In winter 2022, Kenai Watershed Forum began work on project called the, “Kenai River Water Quality Action Framework.” With this project we aim to give the Kenai River a “health check-up” by looking at water quality in the river. Using our extensive dataset from the year 2000 through to present day, our analysis will help understand where, when, and how water quality in the Kenai River has changed over time.

With financial support from the federal Bureau of Reclamation’s Cooperative Watershed Management Program, our work will address ongoing and emerging water quality issues and provide a roadmap for future management solutions. The project is an opportunity to provide the tools to help ensure that the Kenai River continues to serve as the keystone of the local economy, culture, and ecosystem long into the future.

Currently we are engaged in preparing our data for analysis. Our first product will be similar to a technical report published by Kenai Watershed Forum in 2016 summarizing water quality data (download the report here). From there we will apply these data towards understanding what steps to improve water quality are most urgent. For example, some new construction projects are incorporating green storm water infrastructure, which can help mitigate pollution from impervious surfaces like roads.

As we progress with our research, we plan to integrate other sources of water quality data to help us understand the most complete picture, such as the data set being generated by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, a long standing partner of the baseline monitoring project.

The project will run through Fall 2023, and will include various public outreach activities at a later date. For more information on this project, contact Benjamin Meyer, Water Quality Coordinator.

Further Reading

Kenai River Baseline Water Quality Monitoring Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) – This document outlines procedures for water quality field data collection, QA/QC procedures, and data management. The QAPP is currently (July 2022) in the process of being updated to incorporate new revisions.

Kenai River Baseline Water Quality Monitoring Sample Collection Procedures – This document details field sample collection procedures for water quality samples, and is updated annually.