Alaska Department of Natural Resources 
Division of Land
Resource Assessment & Development Section

Excerpts from an Agency Review Draft
June 1999

[Editor's note: we have "ghosted" sections which are not especially relevant to the issue.  Please see sections in regular type and especially bold green below.]

Floating Facilities:


Economic Development Opportunities. Provide opportunities to increase personal income and diversify the state's economy by accommodating residential uses needed to support commercial and industrial developments, including opportunities for commercial and industrial development to support tourism, development, upland resource extraction, and provide services for community needs. 

Settlement Opportunities. Provide a range of options for using state land for floathome purposes.


Floating Facilities (General): A general phrase used to encompass the types of floating facilities further described below. These facility types do not include commercial fishing vessels engaged in commercial fishing activities. Residential floating facilities require an authorization if moored or anchored within a bay or cove in one location for a period of 14 days or more. Moving the floating facility at least two miles starts a new 14-day period. Commercial floating facilities require authorization before occupying state tidelands.

Facility Types  and Definitions


Floathouses, houseboats, barges, and boats, powered or not,  that are intended for non-commercial residential use. A floathome is generally for single family use and not associated with economic development activities.


A floating residential facility providing overnight accommodations for commercial recreation services to the public.

Floating Caretaker, Facility, Floatcamp, or Floating Camp:

Single or multi-family floating residential facilities used as housing or that are necessary to contain equipment or processing to support facilities for economic development activities such as commercial timber harvest, mineral exploration or aquatic farming operations, or associated with public activities. (Note: This definition also applies to floatcamps or floating camps.) 


A. Siting, Development, and Operational Standards:  General.   Floating facilities will be sited, designed and operated consistent with the requirements of the U.S. Corps of Engineers General Permit for floathomes (currently 89-4) and all successor general permits or an individual permit; federal and state water quality standards; coastal zone standards under ACMP 6 AAC 80.130; and ADF&G habitat protection regulations. If necessary, DNR may impose additional stipulations to ensure environmental or habitat protection, use compatibility, or to meet the objectives of this plan.

B. Siting: Floating Facilities Inside Municipalities. Within the corporate boundaries of municipalities, DNR will regulate floating facility siting consistent with the Alaska Coastal Management Plan, including the district coastal zone management plan if applicable, and the local comprehensive plan or zoning. If there is no local comprehensive plan or zoning, DNR will work with the local government and facility owner(s) to locate areas suitable for floathome use.

C. Siting: Floathomes Adjacent to Residential Areas. Floathomes will not be authorized adjacent to upland residential uses unless the area is designated for floathomes as a primary or secondary use. However, a short-term authorization, not to exceed two years, may be given on an individual basis to the upland owner if the floathome is to be occupied while the upland owner is constructing a residence on his/her upland parcel.

D. Siting: Floathomes within or near Sensitive Uses, Habitats, or Resources. To protect existing habitats, resources and uses, unless an area is designated for floathomes as a primary or secondary use, floating facilities should not be authorized in the following areas: designated habitat areas (where it would be inconsistent with the resources identified for a particular parcel), anchorages, areas designated recreation ("Rd", "Ru"), or adjacent to areas of an upland subdivision (except for those floathomes that are currently permitted and excerpt as authorized under item #C, above). In addition, they should not be permitted near an authorized aquatic farming operation (except for associated caretaker residences), near known cultural or historical sites, near a public use cabin or sensitive Forest Service research site, or adjacent to areas designated a National Monument or Wilderness in the Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan. Further, they should not be authorized where the use of floathomes is prohibited in the management intent statement for a particular subunit in this plan.   

Floating structures may be authorized by DNR if it is determined that the permitting of a floating facility is in the best interest of the state and if the following standards are met: if the proposed facility meets the standards of this section, conforms to applicable regulations and statutes stated in management guideline A, and the use is found consistent with the state Coastal Zone Management program. This standard applies to both residential and non-residential floating structures

E. Area Occupied by Floating Facility. All floathomes and related floating structures shall occupy the smallest area of tideland or submerged land practicable consistent with the requirements of the proposed use.

F. Authorization of Floating Structures. DNR should not authorize floating facilities within areas of sensitive uses or habitats, described more specifically in management guideline D. Floating structures may be authorized by DNR in other tideland areas if the proposed facility meets the standards of this section, conforms to applicable regulations and statutes stated in management guideline A, and the use is found consistent with the state Coastal Zone Management program. This standard applies to both residential and non-residential floating structures.

G. Form of Authorization of Floating Structures. Residential and non- residential structures should be authorized through the use of a permit.  Permits issued to residential and non-residential structures shall be of five-year duration and may be renewed. Renewal may be authorized by DNR for another five years if the floating structure meets the requirements of the initial permit and any other stipulations that DNR may impose to conform the use to the then current standards or regulations. Commercial structures may be allowed by, or be converted to, a lease when the use, in the opinion of the Department,  is of a permanent nature. Floating facilities of a non-permanent character shall only be authorized by permit.

H. Authorization of Temporary Floating Commercial Facilities. Floating camps and related facilities should be temporary, with full occupancy restricted to the time when resource development is occurring. To the extent practicable, camps and associated facilities should be consolidated to minimize impacts and limit their proliferation. Temporary floating commercial facilities shall not be sited in sensitive habitat,  resource, or use areas, described more specifically in management guideline D, and may not be sited in other areas unless they are a designated use or support a designated use in the plan. Authorizations for floating facility should terminate when the upland use, which created the need for the floating structure, has ended or when the need for the supporting floating facility ends. Authorization for this type of use shall be through a permit, which is not intended to be renewable.

I. Public Notice. The adjacent upland owners shall be notified by DNR during permit review as part of, and in addition to, the general pubic noticing required of agency actions under AS.38.05.945. Floating facilities authorized by a DNR permit shall affix on the facility a posting. The posting, which verifies their permit, shall be displayed on the facility in a location that is visible from the most common access route. 

J. Anchoring of Floating Facilities. In order to protect public access to and along public tidelands, shoreties that would conflict with public access should not be authorized if floating facilities can be safely moored through the use of anchors or rock bolts. In addition, shoreties will not be used where there is no authorization from the upland owner. 

K. Other Guidelines Affecting Floating Facilities. Other guidelines will affect floating facilities. See in particular the following sections of this chapter:

Coordination and Public Notice
Fish and Wildlife Habitat and Harvest Areas
Material Sites
Recreation, Tourism, and Scenic Resources

Coordination and Public Notice


Coordination with Non-state Landowners. Coordinate the use of state land with that of private and other public landowners to provide for the optimal use, development, and protection of area resources. 

Public Participation. Provide local governments, state and federal agencies, adjacent landowners, and the general public with meaningful opportunities to participate in the process of making significant land-use decisions


A. Notice for Decisions Requiring Public Notice (Under AS 38.05.945). As required by statute, public notice will be given for decisions involving the sale, lease, or disposal of (or interests in) land, property, or resources. Actions not involving a disposal of interest will require public notice in accordance with Division of Land procedures. Notice will be given to parties known or likely to be affected by an action proposed by the state or an applicant to the state, including upland property owners of adjoining state tidelands or submerged lands.

B. Avoiding Conflicts with Adjacent Upland Owners. Before DNR issues a land use authorization on tidelands, submerged lands, or shore lands, DNR will require applicants to use areas that will reduce the likelihood of possible land use disagreements with upland owners (such as unvegetated gravel bars and tidal areas). DNR will carefully consider comments from private landowners and others before making a decision. DNR will retain the right to issue a land use authorization over the objection of adjacent landowners.

C. Other Guidelines Affecting Coordination or Public Notice. Several other guidelines may affect coordination or public notice. See in particular the following sections of this chapter:

Aquatic Farming
Fish and Wildlife Habitat and Harvest Areas
Floating Facilities
Recreation, Tourism, and Scenic Resources
Shorelines and Stream Corridors


Correspondence list

The Presidential Proclamation establishing Misty Fiords 

Letter from Rob Scherer to Misty Fiords Ranger Don Fisher regarding the  un-permitted floating dock in Rudyerd Bay, and other issues (September 29, 1992)

Letter from US Forest Service Ketchikan District Ranger to Rob Scherer responding to concerns about the un-permitted floating dock in Rudyerd Bay and other issues (December 12, 1992)

Department of Natural Resources management direction for tide and submerged lands (agency review draft, June 1999)

Excerpt from e-mail message from Jeremiah Ingersoll, Ketchikan District Ranger (July, 1999)

Letter from US Forest Service Ketchikan District Ranger to Alaska Department of Natural Resources regarding complaints about the un-permitted floating dock in Rudyerd Bay (July 20, 1999)

E-mail message from Rob Scherer to agencies and news media (August, 1999)

Letter to the Editor of the Ketchikan Daily News (September 13, 1999)

Comments to the US Army Corps of Engineers about the floating docks (December 1999)

US Forest Service

Southeast Alaska Conservation Council

Mike Stanley


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PO Box 6117
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