Peterson Bay, Kachemak Bay

Peterson Bay, Kachemak Bay

by | Aug 26, 2019

Peterson Bay is about 1.7 miles (2.8 km) wide and located on the southeastern shore of Kachemak Bay on the Kenai Peninsula, about 9 miles (14.5 km) southeast of Homer, Alaska. The local name was first reported on maps by the U.S. Geological Survey or U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in the 1940s. Peterson Bay now supports a small community that includes summer residences, lodges, oyster farms, and a field station for the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies.

The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies is based in Homer and during the summer operates a field station that provides daily natural history tours. Their living laboratory is along the southern shore of Kachemak Bay and is based out of a rustic building on the edge of the wilderness accessible only by boat from Homer. The rich intertidal areas of Peterson and China Poot Bays are well known for rich biological diversity exposed at low tides, and nearby trails through the coastal forest also provide natural history lessons.

In 1989, the State of Alaska passed legislation permitting the farming of approved shellfish species in coastal waters including the Pacific oyster, clams, mussels, and scallops. By 1993, approximately 10 oyster farms were established in Kachemak Bay. Oyster farming is a mariculture practice in which oysters are bred and raised for commercial sale. Oysters naturally grow in estuarine embayments and thrive in clean cold water. The cold water also prevents Alaskan oysters from reproducing which makes for a high-quality product. Oysters in Kachemak Bay are most often grown in lantern nets suspended in the water from floating buoys so they can feed continually on plankton and avoid exposure to hot summer suns, cold winter winds, as well as mud and sand. In Kachemak Bay, it takes approximately three years for the oyster larvae or ‘spat’ to grow to marketable size. Read more here and here. Explore more of Peterson Bay here:

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About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2021 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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