A pile of salmon awaits filleting on May 7, 2022, in Juneau. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

EPA threatens to step in if Alaska does not update its water pollution limit

Does average Alaskan eat more than a cracker’s worth of fish a day? Answer may have big implications.

 

Rep. George Rauscher, R-Sutton, speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, March 28, at the Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

House approves tougher route for environmental protections on Alaska rivers, lakes

HB95 would require lawmakers approve any “Tier III” labeling, the highest level of federal protection.

 

The sky and mountains are reflected in the water on April 5, 2012, at the Kootznoowoo Wilderness in the Tongass National Forest’s Admiralty Island National Monument. Conservation organizations bought some private land and transferred it to the U.S. Forest Service, resulting in an incremental expansion of the Kootznoowoo Wilderness and protection of habitat important to salmon and wildlife. (Photo by Don MacDougall/U.S. Forest Service)

Conservation groups’ purchase preserves additional land in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

A designated wilderness area in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the largest U.S. national forest, is now a little bit bigger, thanks to a land… Continue reading

 

Annauk Olin, holding her daugher Tulġuna T’aas Olin, and Rochelle Adams pose on March 20, 2024, after giving a presentation on language at the Alaska Just Transition Summit in Juneau. The two, who work together at the Alaska Public Interest Research Group’s Language Access program, hope to compile an Indigenous environmental glossary. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Project seeks to gather Alaska environmental knowledge embedded in Indigenous languages

In the language of the Gwich’in people of northeastern Alaska, the word for month known in English as July is Łuk choo zhrii, meaning “the… Continue reading

Annauk Olin, holding her daugher Tulġuna T’aas Olin, and Rochelle Adams pose on March 20, 2024, after giving a presentation on language at the Alaska Just Transition Summit in Juneau. The two, who work together at the Alaska Public Interest Research Group’s Language Access program, hope to compile an Indigenous environmental glossary. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
From left to right, Robert Hughes (KKCFP), Eric Castro (USFS), Kelsey Dean (SAWC) and Angelo Lerma (KKCFP) pause to assess the placement of a log into Shorty Creek on Kuiu Island. Adding wood to streams helps build salmon habitat, and adds flood-resilient structure to the stream and banks. (Photo by Lee House)

Resilient Peoples and Place: Healing the land together

Collaboration in full swing by tribes, federal and state agencies, local and environmental interests

From left to right, Robert Hughes (KKCFP), Eric Castro (USFS), Kelsey Dean (SAWC) and Angelo Lerma (KKCFP) pause to assess the placement of a log into Shorty Creek on Kuiu Island. Adding wood to streams helps build salmon habitat, and adds flood-resilient structure to the stream and banks. (Photo by Lee House)
Wigeon Ponds is one of the areas adjacent to the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge purchased by the Southeast Alaska Land Trust, which is producing an updated digital map of the entire wetlands area. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

Mendenhall wetlands area to get first new full map since 1979

Change in vegetation, tidal areas, land “rebound” after glacial retreat shown — along with area’s name.

Wigeon Ponds is one of the areas adjacent to the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge purchased by the Southeast Alaska Land Trust, which is producing an updated digital map of the entire wetlands area. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)
Emma Pokon, commissioner-designee of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, discusses wood stove pollution regulations affecting the Fairbanks-North Star Borough during a Nov. 26 forum. (Screenshot from video by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation)

Newly designated state DEC commissioner strong supporter of Dunleavy’s challenge to federal authority

Emma Pokon, as state attorney, wrote legislation eliminating independent cruise monitoring program.

Emma Pokon, commissioner-designee of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, discusses wood stove pollution regulations affecting the Fairbanks-North Star Borough during a Nov. 26 forum. (Screenshot from video by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation)
Meredith Jordan/ Juneau Empire
A manager at Alaska Glacier Seafood shows a filleted sea cucumber ready for further processing.

Sea cucumber season off to a good start

Divers seeing much better prices than last year to start

Meredith Jordan/ Juneau Empire
A manager at Alaska Glacier Seafood shows a filleted sea cucumber ready for further processing.
An Earth Day message posted on Facebook this spring by the University of Alaska Southeast refers to environmental stewardship and climate change activities, including these kayaks used for an oceanography course during the summer of 2019. (Courtesy of the University of Alaska Southeast)

Sustainable Alaska: Connecting to nature is vital to sustainable well-being and behavior

I have spent my career studying the aesthetic experience in an art-viewing context. My work has shown that art viewing, even when viewing abstract art,… Continue reading

An Earth Day message posted on Facebook this spring by the University of Alaska Southeast refers to environmental stewardship and climate change activities, including these kayaks used for an oceanography course during the summer of 2019. (Courtesy of the University of Alaska Southeast)
Participants in the 38th Annual International Coastal Cleanup carry a fishnet to a boat on a coast near Sitka in August. (Ryan Morse / Sitka Conservation Society)

Resilient Peoples and Place: Coastal cleanup removes 1,400 lbs. of trash from Sitka’s beaches

Effort by wide range of groups part of global project that has collected 350 million lbs. of waste.

Participants in the 38th Annual International Coastal Cleanup carry a fishnet to a boat on a coast near Sitka in August. (Ryan Morse / Sitka Conservation Society)
Thunder Mountain High School receives a five-year banner marking its successful participation in NOAA’s Ocean Guardian School Program on Wednesday, the first school in the state to reach the milestone. Teacher Kristen Wells, far left, and students Lucy Bennett and Steffanie Reynoso were presented with the banner by Kim Raum-Suryan, who coordinates the Ocean Guardian School Program in Alaska, Anne Marie Eich, assistant regional administrator of NOAA’s Protected Resources Division, and Michelle Trifari, an Alaska Sea Grant Fellow. (Meredith Jordan/ Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School gets NOAA Ocean Guardian 5-year banner

First school in the state to achieve conservation group milestone.

Thunder Mountain High School receives a five-year banner marking its successful participation in NOAA’s Ocean Guardian School Program on Wednesday, the first school in the state to reach the milestone. Teacher Kristen Wells, far left, and students Lucy Bennett and Steffanie Reynoso were presented with the banner by Kim Raum-Suryan, who coordinates the Ocean Guardian School Program in Alaska, Anne Marie Eich, assistant regional administrator of NOAA’s Protected Resources Division, and Michelle Trifari, an Alaska Sea Grant Fellow. (Meredith Jordan/ Juneau Empire)
Environmental Protection Administrator Michael Regan speaks at a news conference on Thursday at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage. Behind him are Bailey Richards, contamination support program coordinator for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium; Natalie Cale, chief operating officer for the Ounalashka Corp.; and Aaron Leggett, president of the Native Village of Eklutna. Regan made a five-day tour of Alaska as part of the EPA’s national Journey to Justice program, which focuses on the ways minority, Indigenous and low-income communities are disproportionately burdened by pollution and climate change. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska trip highlights challenges facing Indigenous communities, EPA leader says

Travels to the to the tiny Yup’ik village of Igiugig in the Bristol Bay region, to Utqiagvik at the northern tip of Alaska and to… Continue reading

Environmental Protection Administrator Michael Regan speaks at a news conference on Thursday at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage. Behind him are Bailey Richards, contamination support program coordinator for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium; Natalie Cale, chief operating officer for the Ounalashka Corp.; and Aaron Leggett, president of the Native Village of Eklutna. Regan made a five-day tour of Alaska as part of the EPA’s national Journey to Justice program, which focuses on the ways minority, Indigenous and low-income communities are disproportionately burdened by pollution and climate change. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Foam floats trails alongside an entangled humpback whale calf near Juneau on July 17. (John Moran/NOAA Fisheries)

Whale woes continue with entanglements, boat strikes

Third whale snared in fishing gear this month freed; two whales also reportedly injured by vessels

Foam floats trails alongside an entangled humpback whale calf near Juneau on July 17. (John Moran/NOAA Fisheries)
Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
A crowd of visitors tours the Mendenhall Glacier on Friday. Officials announced Friday limits on commercial tours are being imposed as capacity limits are being rapidly reached, which will impact the second half of the summer tourism season. A plan by the U.S. Forest Service to overhaul the facilities of the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area is now in the final stages, which would replace the existing capacity limits with newly defined management practices.

Objectors ask for more environmental protections as Mendenhall Glacier plan nears finish

Final OK of multiyear process may occur this fall, replace existing capacity limits with new policy

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
A crowd of visitors tours the Mendenhall Glacier on Friday. Officials announced Friday limits on commercial tours are being imposed as capacity limits are being rapidly reached, which will impact the second half of the summer tourism season. A plan by the U.S. Forest Service to overhaul the facilities of the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area is now in the final stages, which would replace the existing capacity limits with newly defined management practices.
Pine needles on a tree in the Mendenhall Valley show aftermath of western blackheaded budworms damage Thursday. U.S. Forest officials said an outbreak that started a few ago in Southeast Alaska is declining in most places, but Juneau still has a high infestation rate that is expected to drop off next year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

It’s not easy being evergreen in Juneau, as infestation of budworms lingers

Outbreak in Southeast Alaska since 2020 mostly tapering off elsewhere, officials say.

Pine needles on a tree in the Mendenhall Valley show aftermath of western blackheaded budworms damage Thursday. U.S. Forest officials said an outbreak that started a few ago in Southeast Alaska is declining in most places, but Juneau still has a high infestation rate that is expected to drop off next year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Loons swim near a pipeline and other oil field infrastructure at the Greater Prudhoe Bay Unit on Alaska’s North Slope in this undated photo. A new study finds that nest survival is lower for birds closer to high-use infrastructure. (Photo by Kayla Scheimreif/Wildlife Conservation Society)

Study: The closer that birds’ nests are to Prudhoe oil infrastructure, the lower the survival rates

A long-term study of birds that summer around the Prudhoe Bay oil complex found that nest survival for all bird types decreased significantly the closer… Continue reading

Loons swim near a pipeline and other oil field infrastructure at the Greater Prudhoe Bay Unit on Alaska’s North Slope in this undated photo. A new study finds that nest survival is lower for birds closer to high-use infrastructure. (Photo by Kayla Scheimreif/Wildlife Conservation Society)
Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Dawson, a Coast Guard Marine Safety Task Force member from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, chats with a representative at a fuel facility in St. Michael, Alaska, during an inspection July 28, 2022. Teams comprised of six Coast Guard marine inspectors visited a total of 15 communities and inspected approximately 55 bulk fuel storage facilities in the Bering Strait Region July 25-Aug. 2, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Nate Littlejohn)

Alaska environmental department plans to repeal regulation of some fuel-storage tanks

Thousands of aboveground tanks that store diesel fuel and other petroleum products would no longer be regulated by the state, under a proposal from the… Continue reading

Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Dawson, a Coast Guard Marine Safety Task Force member from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, chats with a representative at a fuel facility in St. Michael, Alaska, during an inspection July 28, 2022. Teams comprised of six Coast Guard marine inspectors visited a total of 15 communities and inspected approximately 55 bulk fuel storage facilities in the Bering Strait Region July 25-Aug. 2, 2022. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Nate Littlejohn)
Afternoon traffic is seen in downtown Fairbanks on March 1. Significant air-quality improvements have been achieved since 2010, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska and 9 other states threaten to sue EPA over wood-burning stove standards

State says EPA should focus on wood-stove certifications; agency also wants policy for power plants

Afternoon traffic is seen in downtown Fairbanks on March 1. Significant air-quality improvements have been achieved since 2010, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
The Mendenhall Glacier and surrounding area is seen under an overcast sky on May 12. A federal order published Friday bans mineral extraction activities such as mining in an expanded area of land surrounding the glacier for the next 20 years. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

Feds expand ban on mineral extraction near Mendenhall Glacier

20-year prohibition on mining, oil drilling applies to newly exposed land as ice continues retreat

The Mendenhall Glacier and surrounding area is seen under an overcast sky on May 12. A federal order published Friday bans mineral extraction activities such as mining in an expanded area of land surrounding the glacier for the next 20 years. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
A liquid carbon dioxide containment unit stands outside the fabrication building of Glenwood Mason Supply Company, April 18, 2023, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The Biden administration announced on Wednesday, May 17, $251 million for carbon capture and storage projects in seven states. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Biden administration invests in carbon capture

Move ups pressure on industry to show results.

A liquid carbon dioxide containment unit stands outside the fabrication building of Glenwood Mason Supply Company, April 18, 2023, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The Biden administration announced on Wednesday, May 17, $251 million for carbon capture and storage projects in seven states. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)