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Alaska Risk Map Program


Kotzebue Risk MAP Study

The Risk MAP Discovery meeting held February 23, 2011 in Kotzebue was the first Risk MAP meeting held in Alaska.

Kotzebue Risk MAP Discovery Documents

Discovery is the first part of the Risk MAP process. During this initial phase, the State, FEMA and local entities work together to collect data regarding local flood and other hazard risks. FEMA has data on national and regional levels, however FEMA relies heavily on information and data provided by communities because local officials are able to provide a holistic view of their communities and their known risks. The State prioritizes a watershed for Discovery based on evaluations of risk, need, availability of elevation data, regional knowledge of issues, and local input. After this data is collected, the study is evaluated on an extensive list of criteria.

FEMA’s mapping contractor and City of Kotzebue staff discussed what would be involved with a 1-percent-annual-chance analysis for a Base Flood Elevation (BFE) for a coastal study, and how sea level rise could be incorporated for mitigation planning purposes. Kotzebue’s Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) were last updated in 1983. Kotzebue has both detailed coastal and riverine analysis. The last community meeting was held in September 1981. The City of Kotzebue identified that the Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) has likely conducted a study for the new seawall construction along Shore Avenue. The community also indicated that the local airport is proposing to extend their runway out into Kotzebue Sound and to produce such a plan, a flood study has likely been completed. The community identified flood mapping needs and potential mitigation projects, which are shown on the Discovery Map, below. A summary of the meeting discussion, and identified mapping and mitigation needs is also provide in the Discovery Report.

Kotzebue Discovery Map

Kotzebue Discovery Map Click on the map image to open a full-sized version of the Discovery Map.

Kotzebue’s desired study areas are listed in the table below:

Priority Study Area Study Length Location Description Study Type
1 Kotzebue Sound 2.64 Shoreline study within city limits Coastal Detailed
2 Kotzebue Lagoon 6.76 Along the shoreline of Kotzebue Lagoon Detailed
3 Swan Lake .59 Shoreline within city limits Detailed
4 Ponding Areas <1 Low areas within the city limits subject to flooding from ice thaw Approximate

On October 3, 2011, a follow-up meeting to the Discovery Meeting was held. The purpose of the meeting was to review the findings from the Risk MAP Discovery process, provide the City with a status update, and discuss the next steps to building resiliency in the Kotzebue Coastal Area. FEMA informed the City that due to federal funding constraints, a new flood study would not be initiated this year; however the area will remain a high priority for a new study when funds become available.

Products that would be provided to Kotzebue through its Risk MAP project include:

  • Available topographic data as well as new data in the future, when it becomes available
  • Updated non-regulatory digital flood hazard data
  • Areas of Mitigation Areas of Interest findings and recommendations based on best available data
  • Non-regulatory Risk MAP database containing digital project data
  • Non-regulatory Risk MAP map and report depicting risk assessment results

FEMA Region X Risk MAP Newsletters

Contact for More Information

Sally Russell Cox
State of Alaska Risk MAP Coordinator
Division of Community and Regional Affairs
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development
550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1640, Anchorage, AK 99501-3569
Phone (907) 269-4588 Fax (907)269-4539