The Kachemak Bay estuary -- which includes five different estuarine habitats ranging from lagoons to marshes to mudflats -- receives fresh water via rivers, streams, glaciers and groundwater. Unlike estuaries farther south, however, Kachemak Bay is more marine during the winter when surrounding watersheds freeze and relatively little fresh water enters the basin. Our nearly pristine and highly productive estuary provides both seasonal and year-round habitat for an incredible abundance and diversity of life -- more than 1,500 species of plants and animals have been documented here.
In celebration of National Estuaries Day, Oct. 5, the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is hosting free and fun-filled events for the family at Bishop's Beach in Homer on Saturday. An "Art by the Sea" sand-sculpting contest for kids, adults and families will take place from 9:30 to 11:15 a.m. The first-ever "Kachemak Bay Quiz Bowl" contest will begin at 11:45 a.m., and Homer biologist Carmen Field will lead an "Estuary Food Hike," a rubber-boot exploration of Beluga Slough and Bishop's Beach, from 3 to 4 p.m. Everyone is invited to join in the "Celebrate the Bay" community lunch picnic potluck at 1:30 p.m. in the park pavilion. The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies will sponsor a "Beach Bag Bash" contest to collect litter at Bishop's Beach from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. The CACS will also host a "Marine Debris Art Contest" and present Coastwalk awards at 1 pm. Come join the fun.
Today and Friday, you can also enjoy a guided tour of our nation's estuaries through "Estuary Live," an interactive field trip over the Internet. To learn more about estuaries and to participate in Estuary Live, visit www.estuarylive.org. See http://www.ocrm.nos.noaa.gov/nerr for more information on the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.
To learn more about the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve, visit its newly launched Web site at http://www. habitat.adfg.state.ak.us/geninfo/kbrr/index.html. For more information on this year's National Estuaries Day events in Homer, contact me by phone at 235-4799, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.