KYUK AM

Environment

Environmental stories that take place in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

Dean Swope / KYUK

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is reviewing the right-of-way lease for the Donlin Gold mine’s proposed gas pipeline after the agency approved it in January 2020.

Christine Trudeau / KYUK

Ten tribes have sent a letter protesting the proposed Donlin Gold mine to the two companies trying to build it in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The letter comes as one of the companies, Novagold, is preparing to deliver its annual report to its shareholders this weekend.

Courtesy of Jacob Tobeluk

While many communities along the Kuskokwim River escaped major flooding, one small village is still seeing high water. One Nunapitchuk resident, Moses Tobeluk, spoke on KYUK's morning show about the flooding. 


William McCarr watches the water rise near his home on Hangar Lake Road. "This isn't the highest it's been, it's come up since last night. I'm not worried because we've had this kind of flood occasion before," McCarr said. May 7, 2020 in Bethel, Alaska.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Most Kuskokwim River communities have escaped heavy flooding so far, but not Kwethluk. Social media photos show water rising high and completely covering some roads. The IRA Council passed a resolution declaring a state of emergency on May 6. Phone calls to the council president and to the city manager were not returned by publication. 

Children float down a flooded street on a makeshift raft in Alligator Acres on May 6, 2020 in Bethel, Alaska.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Four days after the Kuskokwim Ice Classic tripod fell, Bethel residents are still seeing ice moving downriver, and experiencing flooding in low-lying neighborhoods. The coronavirus pandemic has limited breakup festivities, but community members are still finding ways to celebrate spring.

An ice pack builds up in front of Bethel, Alaska on May 5, 2020.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Break up continues on the Kuskokwim River. Napaskiak resident and river observer Earl Samuelson has been tracking the ice and water levels on the Kuskokwim River, and he says that people need to brace themselves for more high water heading downstream. 

Courtesy of Kuskokwim Ice Classic

A Kipnuk commercial fisherman won this year’s Kuskokwim Ice Classic on his first try. 

Kalskag resident Cons Gregory reported that the barge passed by Upper Kalskag on May 4 at around 1:20 pm.
Cons Gregory

On the evening of May 5, Bethel residents caught the peculiar sight of an unattended barge floating down the Kuskokwim River. The barge, filled with gravel and owned by Alaska Logistics, froze in the river near Aniak last October. With the river’s breakup freeing the vessel, it has drifted over 100 miles and looks to be heading out to sea. 


Ice continues to move down the Kuskokwim River past Bethel on May 5, 2020 at 11:30 a.m.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Most places on the Kuskokwim River are not experiencing major flooding, but the ice is moving fast and the water is high. On May 5, Napaskiak resident Earl Samuelson warned that people need to keep an eye out for high water.

Kuskokwim River breakup in front of Bethel, Alaska on the evening of May 3, 2020.
Katie Basile / KYUK

The Kuskokwim River has largely cleared itself of in-place ice, greatly reducing the chances of flooding along the river, according to National Weather Service hydrologist Celine Van Breukelen. She’s flying with the River Watch crew, monitoring breakup conditions along the Kuskokwim.

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