Photo-identification of Beluga Whales in Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm, Upper Cook Inlet Alaska
Summary of Field Activities and Whales Identified in 2014. Prepared for: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Region
Surveys of Knik and Turnagain Arm were conducted from land in 2014, August through October. In addition, two surveys of Knik Arm were conducted from a small vessel in August. Cook Inlet beluga whale (CIBW) sightings and environmental conditions were recorded during the surveys, and whales were photographed with a digital camera and zoom lens. Locations of CIBW groups and survey routes were mapped and figures were prepared showing survey routes, group location, group size, and group color composition.
This report presents results of land and vessel-based surveys in Knik Arm (including Fire Island and the Port of Anchorage) and land-based surveys of Turnagain Arm in 2014. Additional beluga photo-id surveys in 2014 were conducted in the Susitna River Delta, and those results are presented in a separate report (McGuire and Stephens 2016). A summary and synthesis of results of all photo-id surveys of Cook Inlet conducted from 2005 to 2015, including all belugas identified in the 2005-2015 right-side and 2005-2011 left-side catalogs, will be presented in a comprehensive report scheduled to be issued in December 2016.