The changing weather patterns in Alaska are, already, having substantial impacts on Native Alaskan village communities. Increased stream temperatures combined with other climate change related impacts of high river flows, altered ice flows and stream bank erosion, all combine with mining and related development in the Norton Bay Watershed (Watershed) to directly threaten the fishery and wildlife habitat upon which the Native Villages in the area (Villages) depend for their subsistence fishing and hunting. In addition, reduced water flows in the Watershed caused by water diversions from mining and other development activity are exacerbated by the effects of climate change. This can increase water temperatures and impair fish and wildlife habitat.
The Norton Bay Intertribal Watershed Council has developed this adaptation plan as the first step in the long range goal of addressing the many serious consequences of climate change and other non-climate stressors to the landscape and waters of the Norton Bay Watershed. Through a year- long assessment and planning process, the Council has documented the current and future risks, identified potential opportunities to adapt to climate impacts, and put forth here a plan that outlines specific goals, objectives, and action steps necessary to begin to address these urgent needs for the benefit of the four native villages living in Norton Bay and the surrounding ecosystems on which they depend. In addition, this plan can serve as a model for similar adaptation efforts needed across the Alaskan landscape.