environment

EarthFix Reports
8:02 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Oregon Wave Energy Project Sinks

More than 100 energy buoys like this were planned to be deployed in Pacific Ocean near Reedsport, Ore. After canceling the larger of two phases of the project in March, the company behind the endeavor has now dropped the entire venture.
Ocean Power Technologies

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 5:15 pm

Plans to deploy Oregon’s first commercial wave energy project have been formally dropped by the company.

After spending millions on the project off the coast of Reedsport, Ore., Ocean Power Technologies pulled the plug and will focus on another project in Australia.

Kevin Watkins, a company representative, said this would have actually been the first such project in the Western Hemisphere — but they had trouble securing adequate funds.

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A Leader's Legacy
3:48 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Billy Frank Jr.: Tribes Must Try To Bring The Salmon Back

Billy Frank Jr., known for his decades of defending Washington tribes’ treaty rights, fears the rights will be worthless as overfishing, dams and climate change take their toll on the habitats salmon need to survive. Photo taken in August 2012.
Credit EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Billy Frank Jr. helped secure Indian fishing rights through protest and legal action in the 1960s and '70s. The 83-year-old Nisqually tribe member has been arrested about 50 times over the years; the first time was in 1945 when he was 14, for fishing.

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Wanapum Dam
8:17 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Keeping Bones, Cultural Artifacts Safe In Central Washington Is Proving Costly

File photo. Sheriff's deputies, Grant County employees and state Fish and Wildlife officers are patrolling 80 miles of Columbia River shore.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 4:07 pm

The drawdown of water behind Wanapum Dam in central Washington is exposing dozens of human gravesites and hundreds of Native American cultural artifacts.

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Fishing Season
8:14 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Banner Summer On Tap For Ocean Salmon Fishing

File photo. Fisheries managers are expecting a banner year for ocean salmon fishing.
Michael B Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 6:23 pm

A federal fisheries management panel has approved what some charter captains are calling the best ocean fishing season in 20 years.

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EarthFix Reports
7:12 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Federal Government Blazes Ahead On Comprehensive Fire Management Plan

Wildfire seasons in many parts of Oregon and the rest of the West are getting hotter and longer.

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 3:45 pm

A new national strategy for preventing and fighting wildfires has been announced by the federal government in response to increasingly costly firefighting seasons in the West.

Rather than waiting to address wildfires until after they ignite, the new strategy emphasizes restoring forests and rangelands while stabilizing funding.

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Central Washington
7:07 am
Thu April 10, 2014

What Cracked Wanapum Dam? Experts Won't Know Until June

A view of the lowered Columbia River at Crescent Bar near Vantage, Wash.
Grant County PUD

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 5:25 pm

Central Washington could be in for a bummer of a summer as Grant County officials have said they won’t nail down the cause of the crack on Wanapum Dam until June.

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Public Safety
1:24 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

EPA Cleans Up 'Chemical House' In Seattle's Green Lake Neighborhood

Containers were found inside and outside the house.
EPA Photo

The Environmental Protection Agency is working to remove hundreds of containers of hazardous chemicals from a Craftsman home in Seattle's Green Lake neighborhood.

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EarthFix Reports
6:13 am
Wed April 9, 2014

The Wetland That Saved Highway 101 From Flooding

A restoration project last year allowed this wetland to flood while an infamous stretch of Highway 101 stayed dry this winter.
Credit North Coast Land Conservancy

Every winter on Oregon's north coast, the Necanicum River spills out over its banks during heavy rains and swallows the road just south of Seaside. This happens at least once — and up to seven times — a year.

But not this year.

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Water
1:46 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Bringing The Colorado River Back To Long-Dry Parts Of Mexico

An eight-week release of water from the Morelos Dam has filled parts of the Colorado River Delta that haven't seen water in nearly two decades, like this spot about 20 miles south of the dam. (Stina Sieg/KJZZ)

For the first time in almost 20 years, the Colorado River is flowing into northern Mexico through a dam that usually stops it. It’s called a pulse flow — a temporary release of water.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Stina Sieg of KJZZ traveled to see the effect it’s having on Mexico’s long-barren delta.

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EarthFix Reports
5:39 am
Tue April 8, 2014

'Silicon Forest' Could Gain New Meaning With High-Tech Uses For Trees

The cellulose from trees, like these being harvested for pulp and paper, can now be processed into high-tech energy storage devices.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 4:49 pm

Scientists at Oregon State University may have discovered a new high-tech use for the state’s abundant forests: the trees could play a big role in making energy storage devices.

It's the cellulose found in trees that scientists have zeroed in on. That cellulose could be a key component in something called supercapacitors.

Supercapacitors are high-power energy devices with applications ranging from electronics to cars, aviation to alternative energy.

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Aquaculture Harvest
2:46 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Can Fish Farms Thrive In The USA?

Live tilapia are loaded into a truck bound for New York.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on

Why hasn't fish farming taken off in the United States?

It's certainly not for lack of demand for the fish. Slowly but surely, seafood that's grown in aquaculture is taking over the seafood section at your supermarket, and the vast majority is imported. The shrimp and tilapia typically come from warm-water ponds in southeast Asia and Latin America. Farmed salmon come from big net pens in the coastal waters of Norway or Chile.

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Oso Clear-Cut
12:24 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Oso Logger: We Followed Rules, Cut Edge Of Landslide Zone Cautiously

Washington Department of Natural Resources image shows 2005 clear-cut (near dotted purple line) extending into no-logging zone (marked with yellow line) at site of Oso landslide.
Credit Washington Department of Natural Resources

The forester who clear-cut land above the Oso, Wash., landslide zone in 2005 says he followed standard procedures and state regulations when logging there.

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Agriculture
9:02 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Low Prices Prompt Northwest Asparagus Growers To Try To Delay Harvest

File photo
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 5:48 pm

Northwest asparagus growers are just starting to harvest spears in the warmer sites around Pasco, Wash.

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EarthFix Reports
6:15 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Pollution Is Not The Top Priority At Oso Landslide Site, But It Is A Concern

Propane tanks floated to the surface of the massive landslide debris field that engulfed 42 homes near Oso, Wash.
EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

An orange backhoe beeps in the background as cleanup workers and search dogs slog through the gray-blue clay of the Oso landslide zone. In the distance a muddy American flag waves over hummocks of exposed roots, broken trees and the remnants of the 42 homes that used to line this stretch of highway in the Cascade Mountains northeast of Seattle.

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Environment
6:03 am
Mon April 7, 2014

A Long, Dry Summer For River Resort Communities Behind Wanapum Dam?

Boat launches and docks have been left high and dry from the drawdown of water behind the damaged Wanapum dam.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 3:33 pm

This summer could be a bust for a resort community in central Washington after a crack in the Wanapum Dam forced operators to draw down the Columbia River more than 25 feet.

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