Saturday Wrap-Up: Gold, red and swept-away treasures

A soccer ball with Japanese writing, which came from a school in the tsunami zone and later washed up on an Alaskan island. The ball was found on Middleton Island in March, and more debris is headed for Alaska. (Photo by David Baxter via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Happy weekend! Glorious and sunny here in Fairbanks, but the clouds are starting to roll in. For today’s Saturday Wrap-Up, we’re going to take a break from the boreal and travel around the state to see how the summer is going for treasure hunters.

Crew will attempt to recover millions from Southeast Alaska shipwreck – A 1901 Gold Rush-era shipwreck is at the top of the salvage list for the state. Up to 3,000 shipwrecks litter the coastline, and lucky Ocean Mar, Inc. gets to look for gold on the SS Islander off the coast of Admiralty Island.

Excellent news for the treasure hunters in all of us, but closer to home, the red gemstone of Alaska’s rivers and dinner tables isn’t doing too well this year.

Dismal king salmon returns across Alaska stokes fear of a crisis – Empty nets keep returning to homes in Fairbanks. Salmon runs have been terrible this year. It’s too late even for a late start, but the late ice might have had something to do with it, according to this Dispatch article (from Suzanna Caldwell, formerly of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner). No matter when the first pulse does come, it looks to be a disappointing year.

And for those who find treasure in trash, we return to Southeast Alaska…

Scientists kick-off first NOAA-led survey of Southeast beaches for tsunami debris – The first wave of debris from Japan’s tsunami last year is hitting Alaska shorelines, according to Ketchikan-based SitNews. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists will cruise up and down the coasts of Southeast Alaska to survey what items made their way to Alaska. Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski asked President Barack Obama and NOAA for funds to clean up and track the debris. Up to three billion pounds of trash will journey to Alaska, Begich said, cluttering the state’s coastal ecosystems with plastics.

What’s happening this summer in your life? How does Alaska reassert its power over you each summer — and, should you face it, what treasures does it hold?

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