Jan 02, 2019

Juneau, Alaska, Residents Tackle Riverbank Erosion

After a federal plan fell through, residents are targeting riverbank erosion

Erosion control in Juneau, Alaska

Homeowners in Juneau, Alaska, have teamed up to install riprap along properties facing riverbank erosion. The town had planned to use city and federal funds to secure the shoreline for 26 homes, but the Juneau Assembly rejected the plan, in part because a $78,000 financial commitment was required by each homeowner, as reported by the Associated Press.

Now, at least eight Mendenhall Valley homeowners who live on Meander Way are seeking erosion control solutions, including the installation of riprap. The riverbank erosion has worsened in recent years, in part due to glacial flooding from the Mendenhall Glacier. These floods began in 2011, as a large depression in the Mendenhall Glacier known as Suicide Basin filled with rain and meltwater and released the water into Mendenhall Lake and Mendenhall River. It is happened every year since then, sometimes coming multiple times in a year, according to The Juneau Empire. Some residents are willing to pay up to $50,000 to protect the shoreline near their home.

“The mood is, we’ve got to get it done,” said Nico Bus, a resident who recently had riprap installed for $25,000. “Whoever feels the urgency is trying to go through the loops. The big question is, what will the estimate be from the contractor to do the work?”

While the federal erosion control plan failed to pass the Juneau Assembly by a 6-3 vote, assembly members hope to work together with residents to solve the problem.

“Now, people do it on their own, the feeling is that most people could do it for less than what the city and federal government would charge,” Bus said.