A coastal town from the view of an overlook with trees in the foreground.
Nature and Community Communities in Alaska rely on the healthy lands and waters that surround them. © Bethany Sonsini Goodrich
Stories in Alaska

Policy Priorities in Alaska

We’re working for meaningful solutions across aisles, across sectors, across borders and across Alaska.

Explore our view on important issues in the 49th State.

Rigorous science. Practical. Nonpartisan. 

We work across borders and across sectors to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends. We stand committed to a nonpartisan approach.

Local partnerships in Alaska bring us all closer to a world where nature and people thrive together.

Alaska is on the frontlines of climate change. This is a reality that Alaskans, particularly rural Alaskans and Indigenous Peoples, know through lived experience. Change is real and visible in locales all across Alaska. Thawing permafrost, extreme weather events, fish and wildlife losses and a variety of dramatic changes to our lands and waters all combine to threaten long-standing traditions, local economies and food security. Alaskans are experiencing and adapting to a changing climate and its ramifications at breakneck speed. These changes require communities to prepare for the future, to work toward sustainability and to find solutions to these new challenges.

All of Alaska awaits our best efforts at coming together to find solutions today.

FACTS

  • 229

    federally recognized Tribes in Alaska and Alaska Native people make up nearly one-fifth of Alaska’s population.

  • >1%

    of land in Alaska is privately held; 61% is federal, 26% is state and 12% is owned by Alaska Native corporations.

  • 2/3

    of U.S. wild-caught seafood comes from Alaskan waters.

  • < 50%

    Alaska possesses more than 50% of total U.S. natural carbon storage.

  • 40%

    Alaska lakes and rivers contain 40% of United States freshwater.

Two people walking through a forest.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FORESTS Alaska’s wealth of forests and other natural lands take in and store carbon year in and year out, an essential component to a comprehensive climate strategy focused on transitioning away from fossil fuels. © Bethany Sonsini Goodrich

Climate Solutions

Public policy drives our climate program in Alaska. Guided by science and partnerships, we seek to speed the transition to renewables, build Alaska’s energy independence and resilience, inform public processes, advocate for equitable outcomes in policy and educate the public.

Some examples of our work include:

  • Supporting increased investments in renewable energy infrastructure through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law at the federal level and the Renewable Energy Fund at the state level;
  • Educating the public and federal and state lawmakers about climate impacts through the Alaska Climate Opportunity Assessment;
  • Providing informational resources and best practices via state and federal public comments to improve public processes around climate programs.
Several salmon fillets hang on a metal rod to dry.
ALASKA FISHERIES In Alaska, traditions and livelihoods built on fishing sustain healthy lifestyles and vibrant local economies. © Erika Nortemann/TNC

Sustainable Fisheries

The Nature Conservancy supports Alaska’s fishing families through our work to protect Bristol Bay lands and waters; improve equitable access to commercial fishing opportunities for rural and Indigenous fishing families and communities; and influence federal policy to be more inclusive of Alaska’s unique fisheries, waterway improvements and restoration, and increased funding for science.

Some examples include:

  • Researching solutions for the outmigration of commercial fishing permits from rural communities in Bristol Bay;
  • Following the lead of Tribes to advocate for permanent protections for Alaska’s Bristol Bay headwaters;
  • Encouraging NOAA fisheries policy to incorporate Indigenous knowledge and community-driven research priorities and invest in improving relationships with Alaska Native communities.
Scenic landscape view of a small fishing community on the edge of a body of water.
LIVE AND WORK People in Alaska’s towns, cities and villages, like Tununak, pictured here, depend on healthy lands and waters. Policies for ongoing care and stewardship of natural resources must champion the needs and aspirations of local communities. © Travis CC BY-NC 2.0

Resilient Communities

The Nature Conservancy in Alaska works in close partnership with communities throughout Southeast Alaska and Bristol Bay to create outcomes that are durable and equitable. Across Alaska, we know that stewarding the environment must serve the community in order to be a meaningful solution. This means ensuring our policy work is grounded in the unique context of Alaska and that community needs are reflected in our advocacy. Often, this means finding opportunities to support economic-development-friendly conservation, encouraging people-centric solutions and influencing improved place-specific resource management.

Some examples include:

  • Lowering barriers to entry for the young-growth timber industry by supporting state legislation for lumber grading standards that better serve Alaskans;
  • Influencing implementation of the Forest Service’s Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy to include projects prioritized by community partners in Southeast Alaska;
  • Advocating for improvements in the Farm Bill, including improving federal funding for programs that have been important to creating jobs, supporting locally led stewardship and encouraging sustainable management in Alaska like the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Resources

Policy Goals

  • Sustaining healthy lands and waters that support Alaska's unique communities is the foundation of The Nature Conservancy's commitment to our state's economy, security and ways of life.

    FACT SHEET: Policy Priorities in Alaska

Publications

  • This series of four reports explore Alaska’s unique opportunities to address climate change and assess the economic and political implications of recent, current and future investments and policies. These reports cover Alaska’s renewable energy economy, climate-resilient housing and infrastructure across the state and natural climate solutions.

     

Advocacy

Kelsey Schober headshot.
Kelsey Schober Kelsey is Director of Government Affairs for The Nature Conservancy in Alaska. © TNC

Contact Us

Kelsey Schober, Director of Government Affairs

Email: kelsey.schober@tnc.org