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

Delores Abraham and her family in their Chefornak home that had to be evacuated.
Kimberly Abraham

The COVID-19 pandemic has not put a pause on the Y-K Delta’s environmental threats. In Chefornak, a family was forced to evacuate their home because a sinkhole caused by thawing permafrost formed underneath it. That family had to move into a building intended to be a quarantine facility. 

Terese Schomogyi / Kuskokwim River Intertribal Fish Commission

The Orutsararmiut Native Council is changing how it collects recyclables in Bethel to limit interactions during the pandemic.

Mark Leary and his ice road crew set out to plow the ice road on the morning of Jan. 6, 2020 and reached Kalskag at 7 p.m. of Jan. 7, 2020.
Mark Leary

Cold and stormy weather has improved the river ice conditions around Bethel. Mark Leary, with Bethel Search and Rescue, said that most of the difficult sections of water around Bethel are now frozen, including the area at the crossing from Church Slough to Straight Slough.

Katie Basile / KYUK

The weather may be cold, but it’s too soon to get out on the river ice. That’s the message from Mark Leary with Bethel Search and Rescue, who flew the river on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

The NWS has issued a winter storm watch for the Kuskokwim Delta for Nov. 3, 2020.
National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the lower Kuskokwim Delta for Nov. 3. The watch is in effect from the afternoon through late at night.

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".