City and Borough of Juneau
155 S. Seward Street
Juneau, Alaska 99801
tel. 907-586-5240
fax 907-586-5385
http://www.juneau.org

Emergency Management

Landslides

Landslide is the general term for any type of downward movement of earth material.  Some landslides occur rapidly while others might take weeks or longer to develop.   Landslides usually occur in steep areas, and can be caused by human activities as well as natural processes.Human activities that trigger landslides are usually associated with construction that removes material from the base, loads material at the top, or otherwise alters a slope.  Changing drainage patterns, groundwater level or slope and surface water can cause landslides. Removal of vegetation from steep slopes can erode the integrity of the ground and lead to landslides as well as general erosion.

landslide damage

Landslides are a significant hazard in the Juneau area because of the steep slopes and heavy precipitation.  Several very destructive landslides have occurred in Juneau's history, especially in the area of Gastineau Avenue and South Franklin Street.  Today, building codes and ordinances are in place to ensure that new construction will be able to withstand landslide impacts.

What You Can Do

  • Do not remove vegetation from steep slopes. Cutting brush and trees can lead to destablization of soils and can cause landslides.
  • Be aware of your home's proximity to landslide-prone areas. Contact local officials, state geological surveys or departments of natural resources, and university departments of geology.  If you find that this is the case, enlist the help of structural engineers when making changes to your home or landscaping to be sure that you do not compromise the stability of the slope.
  • Watch the patterns of storm-water drainage on slopes near your home, and especially the places where runoff water converges.
  • Plant ground cover on slopes and/or build retaining walls.
  • In mudflow areas, build channels or deflection walls to direct the flow around buildings.
  • Remember: If you build walls to divert debris flow onto a neighbor's property, you could be liable for damages.
  • Mudflow can be covered by flood insurance policies from the National Flood Insurance Program. Flood insurance can be purchased through a local insurance agency.


CBJ Image