Approximately 6,600 miles of Alaska's coastline and many of the low-lying areas along the state's rivers are subject to severe flooding and erosion. Most of Alaska's Native villages are located on the coast or on riverbanks. In addition to the many federal and Alaska state agencies that respond to flooding and erosion, Congress established the Denali Commission in 1998 to, among other things, provide economic development services and meet infrastructure needs in rural Alaska communities. This testimony is based on GAO's report, Alaska Native Villages: Most Are Affected by Flooding and Erosion, but Few Qualify for Federal Assistance (GAO-04-142, December 12, 2003). Specifically, GAO identified (1) the number of Alaska Native villages affected by flooding and erosion, (2) the extent to which federal assistance has been provided to those villages, (3) the efforts of nine villages to respond to flooding and erosion, and (4) alternatives that Congress may wish to consider when providing assistance for flooding and erosion.
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