Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Land Exchange Road Corridor EIS

Applegate Cove Eel Grass

What is an EIS?

NEPA (section 102(2) (C)) requires a federal agency to prepare an EIS whenever the agency proposes or approves an action whose impacts on the human environment may be significant. CEQ defines actions as “projects and programs entirely or partly financed, assisted, conducted, regulated, or approved by federal agencies; new or revised agency rules, regulations, plans, policies, or procedures; and legislative proposals.”

Secretary Signs the Record of Decision

12/23/2013- Secretary Jewell Issues Decision on Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Land Exchange and Road Proposal

WASHINGTON, DC – As directed by Congress in the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today concluded a four-year analysis, and issued a decision supporting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s preferred alternative to decline a proposed land exchange with the State of Alaska and prevent construction of a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, which was first established in the 1960s.

The nearly four-year analysis on the effects of the proposed land exchange, including the impact a road would have on Izembek’s vital ecology and congressionally-designated wilderness helped to inform the Secretary’s decision. In addition, a personal visit to the Refuge and the King Cove and Cold Bay communities as well as a report from the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs regarding the medical evacuation benefits of the proposed road were considered.

Read the entire Department of Interior Press Release

A copy of the Record of Decision is available below along with the recorded public testimony from Secretary Jewell's visit to King Cove, the report completed by Assistant Secretary Washburn as well as the Federal Register notice of the release of the Record of Decision. 

Correspondence on the Record of Decision (Updated August 13, 2014)

Final Environmental Impact Statement Published

We have published the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Land Exchange/Road Corridor Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The document will be available for review for 30 days. This 30-day review period under the National Environmental Policy Act allows federal and state agencies, and individuals and organizations who commented on the draft document, a chance to review the Service’s response in the final EIS. After the review period ends, the Service will complete the Record of Decision.

A copy of the final EIS is available below or you may request a compact disc of the entire document by email, izembek_eis@fws.gov; or telephone, (907) 786-3357.

 Federal Register Notice announcing Final Environmental Impact Statement 

How can I stay informed?
Website Updates: Bookmark this page. To make the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Land Exchange/Road Corridor EIS process available to the widest audience, and to save printing and mailing costs, this web site will be the primary source for all Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Land Exchange/Road Corridor EIS-related information. Simply by visiting this web site you will have access to everything that is produced about the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge Land Exchange/Road Corridor EIS and you will have complete opportunities to submit your written comments.

Email/Mailing List: You may wish to be placed on the Izembek's National Wildlife Refuge Land Exchange/Road Corridor EIS email or mailing list. Note that the names, addresses, and email addresses that appear on these lists could be released upon request, under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

If you would like to add your name to the mailing address or email to the email distribution list, please email Stephanie Brady at stephanie_brady@fws.gov or phone her at 907-306-7448. 



In the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Public Law 111.11, Subtitle E; the Act) (Title VI –Department of the Interior Authorizations; Subtitle E--pdf - 1.2mb), Congress directed the Secretary of Interior to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS must be completed in accord with the terms of the Act, as well as the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and its implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508). Congress specified in the Act (Section 6402 (b)92)(B)) that the EIS will analyze the impacts of a proposed land exchange with the State of Alaska and the King Cove Corporation for the purpose of construction and operation of a single-lane gravel road between the communities of King Cove and Cold Bay, Alaska. The EIS must analyze at a minimum a specific road corridor through the Izembek Refuge that is identified in consultation with the State of Alaska, the City of King Cove and the Agdaagux Tribe of King Cove. Upon completion of the EIS, the Secretary of Interior will determine whether or not the proposed land exchange is in the public interest. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the lead Federal agency for the EIS. Cooperating Agencies to date include: 

Federal: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Federal Highway Administration Western Federal Lands Highway Division
Tribal: Agdaagux Tribe of King Cove and Native Village of Belkofski
State: State of Alaska
Borough: Aleutians East Borough
Local/Other: Alaska Migratory Bird Co-Management Council, City of King Cove, King Cove Corporation

In accord with Sections 6401 and 6404 of the Act, the exchange of land would involve: 

  • approximately 206 acres of Federal surface and subsurface estate in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Izembek Wilderness, and possibly Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge
  • approximately 1,600 acres of surface and subsurface estate in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge on Sitkinak Island , which is withdrawn for use by the U.S. Coast Guard,
  • approximately 43,093 acres of surface and subsurface estate owned by the State of Alaska adjacent to the North Creek Unit of the Alaska Peninsula National Wildlife Refuge, and
  • approximately 13,300 acres of land (surface estate, including relinquishing the selection rights to 5,430 acres of selected lands under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act) owned by King Cove Corporation.
  • Two Notices of Intent were published in the Federal Register; one notice was published in August 2009 (pdf) to announce the preparation of the EIS and a revised notice was published in February 2010 (pdf) to announce the public scoping meetings. We have completed the formal scoping process; the scoping period closed on April 30, 2010. Comments received through May 21, 2010 are summarized and presented in the scoping report (pdf - 7.2mb). 


Draft Environmental Impact Statement Released, March 2012

Executive Summary
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Purpose & Need
Chapter 2 Alternatives
Chapter 3a Physical Environment
Chapter 3b Biological Environment
Chapter 3c Social Environment
Chapter 4 Environmental Consequences
Chapter 5 Consultation & Coordination
Appendix A
Appendix B: Parchels
Appendix C: Scoping Report
Appendix D: ANILCA 810 Analysis
Appendix E: Road Design
Appendix F:Mitigation Measures

Related Links:
Federal Register Notice - August 2009 (pdf)
Federal Register Notice - February 2010 (pdf)
Scoping Newsletter-January 2010 (pdf)
Public Scoping Presentation (pdf)


Transcripts from Public Scoping meetings

Anchorage March 4, 2010
Washington DC- March 11, 2010
Sand Point April 26, 2010 
Cold Bay April 27, 2010 
Nelson Lagoon April 28, 2010 
False Pass April 28, 2010 
King Cove April 29, 2010 
Scoping Newsletter- January 2010 
Scoping Newsletter: September 2010  & Appendix C: Comment Analysis Report
Izembek Comment Analysis Report 2010

Transcripts from Public Meetings
Anchorage-May 3, 2012
Sand Point- May 7, 2012
Cold Bay- May 8, 2012
False Pass and Nelson Lagoon- May 9, 2012
King Cove-May 10, 2012

Draft EIS:
Federal Register Notice announcing Draft EIS- March 2012
DEIS Questions and Answers