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

Courtesy of Mark Leary

Travelers should beware of ice on the Kuskokwim River stretching 20 miles above Tuluksak. That’s according to the latest river update from the National Weather Service. 

Courtesy of Mark Leary

Breakup is well on its way, but the Kuskokwim River is still patchy with ice in some areas. That’s according to the latest river watch update on April 29. 

The Kuskokwim Ice Classic tripod tripped its clock at 4:02 p.m. on Friday, marking the official time of river breakup in Bethel. This is the earliest breakup ever, beating the former record set in 2016 by eight days. The new record follows a series of other records broken this season.

Joey Mendolia / Alaska's Energy Desk/Alaska Public Media

Last year’s winter had a promising start in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta: temperatures were closer to the normal cold that residents expect. That changed in February and March. 

The Kwethluk River opened on April 2, 2019.
Sarah R. Jackson

It’s only the first week of April, and many tributaries along the Kuskokwim River are relatively ice-free. In some, boating has begun.

Donlin Gold has applied for a lease to construct a 315-mile natural gas pipeline from Cook Inlet to the proposed mine site on the Kuskokwim River.
Screenshot of Donlin Gold's draft permit application / Alaska Department of Natural Resources

If constructed, the proposed Donlin gold mine will need a huge power source. The company wants to construct a 315-mile natural gas pipeline from Beluga Point on Cook Inlet to the mine site near Crooked Creek on the Kuskokwim River. To cross roughly 207 miles of state land, the pipeline needs a lease from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. On Monday, department officials traveled to Bethel to gather public comment on the project.

Photo courtesy of Peter Evon

A group of leaders from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta flew to Juneau last week to air concerns about the budget and the proposed Donlin gold mine to lawmakers and Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration.

A four-wheeler broke through the ice on a popular Bethel trail Wednesday night. Bethel resident William McCarr says that the four-wheeler is still stuck in the trail that runs behind Bethel Regional High School towards Hangar Lake. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

NovaGold is one of two international mining companies that have partnered to develop the proposed Donlin gold mine, located in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. In its latest quarterly report, NovaGold says that it recently sold a big mining project, which will free up some cash to spend on Donlin. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

More than 130 Calista shareholders signed a letter sent to the Calista Native Corporation protesting the proposed Donlin gold mine, and they are all women. Calista owns the subsurface rights to the mine, and is the regional corporation for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.