Environmental stories in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

Quinhagak is applying for aid to repair damage after 85-mile-per-hour winds ripped through the community days before Christmas. The storm tore away the porch and wall from this house.
Stephan Jones / Native Village of Kwinhagak

Both Platinum and Quinhagak are applying for aid following a high speed wind storm that ripped through the communities days before Christmas.

Rosalie Kalistook, General Manager of the Chefornak Village Corporation, standing next to her aunt's home just 12 feet from the shoreline. December 16, 2017.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

This is not the first time this village has faced the threat of erosion and flooding, but relocating won’t be as easy as it was last time. KYUK continues its look at climate change and how Chefornak's villagers are facing the future.









District 38 Representative Zach Fansler stands in front of the village's Head Start building as he looks out onto Chefornak's eroding shoreline. December 15, 2017.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

Villages like Newtok, Shishmaref, and Kivalina have become well known for being on the front line of climate change, but many other communities are facing erosion and flooding issues. State Representative Zach Fansler is looking at erosion issues in Yukon-Kuskokwim villages, and KYUK’s Christine Trudeau traveled to Chefornak with him. The following is the first of a two-part series.










Strong winds knocked a partially constructed house off its foundation and sent it skating across an icy road in Quinhagak on December 22, 2017.
Derek Kusiak

The communities of Quinhagak and Platinum are working to rebuild after high winds tore along the coast of Kuskokwim Bay in the days before Christmas. The 85-mile-per-hour winds howled from the Southeast on Thursday and Friday, ripping apart buildings, but leaving the towns’ Christmas spirit untouched.

"Holes drilled across Kuskokuak Slough - waiting for the BSAR crew to insert willows with blue reflectors," said BSAR's Mark Leary.
Mark Leary / Bethel Search & Rescue

This past holiday weekend, Bethel Search and Rescue marked off the middle section of the Kuskokuak Slough trail. BSAR's Mark Leary says that after drilling holes into the ice, BSAR will attach blue reflectors to willow branches and then insert them into the holes.

Katie Basile / KYUK

Ravens were everywhere during the Bethel Christmas Bird Count this month. Some species showed up in smaller numbers than in the past, but there were a couple birds not usually seen in winter. 

Fred Broerman scans the sky for birds flying above Bethel's Lions Club Park, which overlooks the Kuskokwim River. Broerman was one of about a dozen citizen scientists who participated in Bethel's Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count on December 17, 2016.
Katie Basile / KYUK

This Sunday is the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count in Bethel.

Ice on H-Marker Lake, a popular shortcut from Tundra Ridge Subdivision to the Bethel airport, averaged nine inches on Wednesday, November 29.
Google Maps

Ice is forming on the tundra lakes and people are beginning to drive across popular trails, but Bethel resident Fritz Charles warns that H-Marker Lake is not yet thick enough for cars or trucks.

Last week, a group of Bethel college students found hundreds of dead blackfish at the bottom of one of Dull Lake’s tributaries. Both residents and experts suspected they were killed by pollution, but according to the state Fish and Game Department, there might be a different explanation.

Jacques Peter Smart and other KuC students found hundreds of dead blackfish in one of Arthur Dull Lake's many tributaries.
Courtesy of Jacques Peter Smart.

Last Monday, Jacques Peter Smart walked through the snow to a creek in downtown Bethel, a shallow tributary from Arthur Dull Lake that runs aboveground between Sixth and Seventh Avenue. Hundreds of dead fish were curled together at the bottom of the rust-colored creek bed, each small enough to fit in your hand.