Science & Environment

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

Hope McKenney/KUCB

After decades of false starts, geothermal power may be coming to Unalaska.

The Ounalashka Corporation and Fairbanks-based Chena Power, LLC have formed a company to develop a geothermal project at Makushin Volcano.

At a City Council meeting on Tuesday, Corporation CEO Chris Salts said the company's goal is to reduce the city's consumption of 200,000 gallons of fuel each month, as well as lower and stabilize utility costs for residents and businesses.

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Next fall, the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery could face its first closure in 25 years.

This season, the 54-vessel fleet has reported slow, spotty fishing, and the stock continues to show signs of decline. The current quota — 3.8 million pounds — is the lowest since the fishery was rationalized in 2005.

Candace Shaack

After showing signs of restlessness, Pavlof Volcano is back at a normal alert level.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory issued an "advisory" for Pavlof last month, following small explosions at its summit 36 miles northeast of Cold Bay. Since then, there have been no further signs of unrest, and scientists downgraded the volcano to "normal" last week.

Hope McKenney/KUCB

A small group of Unalaskans learned to identify bird carcasses last week in an effort to help scientists track increasing mortalities on Alaska's beaches.

The training was held by the University of Washington's Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), one of the organizations that monitored the state's fifth straight summer of mass die-offs.

Hope McKenney/KUCB

The City of Unalaska finished installing the last of four meteorological (MET) towers over the summer. Their purpose is to help the city determine whether Unalaska can produce electricity from wind energy in the future.

The towers are installed at four locations: one on Bunker Hill, another two in Pyramid Valley by Icy Creek and Veronica Lake, and a final one on Hog Island.

The wind development project is led by Unalaska's Department of Public Works, and it's one of seven initiatives underway with its electric fund.

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