US Geological Survey
Sedimentation and flooding in a glacial stream at Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Exit Glacier in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park (KEFJ) is one of the most readily accessible glaciers in the National Park system due to its near-sea-level elevation and proximity to the road system. Herman Leirer Road, a paved spur road off the Seward Highway, enters the Park 15 km from Seward, Alaska and continues another 2 km inside the Park to provide access to visitor facilities. Beginning in 2009, annual periods of flooding from the stream draining Exit Glacier, locally known as Exit Creek, have overtopped a 300 m section of Herman Leirer Road, forcing road closures and restricting visitor access to one of the most visited National Parks in Alaska during the middle of the summer tourist season. Observations of sedimentation along the downstream-most kilometer of Exit Creek suggest that flooding may be related to a reduction in channel capacity caused by sedimentation. Sedimentation in the lower reaches of other streams in the Seward area is not uncommon, and has created management issues for highway infrastructure, airport maintenance, and residential structures. However, the specific nature of sedimentation along Exit Creek, including the causes, rates, and level of persistence, is unknown. The purpose of this project is to provide the National Park Service with hydrologic and geomorphic data and analysis regarding flooding at Herman Leirer Road. A hydrologic and geomorphic assessment of Exit Creek will explore the link between the sedimentation and flooding and evaluate local and regional factors associated with the sedimentation.
Data and Resources
Start Date: 2013/01/01
Data Types: Other
Water Office Chief/Supv. Hydrologist
Work: (907) 786-7107