EarthFix Reports
7:51 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Stealing Fish To Study Seabirds

Scientists are snatching fish from Rhinoceros Auklets to find out how much pollution they're exposed to in their diets. Seabird populations in Puget Sound have declined since the 1970s.
Peter Hodum

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 3:00 pm

SEATTLE -- Seabird populations in Puget Sound have declined since the 1970s and scientists believe pollution is partially to blame.

But how do you prove that? Study what the seabirds are eating. A new paper published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin found that seabirds in Puget Sound are eating fish that are two to four times more contaminated than fish on Washington's outer coast.

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EarthFix Reports
7:55 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Bats May Mistake Wind Turbines For Trees, Study Warns

Hoary bats are one of the tree bats that die the most at wind farms in the Northwest. A new study says that tree bats might not be able to tell the difference between wind turbines and trees.
Flickr Creative Commons: Daniel Neal

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 3:55 pm

An unprecedented number of bats are being killed by wind turbine blades. A new report has found bats may be mistaking wind turbines for trees.

Bats are often looking for a place to roost when the moon is bright and winds are low. That’s when the conditions can be the deadliest for bats flying near wind turbines.

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Oil By Rail
8:51 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Inslee Calls For Safer, Slower Oil Trains

This Nov. 6, 2013 file photo shows a warning placard on a tank car carrying crude oil near a loading terminal in Trenton, N.D.
AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File

“Sobering” is how Washington Governor Jay Inslee summed up a draft report about the risks of increased oil transport through the state.  In the report, the State Department of Ecology describes an unprecedented growth in this local transport, from virtually no trains carrying crude oil in 2011 to 714 million gallons in 2013.

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EarthFix Reports
8:41 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Oil Spill Task Force Braces For More Crude By Rail

A regional oil spill task force is bracing for the risks that come along with more crude oil traveling by rail.
Tony Schick

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 4:42 pm

A regional oil spill task force met in Portland Wednesday to discuss the risks of crude oil traveling by rail.

The Pacific States British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force coordinates oil spill response plans among five U.S. states and B.C. A lot of its members have noticed the same worrisome trend: more crude oil is traveling by rail cars instead of arriving on ships, and many agencies aren't prepared for oil spills along rail lines.

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EarthFix Reports
8:41 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Will The California Condor Put Lead Bullets On The Endangered Ammo List?

Portland Audubon WIldlife Care Center workers Lacy Campbell and Deb Scheaffer tend to an injured red-tail hawk.
Alexi Horowitz

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 1:00 am

PORTLAND -- Inside the operating room at the Portland Audubon Society Wildlife Care Center, head veterinarian Deb Sheaffer is carefully inserting a syringe into the shoulder of an injured red-tail hawk.

The hawk was brought in with a broken wing after it was hit by a car. And as with most raptors brought into the center, Sheaffer and her colleagues want to test it for lead poisoning.

“It’s a very simple blood draw.” Sheaffer said. “It takes one drop of blood, and we run it through a machine, and it takes about three minutes and we get a result back.”

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Predator Hunting
8:37 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Report Finds Minimal Environmental Impacts From Idaho Hunting Derby

File photo

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 5:43 pm

Federal land managers in Idaho project minimal environmental damage from allowing a predator hunting derby to take place in the north-eastern part of the state.

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Climate Change
4:28 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

One Picture, Of 35,000 Walrus, Shows One Effect Of Global Warming

In this aerial photo taken on Sept. 27 and provided by NOAA, some 35,000 walrus gather onshore near Point Lay, Alaska.
Corey Accardo AP

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 6:32 am

This stunning picture is making the rounds on the Internet today:

It was released by NOAA's Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals and shows an estimated 35,000 walrus "hauling out" on an Alaskan beach.

This is not normally how you would find them. The animals would normally be spread out on the sea ice, but, as you see in the picture, this year the ice has all melted.

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EarthFix Reports
3:33 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Elliott State Forest Management Decisions Near

Elliott State Forest
Francis Eatherington https://www.flickr.com/photos/umpquawild/7364545846/in/set-72157604830218384

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 1:38 pm

ASHLAND, Ore. -- When the State of Oregon agreed last spring to sell three tracts of the Elliott State Forest to timber companies, conservation groups mobilized in opposition.

Now people will have an opportunity to speak to the decision-makers in person at a special meeting of the State Land Board in Coos Bay.

Wednesday, Oct. 8

3-6 p.m.

1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay

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EarthFix Reports
8:23 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Tidal Power Project In Puget Sound Abandoned By Utility

A crew deploying a "sea spider" in 2011 to collect data from the floor of Puget Sound in Admiralty Inlet. After eight years of testing and permitting processes, the Snohomish County PUD has decided to halt the project.
Ashley Ahearn

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 3:47 pm

A long-awaited tidal energy project in Puget Sound has come to halt. The project was set to generate electricity and connect it to the grid – the first project of its kind in the world. But it just got too expensive.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District had hoped to install two underwater turbines in Admiralty Inlet near Puget Sound’s Whidbey Island. The pilot turbines would have generated enough power for about 200 homes and stayed in the water up to five years.

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EarthFix Reports
8:23 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Proposed Oregon Nickel Mine Fails To Secure Key Permit

The Kalmiopis Wilderness. A nickel mine proposed for a roadless area outside the wilderness has run into difficulty in the permitting process.

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 5:47 pm

ASHLAND, Ore. -- It’s difficult to use water when there’s no water flowing. Or so discovered a UK-based mining company this week when Oregon regulators denied one of the many permits required before development of a nickel mine can get underway in Southern Oregon.

The Red Flat Nickel Corporation wants to use water from a creek in the Kalmiopsis Roadless Area in Southwest Oregon for exploratory drilling. It proposed to siphon off 10 gallons per minute from a small creek.

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On The Menu
8:22 am
Wed October 1, 2014

'If You Can't Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em' Say Diners Noshing On Invasive Species

Crayfish stuffed piquillo pepper, sorrel smoked salmon puff, wild turkey terrine with blackberry mustard, dandelion spanakopita and wild board bratwurst.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 2:10 pm

It may be difficult to eat our way out of the invasive species problem, but it can be satisfying to try.

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Water Woes
8:37 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Mercer Island Water May Be Safe, But Run Your Faucets

Mercer Island, a tony Seattle suburb, shut down its restaurants and schools through Monday after E. coli was found in the city's water supply.
Credit Mercergov.org Photo

Mercer Island schools reopened Tuesday as officials said the city’s water supply was safe again after increased chlorination over the weekend. But they advised residents to first run cold water from every tap in their homes for five minutes, starting on the highest floor.

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Climate Change
3:05 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

A Journey To A Place Where There Used To Be Ice

Ice in the Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska.
Credit Flickr Photo/Dan Nguyen (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks to state climatologist Nick Bond about an upcoming research trip he and other scientists are making to Fairbanks, Alaska, where they will be utilizing a NOAA P-3 research aircraft to take direct measurements of the extra heat coming out of areas of open ocean to compare against areas that are frozen. 

Reynolds also speaks with Ursula Rakova from the group Tulele Peisa, a community group of Tulun and Carterets islanders who’s land is already affected by rising seas.

2:47 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Seattle Waves Tourists Goodbye, Returns To Building Seawall

Utilities must be rerouted before Seattle's current seawall comes down. But with no room on the crowded sidewalk to stage construction materials, the job shack for utility workers resides on a barge.
Credit KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

As we bid the tourists adieu, we welcome back the cranes and construction.

Season 2 of Seattle’s waterfront development project starts Wednesday. It includes work from Colman Dock to the Aquarium, and holes in the ground already show the concrete face of the 1930s-era seawall, soon to be demolished. 

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EarthFix Reports
7:44 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Why The Northwest Is the New Frontier For Geothermal Energy

One of several geothermal exploration sites in Oregon is Newberry Crater, where a company has found a lot of underground heat but no geothermal fluid.
Bill Reynolds/Flickr

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 1:00 am

PORTLAND -- The Geothermal Energy Association chose to hold its annual meeting in Portland this year, and leaders say that's in part because they see the Pacific Northwest as a new frontier for the industry.

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