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September 1, 2020 Karen Lewis

Beluga Whale Alliance Sends Thanks to KMTA!

Beluga Whale Watching on Turnagain Arm

Thanks to KMTA funding for project materials, staff salaries, gas, and other essential costs in 2019, our organization’s very first grant, Beluga Whale Alliance (BWA) has been operating our flagship citizen science and interpretation program on a seasonal basis as the belugas return every spring and fall here along the shores of the Turnagain Arm. Our boots-on-the-ground work aims to foster positive change in the recovery of our 279 endangered Cook Inlet belugas, whose critical habitat runs through the heart of the KMTA National Heritage Area, by increasing public awareness of their patterns and plight — and help individuals participate in their conservation.

Last year alone, we collectively trained an army of over 100 volunteers as citizen scientists with the Alaska Beluga Monitoring Partnership to help us collect over 700 hours of scientific sightings data on beluga activity at various locations around Cook Inlet, including the KMTA National Heritage Area, that is actively being used to support their recovery! 

We also continued to host the annual Belugas Count! event along the shores of Turnagain Arm and directly interacted with hundreds of local and visitors to the NHA from Nome to Egypt, helping them to see and learn about our belugas. This year, due to the global pandemic, we’re adapting our fieldwork to virtually bring our ‘backyard belugas’ here in the KMTA National Heritage Area to as many people in the Cook Inlet region and around the world as possible… and are helping over 500 locals safely and responsibly see and learn about our belugas on their own, in-person through our increasingly popular Beluga Alerts! text messaging service (Text BELUGAS to 33-222 to sign up!). 

To follow our current work, tune into our social media live-streams daily on the rising tide and say hello to our very special belugas. Thank you KMTA and our local supporters for believing in BWA and helping us achieve our mission and vision here in our home region!

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