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Project July 19, 2010

Life along the Yukon: The hardships of a simple life

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For the better part of 15 years the Yukon River Chinook salmon stock has been in significant decline. Several of the runs in recent years have been only 30 to 35 percent of their historical average. The cause behind the decline is something both Alaskan and Canadian fisheries experts are still trying to uncover, as many of the fish that aren't returning to the Yukon are of Canadian origin.

Increasing fuel costs have made life along the Yukon additionally strenuous for people in villages with average household incomes often less than $15,000.

Finally, when the annual ice breakup occurred on the river in early May 2009, the river flooded severely and destroyed property, belongings and lives of many of the families living along its banks who often had little to cling to before the disaster.

This project will look into how these immense challenges have impacted the lives of those who call the Yukon Flats region of Alaska home and what they have done to survive in an unforgiving and often forgotten portion of the United States.