Ashley Ahearn

Environment Reporter

Ashley Ahearn is the environment reporter at KUOW and part of the award-winning regional multimedia collaborative project EarthFix. Before joining KUOW Ashley was a producer and reporter for Living on Earth, a nationally aired environment program from Public Radio International.

She has a master's degree in science journalism from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California and has completed reporting fellowships with Vermont Law School, the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island and the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources. She also serves on the board of the Society of Environmental Journalists. In her spare time Ashley enjoys riding vintage motorcycles, snowboarding and hiking in the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges of the Northwest.

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Oso Mudslide
8:27 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Latest Landslide Science Not Connecting With County Planning

The cabin that Bonnie Brown's family built in the 1970s that was in the path of the Oso mudslide.
Credit Courtesy of Bonnie Brown

Bonnie Brown still has photos to remind her of the cabin her parents built in the 1970s near the Stillaguamish River. It was the kind of place that kids dream of.

“It was just a very beautiful place,” she said. “With beaver ponds and streams and meadows and trails through the wood.”

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EarthFix Reports
9:00 am
Mon March 24, 2014

EarthFix Conversation: 25 Years Later, Scientists Remember The Exxon Valdez

Killer whales swimming in Prince William Sound alongside boats skimming oil from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Scientists report that orca populations there have not recovered and oil is still being found.
Credit Courtesy of State of Alaska/Dan Lawn

Twenty five years ago today the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, Calif., ran aground in Prince William Sound.

Eleven million gallons of oil spilled out, polluting 1,300 miles of Alaska’s coastline.

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Geology
8:06 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

Site Near Oso Had Previous Landslides, Potential For More

An image from Google Earth, taken before the current slide, shows the scars from a landslide that took place at the same spot in 2006.
Credit Google Earth

Satellite images show the area on the Stillaguamish River near Oso, Washington, experienced a landslide in 2006. According to the Sliding Thought Blog, the "Hazel Landslide" that year was caused by groundwater and erosion by the north fork of the river.

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Threatened Species Habitat
8:46 am
Wed March 5, 2014

University Of Washington To Receive Money From Controversial Timber Sales

The marbeled murrelet nests in old-growth coastal forests of Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and California.
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/David Patte

The Washington Board of Natural Resources voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the sale of 200 acres of the Olympic Peninsula. The money from the timber sale will go to the University of Washington.

The land is home to a rare seabird whose numbers have plummeted to the point that it’s listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

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EarthFix Reports
4:50 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Navy Looks To Renew Permits For Bombing And Sonar Exercises In The Northwest

The U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis transits the Pacific Ocean alongside the oiler USNS Yukon.
Official U.S. Navy Imagery/Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate

The Navy is pursuing permits to continue conducting sonar and explosives exercises in a large area of the Pacific Ocean — and that’s putting marine mammal advocates on high alert.

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EarthFix Reports
9:12 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Up To 2,000 Gallons Of Oil Spilled In Hood Canal

A flyover by the Washington Department of Ecology yielded this photo of Monday's spill at Hood Canal Bridge. The spill, traveled 10 miles from Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
Flickr Photo/EcologyWA

Officials are responding to an oil spill in Washington’s Puget Sound. The spill occurred at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and has spread 10 miles north to Hood Canal.

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EarthFix Reports
9:24 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Stalking Puget Sound Steelhead With Science

The crew of the research vessel Chasina gets ready to drop an acoustic telemetry receiver 300 feet down into Puget Sound. The device will record tagged steelhead as they swim out of their spawning rivers.
Credit KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

You might call Barry Berejikian a steelhead stalker.

The government scientist’s pursuit of these anadromous trout has brought him to the deck of the Chasina, a research vessel that’s motoring through choppy gray waters of southern Puget Sound near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

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EarthFix Reports
10:33 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Sally Jewell Straps On Snowshoes To Offer Perspective On Climate Change

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell at Mount Rainier National Park.
KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Hot on the heels of President Obama’s latest State of the Union address, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell came home to Washington to meet with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service.

But this wasn’t your usual boardroom PowerPoint session.

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EarthFix Reports
12:31 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Feds Declare Salmon Fishery Disaster For Washington Tribes

A Native American takes part in a salmon ceremony. On Tuesday, the U.S. commerce secretary declared a fishery disaster for the Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery in Washington. That could lead to aid to nine tribes and non-tribal fishers.
KUOW Photo/Katie Campbell

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce has declared the Fraser River sockeye salmon run a “fishery disaster” for nine tribes and non-tribal fishers in Washington state.

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EarthFix Reports
10:41 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Wild Fish Group Announces Plan To Sue Over Hatchery Fish In Puget Sound

Research indicates when hatcheries release juvenile fish in large quantities into a river, the influx can overwhelm the wild juveniles that may be present.
Credit Flickr Photo/Kitaro & Kawauso

Environmental groups are turning to the courts to block the placement of hatchery-reared fish in rivers where wild fish are struggling for survival.

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EarthFix Reports
10:05 am
Wed January 22, 2014

New Study: China Exporting Goods, Air Pollution To US

A satellite image of smog over China. Westerly winds can carry air pollution from China across the Pacific Ocean in just a few days. A new study is linking air pollution in the Western United States to China’s booming exports.
NASA/NOAA

Westerly winds can carry air pollution from China across the Pacific Ocean in just a few days.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers in the United Kingdom, China and the U.S.

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EarthFix Reports
12:36 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Scientists: Stop Worrying About Fukushima Radioactivity In Fish

Pete Knutson and his son Dylan sell wild salmon at farmers markets around Seattle. "We had people passing on our fish this year. It was directly because they were worried about Fukushima," Pete Knutson said.
Credit EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Following the 2011 tsunami in Japan, a nuclear reactor released hundreds of millions of gallons of radioactive water into the ocean. That sparked fear that contaminated water would reach the West Coast, but three years later, scientists say that radiation in our waters isn’t necessarily linked to the nuclear reactor. 

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EarthFix Reports
10:06 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Oil, Rail Companies Offer Little Information About Shipments

Rail and oil companies do not have to disclose how many DOT-111 tanker cars travel through the Northwest. DOT-111 tanker cars, which exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, and killed 47 people, have a design flaw and are easily punctured.
Credit Transportation Safety Board of Canada

The oil-by-rail boom is underway, and with that, several high-profile, fiery derailments.  

But state officials don't have the information they need to prepare for an oil train mishap because railroad and oil companies are not required to disclose much on shipments or response strategies.

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EarthFix Reports
1:07 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Washington Officials Say Shellfish Is Safe For China To Import

Credit Flickr Photo/USDAgov

Washington state officials said Tuesday they found lower contamination levels when they tested geoduck clams than those alleged by China when it said geoduck imported from Puget Sound had high levels of arsenic.

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EarthFix Reports
10:03 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Feds: Crude Oil Headed For Northwest Poses ‘Significant Risk’

BNSF Railway moves the majority of Bakken oil from North Dakota to refineries in the Northwest.
Flickr Photo/Roy Luck

An alert, issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday said that the crude oil coming out of the Bakken formation of North Dakota poses a “significant risk” because it is more flammable than traditional heavy crude.

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