Alaska Monitoring and Assessment Program 2002 Southcentral Survey

In 2001, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) developed a Cooperative Agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to join collaboratively in the Western States Coastal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP). The Western States Coastal EMAP was initiated as one component of the national EMAP coastal program called the National Coastal Assessment (NCA), led by EPA to monitor and assess the status and trends of significant estuarine and coastal resources as an end to providing a report on the condition of the Nation's coast (bays and estuaries). This effort will provide an integrated and comprehensive coastal monitoring program among all coastal states and is being accomplished through strategic partnerships between the U.S. EPA and all 24 U.S. coastal states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. As the state agency facilitating and administering the EMAP program for Alaska, the DEC developed partnerships with other federal, state, and local agencies to develop the Alaska EMAP program. The data collected from this initial survey are envisioned as the beginning of a DEC statewide ambient water monitoring program that will include interior as well as coastal waters.

DEC collaborated with the Cook Inlet Regional Citizen Advisory Council (CIRCAC) to assess the first of the five regions of the Alaska Coastal Assessment. The Southcentral region was selected because of the importance of the major estuarine resources (Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet) to local economies, the state economy, and aquatic living resources. During the survey a variety of parameters were monitored: dissolved oxygen, pH, nutrients, sediment, and other biological conditions were sampled. The survey, which occurred in June and July of 2002, collected data at a total of 55 sites. The survey covered the geographic range from Unimak Island in the southwest study area to the Copper River Delta area in the northeast study area.