Environmental Planning


The environmental planning function includes administration of the Anchorage Wetlands Management Plan (and formerly the Anchorage Coastal Management Plan), as well as planning for other environmental resources.

Wetland Boundary Comparison Maps, 1996 - 2012

The maps below are generalized graphics that were produced to illustrate the extent of new wetland mapping since 1996.

Anchorage Wetlands Management Plan, 2014   

On July 8, 2014, the Anchorage Assembly approved the updated Anchorage Wetlands Management Plan with amendments as outlined in
AO No. 2013-132(S).  

Anchorage was one of the first communities in the country to adopt a local wetlands management plan.  Originally adopted in 1982, this plan maps and provides management strategies for every freshwater wetland in the Municipality. 

Anchorage Wetlands Management Plan

Other Background Information

June 2013:  Planning and Zoning Commission Action 

The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the Anchorage Wetlands Management Plan (AWMP) on April 8, 2013.  The Public Hearing Draft of the AWMP was forwarded to the Anchorage Assembly with a recommendation of approval as adopted in Planning and Zoning Commission Resolution No. 2013-017, dated June 3, 2013.  

The Planning and Zoning Commission's recommended changes to the Anchorage Wetlands Management Plan revision is shown in a track-change version below.

March 2012 Public Hearing Draft  

The Public Hearing Draft of the revised Anchorage Wetlands Management Plan is available for downloading below. It may be downloaded as a full document or by chapter.  The Management Strategy Tables and the Wetland Designation Maps have been separated out for your convenience.

The Anchorage Wetlands Management Plan (AWMP) describes the diverse system of freshwater wetlands within the Municipality, lists the functions they provide in local environmental quality, and presents policies and guidelines for wetland management. The original 1982 AWMP was updated and approved in 1996. 

Anchorage's wetlands are invaluable components in local water quality and flood control issues and provide fish and wildlife migratory, breeding, and winter habitats. For local management and permitting purposes, wetlands are designated "A," "B," or "C" in the plan. Each wetland area has its own site-specific management strategy.  "A" wetlands are considered of highest value, of which Potter Marsh is the best example.

Anchorage Coastal Management Plan      

March 2012 Update:  Alaska's participation with the national Coastal Zone Management Act (known as the Alaska Coastal Management Program) ended on June 30, 2011.  This federally funded program allows coastal states to manage coastal and ocean resources for the benefit of coastal residents and allows a local voice in resource management decisions.

The Municipality of Anchorage, as well as the 30 other Alaska coastal districts, had operated under the Alaska Coastal Management Program (ACMP) since 1979.  The Anchorage Coastal Management Plan (1979, updated 2007) was drafted by the Municipality as local guidance for that program. The Anchorage Wetlands Management Plan was initiated in 1982 per Alaska Statutes AAC 11.114, directing the ACMP to address freshwater wetlands which have an influence on coastal resources.  A recent federal coastal management program amendment added a sunset clause.  Because the Alaska Legislature was unable to agree upon certain aspects of the program's renewal, the State of Alaska's participation in the program ended.  The Anchorage Wetlands Management Plan will continue to be a guiding document for development in freshwater wetlands.  Although the Anchorage Coastal Management Plan cannot be effectively implemented without the State's coastal management program that oversaw the implementation of district plans, it remains a valuable informational source regarding coastal resources.

In February 2012, the State House introduced a bill to establish a coastal management program in Alaska.  If lawmakers cannot decide on the parameters of a new Alaska Coastal Management Program, a statewide initiative could bring the program to the ballot for voters to decide in 2012.

Corps of Engineers Section 404 Permitting

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued five General Permits that regulate placement of fill into wetlands designated "C" within the Municipality. The Long-Range Planning Division verifies and administers these General Permits. Placement of fill into wetlands designated "A" or "B" requires a Section 404 Permit from the Corps.

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