According to U.S. Drought Monitor scientists, southeast Alaska’s wettest area has been in extreme drought for two years. The scientists say this is a severe dryness that has never before been registered in the area.
Alaska’s key rivers are thawing earlier than usual following higher winter and spring temperatures, making it difficult for rural Alaskans who use frozen rivers for travel.
West Sacramento, Calif. — In the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2018, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) closed 22 loans totaling nearly $8 million to support rural communities in Alaska, California, Idaho, New Mexico and Washington.
In Shismaref, Alaska, an Iñupiat village that is home to about 600 people, climate change poses more than a physical threat, it threatens the community’s culture. The village is located on Sarichef Island, about a quarter of a mile wide, near the Bering Strait. Sea ice around the island used to protect it from the ocean’s fierce waves. Permafrost created the town’s foundation. But warming temperatures mean the ice is forming later and later, and the permafrost is thawing.
A recent hearing held in Savoonga, Alaska, focused on housing overcrowding and affordability and its impacts on Alaska Native communities. United States Sen. Lisa Murkowski chaired the hearing, which was the first to consider these issues.