Provide for the appropriate use and management of Alaska's state owned land and water, aiming toward maximum use consistent with the public interest.
- Acquire land for the citizens of the State of Alaska.
- Defend and assert state ownership interests.
- Defend access to state land and water.
- Create plans to direct management of state land and water.
- Sell and transfer land into private and municipal ownership.
- Issue short and long term authorizations for use of state land and water.
- Provide regulatory oversight for water use, dam safety, unorganized borough platting review, and mine reclamation for entire state.
- Collect revenues from the use and disposal of state land and water.
- Provide active stewardship of state land and water.
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|A: Result - Acquire state land entitlement, defend and plan for use of state land.|
|A1: Core Service - Acquire land for the citizens of the State of Alaska.|
Target #1: Each year receive lands by acquisitions or private donations, necessary for development, conservation or agency needs.
Analysis of results and challenges: The Realty Services Section (RSS) acquires land through purchase, donation, or exchange for all state agencies that are unable to hold title. This is a critical service to the state because only a limited number of state agencies have the authority to hold title to real property. The RSS also processes the transfer of management authority to the appropriate state agency. Due to the complex nature of these acquisitions, each one must be handled as a unique challenge. By performing due diligence and ensuring clear title, RSS reduces the risk of acquired liabilities, such as site contamination, clouds on title, or unnecessary deed restrictions.
The acquisition workload was steady in FY2018. Work on these projects typically crosses into multiple fiscal years.
Portage Lake (EVOS)
Atwood Building (Department of Administration)
Salcha-Delta Soil and Water Conservation District (22 parcels)
Chief Cove (EVOS)
Kasilof River/Powers-Kee (EVOS)
Point Bridget Land Exchange (Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation)
Post Conservation Easement Amendment (Department of Fish and Game)
Ongoing Acquisitions for FY2019
Long Island (EVOS)
Point Bridget-Land Exchange
Yakutat School Site Land Exchange
Ketchikan Ferry Terminal
MHTLO-USFS Land Exchange
Pike Ridge Land Exchange
|A2: Core Service - Defend and assert state ownership interests.|
Target #1: Provide title reports as requested for parcels of state land proposed for land sales, land lease, timber sales, and other development activities.
Analysis of results and challenges: Realty Services Section (RSS) received 763 title report requests and completed 865 title reports in FY2018. Of those, 535 reports were for land disposals, 82 were for the Mental Health Trust Land Office, and 237 were for general reports covering various interests.
RSS received less requests in FY2018 in comparison to FY2017 because of requests associated with the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline (ASAP) in FY2017. The number of requests received, and reports produced, in FY2018 are around average.
RSS continues to strive for efficiency to further increase the number of title reports produced, without sacrificing clean and equitable title.
|A3: Core Service - Defend access to state land and water.|
Target #1: Review 100% of Native Allotment actions and BLM ANCSA conveyance and ANCSA Section 17(b) access documents affecting state land.
Analysis of results and challenges: In FY2018, the DMLW, Realty Services Section (RSS) received and completed reviews for 79 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) related documents, 34 Emerged Island Determinations and 141 documents relating to Native Allotments. It is expected that ANCSA related documents will remain steady or increase as BLM continues to push to fulfill ANCSA entitlements during FY2019. Much of the remaining ANSCA entitlement land is of high interest to Alaskans because it is near or accessed via the road system and affects access to state resources.
Target #2: Initiate proceedings to clear state title to its submerged lands through Quiet Title Actions, filing Recordable Disclaimer of Interest applications with the Bureau of Land Management on at least 10 waterways or waterbodies during the fiscal year.
Analysis of results and challenges: RDI Process
During FY2018, BLM has had an enormous backlog of RDI applications from the Division of Mining, Land and Water (DMLW) from previous years. These include, but are not limited to, RDI applications that have been pending for almost a decade such as the RDI applications for the Arolik River System, the Goodnews River System and the Eek River System. Due to substantial pressure from DMLW, BLM made some progress on the backlog issuing RDIs or nearly completing the federal administrative process on the following RDIs: the George River, Kanektok River, Kagati Lake, Pegati Lake, Kisaralik River, Kisaralik Lake, Lake Becharof and Egegik River. During FY2018, DMLW was therefore successful in obtaining favorable results on 8 RDI applications which may represent the greatest number of positive results in any given fiscal year since the inception of the state RDI program. DMLW, through LAW, is further engaged in ongoing federal mediation to improve the RDI process by lowering costs and speeding up the process to clear title to its submerged lands. During FY2018, DMLW filed 3 new RDI applications and has numerous other RDI applications “waiting in the wings” depending upon the outcome of the federal mediation. Should a new RDI process be put into place that lowers or eliminates administrative costs to the state or set stricter rules for federal administrative processing as a result of the mediation, it was deemed prudent to wait until the end of the mediation before proceeding further with additional new RDI applications.
During FY2018, DMLW initiated the litigation process against the United States Department of the Interior for 7 different rivers and lakes including, but not limited to, the North Fork, West Fork, Denison Fork, Middle Fork of the Fortymile River and. the Delta River. In response to DMLW efforts through the litigation process, the United States Department of the Interior conceded on the merits of Kisaralik River, Kisaralik Lake and the Delta River. DMLW was further successful in achieving “prevailing party” status in two other cases against the United States—entitling DMLW to recover its court costs from federal authorities. DMLW was also involved in two additional cases against private parties concerning the ownership of submerged lands and the navigability of Lemon Creek in Southeastern Alaska and concerning the ownership of submerged lands and the navigability of Fog Lake in the Lake Iliamna region. Both of these cases are ongoing.
State Navigability Determinations
During FY2018, DMLW issued 3 state navigability determinations. Numerous other state navigability determinations have been prepared, but are being held pending the outcome of the Fog Lake case. DMLW further undertook during FY2018 an ambitious project to streamline a process for determining the navigability of waters on a basin-by-basin, drainage-by-drainage, watershed-by-watershed basis. This so-called “Navigability Metrics” project has involved extensive fieldwork and has the potential to be a “gamechanger” in state efforts to clear its title to submerged lands vis-à-vis the federal government.
Target #3: Take definitive steps through state administrative process or litigation to clarify state ownership interests, the existence or location of routes or status, scope and validity of at least 5 proposed or recognized RS 2477 rights-of-way.
Analysis of results and challenges: During FY2018, DMLW was involved in litigation involving 9 RS 2477 rights-of-way. The litigation includes a Federal Quiet Title Act case against the United States Department of the Interior over numerous RS 2477 rights-of-way in proximity to Chicken, Alaska; state-court litigation involving Ahtna, Inc. over the widely used Klutina Lake Road; and state-court litigation involving the Historic Iditarod Trail. During FY2018, DMLW took administrative investigation and action involving 3 additional RS 2477 rights-of-way.
|A4: Core Service - Create plans to direct management of state land and water.|
Target #1: Continue work on plans that direct the management of state lands and waters, including the classification of land for settlement (for future municipal entitlements or land sales) or to support other forms of development (agriculture, forestry, mineral dev
Analysis of results and challenges: As indicated last year, because various major planning efforts are in the development phase, it was not anticipated that much land would be classified in FY2018. The North Slope Management Plan, affecting 12 million acres of uplands, is in progress and is expected to be ready for adoption in FY2019.
The classification or reclassification of state lands that results from the adoption of plans varies significantly each year due to the length of time it takes to prepare land use plans, complexity of the issues raised and the public process. There are also often substantial differences in area plans between the acres classified for settlement or other disposal categories depending on the nature and resources of an area.
|B: Result - An adequate amount of state land is transferred into private ownership and to municipalities for settlement, recreation, development and other uses.|
Target #1: Sell 200 parcels of land (approximately 2,000 acres) per year.
Analysis of results and challenges: For FY2018, a total of 217 parcels were sold, totaling 1,824 acres. The results are a combination of the auction, year-round Over-the-Counter (OTC) sales, and Remote Recreation Cabin Sites (RRCS) program’s staking authorizations that made it to the purchase stage. The RRCS program is offered in alternate years. In this fiscal year, no RRCS leases rolled over to purchase.
|B1: Core Service - Sell and transfer land into private and municipal ownership.|
Target #1: Provide Alaskans local governance and use of state land by transferring state land to municipalities under the Municipal Entitlement Act.
Analysis of results and challenges: In FY2018, the Kenai Peninsula Borough received approximately 1,302 acres; the Mat-Su Borough received approximately 3.578 acres of uplands and 538 acres of tidelands; the City of Homer received approximately 13 acres of tidelands; the City of Valdez received approximately 953 acres; and the City and Borough of Yakutat received 2.73 acres; for a total of 2,813 acres to these municipalities.
Target #2: Offer 200 parcels of land for sale over-the-counter (OTC).
Analysis of results and challenges: The average number of OTC parcels, available through FY2018, was approximately 93 parcels.
NOTE: During FY2014, a majority of the parcels on OTC were removed and suspended due to access, wetlands, or other issues, leaving quality parcels online for purchase. The division's strategy is to maintain approximately 200 parcels on OTC. However, land sales through both the auction and OTC have remained steady, making it difficult to maintain this level of inventory on OTC.
Target #3: Offer 200 parcels of land at auction.
Analysis of results and challenges: The annual sealed bid auction was held July 12, 2017, offering 205 parcels (1,703 acres). Auction parcels are a mix of new subdivision lots and reoffers of previous sales.
NOTE: In calendar year 2013, the annual auction was moved from June, 2013 to July, 2014, which accounts for the fact that there was no auction in 2013. In addition, hundreds of "lost parcels" were found and offered in FY2012 and a special discount auction was offered in FY2014, accounting for the high parcel numbers in FY2012 and FY2014.
|C: Result - Businesses, individuals and other entities obtain authorizations necessary for the environmentally sound use and development of state land and resources.|
Target #1: Eliminate backlogged applications that prevent lawful use of state land and resources.
Analysis of results and challenges: The legislature provided capital improvement project funding in FY2012 to assist the Division of Mining, Land and Water (DMLW) in developing a business process management system to eliminate the backlog of unprocessed applications. That funding expired at the end of FY2017 and DMLW transitioned to operating funds to finalize the development of the system. Throughout that process, DMLW has continued to work on the backlog. The further DMLW works into the backlog, there will be more cases worked that are more complex and time consuming. Additionally, loss or turnover in staff and necessary time spent recruiting and training new staff has contributed to the slowed rate of reduction. Thus, the initial rate of reduction has slowed down.
At the same time DMLW continues to make multiple efforts to improve efficiencies of processes to reduce cycle times and free up staff time that can be used to work the backlog and other land stewardship responsibilities.
The backlog is representative of the number of complete applications received that have not proceeded to the point of issuance of an authorization that allows use of state land. In some cases, such as with easements and leases, the final issuance does not come until survey and appraisal have been completed. In those cases, businesses are often provided an early entry authorization to allow construction to be completed before the final as built survey. Those cases with entry authorizations are not counted in the backlog.
|C1: Core Service - Issue short and long term authorizations for use of state land and water.|
Target #1: Process 100% of new applications received for the use of state land and water resources.
Analysis of results and challenges: The numbers reflected in the chart as issued are not a direct subset of the new applications because some cases are issued from applications received in previous years.
A substantial amount of time has been spent working on IT Unified Permit project solutions to improve efficiencies in the long run. Staff time has also been diverted to work on complex cases that are resistant to solution.
Included in this number are trespass cases which do not start with an application, but require the adjudicatory work. The numbers are not reflective of early entry authorizations that allow applicants to use and construct on state land before final issuance of easements and leases.
Each new authorization issued creates a new workload of contract administration, billing, monitoring, compliance and close out, all of which is not reflected in these numbers.
The division expects there to be more applications in future years as the state strives to bring in additional entitlement acres with high development potential each year and DMLW moves to improve tracking and resolution of previously unauthorized uses which could be legitimately permitted.
The division's stewardship responsibilities that do not involve issuing an authorization are constant. The substantial amount of time staff spends on these issues takes them away from their duties to process authorizations.
In general, many types of businesses received authorizations that allowed use of state land for financial gain. Authorizations in this component benefit utility, oil and gas, mining, commercial recreation, tourism, fishing, construction and other development industries by giving them legal access to the state owned and managed land, water and resources. If the division is not able to issue these authorizations in a timely manner, these same industries are adversely affected. Often businesses cannot plan their operations; get investment capital, insurance, or loans if they do not have required land authorizations.
Target #2: Process new water right applications within 12 months.
Analysis of results and challenges: Approving water use (via issued water right permits/certificates and issued temporary water use authorizations (TWUA)) is becoming more complex and contentious throughout Alaska. Each year both managers and adjudicators spend more time dealing with the conflicts (both administratively and in connection with litigation) over water use, which reduces the overall number of applications that can be adjudicated given current staffing levels. Seasonal variations in the quantity of applications received as well as other cyclical issues (e.g. seasonal project start times) also factor into the performance variance as measured over a fiscal year.
Throughout FY2018, significant amounts of manager time have also been devoted to coordinating with other State of Alaska Departments (e.g., DEC, LAW) to address the Fish Petition (17FSH2, Waters of the US, A Clean Water Act Tier III (pristine) water designation and other federal regulatory matters that will have significant impacts on State natural resource adjudicatory processes.
Increased workloads due to an increase in oil & gas exploration, increased mining activity, small and large scale hydro-energy projects and project construction has also resulted in additional work load. Water Section staff must balance the need to process TWUA applications with water right applications. As TWUA have a higher workload priority to ensure timely water use approvals so projects can begin the exploration and construction phases of the project activities, this increase in workload on adjudicators and authorized decision reviewers may cause an increase in the backlog of new water right applications. Staff are simultaneously trying to keep up with timely adjudicating new water right applications as well as addressing the long term backlogged water right applications, but any increase in the adjudication of long backlogged water right applications will increase median cycle times. These numbers will fluctuate until the backlog is eliminated.
|C2: Core Service - Provide regulatory oversight for water use, dam safety, unorganized borough platting review, and mine reclamation for entire state.|
Target #1: Maintain current periodic safety inspections on 60% of jurisdictional dams.
Analysis of results and challenges: In FY2018, periodic safety inspections occurred on 14 dams. The percentage of state-jurisdictional dams with current periodic safety inspections stands at 68%.
The Alaska dam safety regulations require the dam owner to hire a qualified engineer to conduct this inspection and submit a report to the state. In addition, the regulations require the State Dam Safety Engineer to review and approve the inspection reports for these dams. Because the inspection may occur in one fiscal year, and the report may not be submitted, reviewed and approved until the following fiscal year, the measure is based on the date of the visual inspection of the dam by the qualified engineer.
All jurisdictional dams are required to have a periodic safety inspection, but all dams are not inspected each year. The inspection interval is dependent on the hazard potential classification of the dam. Class I (high) and Class II (significant) hazard potential dams are typically inspected every three years. Class III (low) hazard potential dams are to be inspected every five years. This creates an inconsistent number of dams due for an inspection each year.
The percent of dams in compliance with periodic safety inspection requirements is a general measure of the cooperation of dam owners with the Alaska Dam Safety Program. The Dam Safety and Construction Unit promotes cooperation with the Alaska Dam Safety Program, while balancing enforcement of the dam safety regulations based on the apparent risk from a specific dam. Compliance in any given year is contingent on a number of factors including the dam owner's incentive, budget and schedule, as well as weather, project understanding and staff workload. The current goal is to maintain at least 60% compliance with periodic safety inspection requirements, and to ensure that no dams fail by identifying high risk factors for mitigation through the periodic safety inspection process.
Dam Safety Staff did a number of inspections for small community dams in order to help facilitate safe operation of those dams.
Target #2: Post 100% of new well data received on the WELTS data base web site.
Analysis of results and challenges: All of the 487 well logs received during FY2018 were uploaded onto the Well Log Tracking System (WELTS) database, comprising 100% compliance with goals.
The online WELTS is been fully functional and has been enhanced to allow drillers to input well log data themselves, upon approval from DNR staff. The database can be queried using a variety of parameters which has increased its functionality and usefulness. However, based on improving relationships between the Alaska Hydrologic Survey and the drillers, a new batch of 2000 plus well logs were received from one company. Those well logs will be inputted with the assistance of some temporary staff and as part of the daily staff workload.
Target #3: Conduct site inspections on all large mine projects.
Analysis of results and challenges: Large mines are authorized with many types of authorizations. The division begins authorizations and inspections during the exploration phase even before the mine is created. Throughout the life of a large mine, the division must inspect the mine operations to ensure that all stipulations are followed. To simplify for reporting the number of inspections shown are divided into those for advanced exploration and those for large mines that are permitted.
Inspections can be conducted by mining or water staff (inclusive of dam safety). The division has responsibilities over exploration permits, mine operations, water use, dam safety, and reclamation plan approvals.
Active large mines include Red Dog, Pogo, Fort Knox, True North, Greens Creek, Kensington, Two Bull Ridge, Poker Flats Mine, Gold Run Pass, Jumbo Dome Road, Jumbo Dome Mine, and Wishbone Hill. This list does not include Rosalie was suspended. True North and Rock Creek (Nanuuq) are in a post-closure monitoring.
During FY2018, advanced exploration projects included Donlin, Palmer, Graphite One, Arctic/Bornite, Pebble, Dotson Ridge, Avidian (Golden Zone), Healy Valley and Hoseanna-Emma Creek. Advanced exploration that were not active during FY2018 were not counted in this report. Healy Valley and Hoseanna-Emma Creek exploration projects were inspected during adjacent large mine inspections and are not counted separately. For this report, inspections of placer mines and smaller exploration projects were not included.
Target #4: Review plats for unorganized boroughs within the 45 day maximum review time limit per AS 40.15.305(d).
Review and Approve Plats for Unorganized Boroughs
Analysis of results and challenges: As the platting authority for the unorganized boroughs, the survey section reviewed and approved 39 survey plats. The shortest time for a first review was 9 days, the longest was 43, with an average review time of 22 days. For intermediate reviews, the shortest time was 7 days, longest was 42, with an average review time of 21 days.
No plat exceeded the 45 day limit for maximum review time as described in AS 40.15.305(d).
|C3: Core Service - Collect revenues from the use and disposal of state land and water.|
Target #1: Generate $15 million in revenue from fees and sales.
Analysis of results and challenges: In FY2018, the division collected $18,536,520 in revenues; $4,626,399 of this was from land sales and $3,858,525 was from material sales.
|D: Result - All state land is unencumbered by unauthorized use, contamination, or waste that makes it unavailable for other public use and development.|
Target #1: Reduce by 5% the total number of identified sites that are encumbered by hazardous waste, contamination, unauthorized use, and other material or appurtenances.
Analysis of results and challenges: The figures for identified sites are a compilation of various databases of encumbrances of state land and thus the numbers fluctuate somewhat. The sites reclaimed combine efforts from the land regions, general mining and the abandoned mine lands program.
The division has over 800 cases of unauthorized use, usually in the form of some structure that someone has built or equipment left without authorization from the division, or by conducting commercial operations on State lands without an authorization. Some cases involve unauthorized encroachment into or blockage of a public access easement, some involved unauthorized removal of gravel or other material. Some resolution of unauthorized use is reflected in the number of new authorizations issued, when previously unauthorized activity has been resolved with appropriate permitting, or without the need for permitting rather than separate documentation of a trespass case. During FY2018, our regional lands office actively resolved over 20 cases of unauthorized use or encumbrance of state lands through separate permitting actions or approvals.
There are 84 sites on The Department of Environmental Conservation contaminated sites inventory where The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is listed as the land owner and the status is still open. Some of those sites have responsible parties that are coordinating with DEC on clean up. Of the 84 open contaminated sites owned by DNR, 21 were included in the FY2018, GASB 49 report describing the state’s pollution liability. To be included in the GASB report a site must have a minimum of $50,000 liability and no viable financially responsible party, leaving the State responsible for cleanup costs. DEC currently estimates DNR’s liability for these sites to be around $22.7 million dollars. Although this is an overall increase in sites based on DEC’s records, three sites were removed from DNR's list in FY2018, as a result of land status research and communication with DEC. It should be noted that DNR disputes liability on the GASB 49 Report due to the fact that the state is an involuntary owner of tide and submerged lands and is exempt from liability under 42 U.S.C. § 9601 (20)(D) and or (35)(A)(ii).
All of these things prevent further lawful use of state lands. Most will require some sort of contractual clean up. There is a wide variety of cost and complexity between projects. Some may be cleaned for less than $50,000 while others may cost millions of dollars.
|D1: Core Service - Provide active stewardship of state land and water.|
Target #1: 100% of required mineral reclamation for coal projects is accomplished without significant environmental problems.
Unabated Compliance Actions on Coal Reclamation Projects
Analysis of results and challenges: Analysis of results and challenges:
Notice of Violation: 0 Issued, 2 Abated, 1 Outstanding
Directive: 0 Issued, 0 Terminated, 1 Outstanding
The Coal Program did not issue any new Notice of Violations during FY2017. One Notice of Violation and one Cessation Order outstanding for the Jonesville Mine at the end of FY2016 were abated in FY2017. The Jonesville permit was terminated due to the permit holders refusal to abate the number of outstanding violations of the permit and this resulted in forfeiture of the reclamation bond. One outstanding Notice of Violation is a carry forward from FY2014 and is currently under appeal to the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources.
Changes in the use of directives resulted in no new directives since FY2014. Work on a revised directive policy will continue through FY2018. Additional reclamation work is needed before final outstanding directive can be terminated in FY2018.
The coal program staff closely monitors coal reclamation projects to insure that they meet strict stipulations and standards designed to protect the environment. DMLW inspects coal mining operations and can perform various levels of compliance actions. In severity from least severe to most, a Directive is a warning that tells the company how to fix the problem but allows operations to continue; a Notice of Violation is a monetary fine given when a company fails to meet the directive or there is immediate harm to the environment or public safety; and a Cessation Order stops operations and assesses a daily fine until the issue is resolved. DMLW has taken actions to mitigate or stop potential environmental damage in a way to least impact the commercial ventures, and most have been successfully abated. With the timing of the fiscal year, some directives or violations will be abated soon after they are issued, but will be reported in the subsequent fiscal year.
Current as of November 16, 2018