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Alaska Village Erosion Technical Assistance Program: An Examination of Erosion Issues in the Communities of Bethel, Dillingham, Kaktovik, Kivalina, Newtok, Shishmaref, and Unalakleet

Created: 4/29/2006 - Updated: 11/06/2018

Abstract

This report was prepared as a response to legislation that directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to investigate issues surrounding erosion at several Alaska Native villages. As part of this effort, the Corps examined erosion rates and control, potential relocation, and impacts to Alaska Native culture and tradition. The Alaska Village Erosion Technical Assistance (AVETA) program is a compilation of efforts in numerous communities funded through the Tribal Partnership Program and subsequent legislation.

Specifically, this report documents the responses to questions raised in the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003 PL 108-7, Division D - Energy and Water Development Appropriations, 2003, Conference Report (H.R. 108-10, page 807), Senate Report (S.R. 107- 220, page 23), and HR 108-357, Section 112, page 10, Conference Report Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, 2004 with regards to the communities of Bethel, Dillingham, Kaktovik, Kivalina, Newtok, Shishmaref, and Unalakleet. The questions asked were: what are the costs of ongoing erosion, what would it cost to relocate a community, and how much time do these communities have left before they are lost to erosion.

This report documents the wide variety of efforts the Corps is undertaking through Tribal Partnership funding to address ongoing erosion problems in Alaska. Many issues related to erosion protection and community relocation are also discussed in this report. Most importantly, each village has a summary of findings that explores solutions for these most critical villages. This report also describes other Corps efforts such as the Baseline Erosion Assessment, which documents the Corps strategy to address erosion in Alaska both now and in the future.

Published On

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Keywords

Scale: 
Community / Local
State / Provincial
Sector Addressed: 
Disaster Risk Management
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Erosion
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Capacity Building
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Create/enhance resources and tools
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Managed retreat of built infrastructure, relocation of people/communities
Community Planning (developing climate-smart communities)
Governance and Policy
Habitat/Biome Type: 
Coastal
Climate Type: 
Subpolar
Sociopolitical Setting: 
Rural

Related Resources

Sector Addressed: 
Climate Justice
Development (socioeconomic)
Disaster Risk Management
Fisheries
Public Health
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Transportation / Infrastructure
Water Resources
Summary: 

The Native Village of Shishmaref is located on Sarichef Island in the Chukchi Sea. This barrier island is highly vulnerable to coastal erosion, thawing permafrost, and flooding. Relocation efforts have been underway since 2001; a lack of funding has delayed the process and the people and infrastructure remain at risk.

Relocating the Village of Newtok, Alaska due to Coastal Erosion

This photo has been released into the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Climate Justice
Land Use Planning
Public Health
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Summary: 

Newtok is a Native Alaskan village that is being forced to relocate as the river and ocean erode its shorelines. The erosion rates have been exacerbated by thawing permafrost, declining sea ice protection, increased storm surge exposure, and warming temperatures. In 1994, Newtok was one of the first villages to consider relocating to a new, less vulnerable site.

Relocating the Village of Kivalina, Alaska Due to Coastal Erosion

This photo has been released into the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. No endorsement by licensor implied.

Case Study
Sector Addressed: 
Climate Justice
Disaster Risk Management
Public Health
Rural / Indigenous Livelihoods
Water Resources
Summary: 

Residents in Kivalina, Alaska have pursued relocation efforts for almost 20 years because of overcrowding and erosion problems. The village identified a preferred relocation site about eight miles away in Kiniktuuraq; this site was deemed unsuitable by the Army Corps of Engineers who found that flooding and erosion at the new site would cause additional problems.

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