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Alaska Climate Change Impact Mitigation Program

Community Planning Grants: Kivalina

Kivalina completed the first phase of its ACCIMP Community Planning Grant with the Kivalina Consensus-Building Project. The purpose of this phase is to work towards a consensus on steps the community will take to respond to threats of natural hazards including erosion, flooding and storm surge. Through this project, the Kivalina will develop a proposal for Phase 2 of the Community Planning Grant which is consistent with the identified actions.

Kivalina Consensus Building Project Documents Kivalina Community Planning Grant Documents



Kivalina is located on an 8-mile long barrier island off the Chukchi Sea, 80 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The barrier island on which Kivalina is located has long been subject to the coastal and riverine processes of accretion and erosion. Storm events in 2004 and 2005 eroded the Chukchi Sea shoreline, threatening critical infrastructure and facilities including the community fuel tank farm, school and airstrip. Chronic erosion on the lagoon side of the island has threatened homes, which are in danger of falling into the lagoon. On the seaside of the island, fall storm surges create annual coastal flooding and beach erosion. Portions of the island have been breached before, and it is believed that the right combination of storm events could flood the entire village. Most recent efforts to respond to flooding and erosion have involved shoreline protection and studying the feasibility of possible relocation sites. Kivalina residents would like a site that is near their current location with access to the ocean so that they can continue to pursue their subsistence lifestyle. Much of the surrounding area, however, is low-lying wetlands or tundra.

Kivanina Consensus Building Project

The purpose of the Kivalina Consensus Building Project was to explore areas of agreement to lay the foundation for future community planning. This project provided an opportunity for the community to work towards a consensus about the next steps it will take in response to climate change-related threats. To carry out this project, the City of Kivalina hired the contractor Glenn Gray and Associates. Products of this project include:

  • Kivalina Consensus Building Project Final Report, July 2010
  • Kivalina Community Survey Summary
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Situation Assessment

Recommendations for next steps the community should take include:

  • A logical next step for Kivalina would be development of a community plan that outlines strategies and specific actions the community will take to respond to natural hazards, including relocation and protection from storm surges, flooding, erosion, and melting permafrost. A community plan that is supported by the community will get the attention of funding agencies and Congress. In addition to developing community consensus, a strategic planning process could also be used for consensus building among the funding agencies.
  • Resolutions of support for the next planning grant from both the Native Village of Kivalina and City of Kivalina, and a commitment to participate in the process in order to help ensure its success.

Kivalina coastal storm

Coastal storm in Kivalina. Photo: DCRA

Kivalina main point of contact for ACCIMP Community Planning Grant

Janet Mitchell
City Administrator
Phone: 907-645-2137

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)269-4563