Collaboration versus communication: The Department of Energy's Amchitka Island and the Aleut Community2

Author Name: 
Burger, J., Gochfeld, M. and Pletnikoff, K.
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Private File Attachment: 
Increasingly managers and scientists are recognizing that solving environmental problems requires the inclusion of a wide range of disciplines, governmental agencies, Native American tribes, and other stakeholders. Using the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Amchitka Island in the Aleutians as a case study, we demonstrate that the inclusion of Aleut people throughout the process resulted in science that was relevant not only to the agency’s needs and to the interested and affected parties, but that led to a solution. Amchitka Island was the site of three underground nuclear tests from 1965 to 1971, and virtually no testing of radionuclide levels in biota, subsistence foods, or commercial fish was conducted after the 1970s. The process outlined was successful in resolving a previously contentious situation by inclusion and collaboration with the Aleuts, among others, and could be usefully applied elsewhere to complex environmental problems where severe data gaps exist. (from abstract)