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

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for the Lower Kuskokwim Valley from 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8. Winds up to 45 mph are expected, along with 4 to 8 inches of snow. Blowing snow could reduce visibility to a half-mile. The Weather Service also warns of slippery road conditions.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory for the Kuskokwim Delta from 7 p.m. Feb. 6 through early morning Feb. 8. The Weather Service warned that snowy 40-mile per hour winds could bring wind chills of 50 degrees below zero. Blowing snow could reduce visibility to a half mile or less. The most severe weather is expected along the coast.

The Crooked Creek ice crew heads home on March 3, 2018 after completing the Kuskokwim's longest ice road ever.
Mark Leary / Native Village of Napaimute

Overflow is covering stretches of the Kuskokwim ice road between Napaskiak and Oscarville. Bethel Search and Rescue member Perry Barr discovered the water around 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, while driving back to Bethel from the tundra villages. 

Dean Swope / KYUK

The state of Alaska approved a right-of-way lease for Donlin Gold’s proposed 315-mile gas pipeline on Jan. 17. The lease is an important step forward in the company’s quest to build the Donlin Gold Mine, which could be one of the largest in the world if completed.

Updated Jan. 28, 2020 4:30 p.m.: The National Weather Service has extended its wind chill advisory issued for the Kuskokwim Delta and Lower Kuskokwim River area to noon on Thursday, Jan. 30.

The ice road crew, with members from Napaimute and Chuathbaluk, plowed the frozen Kuskokwim River from Kalskag to Chuathbaluk on Jan 11.
Mark Leary

The ice road has been extended to Chuathbaluk. Mark Leary and workers from Chuathbaluk and Napaimute plowed the river from Kalskag to Chuathbaluk on Jan. 11. Leary reports that cars are already using the new section of the road.

Frozen pipes have claimed another victim in Bethel: the 4-H Youth Center facility. In lieu of its building, 4-H will be hosting its afterschool club at the Bethel Cultural Center from Jan. 13-16. 

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

The ice road has grown longer, thanks to Mark Leary and his ice road crew. The crew plowed the road all the way to Kalskag on Jan. 7. Leary said his crew experienced no issues while they plowed the 50 miles from Tuluksak to Kalskag in a wind chill of negative 45 degrees Fahrenheit. However, he recommends that drivers not use the new section of the ice road yet because of three unmarked open holes between Tuluksak and Kalskag.

Bethel resident, Renee Gregory, points at her pants stained from liquids that backed up into her bathtub after her drainage pipes froze last week.
Greg Kim / KYUK

Across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, temperatures have reached far below zero for weeks, freezing pipes in homes across the region. For many people, that means a return to a way life before running water and flush toilets. 

The Donlin Gold mine could be one of the biggest mines if completed.
Dean Swope / KYUK

Donlin Gold received a handful of state permits on Jan. 2, 2020 that move the company closer to operating its gold mine in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, according to Alaska Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Dan Saddler.