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Environment

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

Finding A New Link In The Food Chain

Feb 7, 2019

The line between plant and animal is not a firm one when it comes to plankton, the tiny organisms at the base of the food chain in Alaska’s oceans. It is their complexity that may help explain why our seas support so many fish and marine mammals. KYUK’s Johanna Eurich takes a look at research on mixotrophes in the Gulf of Alaska.


Alaska Division U.S Fish & Wildlife Service

Ducks nesting on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta may be the latest species at risk on the front lines of climate change. KYUK reported from last week’s Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage that in a laboratory test, spectacled and Steller’s eiders, already listed as threatened, almost died when exposed to saline water at levels already found where they nest. 

So Far, Seals Are Adapting To Shrinking Sea Ice

Feb 4, 2019
USFWS permit MA220876-1 ADF&G

Ice seals thought to be most affected by the disappearance of arctic sea ice seem to be doing well, according to data presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium last week. KYUK looks at evidence showing that some marine mammals are adjusting.


Shutdown Cripples, But Doesn't Sink Ocean Science

Feb 3, 2019

The federal shutdown made waves last week at a major conference on Alaska’s marine research that may have repercussions for the coming research season. While the conference took place after the government workers were back on the job, it was too late for them to get authorization to attend the Alaska Marine Science Symposium. This meant that some of the most senior scientists in arctic marine research were absent.

There were a lot of empty chairs as the Alaska Marine Science Symposium, which began in Anchorage last week.  

The Native Village of Napaimute's 35 year old plow truck named Tumlista, the One Who Makes a Trail.
Mark Leary / Native Village of Napaimute

This week a crew has plowed 135 miles of an ice road from Bethel to Aniak. Mark Leary, with the Native Village of Napaimute, leads the crew and reports that there are wet, rough ice stretches from Akiak to Aniak, with the roughest ice sitting just below Aniak.

High Ocean Acidification Found Where Salmon Eat

Jan 30, 2019

One of the species of plankton that fish depend on is already being threatened by ocean acidification. That’s from data presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage this week.

The Native Village of Napaimute ice road crew towing the ice radar to assess ice conditions on the Kuskokwim River.Credit Mark LearyEdit | Remove

In most places, the Kuskokwim River measures 18 to 24 inches of ice. Some areas of the main channel have just over a foot of ice.

Screengrab from weather.gov/arh/

Bundle up out there.

Katie Basile / KYUK

Donlin Gold is still waiting on the state to approve its financial bonding and draft reclamation plan for its gold mine in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

Krysti Shallenberger / KYUK

2018 was the second warmest year for Bethel in nearly 100 years of recordkeeping. According to Rick Thoman, a climate scientist in Alaska, Bethel has been no stranger to a warming climate, especially in the last five years.

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