Auke Bay is about 3 miles (5 km) across, on the west coast of the Mendenhall Peninsula, just northeast of Coglan Island, about 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the Juneau Airport and 13 miles (21 km) northwest of Juneau, Alaska. The name is from the Auk Tlingits who occupied the north end of Admiralty Island, Douglas Island, and the mainland from Juneau north to Berners Bay. The Tlingits derived the name from their word for “little lake”. Auke Lake drains into Auke Bay via Auke Creek. Early miners called this Aylward Creek for Edward Aylward who located mining claims in the vicinity in 1884. The name was changed to Auke Creek in about 1902.
In 1959, Congress appropriated funds for the construction of the Auke Bay Laboratory. The laboratory was located overlooking Auke Bay, with nearby Auke Lake and Auke Creek providing freshwater and natural areas for experiments. When the laboratory was first established, its activities were geographically extended by outlying field stations at King Salmon and Brooks Lake near Bristol Bay, Karluk Lake on Kodiak Island, Kasitsna Bay in lower Cook Inlet, Olsen Bay in Prince William Sound, and Traitors Cove and Little Port Walter in Southeast Alaska. Over time, the focus of the study transitioned from watershed to estuarine environments. By the 1970s, the facility’s research focused on salmon ocean ranching, impacts by petroleum and other disturbances to fish habitat and population, and population assessment of herring and shrimp. In 1976, the Auke Bay Laboratory became part of what was later called the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center. In 1978, the facility began focusing on causes underlying recruitment variability in marine ecosystems, including research on early-life stages of pink and coho salmon, herring, walleye pollock, and rockfish. The laboratory also provided statistical support for salmon research and was responsible for establishing the foreign salmon fishery observer program.
In 2007, the Auke Bay Laboratory was moved to the new Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute at Lena Point. The renovated Auke Bay Marine Station will now serve as a joint U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facility. Read more here and here. Explore more of Auke Bay here: