, Homer, AK.

Alaska's Coastal Program

Alaska withdrew from the voluntary National Coastal Zone Management Program on July 1, 2011.

Alaska’s National Estuarine Research Reserve

The Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, designated in 1999, is located south of Anchorage in Homer, on the western coast of the Kenai Peninsula. Kachemak Bay Reserve, at 365,000 acres, is the largest reserve in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Kachemak Bay features extensive mudflats, subtidal habitat, and upland forests. It is one of the most productive, diverse and intensively used estuaries in Alaska.

The Reserve emphasizes long-term ecological research and education. Scientists are working to better understand the linkages between the ocean, nearshore environment, and land uses. Research activities include studying the relationship between changes in biological communities and changes in water circulation, including the effect of currents and tides. The Reserve also has educational programs for students, the local community, and visitors. Reserve staff were also instrumental in forming the Alliance of Kachemak Bay Educators which strives to inspire life-long learning and commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability among Kachemak Bay residents and visitors.


Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve — The Reserve’s website provides information on their many research and education activities.

Marine Protected Areas — Search for marine protected areas in Alaska. 

Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Evaluation (2009) — The Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management conducts periodic performance reviews of estuarine research reserves. 

Contact Information for Alaska’s National Estuarine Research Reserve

Kachemak Bay Research Reserve
Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center
95 Sterling Highway
Homer, AK 99603
(907) 235-4799