environment

Water Quality
11:33 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Boat Sewage In The Puget Sound? The Department Of Ecology Says No More

Flickr Photo/JPChamberland

It's not something you want to think about: excrement floating in our lovely oceans. Some boaters release their sewage into the water, but Washington's Department of Ecology is trying to change that. They are drafting a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency to classify the Puget Sound as a "no discharge zone." If approved, it would prohibit boaters from releasing any sewage — treated or untreated — in the Sound. Ross Reynolds talks with Department of Ecology supervisor Mark Henley.

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Sound
9:40 am
Fri September 27, 2013

What Listening To Nature Teaches Us About Changing Habitats

"In habitats that are pretty much untouched, the sound is organized and structured in such a way so that each critter establishes its own bandwidth" — Bernie Kraus
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 11:25 am

Part 3 in the TED Radio Hour episode "Everything Is Connected."

About Bernie Krause's TEDTalk

Bernie Krause has been recording the wild — the wind in the trees, the chirping of birds — for 45 years. He has seen many environments radically altered by humans, sometimes even by practices thought to be environmentally safe.

About Bernie Krause

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Maple Wood Theft
9:42 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Critic: Guitar Makers Slow To Respond To Thefts Of Rare Wood

Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:10 pm

U.S. guitar makers are under scrutiny these days because of the rare woods they sometimes use. One of those prized woods is found only in the Pacific Northwest.

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Nuclear Waste
9:36 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Feds Propose Plan For Hanford's Tank Waste Challenges

US Department of Energy

Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 8:49 am

There’s a new plan for cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The federal government is looking for ways to process certain types of radioactive waste more quickly, while managers there figure out how to solve major technical challenges at its massive Waste Treatment Plant.

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Job Training And Creation
9:30 am
Tue September 24, 2013

"Green Jobs" A Loosely Defined Category In Job Creation Grants

Mike Mitzel, maintenance mechanic for UW's consolidated laundry facility.
KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

In 2009 President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law. It provided $500 million for research and green-jobs training. Here in Washington, $16 million in federal funds went to green jobs training.

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Food Safety
9:23 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Warning: Some Columbia River Fish Not Safe To Eat

US Army Corps of Engineers

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 3:50 pm

New advisories from health officials in Washington and Oregon warn that some fish in the Columbia River aren’t safe to eat.

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Volcanic Activity
11:51 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Colombians Urge Pacific Northwesterners To Appreciate Lahar Danger

RJ Landa USGS

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 10:50 am

Name the volcano that geologists consider the most dangerous in the Northwest.

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Food's Future
8:00 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

The Future Of Food With Vandana Shiva

Flickr Photo/Elevate Festival

What is the future of food? How can it sustain us? Vandana Shiva is an environmental and anti-globalization activist. Throughout her career, she’s fought for changes in agriculture practices, among other causes. Her latest book is called “Making Peace with the Earth.” She spoke at Town Hall on September 12, 2013, in a talk sponsored by YES! Magazine.

Environment
3:33 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

The Danger Of Rising Carbon Dioxide In The World's Oceans

Fabricius records data from instruments placed alongside corals in the CO2 vents off Dobu Island.
Credit The Seattle Times Photo/Steve Ringman

Rising levels of carbon dioxide are corroding the world's seas. It’s called ocean acidification, and it’s already threatening Northwest oyster beds.

Scientists think the impact of ocean acidification is happening much more rapidly than previously thought.

The Seattle Times has published a major print and online series on its impacts called "Sea Change: The Pacific’s Perilous Turn" by reporter Craig Welch and photographer Steve Ringman. Craig Welch talks with Ross Reynolds.

Coal Terminals
2:05 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Could China Coal Cuts Help Sink Proposed Wash. Coal Ports?

Flickr Photo/Ryan Sitzman

China plans to cut coal consumption in major northern cities including Beijing and Shanghai by 2017 to curb pollution. Could this impact demand for Wyoming coal and proposed (and controversial) coal export terminals in Washington state?  Marcie Sillman talks it over with David Roberts who writes for the Seattle-based environmental magazine, Grist.

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Coal Train Impact
8:44 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Documents Reveal Army Corps’ Earlier Concerns About Coal Trains And Wetlands

The TransAlta Centralia Generation Plant has been burning coal since 1971. The coal burned there was mined on-site until 2006 when the Centralia mine closed and the power plant began bringing in Powder River Basin coal by train.
Pamela Gerber

Proposals to make the Northwest a major coal exporting region have made for a familiar debate over the potential impacts on people and the environment. Will it help the economy? What will coal dust do to the air we breathe? Will our rivers and marine waters be threatened?

Here’s another question: Will coal trains harm the wetlands of the Pacific Northwest?

So far, wetlands have not been a central part of the public debate over coal exports. But concern over these ecologically sensitive areas are familiar to the federal regulators who will decide whether to permit coal export terminals.

In fact, according to government documents obtained by EarthFix, the Army Corps of Engineers has already studied the issue. And in at least one instance, it’s reached a conclusion:

Coal trains are bad for wetlands.

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Fuel Emissions
4:09 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Study: Alaska Airlines Pollutes Less Than Other US Airlines

Flickr Photo/InSapphoWeTrust

Mile for mile, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines pollutes less than any other US airline. That's one of the findings of a new study of fuel efficiency in the aviation sector from a nonprofit group.

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Vashon Clean-up
1:11 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Restoring Puget Sound Shorelines One Beach At A Time

Creosote pilings at Dockton Park. They may look benign, but beneath the mud, Rabourn says they're still full of creosote, which ends up in shellfish, herring and larger predators.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

David Hyde went to visit the Vashon-Maury Island Basin steward for King County, Greg Rabourn, who helps restore Puget Sound shorelines one beach at a time. Rabourn led Hyde on a tour of the Dockton shoreline, where he and his team have been removing creosote pilings, bulkheads and decades of fill.

The site was originally a salt marsh. Then, a sawmill came in, and covered the marsh with log ends. Later came fill dirt, bricks from a nearby factory, and boulders. Now, all that stuff has been scraped away revealing spongy peat -- a gift from that long-buried marsh. Rabourn says he suspects there are dormant seeds hiding in that peat that could now sprout after seeing sunlight for the first time in a century.

Rabourn is a native plant expert and has been a frequent guest of KUOW as part of the Greendays panel.
 

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Pests
10:02 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Ouch! Yellow Jackets Having A 'Banner Year' In Northwest

Wikimedia

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 3:28 pm

Still smarting from a wasp sting this summer? Well, you're not alone. It's been a "banner year" for yellow jackets in the Northwest by many accounts.

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E-Waste
11:30 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Locked Phones: Good News For Carriers, Bad News For The Environment

Flickr Photo/Adam Russell

This January, changes in federal law made it illegal to unlock cell phones. This was great news for phone companies that like people to be locked into one carrier but bad news for the environment. Ross Reynolds talked with Kiera Butler, senior editor at Mother Jones, about locked phones and e-waste. 

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