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Notice of Office Closure

The Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development offices will be closed to the public on November 23rd and 24th. We will be closed November 23rd in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday and November 24th is an unpaid furlough day for employees to reduce state expenses.

Newtok Planning Group

Working together for the safe and healthy future of Newtok at Mertarvik


NEW! 2017 Mertarvik Relocation Accomplishments

Community Site Plan
  • Survey of community layout for platting
  • Site geotechnical work
  • Preliminary Engineering Reports (PER) for water, wastewater and landfill infrastructure are being prepared
  • Housing
  • Initial construction (housing pads, framing) of four new homes, bringing the total of new homes at Mertarvik to nine (excluding three homes built in 2007 west of Takikchak Creek)
  • Barracks Study – Phase II Concept Design & Cost Estimate
  • Denali Commission FY18 $1.5 million appropriation for housing
  • Newtok Village Council application to Alaska Housing Finance Corporation for Mertarvik teacher housing underway
  • Mertarvik Evacuation Center (MEC)
  • Final design and specifications for MEC shell
  • HUD Imminent Threat grant for MEC mechanical, electrical and plumbing
  • Roads and Quarry Development
  • Man-camp to support construction workers complete
  • Quarry equipment onsite and quarry development to support road construction underway
  • Construction of quarry road to townsite near completion
  • Energy
  • Concept design report for community bulk fuel storage facility
  • 65% design documents for the powerhouse
  • Environmental
  • Environmental Impact Statement for Mertarvik is progressing
  • The Newtok Planning Group was formed in May 2006 when representatives from state and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations began meeting with Newtok to coordinate assistance for the relocation of the community to a new village site on Nelson Island. The relocation site is called Mertarvik, which in Yup’ik means, “getting water from the spring.”

    Mertarvik Logo

    The village of Newtok is threatened by advancing erosion caused by the Ninglick River adjacent to the village. This progressive erosion, in combination with permafrost degradation and flooding of the village during seasonal storms has created a serious threat to the existence of the village. Years of erosion studies have concluded that Newtok must relocate as there is no permanent and cost-effective alternative for remaining at the current village site.

    In 2006, Newtok Village requested the assistance of the Division of Community and Regional Affairs (DCRA), within the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED), with Newtok's relocation effort. DCCED is directed by two Alaska Administrative Orders ( AO 231 and AO 239) "to act as the state coordinating agency to coordinate with the other state and federal agencies to propose long-term solutions to the ongoing erosion issues in... affected coastal communities..." Consistent with this directive, DCRA organized the Newtok Planning Group (NPG) to coordinate assistance to Newtok on the relocation effort.

    The NPG has convened regularly since its formation, working with Newtok and across agencies to leverage resources, secure funding, and to establish a framework and strategy for moving the relocation process forward. Download a list of the participants in the NPG.

    Through the unique partnership of the NPG, a range of initiatives, studies, and pioneer infrastructure projects has been completed or is currently underway at Mertarvik. Collaboration among Newtok and state and federal agencies has been behind the success of every project. The timeline below highlights many of the relocation activities coordinated through the NPG over the past decade. Most of these activities involved the collaboration of multiple agencies. (Click timeline to open full-sized version.)

    The photo below shows the pioneer infrastructure developed at Mertarvik through the coordination of the NPG. (Click photo to open full-sized version.)

    The beginning of a new village - Mertarvik on Nelson Island.Photo: Patrick Lemay; Labels: Sally Russell Cox

    To learn more about the relocation efforts currently underway for Newtok and the new village site, Mertarvik, please see "Relocation Activities" in the Resources Section, below.

    Resources

    A Brief History of the Settlement of Newtok and Village Relocation Efforts Meeting Minutes/Agendas Relocation Activities Newtok Planning Group Documents Reports and Studies Maps and Aerial Photos Mertarvik Site Visit Photos

    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 1640
    Anchorage, AK 99501
    Phone: (907) 269-4588 FAX: (907) 269-4066
    Email: sally.cox@alaska.gov