HSC : March 2024 Meeting Looks at Fundable Work on Community Activities

It attendance : Ian Johnson, Fred Parady, Elizbeth Figus, Brian Kleinhenz, Niccole Williams, Jackson Combs, Rebekah Sawers, Julian Narvaez, Ryan Smith, Ian Johnson, Jeromy Grant, Jackie Dick

At March’s meeting we reviewed the results of the Community Survey on Environmental Project Priorities.

Based on that survey we reviewed the top 3 voted-for items by the community which were 1) a landslide monitoring and risk project for Hoonah, 2) focusing on wild berry production and making sure there is ample access near town to support community need, and 3) completing an assessment of Gartina based for water supply storage. If you’d like to read more about any of those projects you can view them on the original survey form here : Community Survey Form

Discussion was focused on a few questions.

  1. Should we split money between projects or try to stick it all in one project? After starting to talk about costs to do the work, it seems likely we’ll stick it all into one project (landslide monitoring), but a follow-up from the meeting for April is to get costs for the activities we talked about so we can make funding decisions.
  2. What are potential things we can do for each project with the money we have? So, let’s dive into those below

Landslide Monitoring Project – This was the main project we discussed as it was the #1 voted item from the survey. Also, we do not have any current funding for this project. Elizabeth Figus through the agreement we have with her can help with this project with her time.

  1. Invest in soil surveys on the slope – these surveys could help us make a better risk map and would update the NRCS soils survey database. Soil surveys are no common in Alaska, so no good data is available there.
  2. De-weight the slope – there are dead trees on the slope from the Hemlock Sawfly/Drought/Black-headed budworm. Cutting those down could help stabilize the slope
  3. Hire a contractor to create a “risk” map of landslides – The contractor would create a risk map for Hoonah. We did talk about some of the potential issues with this map including that some homeowners may be concerned about that map on their insurance rates or property value.
  4. Install more monitors for environmental monitoring – we have some instruments on the hillside to measure rain, soil moisture, and wind thanks to partners with the Khuti Project in Sitka and the NRCS
  5. Analyze the new LiDAR dataset to look at the conditions that resulted in landslides
  6. Increase the community engagement and knowledge of landslides – this would increase programs in Hoonah to understand risk

Questions that came up:

  1. Are there other funds available through emergency planning funding? Also, what else is happening in the region that we can build off of or learn from?
  2. How accurate is the prediction for a landslide to occur?
  3. Would the City be willing to put some money into this effort as well?
  4. What might Khuti partners want to see invested in?

Wild Berry Project – We didn’t spend a lot of time talking about this project because, exciting news!, after the community survey HIA received funding from Alaska Village Intiatives to work on enhancing blueberry patches in Hoonah City Limits! We will begin that work in 2024. The only main thing discussed at our meeting was that the funding through Elizabeth could have a major impact is put into berry enhancement.

City Water Assessment – We also did not spend a lot of time talking about this project. The main reason was we do have some funding to support putting in monitoring stations through the USFS SASSi investments. There could be things to invest in for the future on this project though once we have more data in hand from the sensors we install.

Action Items from This Meeting:

  1. Determine costs and how to leverage our funding before April’s meeting and present that to HSC

Other discussion items

Jackson Combs provided an update on the Regional Advisory Committee. You can read his full report here . A couple main things were this was an an “All RAC” meeting, meaning groups from across the state were there. It was a big, dynamic meeting, and lots was discussed. A lot of discussion focused on Caribou and the closures to subsistence in the Yukon. Jackson did put a proposal forward to the RAC to increase the Basket Bay Sockeye limits for subsistence users. We’ll be keeping you in the loop as more develops there!

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