Koyukuk is focusing its Community Planning Grant on developing a schematic design and funding strategy for the Koyukuk Community Emergency Shelter, which will provide shelter for the community during flooding events.
The village of Koyukuk is located entirely in a floodplain near the confluence of the Yukon and Koyukuk rivers. The community is 30 miles west of Galena and 290 air miles west of Fairbanks. Koyukuk experiences severe flooding, mostly as a result of ice jams that occur after the spring breakup of river ice. Homes and public structures, including the school and runway, are repeatedly flooded by water that accumulates behind the ice jams. Although the flooding is episodic, villagers prepare for it every spring by placing their belongings in high places and putting their vehicles on floats. The village has been evacuated more than once. In July 2003, with funding assistance from FEMA, the Tanana Chiefs Conference, which is a nonprofit regional corporation, developed a flood mitigation plan for Koyukuk that includes both evacuation and relocation strategies. The community is in the process of assessing prospective relocation areas to find an appropriate site. In the meantime, the FAA has awarded a grant to the state to both raise the grade of and lengthen Koyukuk’s runway at a cost of $10.3 million. According to FAA officials, the planned relocation of the village will not include the construction of another airport.
The Koyukuk Community Emergency Shelter will provide shelter to Koyukuk during flooding events. The shelter will serve as a command post and "safe house" that is accessible to the community and facilitates evacuations, provides temporary housing, and enables return of residents to their homes in a safe manner.
The Koyukuk Traditional Council hired the consulting team of USKH, Cold Climate Housing Research Center and Agnew::Beck to carry out the project. The main objectives of the project include:
Flooding in Koyukuk due to ice jamming of the Koyukuk River
Koyukuk Traditional Council
Division of Community and Regional Affairs
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development