Norton Bay Watershed Ocean and Coastal Management Plan

Protecting subsistence culture & resources


Norton Bay Alaska at sunrise. Photo Credit: Leigh Takak (2020)


The Inupiat and Central Yupik communities located within the Norton Bay Watershed rely on a subsistence economy, as they have since time immemorial. Due to extreme weather events and non-weather-related stresses, Alaska Native Village communities in the watershed are experiencing many changes including diminishing sea ice, loss of subsistence resources, coastal erosion, village flooding, and increased water and air temperatures.

Due to their location, dependency on subsistence resources, and difficult economic conditions, the villages are disproportionately impacted by changes to their environment in comparison to the rest of the state.

Purpose of Norton Bay Watershed Ocean and Coastal Management Plan

The Norton Bay Watershed Ocean and Coastal Management Plan (Management Plan) recognizes the immediate threat of these changes to the habitats and species they depend on and manage. Realizing the need to help managers fully integrate resiliency information and considerations into their management decision, the Norton Bay Watershed Council (NBWC) undertook the development of the management plan.

Goals and Objectives

The goal of the management plan is to increase coastal resilience for the native villages and marine habitat of the Norton Bay Watershed by developing strategies that address the Watershed’s greatest coastal ecosystem risks. In developing the management plan, the NBWC's primary objectives were to:

  1. Engage Norton Sound Native Villages in a participatory process for ocean and coastal management planning;

  2. Apply the North American Marine Protected Area Rapid Vulnerability Assessment Tool (MPARVAT), created by the Council on Environmental Cooperation’s 2015-2016 Marine Protected Areas: Strengthening Management Effectiveness and Supporting Coastal Community Resilience project, to assess risks and develop resilience solutions for oceans and coastal areas of Norton Bay Watershed;

  3. Draft a Norton Bay Watershed Ocean and Coastal Management Plan (NBWOCMP); and

  4. Continue to seek additional funding to implement identified strategies in Norton Bay.

Development of the Management Plan

During the process, the NBWC applied conventional data, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and other information to build on the North American Marine Protected Area Rapid Vulnerability Assessment Tool model to create a comprehensive management plan addressing resilience for marine habitat and the health and welfare of local communities.

Full PDF report to learn more

P.O. Box 15332, Fritz Creek, AK 99603
(907) 491-1355