In 2015, the federal government named the Denali Commission as the lead agency to address the relocation of coastal communities across Alaska. The Denali Commission (Commission) is an independent Federal agency based on an innovative federal-state partnership designed to provide critical utilities, infrastructure and support for economic development and training in Alaska by delivering federal services in the most cost-effective manner possible. The Commission was created in 1998 with passage of the October 21, 1998 Denali Commission Act (Act) (Title III of Pub. L. 105-277).
The Denali Commission’s mission is to partner with tribal, federal, state, and local governments and collaborate with all Alaskans to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government services, to build and ensure the operation and maintenance of Alaska’s basic infrastructure, and to develop a well-trained labor force employed in a diversified and sustainable economy.
Village Infrastructure Protection Program
In order to fulfill its role as lead federal coordinating agency, the Commission staff, in consultation with State, Federal, and other partners, and the referenced communities in particular, proposes investments into the Mertarvik site through the Village Infrastructure Protection (VIP) Program [previously known as the Environmentally Threatened Community (ETC) Program]. The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report 09-551 (http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-551) has been instrumental in charting prospective Commission investments under this program.
Newtok Village Council hired DOWL in late July 2016 to provide project management services for the relocation of the village of Newtok to Mertarvik. DOWL has an Anchorage office with a team that includes people with expertise in many aspects of project development- from planners to engineers to support and project management staff. For the Mertarvik relocation, DOWL meets with various agencies, funding partners, contractors and others to understand work performed in the past, who is involved currently in the project and their role, and to provide necessary direction and oversight to expend funds and perform work in 2017 and 2018. DOWL also works with agencies to identify funding and project development gaps for the relocation plan.
Visit their website here.
“Tribal organization with statewide reach and is experienced in rural construction to improve the health of Alaska Native people. ANTHC is familiar with NVC and the Mertarvik project through a previous effort to develop the final Mertarvik Community Layout Plan. In its new expanded role, ANTHC will use the Commission and State funds to issue contracts for design and construction activities and serve as the coordinator of Newtok’s Relocation Steering Committee.”
ANTHC became the overall manager of the Newtok relocation project in June 2018. they will be providing geotechnical investigation and topographical surveys of the site, design of a washeteria, design of a water distribution and wastewater collection system, landfill design, and village layout.Visit their website here and view the video of the proposed relocation layout here.
Newtok Planning Group
“Since its formation in May 2006, the Newtok Planning Group, including Newtok Village, has recommended and sought funding for the development of emergency, pioneer-level infrastructure at Mertarvik. Pioneer-level infrastructure, including an evacuation shelter, would provide a safe place at which the Newtok community could seek refuge in the event of severe flooding following a serious storm. An evacuation center could support construction activities while the new village is being developed. In addition to serving the village’s emergency and construction support needs during the relocation process, the evacuation shelter could later serve as a community center in the fully developed community.”
The group is a collaboration between Newtok Village and a variety of federal, state, and regional partners. Visit the website here.
Alaska Energy Authority
AEA is an independent corporation of the State of Alaska and the State’s energy office whose mission is to reduce the cost of energy in Alaska. AEA is under contract with the Denali Commission to provide a master energy plan, power plant design, and bulk fuel system. The Housing Master Plan will coordinate closely with AEA’s Energy Plan to ensure that the new housing is staged to be compatible with the development of small-scale and large-scale power distribution infrastructure.
Association of Alaska Housing Authorities
AAHA is a nonprofit membership agency that includes fourteen regional housing authorities and the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. AAHA’s mission is to increase the supply of safe, sanitary, and affordable housing and community development in Alaska. It provides legislative advocacy, development, funding information and technical assistance. This report was funded through a HUD Technical Assistance Grant administered through AAHA. Association of Village Council Presidents Regional Housing Authority AVCP RHA is the state chartered regional housing authority for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region of Alaska. The housing authority provides affordable housing opportunities and services to program-eligible individuals and families. The programs include homeownership, rentals, rental vouchers, housing services, housing management, modernization, renovation, crime prevention and administration and planning, and construction of new housing, modernization and weatherization of homes using the force-account method of construction. In Mertarvik, AVCP RHA will be assisting with funding and construction of new homes.
Cold Climate Housing Research Center
CCHRC is an industry-based, nonprofit corporation created to facilitate the development, use, and testing of energy efficient, durable, healthy, and cost-effective building technologies for people living in circumpolar regions around the globe. Involved in Newtok since 2008, CCHRC created the original design for the Mertarvik Evacuation Center and designed a demonstration home that was built in Mertarvik in the summer of 2016. CCHRC is the primary author of this report and will be involved in Mertarvik in a Technical Advisory role, assisting with the design and construction of energy efficient, durable, and culturally appropriate structures. Denali Commission The Denali Commission is an independent federal agency designed to provide critical utilities, infrastructure, and economic support throughout Alaska. The Denali Commission is focused on increasing inter-agency cooperation in Alaska’s remote communities. The Denali Commission is funding much of the current relocation planning. Cold Climate Housing Research Center Mertarvik Housing Master Plan http://www.cchrc.org 11
Goldstream Engineering specializes in on-site water and wastewater system design for residential and commercial facilities. The company’s experience and expertise also includes civil engineering projects such as site grading and drainage plans, parking lots, roads, small airports, community water and wastewater design and treatment systems, regulatory permitting, environmental services, and construction management. Goldstream Engineering is designing the roads and coordinating development of the gravel quarry and road building.
Newtok Village Council
The NVC is the village leadership body and federally recognized tribal government. The Newtok Traditional Council is the former village leadership council and worked closely with CCHRC on the original design for the Mertarvik Evacuation Center. The NTC initiated the relocation process in 1994. Tribal government duties were officially transferred to the NVC in 2015.