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Community Resilience Programs

DCRA's Community Resilience Programs provide Alaskan communities with technical assistance, tools, training and funding to become healthier, stronger and more resilient to natural hazards.


Community Decision-Making Continuum

Understanding risk is fundamental to making informed local decisions to respond and adapt to that risk.  The graphic below illustrates the process through which communities can increase understanding of risk, leading to the decision-making process of planning, and ultimately, the implementation of actions to increase community resilience.  DCRA's efforts to assist communities in each stage of this process are described below.

Click to view larger version of the Community Decision-Making Continuum graphic


Alaska Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) Program

Risk MAP is a comprehensive, multi-year process in which FEMA and the State of Alaska work with a local government to identify and gather data on the natural hazards risks affecting the community, assess and analyze those risks, identify actions to reduce risk, and identify resources to implement those actions. The goal of Risk MAP is to increase community resilience by providing quality data and risk assessment tools to local governments, thereby enhancing local understanding of risk to natural hazards, and informing community decisions to take action to reduce risk. In addition to the Alaska Risk MAP webpage, information on the Risk MAP process may be found here.

A new initiative of Risk MAP in Alaska focuses on imminently-threatened Alaska Native Villages. For more information on this new initiative, please go here.


Assistance to Environmentally Threatened Communities

DCRA staff provides assistance to environmentally threatened communities in partnership with the Denali Commission, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and a number of other state and federal agencies and organizations. Currently, the focus is on 27 communities, most of whom were identified as highly vulnerable for flood, erosion, permafrost degradation and aggregated threats in a 2019 Alaska Statewide Threat Assessment. Staff assists these communities with local planning as well as providing access to the broad range of local government resources DCRA has to offer.


Alaska Community Coastal Protection Project (ACCPP)

Completed in 2016, the Alaska Community Coastal Protection Project focused on three of the most imminently threatened villages in Western Alaska: the communities of Kivalina, Shaktoolik and Shishmaref. The project was based on the premise that careful planning, agency collaboration and strong community leadership are essential to successfully addressing the needs of imperiled communities. Through this effort, comprehensive Strategic Management Plans were prepared for each community. These plans take a comprehensive approach to increasing community resilience to climate impacts and natural hazards by strengthening local capacity, assessing and guiding community and infrastructure development, and supporting environmental protection and human safety. The Strategic Management Plans received a National Recognition Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) for ACEC's 2018 Engineering Excellence Awards.

During the planning process, Village Inter-Agency Planning Groups were organized for each community.These planning groups continue to be held to help each community implement the strategic actions within each strategic management plan (see below).


Village Inter-Agency Planning Groups

The focus of each inter-agency planning group is to reduce duplication and increase engagement between imminently-threatened communities, agencies and organizations to develop solutions to increase resilience in each community. The focus of the Newtok Planning Group has been on the village of Newtok's relocation to Mertarvik on Nelson Island. The inter-agency planning groups for Kivalina, Shaktoolik and Shishmaref have been focused on implementing the imminent and critical action items identified by each community in its Strategic Management Plan.


Alaska Climate Change Impact Mitigation Program (ACCIMP)

Completed in 2016, the Alaska Climate Change Impact Mitigation Program was established by Alaska's Twenty-Fifth Legislature (2008) to provide technical assistance and funding to communities imminently threatened by natural hazards intensified by environmental climate.  The intent of the program was to help impacted communities develop a planned approach to shoreline protection, building relocation and/or eventual relocation of the village. The program was implemented through two measures: Hazard Impact Assessments and Community Adaptation Planning Grants. The products of the ACCIMP remain available online to provide useful examples of hazard impact assessments and adaptive strategies for increasing community resilience in some of Alaska's environmentally-threatened communities.

For more information contact:

Sally Russell Cox

Division of Community and Regional Affairs
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development
550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1650, Anchorage, AK 99501-3569
Phone (907) 269-4588 Fax (907)269-4539
Email: sally.cox@alaska.gov