Community Based Monitoring

Alaska’s western coastline is one of the most understudied regions in the United States and its location is highly vulnerable to current and future climate change. Researchers from the ACGL and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) Coastal Hazard Program joined with Alaska Sea Grant and The Bristol Bay Native Association to develop a community based erosion monitoring program in 10 southwest Alaska coastal and riverine villages to further study these locations and contribute toward resilient coastal communities in Alaska. The original pilot program was titled, Stakes for Stakeholders, and has since grown into a much larger and comprehensive coastal hazard assessment and community based erosion monitoring program.   Now in over 20 coastal villages, this collaborative effort is creating new baseline data sets, assessing coastal hazards and risks, and establishing and maintaining erosion monitoring sites.

Map of Dillingham erosion monitoring site documenting three years of erosion. The ACGL produces a variety of data products, in order to inform communities about long and short-term coastal changes. This is especially important concerning vulnerable infrastructure such as the sewage lagoon in this map.

Community members in Dillingham, Alaska measure erosion from a recent storm.

High School students in Goodnews Bay, Alaska learn how to measure coastal profiles.

Establishing erosion monitoring sites, increasing coastal science literacy, and training citizen-scientists improves a community’s ability to effectively plan, engage, and respond to coastal hazards. A close-working relationship with local and regional stakeholders guide research commitments, and subsequently leads to the development of high-resolution baseline topographic data sets and training of local coordinators in site maintenance and repeated topographic measurements. This is how we produce workflows and data products such as interactive digital maps. Research in erosion and flooding monitoring supports local priorities and future planning.

Contact the DGGS Coastal Hazards Program by clicking here or on the below logo.