QUINHAGAK, Alaska (AP) — Accelerating erosion is forcing villages in western Alaska to begin making plans to move.
Alaska's Energy Desk reported that erosion caused by climate change threatens village infrastructure and could force the relocation of communities such as Quinhagak.
A 2012 state report listed Quinhagak's sewer lagoon and multipurpose building as top priorities for replacement or repair because of erosion and thawing permafrost.
Officials said erosion now threatens Quinhagak's airstrip, water treatment plant and water and sewer system.
An official said he does not know how they would close up the lagoon if erosion causes waste to leak into the Kuskokwim Bay, an important food source.
Quinhagak has applied for a Bureau of Indian Affairs grant to help with moving and rebuilding the lagoon, which could cost $6 million.