Alaska Sea Grant helps coastal Alaska village develop and implement a climate change adaptation strategy
Alaska Sea Grant
Shaktoolik, an Inupiaq Eskimo village 125 miles southeast of Nome, is one of 31 Alaska Native villages identified by the US Government Accountability Office as facing imminent flooding and erosion due to climate change. In Shaktoolik, fall storms have resulted in damage to utilities, including several septic drainage fields. Wave run-up has pushed potentially destructive driftwood to within a few feet of some buildings on the seaward side of the village. Previously, sea ice buffered the wave build-up due to fall storms. However, in recent years a warming climate has prevented the sea ice from forming during the November severe storm season. Future storms are predicted to produce wave and storm surge heights even greater than those that have caused damage in recent years.
With assistance from Terry Johnson, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory agent, and Glenn Gray of Glenn Gray and Associates, Shaktoolik developed an adaptation plan for “defending in place.”
Shaktoolik’s plan includes nine initiatives designed to help protect life and property. With the help of grants, the first of these measures—a vegetated berm to protect property from storms—was built during fall 2014.
A presentation is available here: Climate Change Adaptation for an at Risk Community: Shaktoolik, Alaska by Terry Johnson
A PDF of the final adaptation strategy is here: Shaktoolik, Alaska: Climate Change Adaptation for an At-Risk Community