Client: Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, village councils and city governments
Location: Bristol Bay, AK
Project Date: 2003-Present
Project Lead: Chris Beck, Thea Agnew Bemben, Ellen Campfield Nelson, Heather Stewart
Agnew::Beck understands that the Bristol Bay region is in a state of profound economic and social transition. In this context there is a tremendous need for community planning, to help villages clarify their own goals, preserve their values and benefit from development.
In Bristol Bay, Agnew::Beck Consulting has worked alongside regional partners to produce a system that supports “locally driven, regionally supported” development of community plans. Agnew::Beck has provided on- and off-site planning and technical assistance to several villages to complete locally lead, sustainable village plans. The firm developed and field-tested a Community and Economic Development Planning Guidebook to assist villages with developing comprehensive plans in New Stuyahok, Koliganek, Twin Hills and other communities highlighted below in Manokotak, Aleknagik, Ekwok, Portage Creek, Nondalton and Levelock.
Manokotak Comprehensive Plan
As a part of the comprehensive planning process, Agnew::Beck has been collaborating with an annexation consultant on a related annexation petition. The City of Dillingham has petitioned to annex 396 square miles of land, which includes important subsistence and commercial fishing sites frequented by Manokotak residents. The City of Manokotak and other affected parties oppose Dillingham’s petition, and the City of Manokotak has prepared a petition to annex 155 square miles as an alternative to Dillingham’s petition. In the next year or two, the Local Boundary Commission will consider and decide how to resolve the competing petitions. Agnew::Beck has been working closely with the annexation consultant team to ensure the Comprehensive Plan supports the annexation effort and the two processes are in alignment. Comprehensive Plan draft document (pdf). City of Manokotak facebook page.
Aleknagik Comprehensive Plan
Agnew::Beck worked with Aleknagik residents to update their Comprehensive Strategic Development Plan. Meetings with the planning team surfaced village issues and prepared the initial draft of the plan. The draft plan was available for community review and comment during the community workshops. The plan documents village opportunities, values and goals which serve as the basis for defining priorities for new projects and programs. The plan meets the requirements of funders and engages the full community as residents agree on underlying values and actions for the future and guides local and regional governing organizations. With the plan, the community has greater control over its destiny and a stronger position from which to work with parties from outside of the community. The plan aims to increase the odds that children can find decent work and continue to live in their home community. Through the plan, Aleknagik sustains cultural traditions, subsistence, history and culture, improves community facilities and services, and helps find better ways to communicate and make community decisions.
Ekwok Comprehensive Plan
Agnew::Beck worked with the Ekwok community to prepare their plan based on the local values and vision of Ekwok residents. During the planning process (which included two well-attended community workshops) the firm developed a survey used to assess local businesses and employment trends. Results provided valuable new information. Ekwok folks field-tested the Community and Economic Development Planning Guidebook, developed by Agnew::Beck, Northern Economics, Inc, and Bristol Bay Native Association. A key feature of this plan is the “feasibility filter,” which helps Ekwok evaluate the feasibility of priority projects. The firm partnered with a local community planning team to conducted surveys, organize workshops and review drafts of the plan. The team presented the final version to the village councils for adoption.
Portage Creek Comprehensive Plan
The firm worked with Portage Creek’s residents, tribal members and landowners to develop a plan reflective of their values. In 2006, Agnew::Beck Consulting and Bristol Environmental & Engineering Services Corporation were hired to assist Portage Creek in developing a Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Indian Reservation Roads (IRR) Inventory Update. This plan enables Portage Creek to gain resources for needed transportation improvements. Assistance in this planning effort was provided by Bristol Bay Native Association, Choggiung Limited and Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Nondalton Long Range Environmental Plan
Nondalton’s Village Council initiated a project designed to gather public input from residents of Nondalton on environmental health issues and priorities. Through the planning process, these goals were combined with tribal environmental values to develop an environmental management plan.
Levelock Watershed Community Planning Project
Levelock’s Village Council initiated a watershed planning project to gather public input from residents on environmental impacts to the Kvichak and Alagnak Rivers and watersheds through two community workshops. These workshops assessed strategies and prioritized projects addressing local concerns, and empowered local management. This project resulted in the creation and compilation of annotated maps defining the watershed area, informational materials on the rivers and watershed areas, and a summary report of background information and community discussion (including a list of priority projects and concerns, recommendations for implementation and next steps, and information on watershed management strategies).