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Noatak Planning and Environmental Linkage Study

ONLINE SURVEY AVAILABLE NOW: Please complete a survey for DOT&PF to help project staff understand the potential benefits and impacts of the Noatak to DMTS Connector Road. To access the 5 minute survey, please go to www.NoatakPEL.org/survey. Thanks for providing important input to the project.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) in partnership with the Northwest Arctic Borough (NAB) and the Native Village of Noatak are proposing to improve community sustainability in Noatak, Alaska through increased development of surface transportation projects. Noatak is 42 miles by air north of Kotzebue and 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

DOT&PF is conducting a Planning and Environmental Linkage Study (PEL) to determine what surface transportation projects meet the current and future needs of the Noatak residents. The Noatak Surface Transportation PEL emphasizes collaboration between local, state, and federal transportation agencies as well as all other stakeholders to develop a seamless decision-making process that minimizes duplication of effort, promotes environmental stewardship, and reduces delays in project delivery. The PEL is designed to consider a wide array of surface transportation projects that best meet the needs of the community while minimizing impacts to the human and natural environments.

The PEL process is used to incorporate public and agency input and environmental resource information early in the transportation analysis to projects that can be moved forward into implementation in a streamlined manner. Findings from the PEL will be used to inform and refine the scoping and development of future project(s).

The PEL Study Area

The Study Area (Figure 1) is 696 square miles. The western boundary encompasses a part of the Delong Mountain Transportation System (DMTS) which supplies the necessary infrastructure to support the Red Dog Mine, one of the world's largest producing zinc mines. The DMTS includes a 52 mile long, 30 feet wide, all-weather gravel industrial road from Red Dog Mine to a port facility, shallow water dock, offshore conveyor system, fuel distribution system, storage facilities, on-site power generation, and residential quarters for up to 96 workers. The Study Area includes the port facilities and a sizable portion of the DMTS gravel haul road. The western boundary of the Study Area parallels the DMTS Road. The eastern boundary follows the Noatak River, except near Noatak where the Study Area encompasses the Noatak Riverís far eastern bank. From the Noatak River, the northern boundary extends to the west at Evaingiknuk Creek direct to the DMTS Road. The southern boundary of the Study Area extends south of the Alutunitok Hills along Jade Creek before hitting the coast north of Kotlik Lagoon. The Study Area boundary then extends northwest to the DMTS Port Site.

Figure 1: Noatak PEL Study Area with Noatak to DMTS Connector Road Alternative Alignments