Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Citizen Science and Interpretation Project

Collecting beluga whale sightings data and providing outdoor education.

Phases 2-3 of the project involved Field Implementation and Data Analysis/Wrap Up. The project’s field season (Phase 2) ran from August 15th through November 15th and took place at scenic viewing areas along the Turnagain Arm as shore-based monitoring and interpretation sites, with a focus on observing beluga activity at BWA-hosted sites with the Alaska Beluga Monitoring Partnership (AKBMP) at Bird Point (mile 95.5), Twentymile River, as well as Ship Creek in downtown Anchorage.

After hosting multiple 1.5-hour volunteer orientation sessions in Anchorage and Girdwood for interested members of the public in conjunction with the AKBMP, field operations involved overseeing the collection of scientific beluga sightings data by trained volunteers and interacting with members of the public in the project area. Interpretive Beluga Guides were recruited and trained by Project Management to assist in each of these objectives.

Highlights throughout the duration of field season included co-hosting the third annual Belugas Count! day-long public festival, operating our Beluga Alerts text messaging service, and liaising with local businesses, tourism companies, and members of the public from around the world.

From early/mid-November through December, data analysis and project report completion were successfully completed in collaboration with AKBMP partners and the AKBMP Project Coordinator. The report and subsequent summaries are currently being approved by NOAA Fisheries to be shared with all partners, interested stakeholders, and additional scientists and managers.

  • Grant Type: Community Grant
  • Grantee:  Beluga Whale Alliance
  • Completed: 2020
  • Project Duration: One Year
  • Award Amount: $9,859
  • Match Generated: $43,891
Seward Highway 42401
Anchorage 99587 AK US
Get directions