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Alaska Baseline Erosion Assessments

The Alaska Baseline Erosion Assessment is a result of study efforts specifically authorized and funded by Congress. The purpose of this study has been to coordinate, plan and prioritize appropriate responses to erosion in Alaska.

With an effort of this magnitude, significant focus was given to identify communities experiencing erosion, determine how to best assess the problems within the limits of available funding, and how to best disseminate the information gathered such that local, state, tribal and federal stakeholders will have a useful tool at their disposal.

Through a process of stakeholder meetings, researching previous reports and extensive correspondence with communities, 178 Alaskan communities reported having erosion issues. These communities were investigated, documented and then rated to determine their individual need for action. This Web page, along with the Alaska Baseline Erosion Assessment Technical Report, document the study's findings and will provide all stakeholders information on how best to proceed with their particular erosion.

Alaska Baseline Erosion Communities

Erosion Information Papers

The Erosion Information Paper (EIP) development process was based on a telephone interview that used an Office of Management and Budget- approved questionnaire, the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development Division of Community Advocacy Community Profile database, and existing Corps files. An EIP generally consists of two pages of text that describe the community setting, erosion problem and potential damages. An additional page was added if the community had erosion photos. Each EIP also had a figure, created from the most recent aerial photograph, showing what the community reported as the linear extent of the erosion. A Corps contractor interviewed the communities and developed drafts of the EIPs. The Corps then reviewed each EIP and sent it to the community to verify the information.

The EIPs are not intended to provide a decision-maker enough information to decide whether or not to implement a project. Justification for project implementation is left to the specific action needed for each community. The best use of the EIPs is to provide an overall current picture of a community's erosion problem and an indication of a community's need for further investigation.

Detailed Erosion Assessment

Part of the Baseline Erosion Assessment (BEA) tasking was to plan appropriate responses for communities in "most need." A critical component for good planning is to get a team on the ground to assess the erosion problem in detail. The BEA study team selected a group of communities to visit based on their relative proximity to each other and because the Corps had not recently investigated erosion in those areas. The communities in the Lower Kuskokwim delta are Akiak, Alakanuk, Aniak, Kalskag, Kipnuk, Kongiganak, Kwethluk, Kwigillingok, Napakiak, Napaskiak and Tuntutuliak. Shaktoolik was later added when it was identified as having serious erosion. In all, 13 detailed assessments were completed in 12 communities. Kalskag was split into two: one for Upper Kalskag and the other for Lower Kalskag.

These detailed assessments are roughly commensurate with a typical Corps reconnaissance investigation. Compared with the Erosion Information Papers (EIPs), they explain in greater detail the causes of erosion, the rates of erosion, potential for damages and potential solutions. Each assessment has diagrams showing the predicted bank line for 10, 30 and 50 years into the future. The teams were able to photo-catalog the erosion problems and provide detailed descriptions of the riverine or coastal dynamics that contribute to it. For each assessment, a potential solution was developed that explains what solution or solutions might be effective and the potential cost.

The assessments do not make a recommendation for future Corps action. However, they identify the appropriate program under which a local community could request assistance to handle its erosion issue. If the community wishes to use other programs, the detailed assessments can be used to develop funding strategies.

Alaska Baseline Erosion Assessment Statewide Studies

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Mailing Address
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
P.O. Box 6898
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK 99506-0898