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: Acquire land or land interests for conservation, development, or agency needs through land exchanges, direct or indirect purchases, donations, escheatment, and foreclosures.
Acres of OSL & LSH Lands Received
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. Work on these projects typically crosses into multiple fiscal years.
EVOS: OSL 1646, OSL 1649, OSL 1650, LSH 668, LSH 669
Agency Need: OSL 1643, OSL 1644, OSL 1645, OSL 1652, OSL 1653, OSL 1654, LSH 666
Other: OSL 1639, LSH 667, LSH 671, LSH 672
FY2021 Active Acquisitions
EVOS: 2 parcels
Agency Need: 10 parcels
|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, Native Allotments reconveyances, and other development activities.
Number of Title Reports
Analysis of results and challenges: The Realty Services Section (RSS) received 909 title report requests and completed 743 title reports in FY2021.
Table showing the breakdown of completed report types for FY2021:
Report Type/Requesting Agency # Reports Completed
Land Conveyance and Contracts 467
Regions, Acquisitions, SAIL 225
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: Protect public access by reserving public easements and championing state ownership of navigable waters and submerged lands using administrative remedies, litigation, and asserting the Public Trust Doctrine.
Analysis of results and challenges: The Division of Mining, Land and Water (DMLW) received and completed reviews for 42 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) related documents and 146 documents relating to Native Allotments. ANCSA related documents are reviewed to ensure public access is maintained through the reservation of RS 2477 trails and ANCSA 17(b) easements. They are also reviewed for potential emerged islands and protecting state ownership interests in navigable waterways. Much of the remaining ANCSA entitlement land is of high interest to Alaskans because it is near or accessed via the road system and affects access to state resources.
DMLW was actively involved in federal and state court litigation on the following rivers and lakes: North Fork Fortymile River, Middle Fork Fortymile River, South Fork Koyukuk River, Middle Fork Koyukuk River, Bettles River, Dietrich River and Lemon Creek. DMLW provided notice pursuant to the Federal Quiet Title Act of its intention to sue the Federal Government on the Mulchatna River, the Chilikadrotna River, Turquoise Lake, Twin Lakes, Resurrection River, Birch Creek, Beaver Creek and Tukslesluk Lake. DMLW has the following Recordable Disclaimer of Interest (RDI) applications pending with the Alaska BLM State Office: Delta River, West Fork Fortymile River, Denison Fork Fortymile River, Arolik River, Eek River System, Goodnews River System, and the Kwethluk River. DMLW received a favorable decision of the Interior Board of Land Appeals regarding its RDI application for the Kuskokwim River near McGrath.
As part of Governor Dunleavy’s Unlocking Alaska Initiative, DMLW made navigability determinations for all navigable waters falling within the boundaries of all NPS areas statewide as well as the Tongass National Forest and recorded that information on the state navigable waters map for public use and information. DMLW undertook additional state navigability determinations for Paradise Lake, Crescent Lake, and Little Su River.
DMLW was actively involved in federal and state litigation on the RS 2477 trail network falling within the boundaries of the Fortymile River Wild and Scenic Corridor; Klutina Lake Road, and the Iditarod Trail. DMLW asserted state ownership of public rights-of-way within various federal planning initiatives including the Bering Strait-Western Interior Regional Planning Initiative, the White Mountain Transportation Management Plan, the Steese Recreational Area Management Plan, and the Tongass Lakes Transportation Management Plan.
DMLW also asserted and defended rights of public use on numerous waters including, but not limited to, Campbell Lake, Fire Lake, Little Fire Lake, McCarthy Creek, Kennicott River, and Klutina River.
|A4: Core Service - Create plans to direct management of state land and water.|
Target #1: Develop land management plans and classify lands for settlement to support future municipal entitlements and land sales, or in other categories to support other forms of development including agriculture, forestry, and mineral development.
Analysis of results and challenges: In FY2021, approximately 12.6 million acres of land were classified. Most of that acreage was the result of the adoption of the North Slope Area Plan. Of that, over 3.5 million acres were classified in categories that support development including oil and gas and materials and approximately 60,000 acres as settlement or agriculture. Over 5 million acres of land were classified for resource management, a category that may be conveyed to municipalities in support of their entitlement.
Most land is classified through completion of an area plan while a smaller percentage is classified outside a major planning effort. 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 per year.
Analysis of results and challenges: For FY2021, a total of 161 parcels were sold, totaling 1,142 acres. The results are a combination of the auction, year-round Over-the-Counter sales, and Remote Recreation Cabin Sites program's staking authorizations that made it to the purchase stage.
Note: On a calendar year basis the number of sales is consistent. However, due to an auction occurring a few days prior to the end of FY2020, the results show an increase to FY2020 and a decrease to FY2021. Current fiscal year is on track for normal sales.
|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 FY2021, Kenai Peninsula Borough received approximately 3.75 acres, the City & Borough of Sitka received approximately 2,480.56 acres, the Aleutians East Borough received approximately 103.68 acres, the City of Valdez received approximately 956.67 acres, the Municipality of Anchorage received approximately 9.83 acres, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough received approximately 1,235.62 acres, the Municipality of Skagway received approximately 22.94 acres, the City & Borough of Juneau received approximately 23.13 acres, and the Northwest Arctic Borough received 33,757.3 acres. In total, 38,593.48 acres were conveyed to these municipalities.
Target #2: Offer 200 parcels of land at auction.
Analysis of results and challenges: The annual sealed bid auction was held December 16, 2020 offering 110 parcels. Auction parcels were 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. On a calendar year basis the number of sales is consistent. However, due to an auction occurring a few days prior to the end of FY2020, the results show an increase to FY2020 and a decrease to FY2021. Current fiscal year is on track for normal sales.
Target #3: Maintain an inventory of land available over-the-counter.
Analysis of results and challenges: The average number of over-the-counter (OTC) parcels, available through FY2021, was approximately 153 parcels.
|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.
Analysis of results and challenges: Division of Mining, Land and Water (DMLW) continues to make progress on reducing backlogged applications. The legislature provided capital improvement project funding in FY2012 to assist DMLW in developing a business process management system to make progress toward eliminating 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 for permits. 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 of backlog numbers. Despite these challenges and the additional challenges such as rapid adoption and widespread use of new collaboration/communication technologies to accommodate telework in the face of Coronavirus pandemic response, DMLW staff have continued to make reductions in backlog during FY2021.
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. In FY2020, the division adopted a reorganization of several sections, which consolidated programs and reallocated staff. This reorganization is expected to help with backlog reduction in the coming years. In FY2021, the division Regional Land Offices adopted a reorganization which created cross-Regional policy teams to address workload and public service goals in a more streamlined and consistent manner. This reorganization is expected to help with more efficient application processing in coming years. The division also received approval for capital funding in FY2022 to hire additional long-term non-permanent positions to assist with backlog reduction. Once additional staff can be recruited and trained, this project is expected to help with backlog reduction in the coming years.
The backlog is representative of the number of complete applications received that have not proceeded to the point of issuance of an authorization. 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 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. In some cases, renewal or reissuance applications for future use of already-authorized sites are submitted far in advance of the current authorization’s expiration; while the existing use is still under original authorization term, the new reissuance application still being in the processing queue does not prevent the ongoing original authorized use of state land. In some cases, new applications are for legal reservation or codification to the land records of a use which is already taking place, such as reservation of a public easement along a pre-existing trail; in many of these cases, the application being in the processing queue does not prevent the ongoing generally allowed use of the existing trail.
|C1: Core Service - Issue short and long term authorizations for use of state land and water.|
Target #1: Process a minimum of 90% of new land use applications received.
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.
DMLW continues to steadily process new land use and resource applications and has increased percentage processed in FY2021 over that achieved in FY2020. Staff time has, however, been diverted to work on complex cases that are resistant to solution, and politically sensitive cases which required significantly above average staff and manager time per case to bring to completion. Staff time has also been diverted to assistance on draft regulation and statute projects, and with policy and procedure development for implementation of new fee regulations which were adopted in July 2018, efficiencies in authorization of fiber optic cable projects, development of new Over the Counter (OTC) permit programs, and development and update of improved web pages, fact sheets, and forms for improved public availability and information.
Not included in the above numbers are trespass cases which do not start with an application, but require adjudicatory work. The numbers are not reflective of 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, assignments, amendments, name changes, sub-lease agreements, 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, as federally-approved infrastructure initiatives generate new projects, and the division 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.
Despite necessary diversion of stewardship responsibilities, policy development, and the additional challenges (need for rapid adoption, training and widespread use of new collaboration/communication technologies to accommodate telework) in the face of Corona virus pandemic response, in FY2021, the number of land use authorizations issued by DMLW staff continued to exceed new applications received.
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 a minimum of 90% of new water use applications received.
Analysis of results and challenges: The use of state water resources is primarily managed through issued water rights and temporary water use authorizations. During FY2021 a combined total of 443 applications were received and 356 authorizations were issued, providing a, 80% processing rate. An intentional lag in processing a subset of temporary water use authorizations was requested by some applicants as their work is either delayed or suspended longer term, accounting for the differential between applications received and authorizations issued. Not all temporary water use applications result in an authorization due to project changes. A record of this is reported under casefile administration, along with other actions, which amount to 358 transactions in FY2021. A total of 170 water right applications were received in FY2021 and 160 certificates (or permits) were issued, yielding a 94% processing rate for water rights.
|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 FY2021, periodic safety inspections occurred on 8 dams. The percentage of state-jurisdictional dams with current periodic safety inspections stands at 66%.
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 continues to review and conduct inspections for dams as necessary to help facilitate safe operation of 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 1,479 well logs received during FY2021 were uploaded to the Well Log Tracking System (WELTS) database, comprising 100% compliance with goals. The total well logs uploaded in FY2020/FY2021 was very large compared to previous years as several drilling companies had a backlog of well logs to enter. There is no longer a backlog of well logs to enter into WELTS.
The online WELTS is fully functional and has been enhanced to allow drillers to input well log data themselves, upon approval from DNR staff. As a result, an additional 1,921 well logs were uploaded directly by drillers to WELTS , reducing DNR staff time spent on WELTS data entry. The 42,000+ wells logs in the WELTS database can be queried using a variety of parameters which has increased its functionality and usefulness.
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.
Due to Coronavirus and quarantine requirements, inspections at some sites were curtailed or modified to prevent transmission into these sites.
Active large mines include Red Dog, Pogo, Fort Knox, Greens Creek, Kensington, Two Bull Ridge, and Jumbo Dome Mine. The Gold Run Pass, Jumbo Dome Road coal mines ended production and are now being reclaimed and no longer count as large mines. In FY2021 True North and Rock Creek (Nanuuq) are in a post-closure monitoring.
During FY2021, advanced exploration projects included Donlin, Palmer, Graphite One, Arctic/Bornite, Pebble, Dotson Ridge, Niblack, Avidian (Golden Zone), Healy Valley, and Hoseanna-Emma Creek. Advanced exploration that were not active during FY2021 were not counted in this report. For this report, inspections of placer mines and smaller exploration projects were not included. Due to Coronavirus and quarantine requirements, activities at some of the advanced exploration projects were modified or curtailed.
Target #4: Review plats for unorganized boroughs within the 45 day maximum review time limit per AS 40.15.305(d).
Analysis of results and challenges: As the platting authority for the unorganized boroughs, the survey section reviewed 71 survey plats and approved 45 survey plats. The shortest time for a first review was six days, the longest was 39, with an average review time of 21 days. For intermediate reviews, the shortest time was two days, longest was 35, with an average review time of 16 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 FY2021, the division collected $22,349,628 in designated general fund (program receipt) revenues; $4,759,221 of this was from land sales and $2,163,575 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: As reported last year, in FY2020 DMLW stood up the SAIL (Statewide Abatement of Impacted Lands) section to concentrate response and coordination of abatement efforts into one section within the Division. Establishing SAIL makes the Division and Department more responsive and consistent in the approach in handling spills, contaminated sites and abandoned and derelict vessels.
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, and illegal dumping of solid waste. Abandoned sites often contain debris, hazardous waste, or potential contamination. Some cases involve abandoned or unauthorized encroachment into or blockage of a public access easement, some involved abandoned or unauthorized vessels, equipment, or vehicles dumped in navigable waterways, interfering with public travel. 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 FY2021, our regional lands office actively resolved 7 cases of unauthorized use or encumbrance of state lands through case closure, separate permitting actions or approvals. Examples include use of DNR funding and manpower to assist with cleanup of illegal dumpsites in Ester which facilitated restored access to state land for mineral exploration and in Business Park Wetlands.
|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: FY2021 Results
Notice of Violation: 1 Issued, 3 Abated, 1 Outstanding
Directive: 0 Issued, 0 Terminated, 1 Outstanding
The Coal Program issued one new Notice of Violations during FY2021. Two violations from FY2020 and FY2021 were abated during the evaluation period. 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. During FY2021 the coal program drafted and revised a directive policy and will be working to finalize during the FY2022 evaluation period. Additional reclamation work is needed before final outstanding directive can be terminated in FY2020.
The coal program staff closely monitors coal reclamation projects to ensure 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 October 28, 2021