Help Juneau . . . Not That They Asked

Posted in Abrupt Climate Change at 9:21 pm

Juneau Alaska has an interesting community planning / environmental disaster problem.  They have a section of town that they know is vulnerable to avalanches. This section is built-up and has had some damage before. (17 houses in 1962). The city isn’t willing to buy everyone out, a cheaper alternative than building snow barriers that may be counter-productive anyway.

In 2004, Alaska was apparently in a state of denial. They had the highest per capita avalanche death rate in the country, failed to implement state mandates for an education and forecasting program, and failed to get a cut of Federal funding for avalanche programs. Volunteers filled the gap.

Volunteers put together a shoestring program to educate and warn of avalanche dangers. In 2006 they were able to get funding to expand the forecasting capability. They are still short of their goal of getting a government-funded, voluntary buyout of at-risk areas but they’re taking actions that have cut fatalities 60% in other areas where they have been tried.
Any suggestions for them? (Put your comments here. I’ll write them up and forward them to www.avalanche.org.)

My own suggestion involved selling local “tourist” businesses advertising space on their site. – A potentially significant source of revenue in a 2006 budget of $200,000.

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