Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Dietary Salmon Abundance Study

picture of weir in Eagle River. Management, Species, Beluga Whale Prey - All Waters but Sixmile

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson
Ongoing from 2018

The mouth of the Eagle River on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) is a critical late summer feeding area for Cook Inlet’s endangered population of beluga whales. Little is known, however, about the run size and timing of the salmon that the whales prey on in this river. The Sixmile water system connects to Cook Inlet as well and is a prominent system for salmon on JBER as well with runs of Coho, Sockeye, Pink, and Chum salmon annually.
AERC staff are working to investigate, coordinate, and implement new techniques for measuring and monitoring salmon diversity and abundance in the river. The techniques and data established during this study will allow state and federal wildlife managers to better understand salmon populations in the Eagle River and their importance to Cook Inlet’s belugas.

  • Devise new methods of sampling and quantifying Pacific Salmon populations in Eagle River.
  • Review historical data to determine overall trends in salmon populations.
  • Provide senior technical support to JBER fisheries program throughout the salmon sampling season.
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