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Alaska Climate Change Impact Mitigation Program

Hazard Impact Assessments: Atmautluak

Atmautluak was awarded a $50,000 State Fiscal Year 2009 Hazard Impact Assessment grant to identify and define the climate change-related hazards in the community, establish current and predicted impacts, and provide recommendations on alternatives to mitigate the hazard impacts.

Atmautluak Hazard Impact Documents



Atmautluak (pronounced aht-MOUTH-luck), 2010 population 277, is located on the west bank of the Pitmiktakik River in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta regional basin, 20 air miles northwest of Bethel. The community is in the Unorganized Borough.

The entire length of the community is subject to erosion, which is caused by natural river flow, spring breakup, melting permafrost, boat wakes and ice jams.

According to local officials, three to four ice jams have caused 1- 2 feet of erosion per event over the last 10 years. The Pitmiktakik River, a tributary of the Johnson River, erodes approximately 1 foot per year. Community officials report that the river bank and surrounding ground used to be higher but is sinking due to melting permafrost. The lake shore is also eroding due to melting permafrost and occasional strong south winds.

The Atmautluak Hazard Impact Assessment, completed in June 2010 by WH Pacific in partnership with Shannon & Wilson, recommends several measures by which Atmautluak can address its hazard impacts:

  • Conduct a hydrological study to quantify recurrence intervals of floods and to evaluate alternatives to reduce bank erosion
  • Require that future projects install thermistors to document changes in the active layer
  • Monitor erosion through bank migration study (aerial photographs and physical measurements)
  • Raise fuel lines off ground to reduce susceptibility to subsidence and subsequent corrosion
  • Prepare community land use plan to identify preferred locations for new housing or other community facilities or infrastructure
  • Prepare community surface drainage plan to drain surface water into nearby lakes and rivers
  • Move or replace structures in danger from riverine erosion

The community plans to address one or more of these recommendations through its Community Planning Grant, to be started in 2013.


Eroded riverbank and threatened homes. Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Atmautluak main point of contact for ACCIMP Hazard Impact Assessment

Daniel Waska
Tribal Administrator
Atmautluak Traditional Council
Phone: 907-553-5610

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
Phone: (907) 269-4588
FAX: (907) 269-4066