Northwest Area Plan Revision
NAEC participated in the public review process of the revisioning of the Northwest Area Plan, working to ensure that conservation values were protected.
Northwest Area Plan Map
Under Alaska Statute 38.04.005, the State of Alaska is directed to "plan and manage state-owned land to establish a balanced combination of land available for both public and private purposes." The Division of Mining, Land and Water of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is primarily responsible for creating area plans, which set forth policies, land-use designations, and management guidelines that apply to all of the state lands in the planning area. These plans periodically come up for revision.
In 2008, revision began on the Northwest Area Plan (NWAP). The NWAP encompases 19 million acres of state uplands, shorelands, tidelands, and submerged lands within the planning boundary, extending from Icy Cape on the Arctic Ocean in the north, to Norton Sound in the south, and east to the eastern boundary of the Northwest Arctic Borough. In April 2008, the Resource Assessment and Development Section of Division of Mining, Land and Water released the Public Review Draft of the area plan.
NAEC submitted comments on the on the Public Review Draft, highlighting our concerns with the area plan and recommeding changes that provide for more protection of species and habitats, and take into consideration cumulative effects and climate change.
On October 31, 2008, the Commissioner of the DNR adopted Northwest Area Plan based on the public comment draft with approved revisions. While some of the approved revisions addressed NAEC's concerns, we felt that the area plan did not go far enough to protect wildlife and habitats, and thus, requested reconsideration of the decision. The Commissioner granted our request for reconsideration, and as a result, implementation of the NWAP is stayed until completion of the reconsideration process.