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Northwest Arctic - Places of Refuge

This website assisted the Northwest Arctic (NWA) Subarea Potential Places of Refuge Workgroup in the development of a document describing Potential Places of Refuge (PPOR) in the NWA Subarea. The project was initiated in September of 2010 and completed in July 2011. The documents produced in this project will be forwarded to the NWA Subarea Committee for inclusion in the Subarea Contingency Plan.

The NW Arctic Subarea is depicted in the map shown below. Similar projects have taken place for the Prince William Sound, Kodiak, Cook Inlet, Southeast and the Aleutian Subareas. The workgroup record and products from those projects are available on the PPOR homepage.


The objective of this project has been to identify and collect information on docking, anchoring, and mooring locations that may be selected as Potential Places of Refuge in order to enhance the overall response process.


The first map below depicts some of the risk factors the workgroup used in selecting potential places of refuge. The workgroup began the process by identifying candidate sites for potential places of refuge. The sites were researched and the resources and attributes of each were placed in the site assessment matrix. This matrix summarizes the resources at risk for each site and aided in the final selection of Potential Places of Refuge. Download a copy of the Site Assessment Matrix (PDF 42K) and the Key (PDF 32K).

Download (PDF 843K) a high resolution copy of this map, which includes separate pages for each layer, or download (PDF 553K) a low resolution copy.

The large size of the NWA Subarea made it necessary to further divide it into smaller zones. The zones are reflective of the “response zones” to aid in the organization of response efforts. These are illustrated in the Index Map shown above. Download (PDF 279K) a copy of this map.

Current Project Status

As of July 2011, the workgroup has developed and approved Potential Places of Refuge plans for all 4 Response Zones in the NWA Subarea. The Subarea Committee will review the plans and include the PPOR documents in the Subarea Contingency Plan as part of an administrative update to the plan. The PPOR plans are available for download by clicking on each link below:

  • PPOR Introduction Section

    Once these plans are included as a section to the Places of Refuge portion of the Subarea Contingency Plan, they will have an introductory section that will explain the context and use of the plans. You can download a copy of the introduction section (PDF 1.1M) to the Places of Refuge portion of the Subarea Contingency Plan.

    An associated project is the NW Arctic Geographic Response Strategy (GRS) Project.

Primary Project Participants

  • Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Alaska Department of Natural Resources
  • Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  • City of Kotzebue
  • City of Nome
  • Northwest Arctic Borough
  • Native Village of Kotzebue
  • Kawerak Inc.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Alaska Marine Pilots
  • Crowley Maritime Corporation
  • U.S. Coast Guard (Sector Anchorage and District 17)
  • U.S. Department of the Interior
  • U.S. National Park Service
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Invasive Species Considerations

Alien or invasive species include seeds, eggs, spores, or other biological material capable of propagating that species that is not native to an ecosystem. Invasive species commonly are transported in ballast waters and cargo associated oil transport and shipping. During operations any species that are encountered that are suspected to be non-native should be collected and presented to wildlife managers. Additional information on invasive species can be found in the “Useful Websites” section below.

Websites of Interest

Invasive species informative websites:

If you have local knowledge about the Western Alaska Subarea or for more information or questions pertaining to this project, contact

Acknowledgement: This report website is funded in part with qualified outer continental shelf oil and gas revenues by the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.

Disclaimer: The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.