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

Kuskokwim River Intertribal Fish Commission

Winter is coming, and before snow covers the trash scattered around Bethel, volunteers are mobilizing over the weekend of Oct. 10 to collect trash in subdivisions and parks across the city. The event, “Clean Up Before Freeze Up,” is a play on the annual “Clean Up Green Up” event where community members clean up litter after breakup. The event will take place from Oct. 9 to 11.

Katie Basile / KYUK

Bethel buzzed with excitement after two F-16 fighter jets made an emergency landing at the airport on the night of Sept. 22. 

Steve Carr was checking on a few airplanes parked next to the Bethel air traffic tower, when he heard the distinctive sound of two fighter jets approaching. Carr then saw them dip low toward the runway. 

Environmental Investigation Agency

On Sept. 21, an environmental group released secretly recorded video clips of Pebble Mine executives saying that Donlin Gold can’t afford to build its gold mine in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The executives said that there might be a way for Donlin to reduce its costs if the companies work together to connect the two Southwest Alaska mining projects by building a road through the tundra. 

The gates to the BIA site in Bethel are closed while contractors remove hazardous material from the site and prepare it for demolition.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Expect to hear booms in Bethel next week. Demolition of the BIA buildings, located at the end of BIA road, will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Highway Contractor Tries to Limit Delays

Aug 18, 2020
Road construction continues in Bethel causing some traffic delays. August 18, 2020.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Bethel residents and visitors should expect a few road delays on Tuesday, Aug. 18. Knik Construction is working on the section of road from Watson's Corner down Ridgecrest Drive to “First Road Housing".

Many of the men and women working construction in Mertarvik this summer are from Newtok or nearby villages. Keeping the crew local is one way the Newtok Village Council is saving money on home construction. A roof truss is placed on a home in Mertarvik,
Katie Basile / KYUK

Around 130 people made the move to the new community of Mertarvik last October. That still leaves most of the village’s residents in Newtok, wondering when a new house will be built for them. 

A junk vehicle in Bethel.
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

Bethel residents can apply online for the city to remove two junk vehicles from their yards for free. Applicants must have a current utility account with the city to qualify.

Dean Swope / KYUK

NovaGold, one of the companies developing the proposed Donlin Gold mine, has filed a lawsuit against a short-selling research firm. That firm released a report in May opining that the proposed Donlin Gold mine would not be built, and that NovaGold was overvalued. 

Fire Burns Down Aniak River Lodge

Jun 19, 2020
Courtesy of Alaska State Forestry Division.

A fire destroyed a river lodge and guest cabins on the Aniak River about 25 miles upstream from the community of Aniak. The fire, which ignited June 16, spread into nearby wildlands. Alaska Division of Forestry spokesperson Tim Mowry says that the agency was notified and responded the night of June 16.

Katie Basile / KYUK

Ahead of the Native corporation's annual shareholder meeting in July, some Calista Corporation shareholders are circulating a petition for a vote on the proposed Donlin Gold mine. Calista owns the mineral rights to the mining prospect.