Chapter 15 SLA 09 allocates a portion of the State of Alaska's CIAP funds to the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development for legislatively-named recipients. The Bering Straits Coastal Resource Service Area (CRSA), one of four CRSAs established under the Alaska Coastal Management Program (ACMP) was allocated $947,207 through this legislation.
With the sunset of the ACMP on July 1, 2011, the Bering Straits CRSA ceased to exist. Prior to the ACMP sunset, the Bering Straits CRSA Board of Directors made the decision to incorporate as a non-profit organization, the Bering Straits Coastal Association (BSCA), in order to receive the CRSA’s CIAP funds and administer the projects supported by those funds. Chapter 5 SLA 12, effective April 15, 2012, re-appropriated the CIAP funds of the Bering Straits CRSA to the BSCA.
The Bering Straits region includes the area adjacent to Norton Sound and the Seward Peninsula as well as St. Lawrence Island, King Island, and Little Diomede Island. The Bering Straits CRSA has a population of 5,821 (2008), a coastal area of 20,314 square miles, and 3,263 miles of shoreline. The region includes areas traditionally occupied by both Iñupiaq Eskimos and Yup’ik Eskimos. Generally, the people south of Unalakleet speak Central Yup’ik, the people north of Unalakleet north speak Iñupiaq, and the people of Gambell and Savoonga speak St. Lawrence Island Yup’ik. The residents of Unalakleet speak both Yup’ik and Iñupiaq.
Although the people of the region have some cultural distinctions, they share many common attributes. Subsistence hunting, fishing and plant gathering are the most important activities to the people of the region. Almost all daily activities revolve around subsistence pursuits. In addition to subsistence activities, many people depend on commercial fishing to supplement their income. Production of Native crafts also provides income for some people including production of ivory carvings and quiviut clothing made from musk ox fur.
There are seventeen year-round communities within the Bering Straits region. Fifteen communities are second class cities (Brevig Mission, Diomede, Elim, Gambell, Golovin, Koyuk, Savoonga, Shaktoolik, Shishmaref, St. Michael, Stebbins, Teller, Unalakleet, Wales, and White Mountain), and two communities are unincorporated (Port Clarence and Solomon). Two former communities are occupied seasonally (Mary’s Igloo and Council), and most residents from King Island now live in Nome. There are 20 tribes and 20 village corporations in the region. The Regional Native Corporation is the Bering Straits Native Corporation, and the regional Native nonprofit corporation is Kawerak Corporation.
In 2011, the BSCA incorporated as a non-profit organization with the State of Alaska. The BSCA has a seven-member board from throughout the Bering Straits region. In 2012, the BSCA Board of Directors hired a Program Director to serve as a staff person to the BSCA board, administer grants, and manage the BSCA CCIAP projects, finances and day-to-day activities.
As a recipient of CCIAP funds, the BSCA board has developed projects to be funded through the BSCA's CCIAP allocation. The BSCA ranked these projects in Tier 1 and Tier 2 project lists to address regional priorities. The Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Division of Community and Regional Affairs then sent the proposed project lists to the Department of Natural Resources for inclusion in the state's CIAP plan.
As a recipient of CCIAP funds, the BSCA has developed projects to be funded through the BSCA's CCIAP allocation. The BSCA ranked these projects in Tier 1 and Tier 2 project lists to address regional priorities. The Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Division of Community and Regional Affairs (DCRA) then sent the proposed project lists to the Department of Natural Resources for inclusion in the 2010 Amendment to the Alaska Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP) Plan. The plan received federal approval, and the State has subsequently applied for and received federal awards for all approved projects in the CIAP plan. DCRA is now entering into grant agreements with Named Recipients for each approved CCIAP project.
Unalakleet Mayor William (Middy) Johnson takes officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on a ride in the Unalakleet River in an amphibious vehicle. Photo: Sally Russell Cox, DCRA
Bering Straits CRSA Board Secretary/Treasurer
Bering Straits CRSA Board Chairperson
Division of Community and Regional Affairs
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development