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Alaska Risk Map Program


Kwethluk Risk MAP Study

The Risk MAP process began for the community of Kwethluk in the summer of 2016 when the State and FEMA conducted a Risk MAP Interview with community officials. During the interview, Kwethluk officials identified persistent flood problems and other hazard areas of concern, which were discussed in more detail during the Discovery Meeting.

Kwethluk 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.

Kwethluk Reports and Studies
  • Coming Soon!

The Alaska State Risk MAP Coordinator, FEMA's Risk Analyst and the Alaska State Mitigation Planner traveled to Kwethluk on June 16, 2016 to conduct a Risk MAP Discovery Meeting with City of Kwethluk staff and community members. The State and FEMA discussed the purpose of the Risk MAP Program and how it could benefit the City of Kwethluk. Kwethluk’s Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) was completed in 2008, so the plan has expired. The City was considering an update to the plan in the near future. FEMA and the State discussed how the Risk MAP process could inform the next update of the LHMP. The community identified flood, fire, permafrost thaw and erosion hazards on a map. This information has been developed into a Discovery Map, below.

Kwethluk Discovery Map

Kwethluk's Discovery Map identifies critical facilities, areas of concern including channel migration, erosion, and flooding, environmentally sensitive areas, and mitigation needs.

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

Tables 1 and 2 below outline Kwethluk's risk assessment needs, hazards and mitigation actions. The high priority mitigation projects Kwethluk identified as part of the Discovery process are as follows:

Kwethluk's High Priority Mitigation Projects


  • Obtain flood insurance for all city structures, and continue compliance with NFIP regulations
  • Suite of emergency plans and training/drills
  • Kwethluk floodplain maps
  • Public education

Severe Storm

  • Research and consider instituting the National Weather Service "Storm Ready" program
  • Conduct special awareness activities, such as Winter Weather Awareness Week, Flood Awareness Week, etc.
  • Expand public awareness about NOAA Weather Radio for continuous weather broadcasting and warning tone alert capability


  • Enhance public awareness of potential risk to life and personal property. Encourage mitigation measures in the immediate
  • Become a Firewise community.
  • Consider developing building codes and requirements for new construction


  • Identify buildings and facilities that must be able to remain operable during and following an earthquake event.

The following risk assessment needs have been indentified for Kwethluk:

Table 1: COMMUNITY Risk Assessment Needs

Location Description Study Type
The city has training needs related to benefit-cost analysis. Benefit-Cost Analysis
A tundra wildfire burned near the runway in 2015. There are no working fire trucks, but the city does have hydrants. There is an interest in learning more about defensible space. Wildfire Risk Awareness/Assistance to Firefighters Grants
The city would like to obtain more information on suitable locations for sewer/solid waste disposal in relation to changes in flooding due to climate change. The city is not in agreement with the USACE engineering data and risk to the environment. Suitability Study Analysis
The mayor described building collapses due to permafrost thawing. The city would like more information on changes and specifically what the community could do to mitigate. Permafrost Study
Erosion remains an ongoing issue. The community has already moved a couple of homes because of erosion from a storm event a couple of years ago. There are more homes they would like to move. Erosion Assessment
The comprehensive plan (originated in 1998) was updated in 2014; however, the community expressed a desire to do a better job of defining where they want to be and what they want to be in a changing landscape. Local Planning

The following hazard and mitigation actions been indentified for Kwethluk:

Table 2: Kwethluk Hazard and Mitigation Action

Hazard Location Description Mitigation Action
Airport Access Road There is a low-lying area where water backs up over the Airport Access road. Elevate roadway or install drainage culvert

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