Climate Change in Nondalton, Alaska: Strategies for Community Health

Jim Berner, Ted Smith, John Warren, Karen Murphy, Jennifer Williamson, Lori Verbrugge, Oxcenia O’Domin
Posted on: 3/07/2017 - Updated on: 1/14/2019

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Climate change refers to change over time due to natural variability or as a result of human activity (IPCC, 2008). Alaska is experiencing a wide range of impacts from climate change and communities seek adaptive strategies that encourage wellness and sustainability. This report documents climate change impacts as described by local people and climate change effects or potential effects as interpreted through the lens of public health. It is the seventh report in a series describing climate change across Alaska, and the second report to focus on the Bristol Bay region, the rst being in the community of Pilot Point.

Understanding community impact of climate change is important for assessing negative and positive effects on health. Melting glaciers is improving ight conditions through Lake Clark Pass, but also changing lake conditions with uncertain impacts on sh and wildlife. Some subsistence resources such as caribou are more scarce while some types of salmon are being harvested with greater frequency. Rising temperature in summer raises concerns about heat illness and presents new challenges when preparing dry sh and other subsistence foods. Important health topics include food security, water security, heat related illness, and infrastructure vulnerability to damage and disruption from extreme weather events, and safety related to travel in increasingly unpredictable weather and changing seasons and landscape.