On the flat and frozen sea ice, a furry beast hoists itself onto two hind legs. Its black nose and beady eyes stare down observers a few hundred yards away, while its white fur camouflages against the Arctic landscape. Moments later, the creature turns and scurries off toward the horizon.
Members of the traveling party with Jaime Pinkham, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, witnessed this polar bear encounter near the community of Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, while touring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District’s Barrow Coastal Erosion Project. During the week of Feb. 21, the dignitary visited several civil works projects in the state that were recently funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. In total, this congressionally authorized funding will provide nearly $1 billion for civil works construction in Alaska.