(information last updated January 2019)

Ongoing Projects:

Federal Project(s) Operating in the State:

Alaska Sea Grant (“ASG”) is part of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and part of the National Sea Grant Program, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”). See Citizen Science, Alaska Sea Grant, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019). ASG funds and coordinates citizen science projects in Alaska along with other groups. See id.; see also Alaska Community-Based Monitoring, Alaska Ocean Observing System, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019); Marilyn Sigman, ed., ASG, Community-Based Monitoring of Alaska’s Coastal and Ocean Environment (2015),


The University of Alaska has established a program called the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (“ACUASI”) “to maintain a world class research center for unmanned aircraft systems, providing integration of unique payloads and supporting pathfinder missions within government and science communities, with a special emphasis on the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.”About Us, ACUASI U. of Alaska Fairbanks, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019); see also Alaska Stat. § 14.40.082 (“The University of Alaska may establish a training program in the operation of unmanned aircraft systems.”).  The program was selected as a test site by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2013.  About Us, ACUASI U. of Alaska Fairbanks, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019). Past missions have included a survey of arctic tundra vegetation, a survey of seas grass and sea otters in Homer, Alaska, a walrus survey, and a sea ice survey. Past Missions, ACUASI U. of Alaska Fairbanks, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

State Project(s):

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Citizen Science Program is a partnership between members of the public and professional scientists, which provides opportunities for interested individuals to assist wildlife biologists in collecting important data as part of ongoing research projects and conservation planning. See Alaska Citizen Science Program, Alaska Dep’t of Fish & Game, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Collection of Information:

Trespass Related to Geotechnical Surveys and Mining:

“A person who trespasses upon the land of another to gather geotechnical data . . . is liable to the owner for treble the amount of damages that may be assessed in a civil action.”  Alaska Stat. § 09.45.735.  If the trespass was unintentional, however, only actual damages may be recovered. Id.


Scientific Permit:

“[R]esearchers who wish to capture, collect, or repeatedly disturb wild Alaska mammals, birds, or reptiles for scientific purposes need a scientific permit. They will also need to submit annual reports about their activities to [the Alaska Department of Fish and Game].” Mammal, Bird & Reptile Permits - 

Scientific Permits, Alaska Dep’t of Fish & Game, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019).

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No. A person commits the crime of criminal trespass in the second degree if the person enters or remains unlawfully… in or upon premises. Alaska Stat. § 11.46.330(a)(1). However, a person is not liable for trespass if she enters “unimproved and apparently unused land, which is neither fenced nor otherwise enclosed . . . unless notice against trespass is given” by signs posted on the property or personally by the owner.  Id. § 11.46.350(b).

Other Provisions:

See supra “Trespass Related to Geotechnical Surveys and Mining.”

Drone Laws:


“A municipality may not adopt an ordinance that permits the release of images captured by an unmanned aircraft system in a manner inconsistent with AS 18.65.903 [see infra “Use of Information”].” Alaska Stat. § 29.35.146(a).

Drone Use Prohibited in Chugach State Park:

The use of drones is prohibited in Chugach State Park. See Alaska Admin. Code tit. 11, § 20.020(a); Flying Drones Prohibited in Chugach State Park, Alaska Dep’t of Nat. Resources, (last visited Feb. 7, 2019); see also Alaska Admin. Code tit. 11, § 20.855; id. § 20.983.

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“A person commits the crime of stalking in the second degree if the person knowingly engages in a course of conduct that recklessly places another person in fear of death or physical injury, or in fear of the death or physical injury of a family member.”  Alaska Stat. § 11.41.270(a).

Use of Information:

Although our research is incomplete, this provision could be construed to prohibit the use of information collected by citizens.

Explicitly Prohibits:

“A law enforcement agency may not retain images captured by an unmanned aircraft system unless retention of the image is required

(1) as part of an investigation or prosecution;

(2) for training purposes; or

(3) by federal or state law or by municipal ordinance.” Alaska Stat. § 18.65.903(a).

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.”  Alaska R. Civ. P. 11(b)(3).

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims, except as provided in paragraphs (a) and (b) below:

(a)  Whenever the prosecution in a criminal trial offers (1) real evidence which is of such a nature as not to be readily identifiable, or as to be susceptible to adulteration, contamination, modification, tampering, or other changes in form attributable to accident, carelessness, error or fraud, or (2) testimony describing real evidence of the type set forth in (1) if the information on which the description is based was acquired while the evidence was in the custody or control of the prosecution, the prosecution must first demonstrate as a matter of reasonable certainty that the evidence is at the time of trial or was at the time it was observed properly identified and free of the possible taints identified by this paragraph.

(b)  In any case in which real evidence of the kind described in paragraph (a) of this rule is offered, the court may require additional proof before deciding whether to admit or exclude evidence under Rule 403. ” 

Alaska R. Evid. 901.

Expert Testimony:

Alaska Rule of Evidence 702 and Daubert standard limited to “expert testimony based on scientific theory, as opposed to testimony based upon the expert’s personal experience.”  Thompson v. Cooper, 290 P.3d 393, 399-400 (Alaska 2012).


Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.