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Environment

Environmental stories in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

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.

Jumbled ice flows past Aniak on May 1, 2018.
National Weather Service, Alaska, River Watch

Aniak is under a flood advisory and low-lying areas near the barge and gravel pit are under a few inches of water. The ice in the Upper Kuskokwim River moved past the village this morning, and with a risk of flood, the school canceled classes.

The Kuskokwim River will soon have eyes in the sky to monitor breakup and issue updates on river conditions. The NOAA River Watch team is scheduled to launch from Aniak on Tuesday morning. The crew will fly upstream and begin sharing what it sees.

Sheets of thin, rotten Kuskokwim River ice have beached near Napaimute on April 30, 2018. The white marks on the ice pick sit 12 inches apart.
Mark Leary / Native Village of Napaimute

Breakup along the Upper Kuskokwim River is happening in sections rather than a crashing cascade from the headwaters. The river by Red Devil and Napaimute is open, but between those villages, ice is jammed by Crooked Creek and Georgetown. From Chuathbaluk downriver, the ice is holding for now.


Screenshot of the cover page of the Donlin Gold final environmental impact statement. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published the document on April 27, 2018 and the public has 30 days to submit comments.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Correction:

The Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Donlin Gold project released on Friday does not have a 30-day public comment period, as KYUK originally reported. In fact, there is no public comment period for the entire document. Instead, the public has 30 days to comment on a section of it.

The Kuksokwim River near Napaimute is breaking up and forming open leads. It's pictured here on April 27, 2018.
Mark Leary

Search and Rescue groups along the Kuskokwim River continue warning travelers to stay off the river ice. It’s turning to needles or opening into leads and has become too dangerous to cross.

Google Earth / Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

How gasoline escaped the community of Scammon Bay’s tank farm and entered a nearby river may be due to an oversight during a routine operation. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation reports that as the owners were removing water that had collected around the tanks, leaked gasoline might have been pumped out with it.


Gasoline is flowing into the Kun River near the community of Scammon Bay after thousands of gallons of fuel leaked from its tank farm. The Village Corporation that operates the tanks is not commenting on the incident at this time, but the City of Scammon Bay and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation are advising people not to fish or hunt near the contaminated area.


The rotting Kuskokwim River at Crooked Creek on April 24, 2018.
Mark Leary / Native Village of Napaimute

Breakup has begun on the Upper Kuskokwim, and the rest of the river is expected to follow soon. Rain and warming temperatures are rapidly weakening the ice, and Search and Rescue groups are issuing travel warnings urging people to stay off the river.


Donlin Final Environmental Review Expected Friday

Apr 23, 2018

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Army Corps of Engineers is expecting to release its environmental review this week for the proposed Donlin Gold mine in western Alaska.

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