State of the Beach/State Reports/AK/Coastal Development
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Alaska's development standards are largely created at the municipal level and are relatively lackluster. Alaska does not have a statewide setback policy or place restrictions on the rebuilding of structures near the coast after they have been damaged by flooding. According to Alaska’s Coastal Assessment and Strategy document, only six coastal districts and five communities have approved comprehensive management plans. Fortunately, the state does a good job of protecting sensitive habitat from development.
Coastal Development Policies
1. State has robust development setback policies: No
CZMA Federal Coastline Construction Report: There are no statewide minimum setback regulations but municipalities can set their own. For instance, The 2004 Coastal Area Plan for Kodiak requires a setback for state owned lands near streams and coastlines. The Anchorage Coastal Management Plan mandates a 50 foot minimum shoreline setback.
2. State restricts new developments in coastal hazard areas: No
CZMA Federal Coastline Construction Report: The state does not have restrictions on new developments in coastal hazard areas, but municipalities can set their own. Coastal Hazard areas appear to be mainly used for mapping and monitoring shoreline change. For larger scale projects, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Office of Project Management and Permitting (OPMP) requires a more extensive review and permitting process.
3. State restricts repairing developments in coastal hazard areas: No
CZMA Federal Coastline Construction Report: The state does not have restrictions on repairing developments in coastal hazard areas but municipalities can set their own.
4. State has policies that protect natural resources that provide coastal hazard mitigation benefits: Yes
Although Alaska needs to develop its permitting process and enforce stricter environmental regulations on natural hazard programs, the state has a comprehensive wetlands program, with an up-to-date wetlands plan that acknowledges the steps it must take in the next few year. The Department of Environmental Conservation created the Alaska Wetlands Program for 2016-2018. The plan includes the development of a permitting system, monitoring and baseline assessments, as well as a wetlands working group. Local communities have also been active developing their own wetland plans.
Additionally, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has 32 critical habitat areas, wildlife sanctuaries, and state game refuges, many of which are coastal. They require a Special Area Permit but there are no strict regulations or prohibitions.