While the FUDS program tends to prioritize projects partly on the basis of population, NALEMP can address more rural concerns such as the effects on subsistence.
Under FUDS, "risks in highly-populated areas rise to the top," Elconin says, "but under NALEMP they don't prioritize the high-population areas as much, so that it can address problems in rural areas where population is low."
Overall, NALEMP administers twenty-five to thirty different cooperative agreements.
The Native Village of Gakona, the ANCSA village corporation, has been working with NALEMP for about five years to clean up an Air Force radio relay site, or RSS, which operated from 1960 to 1983.
"NALEMP funded the cleanup of twenty-eight fifty-five-gallon drum tops, five grounding posts, one hundred pieces of metal strapping, one Army truck tailgate, and one rusted metal stove, among other debris from 5.62 acres of Ahtna [Corporation] land adjacent to the RRS site.
At the week-long Annual NALEMP meeting in Anchorage in April, Donat said he was happy to learn the program is getting $12 million this year, and that $8 million of that is going directly to the tribes.
"Although the Department of Defense is cutting at all levels, the NALEMP program is not being cut," said Donat, who earned his first Bachelor of Science at age 18, and was a director of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society at 23.
The continuation of the FUDS and NALEMP funding is good news for other Alaska companies, too.
NALEMP fills in the gaps and takes care of some of the things that FUDS can't get to in a quick and timely fashion or where the risk perspective isn't very high.
The Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association contracted with Chilkat Environmental to investigate the oil and tar drum pit site there through NALEMP last fall because residents were dissatisfied with previous efforts to locate the pit.