Eagle-eyed observers are wanted this spring to track creatures of a non-avian persuasion. The Alaska Beluga Monitoring Partnership is recruiting volunteers to keep a lookout in Cook Inlet and Turnagain Arm from March 15 through May 15.

Madison Kosma is the coordinator of the partnership, which brings together environmental nonprofit organizations, federal agencies and volunteers to maximize the amount of information gathered on endangered Cook Inlet belugas.

“We already have these community members that are out there that are telling us about these sightings that they have. There are only so many scientists, and so if we can gather the force of community, we can know so much more about what’s going on with this population and contribute to the conservation efforts and databases that are already established,” Kosma said.

Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy

If you've lived on the Kenai Peninsula for any length of time, you've probably noticed impacts of climate change, and that trend will irrevocably continue.

Rick Thoman, a climate specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, gave a presentation at Kenai Peninsula College last week highlighting the rapidly accelerating pace of change.

"We're living through chaotic times. Expect the unexpected, whether it's how much snow we're going to get this winter, are we going to have sustained cold or what's going to happen with our ecosystems in these big changes," Thoman said.

Kenai Conversation: Invasive species

Nov 21, 2019

Longer, drier summers, teamed with shorter, warmer winters are giving invasive species better opportunities to gain a foothold on the Kenai Peninsula. On this week’s Kenai Conversation, we’ll learn about what species pose a threat, and why, with Katherine Schake from the Homer Soil and Water Conservation District, Borough Land Manager Marcus Mueller and Maura Schumacher, invasives specialist at the Kenai Watershed Forum.

Citizen scientists wrap up Fall Beluga count

Nov 15, 2019


Belgua whale watching has wrapped up for the season. The organized, scientific variety anyway. The fall beluga count administered by several government agencies and volunteer groups around Cook Inlet formally finished its work for 2019 last week. KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran spoke with Kenai resident Ed Schmitt of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance about the group’s work documenting the endangered belguas, whose numbers still hover below 350 animals.



Kenai Marine Mammal Monitoring Project

  Beluga whale watching used to be a popular attraction around Kenai, but for the past 20-some years sightings have become increasingly rare. And, for most of the year, the small white whales are few and far between in this part of Cook Inlet. It's no wonder they are being intensively studied.

One effort, the Kenai Marine Mammal Monitoring Project, is a community-based citizen-science program, overseen by Kim Ovitz, a fellow with the University of Alaska Sea Grant Program.


On KDLL’s special membership drive edition of Kenai Science Friday, what the DNA analysis of ancient salmon bones might be able to tell us about the people who lived on the Kenai Peninsula 2,000 years ago, and how that might relate to fisheries politics today. Paleogenomics meets anthropology with guests professor Alan Boraas of Kenai Peninsula College and Dr. Ripan Malhi of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne.



In this half hour of Kenai Science Friday, we speak with the physics and math instructor at Kenai Peninsula College, Andy Veh. He also teaches astronomy, and in the past wrote a regular column on the stars for the Redoubt Reporter newspaper.

In the next half hour, it's Women in Science. Last week, Cook InletKeeper held a roundtable discussion with area women about their careers in science and technology. KDLL's Jenny Neyman was there and collected these excerpts of the conversation.