Kachemak National Estuarine Research Reserve
Kachemak National Estuarine Research Reserve Logo

Kachemak National Estuarine Research Reserve

Reserve Information



Lead Agency

University of Alaska Anchorage Alaska Center for Conservation Science
(Visit Site)


372,000 acres


150 miles south of Anchorage, on the western coast of the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Additional Information

Habitats found in this reserve support all five species of Pacific salmon, halibut and herring; tanner, Dungeness, and king crabs, several species of clams, and other fauna. Marine mammals found in Kachemak Bay include whales, porpoises, Steller sea lions, seals, and sea otters.

Biogeographic Region


Tidal Range

8.7 meters

About This Reserve

This is the largest reserve in the system, covering more than 320 miles of Alaska’s shoreline. It’s one of the most productive, diverse, and intensively used estuaries in the state. The bay is 39 miles long and 24 miles wide at its entrance between Anchor Point and Point Pogibshi, with more than 320 miles of shoreline. Among its most spectacular features is the Homer Spit, the nation’s second largest spit, projecting 4.5 miles out into the Kachemak Bay. A 28-foot tidal range creates a wide band of intertidal habitats. Rocky substrates intermixed with beaches and tidal flats, extensive mud flats, wetlands, glaciers, submerged aquatic vegetation, and open water are the predominant habitat features.

Kachemak Bay Reserve, one of 30 areas in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, is protected for long-term research, water-quality monitoring, education, and coastal stewardship. Daily management and oversight is provided by the Alaska Center for Conservation Science and other local partners. NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management provides funding, national guidance, and technical assistance.

Reserve Location and Boundaries