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Celebrations! It's the Bristol Bay Year in Review 2021

Here are some of the stories that defined 2021.

Click the links below each subject to read more about some of the major stories this year!




At the beginning of 2021, health care organizations around Bristol Bay began to roll out COVID-19 vaccines. Elders and essential workers were among the first to get vaccinated.  


Read about the year in COVID-19 coverage


Credit Izzy Ross/KDLG
Bobby McCarr, who is "over 65," gets the first dose of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Gina Carpenter. Jan. 14, 2021.


Educators across Bristol Bay met the pandemic’s challenges with creative solutions. Students were resilient in the face of constant changes this spring. Dillingham's schools had a couple changes in leadership, sparking controversy.


Read about the year in education coverage


Credit Courtesy of Robin Jones
Audrey Panamarioff of New Stuyahok.


The weather has been wild this year. From record precipitation to blistering cold to dumps of snow, we've seen it all. Beyond the daily weather forecast, environmental news made waves across the bay in 2021. 


Read about the year in environmental coverage.


Credit Ashe Christensen
Walrus haul out on Qayassiq - Round Island. June 2021.


News around the proposed Pebble Mine slowed this year. But a few stories still turned heads in 2021, including the Environmental Protection Agency invoking the Clean Water Act in a step toward permanent protections for the region.


Read about the year in Pebble coverage.


Extremely limited caribou hunts, but bountiful moose around Togiak. Low salmon returns to the Chigniks for the fourth year in a row. In the bay, abundant sockeye and few Chinook salmon. People practicing subsistence experienced and adapted to changes in 2021. 

Read about the year in coverage of subsistence.

Credit Izzy Ross/KDLG
Gene Carlson in his smokehouse in Chignik Bay. July 2021.


Salmon in Bristol Bay

The largest sockeye run on record returned to Bristol Bay this summer: more than 66 million reds swam toward their spawning grounds. Districts pulled in record harvests of sockeye. Meanwhile, the Chinook run to the Nushagak was low.


Read about the year in salmon coverage.

Credit Hope McKenney
A boat loaded with salmon in the Nushagak. June 30, 2021.




There was a touch of brucellosis among caribou, and an outbreak of rabies in Dillingham. But it wasn't all pestilence and blight.


Read about the year in game coverage.


Public safety and MMIP

It was a groundbreaking year for the Curyung Tribal Council, which joined a federal project to investigate Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons. Dillingham police struggled with shortstaffing, and Aleknagik's 911 calls were re-routed to the state troopers.


Read about the year in public safety and MMIP coverage.

Credit Tyler Thompson/KDLG
Curyung Tribe and SAFE Domestic Violence Shelter called out 35 names of those Missing or Murdered on MMIP Day, May 5, 2021. From left, Marilyn Casteel, Desi Bond, J.J. Larson and Courtenay Carty.



A dumpster fire in Dillingham really set the tone for 2021. Week-long power outages, mysterious microwave glitches disrupting the internet -- well, why don't you just read about it?

Read about the year in infrastructure coverage.

Credit Courtesy of Nushagak Cooperative
Nushagak Cooperative's technicians work on the equipment at the Muklung Mountain site. March 9, 2021.



Local politics most immediately affect our lives, and it’s been a whirlwind year in the bay, from redistricting to health and safety regulations to city manager searches.


Read about the year in political coverage.



Get ready for the warm fuzzies, as you peruse the acts of service and kindness people undertook in 2021, stepping up to help friends, family and fellow community members.


Read about the year in community coverage.

Credit Tyler Thompson/KDLG
Billie Benedict with her daughter, Carrie Hopkins. Hopkins flew in to help her mother move and to address the incident. From left, Carrie Hopkins, Billie Benedict.



Those we’ve lost in 2021

There's been tremendous loss this year, and KDLG can't do justice to every story. Here are some of those who have died or gone missing this year. People who would like to publicly remember those who have died can submit obituaries to Bristol Bay Obituaries. Email submissions and photos to 


Read about the people we've lost this year.


KDLG’s local programs 

Perhaps the biggest story of the year is that we brought back Open Line. We heard your rallying cries, your conviction that the region-wide call-in show is fundamental to the well-being of Bristol Bay’s public radio. And, darn it, we answered.


Read more about KDLG's local programming in 2021.


Contact the author at or 907-842-2200.

Izzy Ross is the news director at KDLG, the NPR member station in Dillingham. She reports, edits, and hosts stories from around the Bristol Bay region, and collaborates with other radio stations across the state.