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EarthFix Reports
7:47 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Northwest Wildfires Boost Call For Funding Reform

Fires continue to rage through tinder-dry wildlands in Oregon, Washington and California
National Interagency Fire Center

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 10:57 am

Fires continue to rage through tinder-dry wildlands in Oregon, Washington and California. Nearly a million acres have burned so far, destroying more than 200 homes.

With the nation’s eyes turned toward the Northwest, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden and the Obama administration have taken the opportunity to renew their efforts to change how the federal government pays to fight and prevent wildfires.

In a conference call from Washington, D.C., Wyden said fire season in the West is changing, and fast.

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EarthFix Reports
8:44 am
Wed July 23, 2014

New Report: Oso Landslide Rooted In Long History Of Slides

Lidar imagery from a new report shows a history of landslide activity, as well as the contributions of groundwater from nearby basins, such as Headache Creek, which may have weakened slope stability..
GEER Report http://www.geerassociation.org/GEER_Post%20EQ%20Reports/Oso_WA_2014/GEER_Oso_Landslide_Report.pdf

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 2:40 pm

SEATTLE -- Scientists have concluded that rain, groundwater seepage and a long history of big landslides likely contributed to the massive landslide of March 22 that killed 43 people and destroyed dozens of homes near Oso, Washington.

Those findings came out Tuesday, the result of a scientific team's rapid-fire assessment of geology and localized factors.

Joe Wartman, a University of Washington associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and a co-lead author of the study, said rainfall very likely played a key role in the slide.

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EarthFix Reports
6:51 am
Mon July 21, 2014

How To Listen For A Spotted Bat

People can hear the spotted bat's echolocation. One group of nature lovers recently spent a night out tracking the bats in central Washington to check-in on how bat populations are doing in the state.
Paul Cryan

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 12:00 pm

Moses Coulee is a bat-lovers paradise. Washington is home to 15 species of these flying mammals and you can find 14 of them in this deep ravine about 45 minutes north of Ephrata.

And one of those species is the most rare type of bat in the state: the spotted bat.

There’s one thing especially cool about this bat: people can hear its echolocation. (Audio courtesy of Neal Hedges.)

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EarthFix Reports
7:42 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Ag Secretary In Oregon To Tout Conservation Partnerships

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in Portland Thursday. He was in the Northwest to tout a new conservation program.
Alexi Horowitz

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 5:04 pm

PORTLAND -- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met Thursday with Oregon conservation leaders to discuss a new effort to get farmers and conservation groups working together.

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program was created by the Farm Bill that passed this year in Congress. Lawmakers set aside $1.2 billion for the program. Partnerships around the country are competing for a share of the money for initiatives that protect soil, water quality, and wildlife habitat.

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EarthFix Reports
7:29 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Wildfire Destroys Homes, Burns More than 2,000 Acres In South-Central Oregon

Julie Moseley is one of many residents living outside Sprague River, Oregon, who lost their homes to a wildfire.
Devan Schwartz

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 1:39 pm

SPRAGUE RIVER, Ore. -- The Moccasin Hill wildfire has burned about 2,500 acres and destroyed up to 20 homes, forcing residents to seek shelter while waiting for federal aid to arrive.

Red Cross volunteers set up in the community center to help the victims.

Whistler’s Trading Post, one of a few stores in town, extended its hours and expanded its operations, serving food, taking in horses and providing overnight shelter for displaced residents.

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EarthFix Reports
7:28 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Feds Phase Out Bee-Harming Pesticides In Northwest Wildlife Refuges

By 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to phase out the use of bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides on wildlife refuges in the Pacific Northwest.
Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/5695870557/in/set-72157626541514605

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 2:23 pm

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to eliminate the use of bee-harming pesticides on wildlife refuges in the Pacific region by 2016.

A new rule phases out the use of neonicotinoid pesticides – a class of chemical that has been linked to several bee die-offs in Oregon in the past two years, including one that killed 50,000 bumblebees in a Wilsonville parking lot.

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EarthFix Reports
7:26 am
Fri July 11, 2014

A Debate On The Proposed Killing Of Cormorants To Save Salmon

Three cormorants on East Sand Island
Vince Patton

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 5:49 pm

PORTLAND -- The public got its first chance to weigh in on the government's plan to kill nearly 16,000 cormorants nesting on an island near the mouth of the Columbia River.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed the lethal approach as the best way to reduce the number of birds that congregate at East Sand Island and feast on young salmon and steelhead making their way beyond the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean.

Supporters and critics spoke out Thursday at the Matt Dishman Community Center in Northeast Portland.

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EarthFix Reports
7:45 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Poll: Most Northwest Residents Support Oil Trains But Don't Know Much About The Issue

Tank cars carrying petroleum crude oil are stationed at BNSF Railway's Willbridge Yard in Northwest Portland. The train come into Portland through the Columbia River Gorge, headed for a terminal in Clatskanie, Oregon.
Tony Schick

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 1:00 am

A 56-percent majority of Northwest residents support the transportation of oil by rail to reach West Coast refineries, with the refined oil being used for domestic purposes, according to a new DHM Research poll for EarthFix.

However, a 54-percent majority said they have heard or read little or nothing about oil trains.

The poll surveyed 1,200 residents across the Northwest – 400 each in Oregon, Washington and Idaho from June 25-30. The margin of error for each state’s results was 4.9 percent. the three-state regional results had a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

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EarthFix Reports
8:28 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Euthanized Cougar In Portland Reawakens Regional Debate

This cougar was captured after several sightings in a Northeast Portland neighborhood. It was eventually euthanized.
Courtesy of the Portland Police Bureau

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 5:29 pm

A decision by state officials to euthanize a cougar in east Portland last week is drawing criticism from some wildlife experts – and raising questions on how concerned residents should be.

Brooks Fahy is the executive director of Predator Defense, a conservation group based in Eugene.

He says Portland residents shouldn’t be too surprised by a cougar sighting.

“Cougars have been moving through East Portland and Northwest Portland ... it’s nothing new,” Fahy said.

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EarthFix Reports
7:13 am
Wed June 25, 2014

More Than 15 Oil Trains Per Week Travel Through Washington

An oil train moves through Skagit County in Western Washington, headed to refineries in the Northwestern part of the state.
Katie Campbell

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 5:53 pm

The public learned Tuesday just how many trains are hauling oil from North Dakota through Washington:

Fifteen per week through 10 different counties, according to railroad notifications released by the Washington Military Department.

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EarthFix Reports
7:30 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Conservationists Push To Expand Rogue River Wilderness Area

Pete Wallstrom, owner of Momentum River Expeditions,would like to see more environmental protection for the Wild and Scenic Rogue River.
Devan Schwartz

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 1:00 am

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Wilderness Act, many conservationists are pushing for an expansion of the wilderness surrounding the iconic Rogue River.

Each year, the Rogue River in Southern Oregon welcomes a busy summer season of rafters, kayakers and fishers.

Robyn Janssen, the clean water campaigner with Rogue Riverkeeper, rowed a boat down the river during a recent trip to discuss the wilderness proposal.

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EarthFix Reports
7:30 am
Tue June 24, 2014

BNSF Won't Seek Injunction To Stop Release Of Oil Train Info In Washington

Tank cars carrying crude oil at BNSF Railway's Willbridge Yard in Northwest Portland. BNSF Trains carry Bakken crude through Washington and into Portland, where they transfer to a shortline headed to a terminal in Clatskanie, Oregon.
Tony Schick

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 11:04 am

BNSF Railway says it's not going to court before Monday's deadline to block Washington state from releasing oil train notification information under its public records law.

"BNSF does not intend to file an injunction regarding prospective handling of the information provided," spokeswoman Courtney Wallace wrote in an email Monday. "The determination about how such information is controlled or communicated is ultimately a decision for the federal government and subsequently the Washington State Emergency Response Commission."

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EarthFix Reports
7:06 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Federal Salmon Plan Heads Back To The Courtroom

Fish supporters Tuesday once again challenged the government’s plan to manage dams on the Columbia River to protect endangered salmon and steelhead.
Aaron Kunz

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 2:36 pm

It’s back to court for the federal government and salmon advocates. Conservationists Tuesday once again challenged the government’s plan to manage dams on the Columbia River to protect endangered salmon and steelhead.

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EarthFix Reports
7:06 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Combating Algae One Dollar At A Time

Toxic algae blooms contributed to closing some of some of Oregon's lakes, ponds and reservoirs for a combined total of more than 700 days in 2013 alone.
Oregon Health Authority

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 4:00 pm

Millions of dollars in new funding to help combat harmful algae in Oregon and throughout the country are just a presidential pen stroke away.

Toxic algae blooms contributed to closing some of Oregon’s lake, ponds and reservoirs for a combined total of more than 700 days in 2013 alone.

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EarthFix Reports
7:35 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Conservation Group Files Lawsuit Against Timber Sale Near Oregon's Crater Lake National Park

The presence of a newly formed wolf pack is the latest issue in the ongoing legal fight over whether logging should go forward on a parcel of forestland near Crater Lake National Park.
Oregon Wild

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 8:47 am

The recent discovery of Oregon's wandering wolf, known as OR-7, and his new pups is one of the reasons a conservation group filed a lawsuit Wednesday against a logging project near Crater Lake National Park.

Oregon Wild filed the lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service in District Court in Medford Wednesday.

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