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Research Consortium to Gather Feedback on the Future of Nome

Front Street in Nome, Alaska. KNOM stock photo.

April 24, 2024

Sarah Swartz, News Reporter

Conversations will be open to the public at the Mini Convention Center in Nome this week to discuss the future of mining, the deep draft port, tourism, and climate change in the region. Jim Powell, a Term Assistant Research Professor with University of Alaska Southeast, visited Nome last year to conduct cruise tourism research under a National Science Foundation Grant. Powell and a team of researchers will share their findings from that visit and take comments from citizens in an open discussion format.

“We’re here to listen, to share. And that’s what we’re going to do.” Powell said.

Powell recognized a need early on to join forces with other researchers participating in similar grant-funded studies being conducted in the Bering Straits Region. He reached out to contacts from the University of Alaska, Indiana University, George Washington University, Vienna University, and University of Colorado. This collaborative effort sparked the creation of the Nome Coordinated Research Consortium (NCRC).

“Putting together a consortium, quite frankly, was very difficult administratively. And so we crossed those bridges.” Powell said.

In 2023 the NCRC gathered to conduct interviews with the City Council, City Manager, Nome Planning Commission, tribal representatives, and other local experts. Recognizing Nome’s unique infrastructure and current development plans including the graphite mine and deep draft port, the NCRC researchers hope to lend their collective expertise.

“We’re just a group of researchers that are working together because it makes sense for the community and for us.” Powell said.

Two separate meetings will be held to answer questions and gather input from the community on Wednesday, April 24 from 12:00- 2:00 p.m., and Thursday, April 25 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Food will be provided for attendees as research experts share their projects in the Bering Straits Region.

Jim Powell is available for questions at (907) 209-5676.

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