Joaquin Palomino, KSKA - Anchorage

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This week we're heading to Thorne Bay, on Prince of Wales Island. Rochelle Huddleston Lorton is the district ranger for the U.S. Forest Service in Thorne Bay. Download Audio

Scores of rivers, creeks, and streams flow through Anchorage. People fish in them, play in them, and swim in them. But the city’s seemingly pristine watershed has a dirty secret: it’s largely contaminated with fecal bacteria.

The state epidemiology office has released a new mercury contamination risk determination for Alaska fish. The new guidelines basically increase the number of Alaskan fish that can be eaten safely and without restriction.

Not much is known about the bat population that live in Alaska. And until recently, there was no pressing need to study the nocturnal mammal. But with bats being decimated across much of the country by the fungal disease White Nose Syndrome, state and federal researchers are working to learn as much as they can about the animal.

In most places, summer isn’t the best time to ski. But atop a mile-high glacier in Girdwood, elite skiers have converged from across the country—and the world—to train. Download Audio

With sea ice in the Arctic melting, polar bears are in peril. Researchers have monitored the threatened species for decades, but tracking bears in remote and harsh climates can be costly and dangerous. Which is why federal scientists have started using a new tool to study the animal: satellites.

While Alaska is known for its oil, it’s also home to another energy source: Hydrokinetic power, which uses turbines to harness energy from tides, rivers, and waves. Four separate test projects are underway this summer, and many more could be just around the corner. Why does Alaska lead the way in hydrokinetic power? And what’s driving growth in the industry? Download Audio

The “honor flag,” an American flag that travels the country honoring those that lost their lives in the line of duty, arrived in Anchorage yesterday just in time for 4th of July weekend. Listen now:

Every five-to-seven years, the Ted Stevens International Airport releases a master plan detailing upcoming changes at Alaska’s busiest air hub. The latest variation of the plan was released Monday, allowing the airport to qualify for federal funding. While there are a lot of hypotheticals in the document, it makes one thing fairly clear: As Alaska grows and as more visitors come to the state, the airport will have to adapt to increased traffic. Download Audio

Over the past few years Hollywood has taken a keen interest in Alaska. Big budget films are being shot here, and it seems like new Alaskan reality TV programs pop up every week. The bustling industry isn’t growing on its own. The state spends a lot of money courting out of state productions. While it’s a boon for the economy, some think the resources would be better spent elsewhere. Download Audio

This weekend you can expect hundreds of local and tourists to crowd Ship Creek in Anchorage, trying to snag a monster king salmon. The fishing frenzy is part of the slamin salmon derby, a 10-day long competition and fundraiser

This week we're heading to the hub community of Bethel on the Kuskokwim River. John MacDonald lives in Bethel. Download Audio

For the past few years Alaska has tried to eradicate its only known invasive aquatic plant: Elodea. The sturdy weed has taken root in a handful of the state's water bodies, threatening native birds, fish, and fauna. As ocean temperatures increase and icy days decrease, researchers worry it's only a matter of time before Elodea-and other invasive plants and animals-spread throughout Alaska. Download Audio

Tlingit wood carver Tommy Joseph was in Anchorage last week to repair a totem pole which will become part of the Anchorage Museum's collection. Download Audio

This week the Anchorage Museum reached a new level of recognition when it became a Smithsonian Affiliate, making it the only institution in Alaska that’s part of the Smithsonian’s network of 160-museums. Download Audio