A healthy home for salmon.

The Kenai Lowlands Working Group brings multiple local salmon stakeholders together with researchers from across the country. The diverse group is led by the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (KBNERR). Since 2005, KNBERR has been focused on both conducting and communicating research on how different landscape elements support juvenile salmon in the watersheds of the Kenai Lowlands.

Salmon are a cultural touchstone in Alaska

There is an incredible opportunity to sustain the landscape that supports them before it becomes too late. Our goal as a working group is that through regional ecosystem-based understanding of salmon habitat, stakeholders will be able to make informed decisions that increase community stewardship of the landscape and result in greater salmon resiliency.


Discover what we’ve learned

Working Group Members

Principal Investigators

Coowe Walker

Principal Investigator
Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Coowe has led the development of the watershed research program at KBNERR since the Reserve’s designation in 2001, and she became Reserve Manager in March 2018. Her projects focus on understanding ecosystem processes that support watershed productivity, and in particular, juvenile salmon habitats.

Ryan King

Principal Investigator
Baylor University

Ryan and his lab are working to understand how altering the availability of the essential building blocks of life–phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon–may cause detrimental and even irreversible damage to the ecosystems on which we rely for water, food, and recreation.

Mark Rains

Principal Investigator
University of South Florida

Mark Rains is a Professor of Geology and the Director of the School of Geosciences at the University of South Florida and the Associate Editor for Wetland and Watershed Hydrology for the Journal of the American Water Resources Association. Dr. Rains’ research is focused on hydrological connectivity and the role that hydrological connectivity plays in governing ecosystem structure and function.

Charles Simenstad

Principal Investigator
University of Washington

Charles (“Si”) Simenstad – Research Professor Emeritus in the University of Washington–is an estuarine and coastal marine ecologist who has studied the organization and function of estuarine and coastal marine ecosystems, communities, seascapes, and restoration potential throughout Puget Sound, Washington, Oregon and California coasts, and Alaska for over forty years.

Dennis Whigham

Principal Investigator
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Dennis Whigham is a Senior Botanist and Founding Director of the North American Orchid Conservation Center. He is an Associate Editor for Estuaries and Coasts, AoB Plants, Plant Species Biology, and Restoration Ecology. Dr. Whigham’s research is focused on plant ecology, especially orchid-fungal interactions, and wetland ecology.

Team Members/Advisors

Syverine Bentz

Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Chris Guo

Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Steve Baird

Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Ginny Litchfield

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Brian Blossom

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Karyn DeCino

Kenai Peninsula Borough

Willy Dunne

Kenai Peninsula Borough

Sue Mauger

Cook Inlet Keeper

Katie McCafferty

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Michael Opheim

Seldovia Village Tribe

Mandy Bernard

Mountains to Sea

Alice Rademacher

Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Jacob Argueta

Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve