Science & Environment

Science and environmental reporting on news and community topics. Science coverage is occasionally provided by community members.

KUCB

With grant money drying up, the state wants Unalaska to help fund the salmon weir at McLees Lake.

Scientists have used the weir to monitor sockeye for the past 17 years. But now, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has no way to pay for it.

Berett Wilber/KUCB

Unalaska has taken its first official step toward banning plastic bags.

On Tuesday, the City Council tasked the city manager with developing an ordinance to prohibit the flimsy, disposable bags used at grocery stores.

Councilors issued the directive unanimously after hearing from Unalaska resident Laresa Syverson.

"It’s not that a plastic bag ban is going to solve all our problems," said Syverson. "But it will help with the way we depend on plastic."

Dave Schneider/Alaska Volcano Observatory & U.S. Geological Survey

 

To the untrained ear, volcanic thunder sounds like the rumble of a plane engine or a distant river. But scientists are really excited about the low hum, clicks and pops that were recorded during a March 2017 eruption at Bogoslof volcano.

Zoë Sobel/KUCB

 

In Unalaska, it can cost more than $500 a month to heat a typical home in the winter. Because the treeless island is 1,000 miles from Anchorage, everything is shipped in — including heating oil. It’s the source of heat for the vast majority of houses in the city.

Unalaska resident Travis Swangel heats his small home on the island with a Toyo stove.

The Cost of Cold is a series from Alaska’s Energy Desk about how Alaskans around the state heat their homes. Reporter Zoe Sobel produced this story.

Courtesy of Alaska SeaLife Center

After admitting a sick ringed seal from Unalaska, veterinarians at the Alaska SeaLife Center are cautiously optimistic about his chances for recovery.

The male seal was found earlier this month, lying on a rusty pipe on the beach.

In addition to being far outside his natural habitat, he was underweight, balding, and lethargic.

"Although this seal has a laundry list of health issues, his feisty demeanor shows promise," said Dr. Kathy Woodie of the SeaLife Center.

The seal is now receiving 24-hour care in Seward for dehydration, malnourishment, and parasites.

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