Case Studies

Case Studies are examples of how communities are engaging in resilience planning.

Methods include conversations, vulnerability assessments, monitoring, mitigation, and adaptation planning.

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Bering Sea Fishery Vulnerability
Bering Sea Fishery Vulnerability

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (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.

economy emergency health-culture infrastructure leadership vulnerability
Brevig Mission Studies Environmental Challenges
Brevig Mission Studies Environmental Challenges

High school students in Brevig Mission investigated environmental challenges relevant to their community in their environmental science courses with Rebecca Siegel this year.  They began the unit by mapping out local places of importance to them, their families, and the village, and then identifying some areas where environmental threats were already causing problems or likely to emerge in the future.

emergency infrastructure
Emperor geese. (Photo: Milo Burcham, ADF&G)
Co-Management Helps Emperor Geese

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

health-culture
Homes, buildings, roads, heavy machinery, and automobiles were buried under tons of snow as this avalanche came down a mountain in Cordova. (Photo: Dave Saville/FEMA)
Cordova, Valdez, and Avalanche Hazard Mitigation

In 2000, Cordova received $33,567 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. All structures were threatened due to their location at the bottom of a historical avalanche chute.

infrastructure
Drills Improve Spill Response Capacity
Drills Improve Spill Response Capacity

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (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.

emergency
Erosion Monitoring in Bristol Bay

Through a partnership among the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), the Bristol Bay Native Association (BBNA), Alaska Sea Grant, and the Alaska Institute for Justice with funding from Alaska Sea Grant, The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to establish a program that gives Alaska’s tribes the capacity to monitor erosion using a consistent standard and methodology.

leadership mitigation
Fish Composting Helps Naknek
Fish Composting Helps Naknek

Alaska Bounty was formed in 2009 to grow fresh, organic produce at our farm in Naknek, Alaska. 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.

economy health-culture
GIS for Environmental Monitoring
GIS for Environmental Monitoring

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. Project staff monitored and documented changes in weather patterns, geography (e.g., land/mud slides, flood areas, changes in creek/river routes, beach banks) and natural resources (e.g., fish, game, vegetation, water sources), then analyzed relationships between weather patterns and impacts to geography and natural resource changes.

leadership monitoring
alakanuk, ak
Hazard Mitigation Planning Helps Alakanuk

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).

emergency
Homer Spit, Kachemak Bay, AK. (Photo: Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District)
Kenai Peninsula Partnership Aids Adaptation Planning

The coastal communities on the Kenai Peninsula and within the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) are already coping with a variety of challenges related to a changing environment, particularly as communities depend on coastal resources for their economic and cultural livelihood.

leadership
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently released its analysis of renewable energy retrofits in Kokhanok, Alaska. (Photo: SW AK Energy Network)
Kokhanok Integrates Wind and Diesel

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

infrastructure
Kotzebue's Collaborative Research
Kotzebue’s Collaborative Research

A group of Tribal scientists, independent researchers and regional leadership collaborated to study changes in Kotzebue Sound. The Northwest Arctic Borough science program ran for three years, funded by Shell Oil Company to support environmental research and related activities to better understand the region’s marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems and potential impacts from human activity.

leadership
Excited Newtok children sprint down temporary roads in Mertarvik, the site where the village hopes to relocate. (Photo: Christine Trudeau/KYUK)
Newtok’s Land Exchange and Relocation

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).

infrastructure
King crab from the Norton Sound fishery. (Photo: KNOM)
Norton Sound Succeeds with Small-Scale Fishing

Since 1995, Norton Sound Seafood Products runs a financially sustainable fishery purchasing fish only from small local boats and markets itself as a “small specialty store as compared to the mega-supermarket.”

economy health-culture leadership
Nushagak Mulchatna Soil Survey
Nushagak Mulchatna Soil Survey

The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (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.

leadership
Talking about the country. L to R: Jonah Walton, Ivan Booth, Bill Bailey and Frank Booth. Wendell Booth Sr. obscured in background, center. At Abe Howarth's allotment. N68 07.157 W159 56.371
Place Names Project Keeps Traditional Science Alive

For over a decade, park units across Alaska have made progress on implementing the National Park Service Place Name project, which is digitizing legacy toponym information while also gathering new data through collaborations with Native communities associated with park lands.

health-culture
Point Lay Walrus Protection

The people of Point Lay have seen dead walrus on shore after observing plane and boat activities in the area. The Native Village of Point Lay is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) 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.

health-culture leadership
farm
Port Heiden Adapts and Sustains

The Native Village of Port Heiden initiated several projects aimed at sustaining the local community, economy and environment. These projects include a farm, salmon processing plant (in development), and a construction and environmental remediation company.

economy
Quinhagak: An Archaeological Gold Mine
Quinhagak: An Archaeological Gold Mine

In 2009, a 500-year-old artifact was discovered on the beach outside of Quinhagak, Alaska, opening the door to the most productive archaeological dig in Arctic history with 60,000 artifacts recovered so far. In 2009, the site was 50 feet from the ocean. Today it is ten.

health-culture
Relocation Challenges Across Alaska
Relocation Challenges Across Alaska

The 2009 GAO Report 09-551, thaw that substantially threatens village infrastructure and community health. Eight years after the 2009 GAO Report was issued, none of the villages has relocated.

infrastructure
Protecting the coast in Savoonga, AK.
Renewable Energy and Heat Recovery

Heat recovery systems use excess heat produced by electric generators to provide hot water in community water systems. Because only about one-third of the energy generated by fuel-burning diesel generators goes directly to creating electricity (up to 70 percent of that energy is ‘lost’ as heat), communities can save thousands of dollars each year by using that excess heat to heat water in the community water treatment plant.

infrastructure
Scenario Planning for the North Slope
Scenario Planning for the North Slope

To understand the potential costs and benefits of developing Arctic resources in a safe and sustainable manner—and to help ensure that residents and ecosystems in the region can adapt as conditions change—federal, state, local, and Native entities in Alaska formed the North Slope Science Initiative (NSSI).

economy
Seasonal Adjustments for Subsistence
Seasonal Adjustments for Subsistence

Climate variability has brought unique challenges in recent years in rural Alaska. In the fall, warmer weather has been extending into August and September in many parts of the state, a challenge for hunters who seek to harvest and process the animal when it is cooler so the meat will not spoil. During the winter hunt, lack of snow-cover means difficulty and unsafe conditions for hunters who travel by snow machine to access distant moose and caribou.

health-culture leadership
Setting Priorities for Health, Social, and Economic Disruptions from Oil Spills in Alaska
Setting Priorities for Health, Social, and Economic Disruptions from Oil Spills in Alaska

In 2019 Alaska Sea Grant was part of a national collaboration to gather feedback and identify opportunities for improving preparedness for the public health, social disruption, and economic impacts of oil spills. There was a total of five workshops held nationwide focusing on three broadly defined topical areas of public health, social disruption, and economic impacts of oil spills. At each workshop, leaders representing impacted communities, and experts in emergency response and preparedness, oil spill science, and human health and well-being, were invited to share their knowledge with an audience of community stakeholders.

health-culture mitigation
Shaktoolik Plans for Relocation
Shaktoolik Plans for Relocation

Shaktoolik, an Inupiaq village of 250 people located on the Norton Sound coast, is experiencing many of the same environmental changes and threats to traditional life as other similarly situated arctic Alaska coastal villages. In particular, Shaktoolik faces severe threats from storm surges, flooding and coastal erosion that could destroy the community entirely with enough intensity.

infrastructure leadership
Shipping Buffers in the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea
Shipping Buffers in the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea

In 2013, the Aleutian and Bering Sea Island (ABSI) Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) purchased a three-year archive of satellite-based Automatic Identification System (AIS) data and 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.

economy
The Village of Shishmaref is especially vulnerable to sea level rise and coastal erosion.
Shishmaref Relocates Buildings

In 1997, under authority granted by the Alaska Statutes, Section 26.23.020, the Governor of Alaska declared that a condition in the City of Shishmaref warranted a disaster declaration in order to qualify for FEMA Disaster Response, Recovery, and Mitigation Assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Act.

infrastructure mitigation
This greenhouse in Tok, Alaska helps provide fresh produce for area residents.
Tok School Garden Serves Many Purposes

Tok’s commercial greenhouse provides vegetables to feed the school’s students, and Tok School has been able to hire a music teacher and a counselor. The greenhouse continues to be used as a learning laboratory for biological science, indoor agricultural practices and nutrition.

economy health-culture
Tyonek Community Gardens
Tyonek Community Gardens

Rural Alaska residents participate in a subsistence lifestyle including activities such as salmon fishing, moose hunting, berry picking, and more. The availability of fresh healthy produce to complement healthy wild foods is limited. Gardens provide healthy, locally-sourced food while promoting self-reliance and community well-being.

health-culture
Waterway Safety Committees Protect Resources and Communities
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.

economy
Wind Turbines Across Alaska
Wind Turbines Across Alaska

In 2015, the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) operated more wind turbines than any electric utility in Alaska.  AVEC covers the largest area of any retail electric cooperative in the world.

infrastructure