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Two Bears Environmental Consulting, LLC and CLIMsystems Ltd have teamed up to assist with the delivery of BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) grants for communities in Alaska where global environmental change has placed them at increased risk. The projects will be initiated in coordination with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and other key stakeholders.

Satellite image of Chefornak, Alaska, one community receiving Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Tribal Resilience funding for community-scale climate modeling. Photo: State of Alaska Coastal Hazards Program 

Katie Lund with ANTHC

Many communities in Alaska lack the information they need to inform long-term planning around climate change. In one small step to address this need, the communities of Chefornak and Newtok have been awarded funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Tribal Resilience program to hire an environmental modeling firm to develop downscaled risk assessments for their communities. The goal of the assessments is to predict future environmental conditions on the ground including rainfall, snowfall, erosion, flooding, permafrost melt, and other extreme events. The assessments will create maps for community planning and an environmental atlas that allows engineers to design resilient infrastructure based on expected future conditions rather than past conditions. The project in Chefornak will estimate the risks associated with erosion and identify possible safe locations to migrate infrastructure to. The work with Newtok will inform infrastructure design at the community’s relocation site of Mertarvik. Some results from these studies will be relevant to all communities in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region. We will share more with you after the studies have been completed early next year.