It has been a low water summer on the Nushagak River. Even with late-July rains, the two villages furthest upriver are still waiting on their first barge deliveries.
After a rainy late-July, villages along the Nushagak saw the river rise visibly. Small trees floated past Ekwok last weekend, which can be a sign of rain farther upriver. Even so, the river still has not risen enough for companies like Vitus Energy to send a barge past Ekwok.
“We’ve seen the river come up,” says Mike Poston, the director of sales at Vitus. “A lot of folks are telling us, ‘Hey it’s coming up, but really it hasn’t come up even close to where we need it to be. We do see the rains coming, but they’re not coming with a lot of precipitation. We are seeing the right trends. We just need more of the same. Then we’ll be back on the river.”
The villages of New Stuyahok and Koliganek are still waiting on their first barge of the season. New Stuyahok is limiting heating fuel use for homes and businesses as a conservation measure. Vitus anticipates making barge deliveries later this summer or fall.
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