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From Newtok to Mertarvik: A Native Alaskan Tribal Village Relocation

Several tribal villages in Alaska are facing impending community-wide climate impacts of permafrost degradation, sea level rise, erosion, and flooding  which require immediate adaptation measures, including the potential of managed retreat. However, only one, the Village of Newtok, is in the process of actively relocating to a new site, Mertarvik, which was conveyed to Newtok through a federal land grant. The Newtok team  composed of federal, state, and local tribal representatives  is prioritizing the development of housing, roads, energy, and an evacuation center in the near-term. The project goal is to relocate everyone in Newtok to Mertarvik by 2023. The Newtok relocation has been funded by a patchwork of federal and state agencies for over 20 years. This case study can highlight one approach and ongoing lessons learned for state and local jurisdictions confronting larger-scale questions about managed retreat, and the process of transitioning entire communities to higher ground. 

Related Organizations: Village of Newtok, Alaska, State of Alaska

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Preserving Our Place — A Community Field Guide to Engagement, Resilience, and Resettlement: Community Regeneration in the Face of Environmental and Developmental Pressures

2019

In 2019, the Isle de Jean Charles Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe (IDJC) collaborated with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to release a field guide, Preserving Our Place  A Community Field Guide to Engagement, Resilience, and Resettlement: Community Regeneration in the Face of Environmental and Developmental Pressures. IDJC is in the process of relocating from the Louisiana coast to a new community further inland due to significant land loss and flooding impacts. The field guide was developed to serve dual purposes: first, to document the community engagement process that IDJC has developed throughout its resettlement planning process; and second, to provide procedural guidance and lessons learned for communities that are also contemplating large-scale relocation. The field guide can be used by other tribal or frontline coastal communities that are considering potential larger-scale managed retreat or relocation strategies to adapt to climate change impacts like sea-level rise and other stressors and pressures, like environmental justice and encroaching development. 

Related Organizations: National Academy of Sciences, Isle de Jean Charles Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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