Develop, conserve and maximize the use of Alaska’s natural resources consistent with the public interest. Alaska Constitution Article 8; AS 03, AS 27, AS 38, AS 40, AS 41, AS 43.90, AS 14.30.740
- Foster responsible commercial development and use of state land and natural resources, consistent with the public interest, for long-term wealth and employment.
- Mitigate threat to the public from natural hazards by providing comprehensive fire protection services on state, private and municipal lands, and through identifying significant geologic hazards.
- Provide access to state lands for public and private use, settlement, and recreation.
- Ensure sufficient data acquisition and assessment of land and resources to foster responsible resource and community development and public safety.
|A: Result - Department Result|
|A1: Core Service - Foster responsible commercial development and use of state land and natural resources, consistent with the public interest, for long-term wealth and employment.|
Target #1: Facilitate and improve regulatory and lease compliance monitoring of AS.38.35 pipelines
Compliance & Oversight Monitoring Actions of AS 38.35 Pipelines
Analysis of results and challenges:
FY2018 : The Pipeline Section applied a systematic approach to lease compliance inspections based on lessee annual reports and proposed work plans. Each field inspection is conducted according to a project mission developed around lease stipulations and the lessee's work plans, or other lease related actions such as releases of interests and renewals. The Pipeline Section has implemented a Geospatial Information System (GIS) platform for gathering field data and pipeline system data while conducting inspections. This GIS platform serves as a database by which pipeline environmental, health, and safety data is aggregated and used to communicate concerns and progress to the lessees via inspection reports.
Target #2: Coordinate the review, permitting, and monitoring of natural and renewable resource development, transportation, and other specialized projects consistent with the missions of the department and participating state agencies.
OPMP Coordinated Projects
Analysis of results and challenges: Analysis of results and challenges: OPMP’s large project coordination core service is a networked program that builds on the combined regulatory authorities and expertise of state, federal, and local government agencies. OPMP’s coordination service provides a consistent and predictable permitting process for large complex natural resource development projects while reducing conflicts and redundancies for regulatory agencies.
The number and types of projects coordinated by OPMP annually indicates relative demand for the program, but it also gives OPMP perspectives on industry and market trends in Alaska. The increases in projects coordinated from FY2014 to FY2015 correlates with an increase in requests for focused permit coordination within the oil and gas sector (i.e. coordination of a single permit in some instances). The decrease in coordinated oil and gas projects from FY2015 to FY2018 represents completion of the focused permitting workload. The decrease in coordinated mining projects from FY2015 to FY2018, however, represents a slowdown in mineral exploration activities statewide, as well as OPMP completing coordinated reviews for two proposed mines in the Transboundary Region of British Columbia.
OPMP’s principle challenge for providing permit coordination is maintaining sufficient organizational capacity (i.e. staffing, budget resources, etc.) to adjust to fluctuations in coordinated project workloads. Such fluctuations are often driven by factors outside OPMP’s control (i.e. economic conditions, regulatory changes, commodity process, investment trends, etc.), but are an important metric for OPMP to gauge relative demand for large project coordination services.
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.
Target #4: Provide stable or increasing economic benefit from the use of trees and forests on state land by selling state timber to forty or more Alaskan businesses.
Analysis of results and challenges: The number of purchasers of state timber sales has returned to historic levels after spiking in 2009 and 2010, two years with many new entrants into the commercial firewood business. Since FY2005, timber sales to mills in Southeast has been a division priority to help offset sharp declines in federal timber sales. Pacific Logging and Lumber of Ketchikan permanently shut its doors in late 2010, due to lack of federal timber supply. State timber supply continues to be critical to the Viking Lumber mill in Klawock, the last remaining mid-sized mill in Southeast. Commercial firewood demand continues at a high level; however, the market has matured and the number of firms participating has decreased. There were 21 new timber sales sold in FY2018 and there are currently more than 50 firms with active timber sale contracts throughout Alaska, mostly smaller fuel wood sellers in the interior.
Target #5: Increase awareness of Alaska Grown products and market options, and expand gross farm product sales.
Monetary Value of Agriculture Products Sold (in millions)
Analysis of results and challenges: The data provided comes from surveys conducted throughout the year by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Services.
Target #6: Operate the Forest Resources and Practices Act program to achieve 100% implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs).
Forest Resources & Practices Act Program: Displayed as the Rating of Best Management Practices Implementation by Region per Year
Analysis of results and challenges: Best Management Practices (BMPs) are designed to prevent adverse impacts from forest operations on fish habitat and water quality, and to ensure prompt reforestation following harvest. Compliance with the BMPs is high statewide. Improved scores in the interior reflect improved maintenance of forest roads on the Tanana Valley State Forest. The lower score in southcentral for 2017 is confined to BMP’s addressing road construction and road maintenance. The division uses compliance monitoring results to identify training needs. Training emphasizes specific BMPs with relatively low ratings and targets operators with a history of compliance issues. BMPs for maintenance of active and inactive roads are a current training focus. The increased demand for firewood is likely to result in additional training needs for new operators who are unfamiliar with the Forest Resources & Practices Act.
Target #7: Promote safer boating behaviors on Alaska's waters.
Adult Life Jacket Wear Rate Percentages Powerboats National vs. Alaska (2013-2016)
Analysis of results and challenges: Results of observational life jacket wear rate studies conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard shows adult life jacket wear is now higher in Alaska than it is nationally.
|A2: Core Service - Mitigate threat to the public from natural hazards by providing comprehensive fire protection services on state, private and municipal lands, and through identifying significant geologic hazards.|
Target #1: Publish reports or maps providing improved assessment of geologic hazards that could pose significant risks to public safety or infrastructure
Published New Reports on Geologic Hazards that Pose Significant Risks to Public Safety
Analysis of results and challenges: Preventing economic losses and threats to public safety from natural disasters is closely tied to our understanding of the risks presented by Alaska’s complex geology. Mitigation of these risks can only come about through detailed geologic investigations that increase our understanding of natural hazards, and timely distribution of that information. Growing population and increasing development in Alaska create significant demands for acquiring new geologic data and distributing it in a timely fashion. DGGS hazards-related programs evaluate coastal flooding and erosion, earthquakes and active faulting, climate-related hazards, volcano hazards, and other geologic hazards such as permafrost degradation and landslides along infrastructure corridors.
In FY2018, DGGS published 32 new reports and peer-reviewed publications on geologic hazards, and released two posters and one presentation. Key publications include tsunami inundation maps for Kodiak, Juneau, Skagway, and Haines; coseismic permanent flooding maps for Valdez, Chenega, Chignik, and Chignik Lagoon; a protocol for coastal storm surge water level observations; information circulars about climate change, landslides, and coastal hazards in Alaska; and color-indexed elevation maps for flood-vulnerable coastal communities in western Alaska. Along with new elevation data and aerial photographs of the western Alaska coastline and a portion of the Haines Highway, these products are valuable tools for community and emergency planners. In cooperation with the Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission, DGGS also published a seminal report summarizing the state of knowledge of active faults and seismic hazards in Alaska. Other engineering-geologic studies on slope instability along the Alaska Highway at Northway Junction, Arctic hydrology, and Alaska glacier characteristics contributed to our understanding of the behavior of geologic surface processes in a changing climate. A greater number of reports and data related to coastline data and potential flooding were published in FY2018, doubling the amount that DGGS produced in FY2017.
The Volcanology Section, working in conjunction with federal U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) partners, published a geologic map of Chiginagak and Kasatochi volcanoes and provided summaries of reports of volcanic activity in Alaska, including the 2014 eruption of Pavlof volcano. ashfall hazards are the primary volcano hazard in Alaska, and in FY2018, the Volcanology section released a publication that details all mapped ashfall occurrences in Alaska—this geospatial dataset now serves as the primary basemap for ashfall hazard mapping in the State. Volcanology section staff responded to multiple explosions at Bogoslof and Cleveland volcanos and increase in seismicity and a small explosion at Great Sitkin volcano. Response activities include issuance of volcanic eruption alerts in collaboration with USGS and UAF colleagues, 24/7 seismic and satellite monitoring, detailed record keeping of eruptions and impacts, and maintaining current information on the public website, Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Target #2: Contain more than 90% of wildland fires at less than 10 acres within Alaska’s heavily populated areas (Critical and Full Management Options) in accordance with the Alaska Interagency Wildland Fire Management Plan.
Percentage of Fires Successfully Contained at Less Than 10 Acres
Analysis of results and challenges: Critical Management Option encompasses communities while the Full Management Option encompasses wildlands near communities. Critical areas are designated as the highest priority areas/sites for suppression action and assignment of available firefighting resources due to the immediate threat to human life and primary residences. The Division successfully suppressed all but two fires in Critical at less than 10 acres (98% success rate). The Division was successful with 83% of the suppression of fires in Full with 8 fires exceeding 10 acres. In 2018 there were two fires within Unplanned Fire Management. These early season grass fires occurred in the Aleutian Islands, an area not normally known for wildland fires.
The percentage of fires kept at 10 acres or less in these populated areas reflects the success of initial attack efforts. Factors impacting this success include early detection, short response time, weather and fuels conditions, and the availability of firefighting resources including the local fire departments.
In 2018,198 fires started within the area of state protection for 46,026.8 acres. Rural and remote fires occurring in Full and Critical Fire Management protection are harder to support due to the limit of early detection and the difficulty in accessing the fire. In many cases these remote fires are only accessible by aerial suppression forces. Firefighting resources are also limited during peak fire danger and each new fire start must be evaluated as to the immediacy of the threat to values in the area. In certain cases, the decision is made not to immediately suppress the fire due to higher priorities within the state or limited values at risk.
Target #3: Provide wildland fire training to agency personnel, fire departments and urban and rural communities.
Analysis of results and challenges: A broad range of training is provided to firefighters, ranging from introductory classes for first year firefighters to advanced training for returning firefighters and fire managers. Efficient, cost effective, safe, and successful initial attack relies on the highly trained seasonal firefighters, structure/volunteer local fire departments, local Emergency Firefighters (EFF) and crews. Annual training and certification ensures the availability of this workforce when needed during fire activity and meets national standards which qualify them for further fire assignments.
The division provides extensive training to not only state employees but also to cooperators such as local government employees. There were 1,491 cooperators were trained in wildland fire by the division. Fire management necessitates the use of a large number of emergency firefighters (EFF) who also require appropriate training. In 2018, the division trained over 1275 EFFs. Two new safety classes were offered: bear/gun and boat. The plan for 2019 is to add online OSHA training to ensure compliance. In 2018 added additional aviation/ hazardous material handling for personnel assigned to the ramps/helibase.
The challenge for the division is to ensure that the training provided is meeting the needs of firefighters and managers on Alaska fires. This challenge is currently met with a training staff that plans, coordinates, and provides specific fire courses designed to develop Alaska’s firefighters for the future. These courses are provided to the inter-agency fire community which provides leverage for the Division to provide extensive opportunities to its employees and cooperators.
Target #4: Fill the firefighting needs for the average fire season with Alaskan firefighters.
Percent of Alaskan Crews & Individuals Assigned to Alaska Fires / Total Needed
Analysis of results and challenges: Department Order 017 identifies that the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry provide a strong initial attack, management and support capability to assure maximum efficiency is achieved for an average fire years based on the historical fire occurrence. As the complexity and length of the fire season increases, the need for experienced personnel to manage these fires has become even more critical. Extensive knowledge and training is necessary to make timely decisions about strategy and tactics. This is more critical as the urban interface environment grows as does the responsibilities to protect lives, homes and communities. A successful program requires a trained, experienced Alaskan firefighting workforce combined with infrastructure, equipment and logistical support.
During the 2018 fire season, approximately 1,168 people, including crew members and individuals, were requested to work on Alaska fires. There were 43 overhead and smoke jumper boosters from the Lower-48 filled the remaining orders. There were 31 crew orders filled with Alaskan crews (100%) with each crew containing 20 crew members.
The division’s need for Lower-48 firefighting resources (agency crews, contract crews, and individuals with advanced training to meet initial and extended attack suppression objectives) should be replaced with increased in-state capacity to provide jobs to Alaskans. In 2018, the Division of Forestry hosted the Alaska Advanced Wildland Firefighter Academy in McGrath. The Academy was a partnership with Koskokwim Corporation, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), Association of Village Presidents and Chugachmiut. Twenty-nine students attended the Academy. Of the 28 graduates, two were Wildfire Resource Techs 1s; two were Yukon Crew members, two were hired as short-term non-perm (STNP) McGrath IA; two joined TCC after the academy, two joined Yukon Crew after the academy and one joined UAF Nanook Crew after the academy. Alaska Division of Forestry's 15 short-term, non-perm position for 20 work days. The positions included the two Initial Attack Wildland Fire Modules (McGrath and Copper River) and three personnel to work on the Retardant Base Ramps in Tok, Palmer, and McGrath.
Graduates of the Academy completed 23 taskbooks, went on 13 initial attack assignments, 21 Alaska Fire assignments and 87 Lower-48 fire assignments. As mentioned earlier two of the STNPs were Advanced Fire Fighter Academy graduates. Four of the STNPs were previous year's Academy and two were Alaska Crew Boss Academy Graduates. From 2013 to 2018, 19 of the STNPs have been hired as state employees.The STNP positions have provided opportunities for academy graduates to put into action the skills and knowledge obtained in this training and gain the experience to be hired as state employees.
|A3: Core Service - Provide access to state lands for public and private use, settlement, and recreation.|
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: 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: Receive lands determined each year to be essential to the state’s economic development. These would include lands containing oil and gas, mineral or forest resources, lands selected for municipal entitlements and lands necessary to eliminate inholdings.
Analysis of results and challenges: In FY2018, the Realty Services Section (RSS) reviewed and received title to 7,819 acres of new statehood entitlement land. RSS converted 42 federal mining claims to state ownership and is continuing to work with Mineral Property Management to bring additional federal mining claims into state ownership. The state’s entitlement was credited 930 acres due to Native allotment reconveyances and corrections to prior federal deeds. After consultation with other state agencies in FY2017, RSS reprioritized 20,069,756 acres of selected and top-filed lands. This reprioritization resulted in a partial audit of the state’s land records and will enable a more thorough review of the state’s remaining selections and facilitate the future relinquishment of low priority selections.
The state has acquired approximately 101 million acres of the 106 million acres to which it is entitled under the Alaska Statehood Act and various other federal laws. Of the remaining 5 million acres, approximately 4 million are currently unavailable to the state due to specific federal withdrawals or Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act selections. However, RSS has been working closely with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to identify areas where federal withdrawals may be lifted or partially revoked.
In FY2019, RSS will continue to work with BLM and other state agencies to identify and possibly lift federal withdrawals and allow our selections to attach. RSS will also continue to work with other state agencies to identify and relinquish low priority selections.
Target #4: Provide accessible, clean, safe, and well-maintained park facilities for Alaska residents and visitors by reducing deferred maintenance needs in park units.
Parks Deferred Maintenance
Analysis of results and challenges: With current reduced funding levels the division continues to work on the highest priority deferred maintenance projects affecting life, health and safety.
Target #5: Collect fees necessary to reach authorized program receipt funds in the Parks Management and Access budget; annually evaluate and if necessary, raise fees in order to reach program receipts authorization.
Revenue Collected on Park User Fees (In Thousands)
|A4: Core Service - Ensure sufficient data acquisition and assessment of land and resources to foster responsible resource and community development and public safety.|
Target #1: Publish reports on energy-related geology that assist the energy industry and state agencies in exploring for and managing energy resources on state-interest lands
New Reports Published on Energy-Related Geology
Analysis of results and challenges: Publicly available detailed geologic knowledge is important for energy resource development and management. This information must result from the most modern analyses and incorporate all available data in order to identify frontier areas of energy exploration on state lands. A critical component of this effort is the publication of geologic reports on a wide range of energy sources.
During FY2018, the Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys published four reports providing new geologic data to assist oil and gas exploration throughout Alaska, which was three short of the target. The three reports not published were delayed due to the complexity of the data sets they summarize; they will be published in FY2019. Two reports were published in Geosphere, an internationally distributed professional journal focusing on new, ground-breaking developments in the geosciences. One of the Geosphere reports focused on the origin and significance of the Bruin Bay fault zone, a major crustal-scale fault system bordering the west side of Cook Inlet basin, and the other Geosphere report included a detailed analysis of fracture systems in sedimentary rocks in lower Cook Inlet and their significance for unconventional petroleum resources. A third report, a DGGS Report of Investigations, described a newly discovered 35-meter-thick oil-stained sand body exposed along the west side of Cook Inlet and its significance for undiscovered oil resources in the basin. The fourth report included isotopic age dates that help constrain the timing of motion along the Bruin Bay fault zone, an important structure that helped control formation of petroleum traps in producing fields in upper Cook Inlet.
During FY2018, Energy Section staff collaborated extensively with geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG), and Boise State University. The collaboration with BEG involves a compilation of information on key petroleum reservoir and source rock intervals on the North Slope for a multi-national oil company with a major lease position on the North Slope.
Target #2: Publish airborne geophysical survey data for Alaska's minerals-interest lands
Square Miles of Published Minerals-Related Airborne Geophysical Data
Analysis of results and challenges: Much of Alaska’s lands with high mineral-resource potential have poorly exposed geology due to tundra and tree cover. Airborne geophysical surveys measure physical properties of the earth; these properties correspond to various geologic features and measurements are not affected by vegetation. Airborne geophysical survey data are invaluable for guiding subsequent ground-based geologic mapping, sampling, and associated mineral-assessment work. Only about 28 percent of prioritized mineral-bearing state lands have been geophysically surveyed, and the Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) is committed to acquiring data in remaining areas of the state that have high mineral-resource potential, subject to availability of funding.
In FY2017, DGGS contracted for a new federally-funded airborne geophysical survey covering about 5,382 square miles in the Porcupine River area in northeastern Alaska. DGGS also partnered with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the USGS to fly four additional surveys for geologic-hazard assessments, covering a total of 185 square miles. These datasets are scheduled for public release in FY2019, with an anticipated release of 5,566 square miles of geophysical surveys.
The state-funded Strategic and Critical Minerals (SCM) project (FY2013-2015) allowed DGGS to annually publish more than twice the amount of airborne geophysical data published in prior years under the state’s annually funded, Airborne Geophysical/Geological Mineral Inventory (AGGMI) program. Budget cuts in FY2016 eliminated both the SCM project and AGGMI program, and the lack of state funding means that no further state-funded airborne geophysical surveys of mineral districts are planned. If the federal 3DEEP critical minerals program is funded by the U.S. Congress in FFY2019, DGGS may be contracted by the USGS to manage geophysical contracts covering large portions of Alaska’s mineral districts, potentially starting as early as late FY2019.
Current as of November 15, 2018