Money is arriving to help move some buildings in Akiak to safer ground. Last week, the village of Akiak received funding to move the six homes closest to the eroding riverbank. One of those homes is within 20 feet of the water.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service provided almost $130,000 to move the homes, and the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation kicked in $68,159 to remove the water and sewer pipes for those homes.
Akiak will have 220 days to complete the relocation for those six structures. That’s dictated by the terms for the NRCS grant. But as Tribal Administrator Sheila Williams Carl explained, the grant won’t cover every part of the move.
“In regards to the water, sewer, the roads, the electricity, we’re hoping the agencies that assist communities with those things respond to our requests and help us,” Williams Carl said.
Two of the homes will be moved to an existing subdivision where that infrastructure already exists, but for the other four, those amenities will come later.
“We need to develop a new subdivision to put the homes,” Williams Carl said.
Akiak leaders have identified a space for the new subdivision, but it’s too close to the existing landfill and honey bucket disposal site.
“For health purposes, they do need to be moved,” Williams Carl said.
Filling the existing landfill and honey bucket disposal site and creating new ones further away from the community will be the next step for Akiak, but the NRCS and DEC funding provides a moment of relief for Williams Carl and the community.
“Compared to the last time we spoke, I feel much more hopeful and at ease,” Williams Carl said.
She said that Akiak is managing the erosion “one thing at a time.”