Napakiak Moves More Buildings As Kuskokwim River Gets Closer

Spring storms wiped out Napakiak's boat harbor.
Credit Krysti Shallenberger / KYUK

The village of Napakiak has moved two more buildings as the Kuskokwim River encroaches. Moving buildings away from the river is becoming routine for Napakiak. 

"We’ve become so used to it we absolutely have had no problems," said Napakiak City Council member Walter Nelson. Nelson says that Napakiak has moved its city garage and its firehouse, both of which sat about 200 feet away from the Kuskokwim River. Napakiak moved those structures with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Nelson estimates that the village has lost about 20 feet of bank since May of this year. The Kuskokwim River is currently closing in on the road that snakes out in front of Napakiak’s school and a tank farm.

"The erosion is right there on the road. It’s already on the road," Nelson said. 

The Lower Kuskokwim School District needs to move both the school and the fuel tanks that sit next to it, but finding money to build a new school has been a challenge. 

Spring storms also wiped out Napakiak’s boat harbor in May. The village has applied for permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to relocate the boat harbor. Nelson says that they are ready to build the new boat landing, but in the meantime Napakiak has a makeshift area for boats to use and some people have chosen to park their boats in the nearby Johnson Slough.