Alaska’s Digital Coast Fellow Boosts Community Storm Resilience

Community storm histories, an online tool, and flood-risk maps prompt a $1 million-plus resilience grant to aid 44 additional Alaska Native communities on the hazard frontlines.

Golovin and Hooper Bay, two remote Alaska communities, can better prepare for, and respond to, coastal storms. A NOAA Digital Coast Fellow produced storm histories, an online tool for visualizing flood risks, and maps that rate the severity of local flood-risk zones and assess infrastructure risks. Partners in the National Coastal Resilience Grant, impressed by this project’s success, awarded more than $1 million in funds to map flood risks and identify hazard data gaps for 44 additional Alaska Native communities. The fellowship project was made possible by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, Alaska Sea Grant, the National States Geographic Information Council, Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, and University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Weather forecasters are using the fellow’s maps to communicate flood risks in a way that’s easy to understand. And a publication will aid planners and hazard assessors in estimating the heights of local coastal flooding, so they can refine their own risk analyses. The Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys will use the publication to characterize flood risks for other at-risk communities.

The National Coastal Resilience Fund grant of $1,360,801, which is matched with $821,588 in funding from other sources, is awarded to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. NOAA is a major partner in the National Coastal Resilience Fund, which is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

This Digital Coast Fellow, from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and nominated by Alaska Sea Grant, was matched with the National States Geographic Information Council’s member organization, the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys. When the fellowship ended, he took a permanent position as a coastal geologist and continues to help Alaska communities prepare for, and respond to, coastal hazards. (2020)

Partners: Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Alaska Sea Grant, Digital Coast, National States Geographic Information Council, University of Alaska Fairbanks

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