AWRA Alaska Meeting Field Trips


Seward Highway AWRA Spring Field Trip
April 28-29, 2016

Tour Leader: David Nyman, Restoration Science and Engineering, Anchorage, AK

Cost: $260/person (Register)

Register by April 15. Number of participants: Minimum of 10 and maximum of 30
All lodging, meals, field trip guidebook and technical reference costs are included

Note: This field trip is sponsored by the AWRA - Alaska Section. Please visit their registration page above to sign up for this trip. Thank you!



This 2-day field trip provides an in-depth view of the landscapes, water resources and development along one of the most scenic highways and wildest landscapes in North America. The trip starts in Anchorage where we will travel by van along the rugged shoreline of Turnagain Arm of Upper Cook Inlet whose extreme tides are under study for potential for tidal energy. The route traverses across one of the northernmost coastal rain forests and through both Chugach State Park and the Chugach National Forest stopping at various sites along the way including Portage Valley and Glacier, Turnagain Pass, Snow River-Kenai Lake, and finally arriving in Seward along the shores of Resurrection Bay. On the second day, we will tour the Seward Sea Life Center explore the efforts for hydropower related project to alter stream temperatures to improve the productivity of Cooper Creek. The return trip to Anchorage includes a stop at the Wildlife Conservation Center located in coastal wetlands, a stop to examine the use of automated avalanche detection along the Alaska Railroad and then a close look at mining/ski town of Girdwood. While in Girdwood, weather permitting, there is opportunity to take a short flightseeing trip over the magnificent Chugach Range coastal mountains and view the fjords of Prince William Sound. The major themes of the tour include water resource and ecosystem variation along the coastal range, variations in energy sources, and history of the area.


Day 1, April 28th (Thursday)

Meet at 8:00am at the Hotel lobby


  • Seward Highway and Alaska Railroad Corridors: Hydrology, Development, Power. Cook Inlet Basin Energy and Water Dynamics, Crude, Natural Gas, Coal, Wind, and Tidal
  • Overview of the terrain, glacial geology, climate, hydrologic conditions, and ecology on the south side of the Coastal Range.


  • Road Trip from Anchorage in the heart of the Upper Cook Inlet Basin through the Chugach coastal mountains to the historic Port of Seward Alaska.
  • Anchorage Area: Water and Power Upper Cook Inlet Basin
  • Portage Glacier and Valley: Examine the dynamics of the classic glacial valley and proglacial lake and coastal mountain weather.
  • Portage and Placer Valley Coastline: Tectonic subsidence and rebound. Great Alaska Earthquake and Recent Tectonic Activity
  • Turnagain Pass: Watershed Divide Glacial evidence
  • Snow River: Glacial Outburst Floods
  • Seward Area Dynamic Hydrology
  • Port of Seward on Resurrection Bay
  • Stay at Hotel Seward in the heart of old town

Day 2, April 29th (Friday)


  • Coastal Range: Glacial history, ecology, permafrost conditions.


  • Sea Life Center in Seward: Coastal Ecology (Day 2)
  • Cooper Lake: Hydro Power and Stream Temperature Regulation
  • Whittier Tunnel- tie into Prince William Sound
  • Alaska Railroad Avalanche monitoring, detection and warning systems
  • Wildlife Conservation Center
  • Girdwood: Water Resources and Northern Rain Forest, Turnagain Arm Tidal Extremes. Option for Prince William Sound Flightseeing or Tram ride to upper Alpine terrain and Turnagain Arm overlook.
  • Return to Anchorage (Arrive at Hotel at approximately 6:00pm)
Portage Glacier
Snow River
Seward Harbor
tidal bore