KYUK AM

Environment

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

Courtesy of BLM

The Orutsararmiut Native Council calling the federal planning process for how 13 million acres of public land is managed in the region “woefully inadequate.” BLM says that they are taking more steps to reach out. 


RurAL CAP's Weatherization Assistance Program serviced half the homes in Quingahak.
Courtesy of RurAL CAP

RurAL CAP has set up its equipment in Bethel to weatherize homes. Prior to this year they were in Quinhagak, where about half the homes in town were improved. 


The Kuskokwim River in the process of freezing up.
Courtesy of Cece Franko

The ongoing freeze up on the Kuskokwim River has been causing issues for barge companies. Last month, one boat belonging to Alaska Logistics spilled oil and another got stuck, both due to ice. 


The NWS has issued a winter storm warning for the Kuskokwim Delta until 5 a.m. on Nov. 6, 2019.
National Weather Service screenshot

The winter storm warning issued for the Kuskokwim Delta continues through 5 a.m. on Wednesday. The National Weather Service predicts freezing rain to continue, with ice accumulating up a half inch in most areas. The highest ice accumulation is predicted to be along the coast. Northwest of Bethel, up to 3 inches of snow fall is also possible. The National Weather Service cautions that “travel could be extremely hazardous.”

The National Weather Service has predicted a winter storm warning for the Kuskokwim Delta from midnight on Nov. 4 to midnight on Nov. 5, 2019.
National Weather Service screenshot

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the Kuskokwim Delta from midnight on Monday, Nov. 4 to midnight on Tuesday, Nov.5. The warning area encompasses the coast from Hooper Bay to Nunivak Island and inland to Bethel. Snow and freezing rain are expected with snowfall up to 4 to 6 inches and ice accumulation up to a half inch. The greatest snowfall is expected north and west of Bethel; intermittent sleet is also possible. The National Weather Service cautions that “travel could be extremely hazardous.”

The high-water erosion event in May swallowed 75 to 100 feet of Akiak's riverbank.
Ivan Ivan / City of Akiak

Last week, state emergency management officials visited Akiak to see how they can help with the erosion confronting the village. An erosion event last spring left several homes less than 100 feet away from the river. 

Harry Nevak starts filling his boat in Newtok with his family's belongings in order to move them over to Mertarvik.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News

When the first families from Newtok relocated to Mertarvik earlier this month, they were asked, “How do you feel?” It’s a question that residents have been confronting over 20 years, as they’ve worked to move away from their eroding village. But how are you supposed to feel when you’ve left your home, your family, and your friends to pioneer a brand new village? Mertarvik residents say that it’s complicated.


The first residents moved into Mertarvik last weekend. About a third of Newtok, the ones closest to the erosion and flooding, will move across the river to the new village throughout this month.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News

It was 20 years coming, but it finally began this weekend: the first residents of Mertarvik moved into their new homes. 

Strong westerly winds blowing towards the Western Alaska coast could cause more erosion. Coastal villages from Newtok up to Hooper Bay are warned to tie down any loose property and move it away from the coast, if possible. The National Weather Service says that these winds will last through Saturday.

Jeremy Lee, 31, stands before the burning trailer where he rented a room behind Front Street Cafe in Bethel. Oct. 2, 2019.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Jeremy Lee is just hoping he has a warm place to sleep tonight. On Wednesday, Oct. 2, white smoke rose from the trailer where he'd been renting a room since April. Between him and the smoke stretched a line of emergency vehicles with police officers in blue uniforms and firefighters in yellow turnouts moving between them.


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