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

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. 

Kings Swim In A Dangerous Ocean

Feb 12, 2019
Kuskokwim King Salmon
Katie Basile / KYUK

King salmon have been returning younger and in lower numbers than predicted in much of the state, which has biologists wondering what is happening to kings in the ocean. KYUK reports on research that seems to indicate that a predator may be involved.

Dean Swope / KYUK

A tailings dam collapsed last month in Brazil, killing more than 150 people. That accident raised fears among some residents in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta about the safety of the tailings facility and dam that Donlin Gold plans to construct for its large gold mine. Donlin says its design is much safer than the one that collapsed in Brazil. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

Thirteen tribes are appealing two key state permits for the proposed Donlin gold mine. Environmental group Earthjustice filed the appeal on their behalf. 

Wind Change Pulls Curtain Back On A Future Bering Sea

Feb 7, 2019
Katie Basile

For those who wonder what the Bering Sea will be like decades from now, last year was a glimpse of the future. It brought something many did not expect: the disappearance of the undersea “cold pool,” which is the nursery for Alaska’s pollock fishery. KYUK looks at how it happened.