Following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in 1989, the oil-impacted areas of the Gulf of Alaska have been extensively monitored to examine impacts of the spill on the ecosystem and to assess and promote recovery of impacted species. Gulf Watch Alaska is a long-term monitoring program in the Gulf of Alaska region that is expected to be 20 years in total length but planned and funded in five-year increments. The project includes 25 principal scientists who seek to provide data to identify and help understand the impacts of multiple ecosystem factors on the recovery of injured resources.
Gulf Watch Alaska builds upon more than 20 years of restoration research and monitoring by the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council (EVOSTC) and federal and state agencies. This long term monitoring program includes sites in Prince William Sound, lower Cook Inlet and the outer Kenai Peninsula coast. Map of study region.
To facilitate a thorough understanding of the effects of the oil spill, the NCEAS Informatics team has collaborated with investigators from Gulf Watch Alaska and the Herring Research and Monitoring program to collate historical data from a quarter century of monitoring studies on physical and biological systems impacted by the spill. The 25 years of historical data NCEAS has collated and documented is available for use by a wide array of technical and non-technical users.
In March 2014, NCEAS issued a Call for Proposals for two cross-cutting synthesis Working Groups and two Postdoctoral Associates to do a full-systems analysis of the effects of the 1989 oil spill on Prince William Sound and the state of recovery of the affected ecosystems.
The Gulf Watch Alaska project is funded by Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council (EVOSTC) and state and federal agencies.