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

Katie Basile / KYUK

The Red Devil mercury mine used to be the largest in the state. But once it was no longer profitable, the owners walked away, leaving behind a toxic mess for someone else to clean up. The federal government has laid out how it wants to clean up the site, and it wants to make sure the affected communities weigh in. 

Courtesy of Mark Leary

The ice road on the frozen Kuskokwim River has been plowed to its longest length ever: 355 miles.

That’s longer than most traditional highways in the state, but it’s likely a bit rougher in places since that the road is a frozen river. Still, it allows for snowmachine and vehicle traffic in a region that otherwise relies on unpredictable airplane travel in the winter. 

Courtesy of Mark Leary

The river is so rough in the Upper Kuskokwim area that it is impassable to vehicle and snowmachine traffic. Big boulders of snow-covered ice are scattered across the river from Chuathbaluk and up. But Mark Leary, who works for the village of Napaimute, hopes to clear the river so that people can travel this week.

Katie Basile / KYUK

The final feasibility study detailing cleanup options for the contaminated Red Devil mercury mine site is out. The Bureau of Land Management plans to hold public meetings in the villages near the mine site to collect feedback about the remediation plans.

According to BLM spokesperson James Hart, BLM will open public comments on the plan for 60 days, beginning March 1 and ending April 30.

Future Of Salmon In A Warming World – Part 2

Feb 11, 2020

In the first of a two-part series, we explored the effects of warming river water on salmon. Now we take a look at the warming ocean, and what that means to the Yukon River king run.

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.