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More than $13 million in federal funding earmarked for Bristol Bay

Avery Lill
A wintry view of Dillingham's sewage lagoon.

More than $13 million in congressionally directed funds will go toward projects in Chignik Lagoon, Dillingham, and Naknek.

That’s just a small part of the almost $500 million geared toward over 130 projects across Alaska, according to an announcement last month from Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Dillingham will receive $5 million to plan for shoreline protection near the city’s sewage facility.

At Dillingham’s city council meeting on Thursday, City Manager Robert Mawson said the city worked with Murkowski’s office on the city’s erosion control project and applied for $36 million to tackle it, but that it didn’t have up-to-date information.

“We really didn't have the best estimates for what we need to do there. We were going on some older estimates and costs," he said. "So we essentially were asked if we would take a lower amount so that we can do some planning for that project, which we didn't refuse.”

Mawson said the city will use its $5 million to determine a path forward.

“And the purpose of that money, as I mentioned, would be to do planning to decide what would be the best avenue to address our concerns there," he said. "Atually get some project plans together, some actual cost estimates, so they can move forward with an actual project request in the coming budget year.”

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium will get $5.3 million to provide safe drinking water in Chignik Lagoon.

Village Administrator Michelle Anderson said in the news release that a new water distribution system will “bring relief to our operators and staff, who work tirelessly to maintain the current system which has caused years of anxiety and panic on a regular basis.”

The project aims to provide a clean and reliable water source for the community and stem a significant, daily loss of clean water.

Naknek will receive $3 million to renovate and expand the Camai Community Health Center.

All the funding comes from the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package Congress passed in December.

This story has been updated with quotes from Dillingham City Manager Robert Mawson.

Get in touch with the author at or 907-843-1002.

Izzy Ross is the news director at KDLG, the NPR member station in Dillingham. She reports, edits, and hosts stories from around the Bristol Bay region, and collaborates with other radio stations across the state.