Department of Natural Resources
The Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) is a part of the Native Village of Eyak Traditional Council Tribal Government. DENR works to protect the Native Village of Eyak's traditional lands, manage subsistence resources for the tribe, and prevent, or mitigate, environmental damage. The people of Eyak have been stewards of this land for over 7,000 years and DENR seeks to continue that tradition.
Sustainable subsistence fisheries
In 2001, NVE became a part of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Office of Subsistence Management (OSM)'s Fisheries Resource Monitoring Program (FRMP). This was DENR's first major expansion into natural resource management and was a big step towards officially re- establishing our traditional role as stewards of our home lands. Since 2001, DENR has expanded greatly and is now pioneering a modern era of research and collaborative management combining western science and traditional knowledge. As active stewards of the land and water, NVE has built strong ties with governmental agencies, becoming an integral part of the region's environmental and resource management policy making.
NVE has completed or is working on several fisheries research projects, many of which have been funded through the FRMP. Other funding sources include the Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Developing our local resources
Cordova, like many rural Alaskan towns, faces an energy crisis. Because we are not connected to a large grid like communities on the railbelt, we must rely on local resources and imported diesel to produce our electricity and heat. Fuel prices fluctuate over time, creating price uncertainties and occasionally forcing us to make tough choices when the cost gets too high. The Native Village of Eyak seeks to develop some of our local energy resources to stabilize future energy prices and save tribal members, and the community, money in the long run.
Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program (NALEMP)
Alaska has been a mecca for military activity for over 100 years. The NALEMP program is overseen by the US Army Corps of Engineers and funds remediation activities for former military sites on Native American lands. It allows Alaska Native and Native American tribes to investigate and remove hazardous materials from their land and provides valuable employment and skills training to tribal members.
The Native Village of Eyak is currently performing environmental investigations and remediation activities at three sites: Mile 14 of the Copper River Highway, Pt. Whitshed, and Middleton Island. An initial environmental assessment was conducted at Mile 7 of the Copper River Highway, but the land was sold by the Eyak Corporation to the US Forest Service. Soil sampling at Mile 14, Middleton Island, Mile 7, and Pt. Whitshed has revealed a wide variety of contaminants above background and EPA limits that will need to be addressed. As of January 2010, NALEMP has spent/obligated $1,021,145.25 to the Native Village of Eyak.
Maintaining our Moose Population
Cordova has abundant moose habitat, but due to isolation from populations in the interior, did not have moose until orphaned moose calves were introduced to the Copper River Delta in the 1940's and 50's. Moose would have eventually migrated to Cordova through the Copper River Valley as the glaciers receded and the delta became accessible. That initial group has grown from a small introduced population to well over 500 animals on the west Copper River Delta alone. This moose population has become a staple of Cordova residents and other Alaskans and is the source of an extremely popular Federal Subsistence hunt for bull and cow moose, and a State hunt for bull moose.
The 1964 earthquake uplifted the land in the Copper River Delta, resulting in successional change of the plant species over time. Willow, a favorite food for moose and vital to their winter survival, began to grow on much of the former marshland. However, plant species continue to change, moving towards more woody species such as alder, spruce and cottonwood. A 2001 study predicted significant losses of winter moose foraging habitat due to this natural change in plant composition. Losses of 2014 and 4383 acres are expected within the outwash plain and uplifted marsh, respectively, over the next 75 years. These declines are predicted to be pronounced within the next 10 years in the outwash plain but not expected to begin within the uplifted marsh until after 2014. Because moose are relied on for subsistence in Cordova, the Native Village of Eyak is working with the rangers of the Chugach National Forest, Eyak Corporation, and Alaska Fish and Game to help stabalize winter foraging habitat.
A proposed study on the effects of hydroaxing moose winter forage land could provide a way to ensure that moose habitat remains healthy well into the future. An initial study done by the US Forest Service in 2007 identified vital moose habitat that was at risk of being encroached upon by mature, woody forest. The proposed study would hydroaxe a small area within the identified at-risk habitat and examine how effective hydroaxing is at maintaining a willow-dominated vegetation community.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Many of us have heard about the 3 R's, and these are especially important in Cordova. One of the charms of life in Cordova is living off the road system, but that also makes everything more expensive. Reduce what we need to import, reuse what we already have, and recycle what we don't need to keep our landfill operating longer. These are all ways we can save money over the long term.
Cordova's recycling options have expanded dramatically in the past few years, and we hope to continue expanding them in the future. On this page, you can find information and media related to recycling in Cordova. If you can't find what you need, or want to make a suggestion to improve our recycling programs, contact NVE’s environmental coordinator at 424-7738.
Brownfields Tribal Response Program
Native Village of Eyak has been awarded a brownfields tribal response program grant for FY 2011. Brownfields are abandoned or underused properties on which there is the potential for contamination. The tribal response program will identify and inventory brownfields sites around Cordova and Prince William Sound and perform initial site assessments. Our brownfields coordinator will work with land owners to pursue brownfields grants to help clean up sites and address issues of greatest concern. Contact NVE’s brownfields coordinator at 904-424-7738
Brownfields STRP: State & Tribal Response Plan
CARE: Community Action for a Renewed Environment