environment

Natural Mystery
1:19 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Likely Builder Of Mima Mounds? Hint: It’s Furry, Tiny And Tireless

Mima mounds near Olympia, Wash.
Credit Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Natural Resources

For centuries, Mima mounds have mystified.

How were they created? How do they stay so impeccably maintained?

Mima mounds are hillocks, piles of dirt upchucked from the ground. They are sometimes covered in grass, giving them the illusion of a knoll. There are millions in California’s Central Valley; near Olympia, Wash. is the Mima Prairie, where the mounds got their name.

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EarthFix Reports
9:45 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Can Mushrooms Help Fight Stormwater Pollution?

Stropharia rugosoannulata, commonly known as the Garden Giant, may hold a key to filtering stormwater runoff.
Courtesy of Paul Stamets

Ah, the Garden Giant. He’s a jolly fellow who roams around your garden at night tossing mulch as he merrily skips along, helping your veggies grow lush and tall.

Not quite. The Garden Giant is actually a species of mushroom, scientifically known as Stropharia rugosoannulata, that may hold a key to filtering harmful pollutants from stormwater runoff.

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Environmental Concerns
2:43 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

The Fight Against Junk Mail

From Wikipedia.

Steve Scher talks to Alan Durning, the executive director and founder of Sightline Institution, about his crusade against junk mail. He wrote a blog post detailing his quest called "Going Postal 2013."

Environment
2:42 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Federal Climate Panel Calls For Early Warning System For Major Climate Events

Icebergs breaking off glaciers at Cape York, Greenland.
From Wikipedia.

Marcie Sillman talks with David Roberts, writer for the Seattle-based environmental magazine Grist, about a new report on climate change from the National Research Council.

EarthFix Reports
3:08 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

The Cost Of Energy Efficient Windows

Two prefabricated houses serve as experiements for researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. Researchers found that triple-paned windows are energy efficient, but expensive.

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 3:26 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. -- If you’re looking to keep out the winter cold, triple-paned windows will do the trick. But Northwest researchers have found have found it can take decades before savings from these highly insulated windows pay you back.

Researchers are using two identical homes to test some of the latest advances in energy efficient appliances, heating and cooling systems, and most recently, windows.

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EarthFix Reports
11:20 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Northwest Tribe Opposes Coal Terminal, But How Hard Will They Fight It?

Tribal treaty fishing rights give Washington tribes the opportunity to weigh in on, and even block, projects that could impact their fishing grounds.
Credit KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Dozens of crab pot buoys dot the waters around Lummi tribal member Jay Julius’ fishing boat as he points the bow towards Cherry Point – a spit of land that juts into northern Puget Sound near Bellingham, Wash.

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Northwest Timber
9:00 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Groups Aim To Boost Logging, Restoration In Olympic National Forest

File photo of Mount Townsend Trail in the Olympic National Forest
Miguel Vieira Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:04 pm

Timber industry and environmental groups will make a stab at collaboration to boost both logging and habitat restoration in the Olympic National Forest.

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Oil Equipment
9:44 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Megaload Pulls Out Of Northeast Oregon Port Despite Protesters

Cathy Sampson-Kruse is a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation. Police arrested her after she laid down in front of the so-called megaload bound for Canada.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 1:25 pm

A massive load of oil equipment is on its way to Canada, along a winding route that began near Hermiston, in northeast Oregon. 

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Puget Sound
9:03 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Watch Underwater Video Of Sea Stars Dying Off West Seattle

A dying sea star dangles by its tentacles off an underwater piling in West Seattle.

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 5:00 pm

Laura James called it one of the saddest things she’s ever seen underwater.

Sea stars -- iconic and ever present in Northwest coastal waters -- suddenly becoming sick and dying before her eyes in numbers too great to count. The long time Puget Sound diver said she’s never seen anything like this in 20 years of diving.

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Environment
8:58 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Coal Exporter Disturbed Native American Burial Site Near Bellingham

Jay Julius is a Lummi tribal council member and fisherman. He cites the Pacific International Terminals' non-permitted actions at Cherry Point as a source of tribal opposition to the Gateway Pacific Terminal.
EarthFix/KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Three summers ago, the company that hopes to build the largest coal terminal in North America failed to obtain the permits it needed before bulldozing more than four miles of roads and clearing more than nine acres. 

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Oil Equipment
8:38 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Controversy Follows 'Megaloads' Through Oregon-Idaho Route

File photo of a megaload parked along Idaho’s Highway 12. A federal judge blocked the route to further megaload traffic until the Forest Service reviews the impact to a wild and scenic corridor.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 4:13 pm

The first of three hulking pieces of oil equipment, known as “megaloads,” is expected to start its slow, winding journey through eastern Oregon Monday.

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Nuclear Waste
7:23 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Hanford Researchers Puzzle Over Preventing Sludge Tank 'Burps'

Phil Gauglitz is a chemical engineer with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. He shows off one of his experiments aimed at solving the problem of possible deep sludge gas at Hanford.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 8:27 pm

We all burp sometimes. It turns out, so do underground waste tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

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Not Fish Food
9:52 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Study: Eating Plastic Causes Tumors, Liver Problems In Fish

The unaltered stomach contents of a dead albatross chick photographed in September 2009 include plastic marine debris fed to the chick by its parents.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Photo/Chris Jordan

The majority of the plastic pollution in the ocean, by volume, comes in the form of tiny confetti-sized particles, which, as anyone who's ever kept a pet fish can attest, resemble fish food.

And fish are fooled as well.

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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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Flotsam
7:42 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Tsunami Debris Sightings Way Down, But May Spike Again

An Oregon beach cleanup earlier this month collected this possible tsunami debris.
Oregon Chapter of Surfrider Foundation

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:43 pm

Hotline calls and emails to report suspected Japanese tsunami debris have gone way down this year. But West Coast states are still keeping their guard up in case another wave of flotsam from the 2011 disaster washes up on our shores.

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