Arctic Network for Coastal Community Hazards, Observations, and Integrated Research (ANCHOR)

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Overview

Project Abstract

ACRN LogoThis Research Coordination Network (ANCHOR) will integrate social science, natural science, and engineering to address the imminent challenges that coastal communities in the Alaskan Arctic face due to rapid permafrost thaw and coastal erosion. These processes are causing buildings, roads, and areas of cultural significance to be undermined as coastlines subside and collapse into the sea. These communities are considering a range of options, which include abandoning their homelands for higher ground or building seawalls to limit erosion. At the same time, opportunities are now being realized for communities to participate in monitoring of the environmental processes that are occurring. Through the activities of ANCHOR, local communities will participate in monitoring that will help inform their decision-making processes. Overall, ANCHOR will help to develop scientifically robust approaches for coastal communities to respond to coastal erosion. Further, some activities will be focused in one local coastal community in Alaska in order to evaluate approaches developed through ANCHOR. This project promotes convergence by integrating understanding of the social processes of community decision-making under duress and uncertainty with advances in relevant natural science disciplines (coastal geophysics, soil physics, climate modelling, and atmospheric science) and disciplines in civil and environmental engineering (geotechnical engineering, risk assessment, water, and wastewater treatment).

The ANCHOR project will integrate social science, natural science and engineering by employing a test-bed approach focused on a specific community to address the imminent challenges that coastal communities in the Arctic face due to rapid permafrost thaw and coastal erosion. These communities are now considering the drastic options of abandoning their homelands for higher ground or armoring in place, as buildings, roads, and culturally significant areas collapse into the sea. At the same time, opportunities are now being realized for communities to participate in local scale monitoring and research. To provide a scientific foundation for addressing these imminent decisions, this ANCHOR project will bring together leading natural and social scientists and engineers with local community leaders, state and federal managers, and NGOs to integrate local knowledge with state-of-the-art natural science and engineering. For example, ANCHOR will develop a monitoring network with community involvement in one Alaskan coastal community.

Logistics Summary

The primary ANCHOR objective is to create a test-bed for deep integration of social science, natural science, and local knowledge to optimize coastal community adaptation planning through: (1) Advancing the science of coastal hazards and infrastructure vulnerability forecasting, integrating human dimensions research related to adaptation; (2) Improving data quality, quantity, and availability, in part through effectively engaging the local community; (3) Assisting local communities in achieving their adaptation goals, through community-driven holistic approaches; and (4) Creating partnerships with local communities beyond the test-bed that are based on mutual respect for multiple ways of knowing, cultural values, and perspectives. Beginning in 2018, this four-year project will support community based monitoring of coastal change using simple survey equipment, HOBO recorders, and video cameras in remote Alaskan villages. Emphasis will be placed on monitoring shoreline position, the beach and bluff profile, the nearshore wave and water level, and nearshore water temperature—although the coastal monitoring effort will be directed by the interest and needs of the villages. Additional activities will include organizing workshops, conducting interviews of residents in the coastal communities, and creating an integrated coastal hazards forecasting model. A field team of 3-4 will be visiting the host community in some years of the project. During the community visits, workshops will be held in which coastal hazards and community vulnerability and resilience will be discussed. In addition, community-based coastal monitoring projects will be initiated or expanded upon. In other years the Hooper Bay residents may conduct work. In 2019, Hooper Bay residents deployed the sensor, retrieved it, and sent it back for analysis.

Season Field Site
2019 Alaska - Hooper Bay
2020 Alaska - Hooper Bay
2021 Alaska - Hooper Bay

Keywords

Arctic coastal risk, coastal hazards, community-engagement.

Project Map

Members

Principal Investigator

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Thomas Ravens

University of Alaska Anchorage

Ravens - link to SAM contact for fixing fields.

Co-Principal Investigator

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Tobias Schwoerer

International Arctic Research Center (University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Schwoerer - link to SAM contact for fixing fields.

Co-Principal Investigator

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Nelta Edwards

University of Anchorage Alaska

Edwards - link to SAM contact for fixing fields.

Co-Principal Investigator

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Kevin Berry

University of Alaska Anchorage

Berry - link to SAM contact for fixing fields.
Resources

April 2020 Lightning Talk Video for NNA Award 1745508

A Navigating the New Arctic (NNA) project update video for NNA award 1745508 produced for the April 2020 virtual NNA Investigators meeting. The video is narrated by Tom Ravens (University of Alaska Anchorage).

Program: 
Navigating the New Arctic
Resource Type: 
video

April 2020 Project Update Report for NNA Award 1745508

A brief Navigating the New Arctic (NNA) project update report for NSF Award 1745508 produced for the April 2020 virtual NNA Investigators meeting.

Program: 
Navigating the New Arctic
Resource Type: 
report

Dates

31 July 2018 to 30 June 2022

Location

Hooper Bay, AK; Coastal Alaska

Main URL

Project Website

Program

Award Year: 2017