Environmental stories in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

Fire Season Arrives

Jun 11, 2018

There are a few fires in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta so far this fire season, a couple of them in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge: on the coast north of Newtok and north of Akiachak. The Gweek Fire has grown over 75 acres and was listed as covering a total of 80 acres on Sunday. The Anerkochik River Fire was reported on June 6 and has not been flown. None of these fires are staffed.

Donlin Gold anticipates getting most of its major permits this year. It needs to get around 100 state and federal permits before it can begin mining.

Donlin Gold is advancing through the permitting process for its proposed mine in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Donlin would be one of the biggest gold mines in the world.

Some Y-K Delta Residents Are Worried Over The Final Donlin EIS

Jun 1, 2018
People started trickling into a meeting May 31, 2018 to voice concerns about the final Environmental Impact Statement from the Army Corps of Engineers for the proposed Donlin gold mine.
Krysti Shallenberger / KYUK

About 25 residents from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta met on May 31, 2018 to air concerns about the final Environmental Impact Statement issued last month for the proposed Donlin gold mine.

Jonathan Egrass

It’s been an uneventful breakup on the Kuskokwim River this spring. And that breakup looks to be nearing its end, except in the headwaters, where a large snowmelt could push driftwood to the lower river.

River Watch: Tuluksak Should Not Expect Further Flooding

May 8, 2018

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Tuluksak today, but elder and Bethel Search and Rescue volunteer Peter Atchak says that the community shouldn’t expect the river to rise further. He surveyed the Kuskokwim by plane on Tuesday morning and then sat down with KYUK to give a report.

The National Weather Service in Anchorage has issued a flood warning on the Kuskokwim River for the village of Tuluksak. Water levels have risen 6 feet since 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning and are continuing to rise rapidly due to an ice jam downstream. Water levels have spilled over the bank and are flooding the village's main road and threatening homes and low lying areas of the village. Residents are relocating due to imminent flooding at this time. The flood warning remains in effect until 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

State agencies are recommending no subsistence activities in fuel-contaminated areas around the village of Scammon Bay until breakup is complete. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the state Department of Health and Social Services have issued a community advisory and posted fact sheets around the town with this information.

National Weather Service

Bethel is celebrating its Breakup Bash tonight; boats are already cruising the river between Bethel and Kwethluk; and more boats are expected to head out this weekend. But that does not mean that breakup is over. The water Bethel is seeing is just one open segment of a river still full of significant ice cover.

A stretch of the Kuskokwim River between Kwethluk and Akiak, posted on May 4, 2018. Breakup is unfolding more slowly this year due to milder temperatures.
Courtesy of Mike Riley.

The Kuskokwim River should be mostly clear within the next two weeks, but in the meantime, residents should be careful.

The Kuskokwim River downstream of Kalskag on May 2, 2018. Kalskag was placed under a flood watch by the National Weather Service on Wednesday afternoon after the ice began to shift.
National Weather Service

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Kuskokwim River ice remains jammed in the Middle River at Birch Crossing. There the Kuskowkim makes a sharp 100-degree bend, where ice gets trapped every year.