Progress & Participation: A Twenty Year Challenge

Vern McCorkle Quote
A small sandy peninsula on Kodiak Island. Photo by Cook Inlet ShoreZone

Since Cook Inlet RCAC’s inception, there have been 65 different local citizens who have represented the various communities and interest groups on the Cook Inlet RCAC Board of Directors. Another 70 more have donated their time as public members on the two main working committees – the Environmental Monitoring Committee (EMC) and the Prevention, Response, Operations, and Safety Committee (PROPS). These Board and committee members have each brought unique experience and expertise, ensuring that decisions incorporate multiple perspectives – as intended by the founding legislation under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90).

The list of tasks outlined for Cook Inlet RCAC in OPA 90 is long and complex and has presented many challenges. Through years of hard work that included both mistakes and successes, our efforts are now focused via a strategic plan centered on long-term programs and their associated projects. Cook Inlet RCAC worked extremely hard to develop a reputation for top-notch research and monitoring that has led to securing significant additional funding towards fulfilling the strategic plan.

During the first 10 years, over 90% of Cook Inlet RCAC’s scientific activities were funded through our OPA 90-required industry funding contract. As we built up our program and our reputation for conducting peer-reviewed, high-quality research, we have obtained funding through many competitive proposals and by soliciting funds from other organizations and agencies. In the past ten years, over 80% of our scientific research and monitoring was funded through outside grants. Since 2000, Cook Inlet RCAC has received close to $4 million in additional funds, and by leveraging these funds we’ve been able to accomplish several million more dollars worth of projects in Cook Inlet.

The following pages describe some of Cook Inlet RCAC’s major accomplishments in its first twenty years.