Characterization of organic contaminants in fjords and bays on the Kenai Peninsula Alaska

  • S. Ian HartwellEmail author
  • Doug Dasher
  • Terri Lomax


A baseline environmental characterization of Seldovia Bay and harbor on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, was conducted using a sediment quality approach. The data was derived from a larger study that assessed seven distinct water bodies on the Kenai Peninsula’s north side, draining into Kachemak Bay or into Lower Cook Inlet. Sampling sites for water quality measurements, sediment chemistry, and benthos were randomized within each embayment. Concentrations of 140 organic and elemental contaminants were analyzed. Habitat parameters (depth, salinity, grain size, organic carbon, etc.) that influence species and contaminant distribution were also measured at each sampling site. Concentrations of chlorinated pesticides and PCBs were uniformly low, with the exception of Seldovia Harbor, where total DDT and PCBs exceeded the lower sediment quality guidelines. Concentrations of PAHs were relatively low, except in Seldovia Harbor where concentrations exceeded lower sediment quality guidelines for PAHs, and in one location approached the upper limit. That concentration of PAHs exceeded all other measurements in the NOAA National Status & Trends database for the entire State of Alaska. Characteristics of the PAH compounds present indicate large contributions of pyrogenic sources (burned fuel and/or other organic matter). Seldovia Bay had much lower PAH concentrations than the harbor.


Kenai peninsula, AK Organic contaminants PAHs PCBs Pesticides 



The Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and NCCOS Kasitsna Bay Lab provided essential logistical support. Hans Pedersen and Mike Geagel supported all field missions and vessel operations.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department: Center for Coastal Monitoring & AssessmentNOAA/NOSSilver SpringUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Marine ScienceUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  3. 3.Department of Environmental ConservationAnchorageUSA

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