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

Dave Cannon

Yesterday, the Federal Subsistence Board turned down a proposal to take over fisheries management authority on the Kuskokwim River. Board members cited two reasons for opposing the proposal from Dave Cannon, a former biologist from Aniak. Cannon said that the measures are needed to better protect Kuskokwim king salmon when their numbers are low.

City Currently Taking Bids On Dredging Sewer Lagoon

Jul 11, 2017
Sewer Lagoon Dredging Plan Map.
Courtesy of the City of Bethel / ch2m

The Bethel Sewer Lagoon Rehabilitation Project is getting underway, and KYUK spoke with City officials about the upcoming venture. The City of Bethel has released plans and is currently accepting construction bids on a portion of the project.


Jasmine Gil, originally from Bethel, is studying the effects of wildfires on permafrost with the Polaris Project, 50 miles north of the YK hub.
Katie Basile / KYUK Public Media

What happens after fire scorches the tundra, and what follows when carbon that’s been locked away for millennia gets released? Currently, a group of scientists is camping 50 miles north of Bethel, attempting to answer these questions. For one scientist the research is personal, because it means coming home.

The Kings Have Arrived On The Yukon River

Jun 19, 2017
Salmon harvest in 2015.
Shane Iverson / KYUK Public Media

Update 2 p.m. Tuesday June 20, 2017: This story has been slightly updated with revised information from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

There is good news on the Yukon River. It is midway through the run and managers say King Salmon numbers are up to last year's levels and a bit better. That means managers are opening up commercial and subsistence fishing and the nets are back in the water.

Yukon Fishing Status Similar To Kuskokwim

Jun 19, 2017

Subsistence fishermen on the Kuskokwim are not the only ones holding back on the spring king salmon harvest. Managers on the Yukon River are also taking a conservative approach and trying to let the first pulse of kings make it up the river to spawn. During the early run, the Lower Yukon fishery will target only the summer chum salmon. That means that subsistence fishing on the Lower Yukon will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week only for dip nets, beach seines, and live-release fish wheels.

All Agree To Hold Back And Wait On The Kings

Jun 15, 2017

There are not as many king salmon in the Kuskokwim River this spring as expected and Assistant Area Management Biologist Aaron Tiernan of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game says that they are taking a conservative approach to get as many kings as possible up the river to spawn.

State biologists reviewed the numbers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Inter-tribal Fisheries Commission, and the Kuskokwim River Salmon Working Group.

AVCP Hosting E-waste Drive Friday And Saturday

Jun 13, 2017
Friday, from noon to 4 p.m., and Saturday, from noon to 2 p.m., Bethel residents can bring their e-waste to AVCP container vans near Cezary’s Auto Body Shop on Front Street.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

The Association of Village Council Presidents' Environmental Department has been trying to get ahead of the curve on recycling electronic waste - or e-waste - from Bethel for the past several years. That’s according to Ben Balivet, AVCP’s Environmental Manager.


Crooked Creek Fire Cools Down

Jun 9, 2017

Tundra fires continue burning in more than a dozen locations in Southwestern Alaska, but the fire of greatest concern is the Bell Creek Fire, which is burning in forest and brush close to Crooked Creek. A total of 61 firefighters and two helicopters have been assigned to the blaze, working out of a camp in Red Devil. They have been spreading hose lines to protect homes and other structures on the north edge of the village facing the fire, and also setting up a defensive line and dropping flame retardant.

Bell Creek Fire Nears Crooked Creek

Jun 9, 2017

More tundra fires are reported around Bethel, St. Mary's, and St. Michael's. A fire 22 miles east of Bethel is reported to be out, and firefighters demobilized. The Paiyun Creek Fire, 50 miles southeast of Bethel, has burned an estimated 1,200 acres.

The Allen Fire, 55 miles north of St. Mary's, is reported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to have burned 1,500 acres. A firefighting crew was flown in to the Kogok River Fire south of St. Michael's; the fire is estimated at 632 acres. 

Summer Tundra Fires Scatter Smoke

Jun 8, 2017
Warren Nicolai

The Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge reports that numerous tundra fires are currently burning in the region. Smoke from at least one of them may be visible from Bethel. The Akuliktuak River Fire, 22 miles east of Bethel and five miles east of Kwethluk, is reported to be 90 percent contained. 

All the fires are thought to have been caused by lightning.