Economy & Environment

A bald eagle is seen on Feb. 6, 2018, perched in a tree in the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Lisa Hupp/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Avian influenza has returned to Alaska, and so have health advisories 

BY: - June 8, 2023

Migrating birds have returned to Alaska, and so has the highly pathogenic avian influenza that began to sweep through global bird populations in 2020. That means Alaskans should continue to be vigilant about the strains that have arrived in the state from across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, experts said during a webinar Tuesday […]

The trans-Alaska pipeline is seen in 2005. (Photo by Luca Galuzzi/

Saudi Arabia’s oil production cut could affect Alaska’s state finances

BY: - June 7, 2023

Alaska’s state budget for the next fiscal year hasn’t even been signed into law yet, but its expectations for oil revenue may already be out of date. On Tuesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration raised its estimates for oil prices in the second half of this year and in 2024. The revised estimate came two […]

A 200-mile road project would connect Ambler Metals’ proposed copper mine to the Dalton Highway. (Alaska Division of Mining, Land and Water map)

Court filings provide mixed picture of Ambler road progress

BY: - June 6, 2023

A federal decision on the controversial plan to build a 211-mile road through the Brooks Range foothills to provide access for mining development might come a few months later than previously anticipated, according to recent court documents. However, other recent legal developments indicate positive signs for the road’s prospects. The Bureau of Land Management, the […]

Blacksand Spit in Yakutat is home to the largest nesting colony of Aleutian terns in Alaska, and is seen on June 3, 2023. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

A study to monitor the potentially imperiled Aleutian tern kicks off in Alaska 

BY: - June 6, 2023

The Aleutian tern is now the subject of a multiyear population study, organized by the Pacific Seabird Group’s Aleutian Tern Technical Committee. Anecdotal evidence and limited data strongly suggest the terns’ population has decreased substantially over the last few decades, and there simply isn’t enough research to determine whether they need protected status or not.

Juvenile Chinook salmon, also known as king salmon, are seen on July 12, 2006, swimming in the water in Togiak National Wildlife Refuge in Southwest Alaska. (Photo provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Fishers harvesting abundant Bristol Bay sockeye could fill knowledge gaps about declining Chinook

BY: - June 5, 2023

In the Bristol Bay region, sockeye salmon runs have been booming while Chinook runs have dwindled. Now scientists are seeking to enlist fishing crews in the effort to find out why, as well as what can be done about the Chinook troubles. A community-focused program called Skipper Science is asking for Bristol Bay fishermen working […]

The thaw- and melt-caused landslide at Pretty Rocks, at about the halfway point of the Denali National Park road, is seen on May 5, 2023. The project to install a new bridge that will allow the road to reopen is challenging because of geologic and logistical complexities, which include ice-rich permafrost, a band of difficult clay and overall remoteness, The expected completion is now midsummer of 2026, pushed back from an earlier esimate of 2025. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

As three seasons of bridge work loom, Denali managers and tourist industry adjust

BY: - June 3, 2023

By midsummer in 2026, visitors will likely be traveling over a sophisticated new bridge that clears a geologic hazard that has become a poster child of climate change in Alaska. Until then, the National Park Service and the tourism industry will be coping with three more years of shutdowns at about the halfway point of […]

Yakutat youth collect marine debris and litter at Cannon Beach. June 1, 2023. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Yakutat youth participate in marine debris cleanup

BY: - June 3, 2023

The Yakutat Tlingit Tribe partnered with the Ocean Conservancy for this youth marine debris cleanup at Cannon Beach. The outing was part of a larger project: The city of Yakutat received a grant from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program in Alaska. The project shows Yakutat youth how their small town connects to an international waste management issue.

Only one population of northern leopard frogs remains in Washington state, and it’s threatened by water fluctuations due to irrigation. Wildlife officials want to translocate the frog and establish new populations. State lawmakers recently approved tens of millions of dollars to support wildlife managers’ plans to help the frogs and hundreds of other species. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

State wildlife agencies focus on ‘hook and bullet’ work. Some see a new path.

BY: - June 2, 2023

SEATTLE — The Cascade red fox, which lives high in the mountains of Washington state, is struggling to survive. State wildlife managers want to send researchers into the field to find out why. They’re also aiming to vaccinate pygmy rabbits against a deadly virus, restore habitat to support the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly and establish new […]

This is an aerial view of a dirt road leading up through the Thacker Pass lithium mining area in the arid Nevada desert, seen in an undated photo. (Getty Images)

Decarbonization ambitions ignite debate over mining, permitting  

BY: - May 31, 2023

The decarbonized, electrified future envisioned by the Biden administration, state governments, automakers, utility companies and corporate sustainability goals depends to a huge degree on minerals and metals. Lots more lithium will be needed for car and truck batteries, as well as the big banks of batteries that are increasingly popping onto the electric grid to […]

Sitka-based troller Jeff Farvour fishes last month in the waters outside his home town. (Photo by Max Graham/Northern Journal)

No relief for beleaguered Southeast Alaska trollers as judge rejects request to keep fishery open

BY: - May 30, 2023

A federal judge has rejected a request to allow a staple Southeast Alaska king salmon fishery to proceed this summer while an appeal challenging its court-imposed closure plays out.  Richard Jones, a U.S. District Court judge in Washington state, denied the request by Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration to set aside his own ruling from […]

New work requirements for some SNAP recipients included in debt limit deal

BY: - May 30, 2023

WASHINGTON — The holiday weekend debt ceiling deal struck by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy preserves in part new work requirements for some food stamp recipients but now with exceptions for certain populations, including veterans. The agreement released late Saturday night showed concessions from both sides — from GOP members, who wanted […]

The Boney Courthouse building in Anchorage holds the Alaska Supreme Court chambers. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Supreme Court finds former North Pole refinery owner liable for pollution

BY: - May 30, 2023

The former owner of a North Pole petroleum refinery is financially liable for groundwater pollution that has contaminated drinking-water wells around the refinery, the Alaska Supreme Court said in a ruling published Friday. “While we’re still reviewing the decision in its totality, this is a huge win for the public, for the environment, and for […]