Integrated Cook Inlet Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (ICIEMAP)
In 2008 and 2009, a unique partnership was developed to coordinate four separate Cook Inlet contaminant studies into an Integrated Cook Inlet Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (ICIEMAP). Much of the effort was directed towards understanding the diversity of the Inlet, a complex and highly dynamic environment, but potential impacts by certain oil production operations in the upper Inlet were also assessed. The combined field efforts surveyed chemical, biological, and physical parameters of Cook Inlet. The initial project around which the integrated program was built was an effort by Cook Inlet RCAC to conduct a probabilistic study within Cook Inlet based on EMAP protocols (described in a separate section). Field sampling and laboratory analyses were coordinated to leverage costs and resources and to share analytical results while still meeting goals of the four unique initiatives.
Components of ICIEMAP included : (1) a Cook Inlet area-wide study based on the national Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) to measure indicators of water column and benthic health in Cook Inlet, including specific oil-industry-operation areas, (2) a produced-water-discharge study designed to fulfill the requirements of an EPA Cook Inlet Oil and Gas NPDES Permit that required assessment of the fate and transport of hydrocarbons from large volume discharges of oil industry produced water, (3) a NOAA National Status & Trends bioeffects study at a series of deep stations in Kachemak Bay, and (4) a riverine background study to assess metals and hydrocarbons in rivers discharging to Cook Inlet. An immense dataset of biological and chemical parameters from more than 80 study sites was compiled through ICIEMAP, providing a more comprehensive context in which to interpret current and future datasets than would have been provided by any of the individual studies. Come back soon, as we are working to create an on-line database.