environment

The Oregon Department of Energy announced $1.5 million in grants Thursday to developers across the state. Of the 17 projects the department funded, all but one involves solar power.

The one exception is a $110,000 hydroelectric project for the Sisters Irrigation District. The solar recipients include a school, two ranches, a theater, a visitors center, and two affordable housing projects.

The biggest awards were $250,000 each for proposals based in Klamath Falls, Sheridan and St. Paul.

Sturgeon Poachers Angle For Caviar On The Columbia

May 21, 2015
 The man in this photo has been charged with trying to sell an illegal sturgeon. Police say he used this cellphone photo of himself alongside the fish on the bank of the Columbia River to market the fish.
Courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The high value of caviar is driving poachers to an inventive way to cash in on giant sturgeon in the Columbia River:

They lash live fish with ropes to the riverbank for safe-keeping until black-market buyers can be located. Enforcement officials have also found sturgeon carcasses floating in the river with their bellies slit open to harvest their eggs.

The forensics lab in Ashland, Oregon, uses state-of-the-art technology to crack cases against endangered species and trafficked trees.
EarthFix/Katie Campbell

Laura Daugherty balances a small tray on one gloved hand, like a waiter at black-tie restaurant.

Today’s main course is ring-necked pheasant – freshly skinned and raw.

Her patrons are a teeming pile of flesh-eating beetles.

A federal judge in southern Oregon heard court arguments Wednesday in a challenge against a county's restriction on growing genetically engineered crops.

Two farms brought the case against Jackson County, arguing the ban violates Oregon’s Right to Farm Act. The farmers had genetically engineered-alfalfa planted before voters approved the ban.

Several dairies accused of polluting the groundwater in Washington’s Yakima Valley will now start handling their waste more carefully. That’s because a federal judge has approved an order between environmental groups and dairies. Environmental groups had sued the dairies because they worried about pollution leaking into water supplies.

The weed-whacker is a frequent companion to the sounds of chirping birds and rustling pines at Ross Frank's ranch in Chumstick, Wash. With forested land on all sides, he's clearing dense brush beneath a stand of by his house.

"So we're turning that around manually and mimicking what fire would have done naturally," he says.

Hundreds of Oregon industrial facilities are facing tough new restrictions on their stormwater pollution.

Robert Grott, executive director of the Northwest Environmental Business Council, says the restrictions are catching many businesses off-guard.

"Many of them are not in compliance with what they should be doing, so we're trying to bring people up to par," he said. "A lot of businesses aren't staffed to do this right. They might have just one person or a few people on a maintenance team that are supposed to comply with what can be a very complex, technical challenge."

Makah whalers celebrate atop a dead gray whale after a successful hunt seen in this May 17, 1999, file photo, in Neah Bay, Wash.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Ross Reynolds talks to historian Joshua Reid about his new book, a history of the Makah tribe  titled, “The Sea is My Country: The Maritime World of the Makahs."   

The Makahs' tribal land occupies  the Northwest corner of Washington state.  They gained worldwide attention in 1999 when they resumed the traditional practice of hunting for grey whales. Reid's book takes a fresh look at the controversy seen through the  history of the Makahs.

Reid, a member of the Snohomish tribe, was born and raised in Washington. In the fall he’ll be at the University of Washington as an associate professor of history and American Indian Studies.

A member of a fire crew. wildfire
Flickr Photo/BC Gov Photos (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman speaks with Vaughn Palmer, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, about an early start to the wildfire season in British Columbia.

A Texas hunter who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt a rare black rhino in Namibia has killed the animal. The hunt has drawn controversy and spurred debate over the best way to manage endangered wildlife.

Corey Knowlton won an auction last January for a hunting permit that would allow him to kill a black rhino weighing around 3,000 pounds.

During a commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy today, President Obama will cast climate change as posing an "immediate risk to our national security."

NPR's Scott Horsley reports Obama is expected to tell graduates that the Coast Guard itself will have to adjust to the effects of rising sea levels. Scott filed this report for our Newscast unit:

The buzz around bees has been bad lately. As we've reported, beekeepers say they lost 42 percent of honeybee colonies last summer.

Kirkland Has The World’s Greenest Road

May 19, 2015
Northeast 120th Street Extension in Kirkland, Washington, received the highest rating from The Greenroads Foundation.
The Greenroads Foundation

  A short street in Kirkland has earned the honor of being the greenest road in the world -- at least by one measure.

Earlier this month, Northeast 120th Street Extension earned the highest rating in the history of The Greenroads Foundation, scoring 46 out of 118 possible points.  

Arctic drilling protesters at the Port of Seattle.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Hundreds of protesters blocked entrance gates to Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle for most of the day Monday.

The climate activists intended not just to gain publicity but to stop work on the Polar Pioneer, an Arctic drilling rig that arrived at Terminal 5 on Thursday.

If you were to catch a salmon in Puget Sound, chances are you won’t be able to say exactly where that fish came from. That’s because salmon spawn in rivers and streams and then swim hundreds or even thousands of miles to the ocean to mature.

Some new research could help fisheries managers better protect salmon by studying their ear bones - that’s right, ear bones.

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