Courtney Flatt

EarthFix Reports
3:00 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Fish-Eating Birds To Be Killed At 5 Dams

The ring-billed gull. It's one of three types of bird that will be shot if non-lethal hazing fails to stop them from eating juvenile salmon and steelhead at five dams on the Columbia and lower Snake rivers.
Flickr Photo/Ken Slade (CC BY-NC-ND)

Operators of five dams on the Columbia and lower Snake rivers will start killing birds that eat migrating juvenile salmon.

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EarthFix Reports
7:29 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Puget Sound Tidal Energy Project Approved By Feds

A crew deploying a "sea spider" in 2011 to collect data from the floor of Puget Sound in Admiralty Inlet. That test was one of many steps that led the way to federal energy regulators' approval of a tidal energy project in that location.
Credit EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Puget Sound tides may soon be generating power. A proposal for the world’s first grid-connected tidal energy project received a federal license Thursday. The project has been almost eight years in the making.

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EarthFix Reports
4:11 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Stopping A Stink Bug Invasion

Northwest researchers are teaming up to stop an invasion of stink bugs moving across the region. The bugs, which can smell like dirty gym socks, ruin tree fruit and grape vines.
Flickr Photo/Armed Forces Pest Management Board (CC BY-NC-ND)

You have to go through three airlocked doors to get to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s stink bug research lab.

The quarantined, closet-sized room has its own ventilation system. The brown marmorated stink bug colony is kept inside an even smaller room within the lab.

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EarthFix Reports
9:10 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Who Finds You When You Wander Off The Hiking Trail?

Kia is a 2-year-old German shepherd who is training to be a search and rescue dog with the Yakima County K-9 team. The team is made up of volunteers who search for missing hikers, hunters, children, and senior citizens.
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

If you’re out one day hunting or wander off a hiking trail, a select group of volunteers may come to look for you. K-9 search and rescue teams spend countless hours training for just such an emergency.

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EarthFix Reports
9:33 am
Mon February 24, 2014

What Does Climate Change Mean For Ice Climbing?

Whitman College freshman Laura Rey makes her way up the Weeping Wall, outside Dayton, Wash. This was Rey's first ice climbing trip.
EarthFix Photo/Courtney Flatt

High up in Washington’s Blue Mountains, behind trees and across the Touchet River, is what locals call the Weeping Wall.

Water seeps through the permeable basalt and can freeze on the cliff’s moss-covered face. When the conditions are right, that creates a curtain of ice that is irresistible for ice climbers.

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EarthFix Reports
8:45 am
Thu February 20, 2014

More Coal, More Oil Means More Trains

A coal train moves through Wyoming where the coal is mined from the Powder River Basin.
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Train traffic will dramatically increase in the Pacific Northwest, if proposed coal export terminals and crude oil terminals are built. That’s the conclusion of an updated report from the Western Organization of Resource Councils.

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EarthFix Reports
8:58 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Energy Storage Battery Heads To The Market

Private companies are now interested in putting batteries capable of storing unused energy for later use on the grid into commercial production. A battery developed in the Northwest has been licensed by three companies.
Courtesy of UniEnergy Technologies

Clarification 2/6/2014: An earlier version of this report described the storage capacity of a 100-megawatt battery system that has since been disputed by a source for this story.

The push to build supersized batteries capable of storing unused energy for later use on the grid is taking a big step forward: Private companies are interested in moving the technology out of the laboratory and into commercial production.

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Restoring Tribal Diets
10:42 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Northwest Lab Hopes To Build The World's First Lamprey Hatchery

Pacific lamprey serve as an important food source for Northwest tribes. Their populations have dramatically declined throughout the Columbia River system.
Credit Flickr Photo/USFWS Pacific

Pacific lamprey were once a major staple in Northwest tribes’ diets. The oils were a source of nutrition. Babies used lamprey tails as teething rings.

Now, as numbers decline, lamprey only make it to the table during ceremonies or special occasions. Washington biologists hope to turn those numbers around and in doing so, may create the world's first lamprey hatchery.

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Environment
4:02 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

600,000 Bats Killed At Wind Farms In 2012, Study Says

Flickr Photo/J.N. Stuart

More than 600,000 bats may have been killed at wind farms in the continental US last year. That’s trouble for agriculture: the US Geological Survey estimated in 2011 that the bats’ natural pest-control saves the industry at least $3 billion a year.

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Health Research
10:37 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Insecticide Exposure Could Make You Fat, Washington Researchers Say

An old DDT insecticide poster. Researchers at Washington State University have linked DDT exposure to obesity generations later.
Flickr Photo/Kevin Krejci

Even if you haven’t been exposed to DDT in your lifetime, researchers say it could still have an effect on you – and your weight.

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Climate Change Health Risks
9:25 am
Mon September 30, 2013

How Farmworkers Experience A Warming Climate

For 20 years, Victor Gonzalez has traveled the Pacific Coast picking cherries, pears, and apples. He said he came close to passing out once from the heat. Migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to health problems from heat.
Courtney Flatt Earthfix

HOOD RIVER, Ore. — For 20 years, Victor Gonzales has traveled the West picking crops. In the Northwest that means pears, cherries and apples.

Right now, he’s working at a Hood River pear orchard. In the summer, temperatures here can reach 100 degrees. Gonzalez remembers one day when he’d been working really hard, sweating more than normal.

Gonzales felt like he was going to pass out. He was shaky and very sleepy, he says through a translator. Instead of sleeping, he went to the farmworker housing unit and drank a lot of water and rested until he recovered.

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The Salt
9:37 am
Wed September 4, 2013

A Greener Way To Cool Your Foods On The Way To The Grocery Store

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 2:13 pm

Your produce and frozen foods could soon arrive at grocery stores in trucks that release fewer emissions. Researchers are developing a clean technology to keep your food cool while it travels.

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