Alaska Science Center

Sedimentation and flooding in a glacial stream at Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

The USGS is investigating the nature of an increase in recurrent flooding of the access road to Exit Glacier and its visitor facilities at Kenai Fjords National Park near Seward, 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. 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 access 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 of this flooding. 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.
Title Type
Little Ice Age Maximum Glacier Extent, Exit and Paradise Glaciers, AlaskaData
Exit and Paradise Creek Drainage Area Boundaries, Alaska, 2012Data
Exit and Paradise Creek Braid Plain Kilometers, 2012Data
Exit and Paradise Creek Fluvial Features, 2012Data
Exit and Paradise Creek Fluvial Features, 1950Data
Exit Creek Particle Size, June 2013Data
Exit Creek Water Surface Survey, June 2013Data
Exit Creek Transect Survey, June 2013Data
Exit Creek Bank Height Survey, June 2013Data
Exit and Paradise Glacier Foreland, Alaska River and Glacier Maps, Channel Surveys, Digital Elevation Model, and Orthophoto, 1800s-2013Data


Conaway, Jeff S., 907-786-7041
Curran, Janet H., 907-786-7128

Status: onGoing
Start Year: 2013
End Year: 2017

Project Sites

Exit Glacier

USGS Mission Area and Program
EcosystemsWildlife Program

Terrestrial Hydrosphere > Surface Water > Floods