Riverbank erosion and its consequences in the Yukon River Basin

Woodward W. Fischer, Michael P. Lamb, Marie E. Lowe, Edda Mutter, Joel C. Rowland, A. Joshua West, Samantha R. Baker, Rain Blankenship, James L. Dickson, Hannah Dion-Kirschner, Madison M. Douglas, Kieran B.J. Dunne, Emily C. Geyman, Yutian Ke, Nelson Kempt, John S. Magyar, Kimberly L. Miller, Jocelyn N. Reahl, M. Isabel Smith, Alakanuk Traditional Council, Beaver Village Council, Huslia Tribal Council, First Chief Norman Burgett, President Raymond Oney, First Chief Rhonda Pita

Rivers and floodplains are particularly susceptible to a warmer climate due to permafrost thaw that can lead to accelerated erosion. This erosion threatens critical infrastructure and disrupts community life. Here we summarize objectives and early findings from a new NNA project to understand riverbank erosion and its impact on contaminants including heavy metals, such as mercury, along with carbon, nutrients and pathogens. In tandem, we are working to understand regional adaptive capacity and how actionable plans and policies can be used to meet local challenges presented by riverbank erosion. The project involves a collaboration across the natural and social sciences, the Yukon River Intertribal Watershed Council, and with three partner communities in the Yukon River basin.