Archive for the ‘Flood’ Category

Eagle Village Update: Renewable Energy to Power a Renewed Community

June 23, 2010

Jun 23, 2010

Last year Eagle Village, on Alaska’s Yukon River, was devastated by a spring flood that swept massive blocks of river ice through the historic town destroying all homes and businesses in its path. The damage was devastating.

We watched as FEMA responded ably and quickly and volunteers from around the world pitched in to successfully build new homes for residents whose lives had been washed away. Everyone was buttoned up tightly by winter – a proud ending to a tragic chapter of Eagle Village’s history.

Now a new chapter in the history of Eagle Village is beginning.

Alaska Power & Telephone Company (AP&T) is poised to take an historic plunge in the Yukon River near the towns of Eagle and Eagle Village this week with the cutting-edge deployment of Alaska’s first 25-kilowatt low-impact hydrokinetic river turbine. The first of its type to be placed into commercial service, the in-stream turbine, manufactured by New Energy Corp., is a 4-blade vertical axis unit mounted on a floating platform. The slow-spinning turbine (22 rpm max) produces no emissions, requires no dam and poses very little risk to marine life

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With the help of 3.2 million dollars in grant funding from the Denali Commission of Alaska, the native town of Eagle Village will likely become the first in America to become powered solely by a renewable river-turbine hydrokinetic energy source.

The project is interesting in itself but the fact that Eagle Village, in a remote area off the road system for most of the year, is set to become the poster child for utilizing renewable energy, and from the currents of a river that took so much from it, will be an interesting story to follow.

Much better to harness the renewable energy of our rivers and oceans than to endanger them in the quest to capitalize on the finite resources beneath them.

Spill response official quits over Yukon flooding *Update*

August 1, 2009
oilycatSam Harrel / Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Public Health Nurse Andrea Dubenezic, left, helps Stacey Pare, of Eagle, clean her cat Moo Wow on Thursday night. The animal was found among the debris of Pare’s home which was destroyed by the flooding Yukon River. The two were cleaning heating oil and other contaminates from the cat.

Aug 1, 2009

This picture  and a story from NewsMiner.com, speak volumes.

Department of Environmental Conservation official quits, citing ‘miserable’ spill response to Yukon flooding

FAIRBANKS — The state’s leader for spill response has quit his job because of shortcomings and safety concerns he encountered during Yukon River spring flooding.

Ed Meggert said that while most of the Department of Environmental Conservation divisions handled matters well, his unit — the Division of Spill Prevention and Response — failed internally.

Meggert was in Eagle and other flooded Yukon villages within days of the spring ice flood that toppled everything in its path including diesel tanks. His team?

Assembling an incident command team as per regulation, Meggert found only one employee willing to help. He was forced to send a new employee with a week of initial training to go out into the field alone. No one was available to help with logistics, supplies, environmental issues or contracting.

And it wasn’t just the lack of support that led to his resignation. The concern for the safety of his team also played a role.

“I sent them out individually to dangerous situations, for which I’m personally liable, and then I had them working for no money,” he said. “I did it because it had to be done. People were out of their homes. But I won’t do it again. I can’t afford to take those chances, nor will I do it to the people I work with.”

That’s probably not the only thing he can’t afford – apparently the DEC is not great when it comes to paying its bills either.

At one point, DEC failed to pay a Fairbanks contractor its full bill, Meggert said. He covered the $6,000 gap out of his own pocket, an expenditure which might not be reimbursed by the state.

oilspills

We hope DEC fills the vacancy quickly because there are over 2,000 reports of oil and hazardous substance release each year in Alaska.

During Fiscal Year 2008 (July 1, 2007-June 30, 2008), 2,013 oil and hazardous substance releases were reported to the Department.

Then again, that number is down…

The total number of spills (2,013) as well as the total volume (388,842 gal) released in FY 2008 was lower than the average for the 13-year period of record.*

The North Slope subarea had the greatest number of spills (545) during FY 2008 compared to the other subareas. However, the total volume (46,755 gal)was less than 25% of the 13-year average for the subarea (200,933 gal).

… maybe they don’t need to fill this position.

Update – August 4

There’s more about the situation at the Department of Environmental Conservation at Juneau Empire.com this morning:

My Turn: DEC developments show Palin did not walk her talk

In May 2007, Palin proudly launched an oil and gas infrastructure review slated to cost $5 million and take two to three years to complete. The Alaska Risk Assessment project was to be “a thorough, independent appraisal” that would “identify facilities and systems that pose the greatest risk of failure, along with measures to reduce risks.”

Two years later, the ARA project is in shambles. According to DEC project manager Ira Rosen, the project is temporarily at “full stop,” primarily because the state has not been able to secure industry cooperation in providing the necessary information. After spending more than $1.3 million, DEC pulled the ARA contractors off the job when the project plan was resoundingly denounced during the public comment period that ended June 2.

Yukonbushgrma: Eagle Gets Gravel, Salmon

July 14, 2009

eagle

Jul 14, 2009

Being in Miami, I miss most of the late night activity on the Alaska blogs so it’s nice to wake up to a note like this in my inbox!

Hey Jane!

I thought I should write you first – because I’m a bit bewildered about how this thing all came about ….

A few days ago, I heard that our Disaster Center here in Eagle was going to receive over 400 pounds of king salmon – from Emmonak!  The Center got a phone call from Sen. Albert Kookesh’s office (he is the state senator for Eagle) asking if they wanted the salmon (duh – of course!), and it went from there.  The air freight and truck transport were all paid to get it to Eagle.  I’m assuming the Senator’s office handled the details.

So – 400+ pounds of beautiful salmon arrived in Eagle, and it was all distributed or used by the disaster kitchen.  (They baked 5 of them that night in the kitchen – mmmmmm, good!)

But we do not know who IN EMMONAK was responsible for this, or who to thank!

If you can help us out with this, that would be great …… it’s a mystery to us.  All we know is that Sen. Kookesh’s office arranged to have the salmon sent from Emmonak.

I would like to send a special and personal thanks via Anon Bloggers, as I know it would be appreciated there.

best –
yukonbushgrma
Eagle

Anyone have an answer to this mystery?

And there’s more good news from Eagle Village!

Yesterday lovemydogs posted this on Mudflat’s open thread:

My husband spoke with Andy Bassich in Eagle today and the word is they “think” they will have the gravel to start on pads for foundations tomorrow–yay! Apparently there has been a lot of bureaucratic red tape/paperwork with the state that had to be worked through.

They have enough skilled carpenters to start on the cabins as soon as the gravel is moved.

Yukonbushgrma thinks the state had been giving them the run-around but FEMA came in and negotiated a contract for the gravel and it’s a done deal.

And some not so good news…

YBG goes on to explain that it’s not all good news. Some of the homes that were destroyed were second homes and, because they are considered vacation homes, they are not eligible for relief funds.

She is particularly sad to see one person who has done so much for the Eagle relief effort slip through the cracks. Andy Bassich has been the driving force behind this disaster recovery success story…

Andy has been our saving grace since breakup began ….. he had the idea to build these cabins, and the idea grew into a vision that was embraced by both state and federal governments! This has never, ever been done before in the history of the US! Eagle is making history here, using local knowledge and know-how to decide how to best recover from a disaster.

Andy deserves a gold medal. But guess what? He is getting nothing. He is getting paid for his work right now, but getting nothing from the State of Alaska or FEMA. Because he has a small cabin (primary residence) in Eagle, and his cabin downriver, although it is his place of business (mushing and subsistence tourism), doesn’t qualify for any disaster assistance.

Andy Bassich deserves help from somewhere! This guy came up with the idea to get Eagle’s homeless people through the coming winter, and he has been there every day to coordinate the new volunteers and make sure the work is getting done every day. And …… he’s had to worry about the gravel.

Please, help me figure out how to help Andy!

Any ideas?

~ Jane

Big Ray’s  is offering a 20% discount to Eagle Village residents and distributing gift cards to those who need them most. Gift cards are $10 – increase the quantity to donate more.

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‘Tsunami’ Of Ice Wreaks Havoc On Alaskan Town

May 9, 2009
alaska430Alaska State Troopers photo

May 9, 2009

High temperatures in Alaska have caused an unusually fast spring melt causing flooding that has all but destroyed the Yukon community of Eagle Village.

Dan Bross had this report on KUAC that was later picked up on NPR.

All Things Considered, May 8, 2009 · Temperatures in some parts of Alaska soared into the 70s this week, causing a rapid “melt-out” of ice and snow along the Yukon River and unprecedented flooding that nearly wiped out the small community of Eagle.

The historic gold rush outpost sits on the upper reaches of the Yukon River on the eastern edge of Alaska, along the border with Canada.

“The Front Street buildings, the store, the museum, the shop, some houses and storage buildings all have been basically destroyed,” says resident John Borg, 41.

An aerial view shows at least two dozen buildings submerged in a sea of car-sized ice chunks and 30 feet of muddy floodwater on Tuesday.

There is also flooding in Ft. Yukon and Circle that is now being reported by Tim Mowry at Newsminer.com.

It appeared the “wall” of water that was released by the ice jam in Eagle on Monday night passed through Circle on Tuesday morning and was on its way to Fort Yukon, said Ed Plumb, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Fairbanks.

The “breakup front,” as weather officials called it, was about 20 miles upstream of Fort Yukon and moving downriver, Plumb said.

It appeared the “wall” of water that was released by the ice jam in Eagle on Monday night passed through Circle on Tuesday morning and was on its way to Fort Yukon, said Ed Plumb, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Fairbanks.

The “breakup front,” as weather officials called it, was about 20 miles upstream of Fort Yukon and moving downriver, Plumb said.

It appeared the “wall” of water that was released by the ice jam in Eagle on Monday night passed through Circle on Tuesday morning and was on its way to Fort Yukon, said Ed Plumb, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Fairbanks.

The “breakup front,” as weather officials called it, was about 20 miles upstream of Fort Yukon and moving downriver, Plumb said.

Yukon River Flood Statement from the National Weather Service in Fairbanks

Kuskoquim River Flood Advisory from the National Weather Service in Anchorage

Anonymous Bloggers is deeply concerned about the flooding along the Yukon. We would like anyone in contact with folks in the area to leave a comment describing thier situation.

If you have ideas or more information about ways we can help, please leave a comment. Brainstorming in the blogosphere helped us aid Nunam Iqua, Pilot Point, Ugashik and Alakanuk. We want to be of assistance in this crisis too!

So far we know the Red Cross in Fairbanks is accepting donations for Eagle. Everts Air (a local air freight/fuel company) is donating planes/pilots/crew to get goods up to Eagle and just did a 10,500 pound drop yesterday.

The Fairbanks Red Cross can be reached at (907) 456-5937; the Alaska State Homeland Security Department is also on the ground, coordinating from Anchorage (907) 428-7286.