Story: Reindeer herding on the Seward Peninsula supplements caribou.

Reindeer husbandry has been practiced on the Seward Peninsula for over a century. The reindeer are maintained as a local food source and a source of economic development.

Stories Archive

Story: Tyonek Grown Community Gardens bring people together with healthy food.

In 2012, the TTCD and the NVT began developing an agricultural program called Tyonek Grown aimed at enhancing food security and providing fresh organic vegetables to community members in their remote community.

Story: Collaborative research provides helpful information in Kotzebue.

A group of Tribal scientists, independent researchers and regional leadership collaborated to study changes in Kotzebue Sound.

Story: Ecosystem corridors connect Alaska’s Boreal Forest

While Alaska’s lands are currently linked, future fragmentation could stress the ability of animals and plant communities to migrate across the landscape. New approaches can give planners flexibility to adapt to change.

Story: Environmental monitoring uses GIS to document change and inform plans.

The Ivanof Bay Climate Change Monitoring program was a four-year, multi-stage planning project to document indigenous knowledge and notable ecological changes within Elders’ lifetimes.

Story: Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture brings people together to conserve habitat.

Pacific Birds brings people together to find common ground for conservation, to advance long-term conservation planning and on-the-ground project delivery, and to connect flyway-wide conservation goals to local projects.

Story: Alaska’s Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs)

Alaska is home to five Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) working to address environmental changes occurring in the state that are too broad and far-reaching for any one agency or entity to address alone.

Story: Grant Writing Assistance Program helps members access funding.

The Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation (BBEDC) contracts with professional grant writers to provide grant opportunity research and grant writing assistance for member communities.

Story: Nushagak Mulchatna Soil Survey supports land use and conservation decisions.

The USDA NRCS partnered with the Nushagak Mulchatna Watershed Council to complete a soil survey in 2010 that produced maps and descriptions of the soil hydrology, engineering, habitat and ecology for land and river corridors within the watershed.

Story: Vulnerability Assessments and Action Plan reduces risks and impacts to fisheries.

NOAA Fisheries released a draft climate science action plan for the southeastern Bering Sea that includes a plan to assess the relative vulnerability of 18 commercially important fish species considering expected changes in climate and ocean conditions.

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Story: Collaboration expands community-based erosion monitoring in Bristol Bay.

BBNA worked with various partners to establish a program that gives Alaska’s tribes the capacity to monitor erosion using a consistent standard and methodology.

Story: Yukon River Inter Tribal Watershed Council monitors water quality.

The Science Department at the Yukon River Inter Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) relies on both the scientific method and indigenous knowledge to monitor and protect the health of the Yukon River.

Story: Scenario planning fosters community-supported resource management.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has used scenario planning to address polar bear conservation, and the National Park Service (NPS) has applied scenario planning to questions about marine shipping, port site selection, and climate change in Alaska.

Story: British Columbia uses assisted migration to help trees adapt to climate change.

British Columbia has begun to allow tree species to be planted toward the northernmost reaches of their natural range and beyond. By the time the trees are fully grown, their new habitat will be similar, if not identical, to their original habitat.

Story: Adjusting seasons ensures access to subsistence harvest of moose and caribou.

Communities can work with managers and regulators to adjust hunting seasons and other mechanisms to increase their hunting opportunity and ultimately their successful harvest.

Story: Communities and agencies work together to protect walrus at Point Lay.

The Native Village of Point Lay is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to minimize potential disturbance events by requesting those who must travel by plane or boat follow guidance developed by the USFWS to avoid disturbing the animals on the island or in the sea.

Story: Togiak forms Tuyuryaq Conservation District to manage their own lands.

Togiak recently formed Tuyuryaq Conservation District. “We have had our own regulations (system of resource tenure and regulations) long before the Federal government imposed restrictions, hunting/fishing openers and bag limits on the animals we hunt for our livelihood…”

Story: Renewables and heat recovery projects save money and lower emissions.

Through ANTHC’s Rural Energy Initiative, remote Alaskan communities are also working on energy efficiency (like heat recovery systems), biomass, and hydroelectric projects.

Story: Kokhanok moves forward on wind-diesel integration.

The Kokhanok Village Council received funding from the Alaska Energy Authority Renewable Energy Fund and the EPA Clean Diesel Program to upgrade their existing diesel power system and integrate it with Kokhanok’s wind turbines.

Story: Northwest Arctic Leadership Team takes a regional approach to energy.

Northwest Arctic Regional Energy Plan and NANA Region Energy Projects demonstrate a comprehensive regional approach to energy planning.

Story: New wind turbines offset diesel generation in rural Alaskan communities.

In 2015, the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) operated more wind turbines than any electric utility in Alaska, with 34 turbines in 12 communities.

Story: The Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge spurs new ideas.

To improve the health of rural Alaska residents, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, in coordination with tribal, state and federal agencies, is spearheading a research and development effort to find better and more affordable ways to deliver drinking water and sewage disposal services to rural Alaska.

Story: Shaktoolik demonstrates community leadership in finding relocation alternatives.

Shaktoolik will likely have to move, but relocation is currently estimated to cost $290 million (over $1 million per resident). Instead, the community has decided to spend less than $1 million to protect the village for at least another 20 years and do what they can during that time.

Story: Shishmaref used skis to move buildings away from an eroding coastline.

Shishmaref was Alaska’s first use of the Triodetic foundations in 1997. The foundation was used with skis to move homes to their new location onto the old airport runway.

Story: Galena elevated and relocated structures away from potential flood impacts.

In 2013, the Yukon River flooded Galena. An ice jam flood occurred downstream at Bishop Rock area, which caused a backflow flood, impacting structures throughout community.

Story: Cordova and Valdez relocated buildings away from avalanche threats.

In 2000, Cordova received $33,567.92 in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding from avalanche disasters to complete the purchase and relocation of 12 residential structures away from the Eyak Lake area to available sites within the community.

Story: Land exchange made relocation possible for Newtok.

When Newtok voted to relocate, the community obtained title to a new village site within the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge through a land-exchange with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Story: Alaska communities reveal complex relocation challenges.

“We have to relocate by choice, rather than being forced to by evacuation. By choice, we could still retain our identity, as a culture, as a community. But unless we’re willing to do it ourselves, it’s not going to happen.” – Nora Kuzuguk in Shishmaref …

Story: National Park Service Place Names Project keeps traditional science alive.

For over a decade, park units across Alaska have made progress in digitizing legacy toponym information while also gathering new data through collaborations with Native communities associated with park lands.

Story: Reindeer herding on the Seward Peninsula supplements caribou.

Reindeer husbandry has been practiced on the Seward Peninsula for over a century. The reindeer are maintained as a local food source and a source of economic development.

Story: Tok school garden provides protection from wildfire, food, and new opportunities.

Biomass heats a commercial greenhouse growing vegetables to feed the school’s students, and the school has been able to hire a music teacher and a counselor.

Story: Co-management encourages rebound and sustainable harvest of Emperor Geese.

As the Emperor Goose population has slowly rebounded, the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council created and passed a plan to re-open a limited harvest for the species: the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management plan for emperor geese.

Story: Alaska Bounty composts fish at a small farm site and community garden.

Located across the road from Red Salmon Cannery, the Alaska Bounty Farm uses only natural, locally-available soil amendments, such as fish-based fertilizers, local peat moss and wood chips for soil fertility.

Story: Several Alaskan educational institutions offer blended education.

A list of several Alaskan educational institutions that offer blended education.

Story: The Norton Sound King Crab Fishery succeeds with small-scale fishing.

The Norton Sound King Crab Fishery existed for years as subsistence, then they started selling, and locals petitioned the Board of Fish to open a commercial fishery.

Story: The Native Village of Port Heiden adapts with sustainable businesses.

The Native Village of Port Heiden initiated several projects aimed at sustaining the local community, economy and environment including: a farm, salmon processing plant, and a construction and environmental remediation company.

Story: Resident Technical Assistance Program helps entrepreneurs.

BBEDC provides entrepreneurs with a source of assistance in developing business plans, feasibility analysis (small projects), grant mentoring, completing loan applications, financial counseling and other unique needs for developing small businesses.

Story: Resource development scenarios help understand and mitigate impacts.

To produce science-based guidance for the development of energy resources in the region, NSSI took up the idea of developing detailed scenarios—plausible stories about how the future might unfold—to describe how resource development could occur and what monitoring efforts would be useful to help protect people and the environment as conditions change.

Story: Waterway Safety Committees protect resources and communities.

Two waterway safety committees have been established in the Bering Strait, Chukchi and Beaufort seas as well as the Cook Inlet region and a third will cover the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands region.

Story: Bering Strait Voices on Arctic Shipping documents regional concerns.

Kawerak, LLC has led several efforts documenting the concerns of Bering Strait communities relative to increased Arctic vessel traffic.

Story: Shipping buffers protect resources in the Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands.

In 2013, the Aleutian and Bering Sea Island Landscape Conservation Cooperative conducted a Commercial Shipping Vulnerability Analysis to help managers and communities understand the magnitude of commercial shipping transiting through the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea region.

Story: Hazard Mitigation Planning helped Alakanuk relocate buildings.

The City of Alakanuk successfully applied for a $280,000 hazard mitigation grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to respond to a spring flood disaster (DR-1423, 06/26/2002).

Tool: Hazard Mitigation Plans and Other Assistance

States and federally-recognized tribes can apply directly to the FEMA as an applicant for assistance, but they must have a FEMA-approved hazard mitigation plan as a condition for receiving non-emergency Public Assistance, Fire Management Assistance Grants, or Hazard Mitigation Assistance project grants through the HMA grant programs.

Story: Coordinated planning and response drills improve spill response capabilities.

The U.S. Coast Guard, EPA and the State of Alaska conduct joint unified planning for oil spill response to eliminate planning redundancy. The Unified Plan provides a coordinated federal, state and local response strategy within Alaska and its surrounding waters.