environment

Environment
8:40 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Columbia River's Wanapum Dam Cracked, Officials Mull Options

File photo of Wanapum Dam
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 2:26 pm

Dam operators are struggling to find a solution for a major underwater crack in the Wanapum Dam. It spans the Columbia River in central Washington near Vantage.

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Global Trade
4:05 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Coffee Roasters, Drinkers Brace For Price Hike

Flickr Photo/Brian (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds speaks with Craig Holt, founder of Atlas Coffee Importers, about the drought in Brazil and how it could affect coffee prices around the world.

EarthFix Reports
9:10 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Who Finds You When You Wander Off The Hiking Trail?

Kia is a 2-year-old German shepherd who is training to be a search and rescue dog with the Yakima County K-9 team. The team is made up of volunteers who search for missing hikers, hunters, children, and senior citizens.
EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

If you’re out one day hunting or wander off a hiking trail, a select group of volunteers may come to look for you. K-9 search and rescue teams spend countless hours training for just such an emergency.

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Fossil Find
10:24 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Holy Mammoth! Tusk Arrives At The Burke Museum

Construction workers discovered this fossilized tusk (wrapped in plaster) on February 12, 2014. They contacted paleontologists at the Burke Museum who confirmed the find. The tusk has since been transferred to the Burke for preservation and research. The smaller tusk above was found in Alaska.
Credit KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Scientists are hoping to learn more about a fossilized mammoth tusk that was uncovered two weeks ago at a construction site in Seattle’s South Lake Union area. The tusk has since been transferred to the Burke Museum for preservation and research.

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EarthFix Reports
8:46 am
Wed February 26, 2014

2014 Fall Chinook Returns Could Be Biggest On Record

A chinook salmon photographed in the Snake River in 2013. That year's run set records, but 2014 returns are on track to outnumber last year's in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Aaron Kunz

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:00 pm

The future is looking bright for fall chinook salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Predictions are in that this could be another record-breaking year for the fish.

Officials are predicting the largest return on record since 1938. That’s 1.6 million Columbia River fall chinook. Nearly 1 million of those fish will come from salmon near Hanford Reach. These are known as upriver brights, said Stuart Ellis, fisheries biologist with the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission.

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EarthFix Reports
8:52 am
Tue February 25, 2014

How One Dam Increased Fish Survival By Managing Its Water

Ryan Harnish led a study showing the effects of Central Washington's Priest Rapid Dam operations on young salmon downstream. In the background is Locke Island, one of the best spawning habitats for salmon in the Columbia River.
Courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 12:02 am

RICHLAND, Wash. -- For better salmon survival: be sure to keep salmon eggs and newly hatched fish under the water. Those are the key findings of a new study that says large numbers of fish survived when a Central Washington dam carefully controlled its water releases.

The study looked at an area of the Columbia River known as Hanford Reach, a 50-mile stretch in Central Washington along the Hanford site. It's one of the longest free-flowing areas of the river.

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EarthFix Reports
8:45 am
Tue February 25, 2014

2013: A Good Year For West Coast Lumber and Log Exports

West Coast log and lumber exports rose sharply in 2013
Amelia Templeton

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 3:25 pm

West Coast log and lumber exports rose sharply in 2013 as Asian demand for American logs increased, according to new research from the U.S. Forest Service.

The region's lumber and log exports rose about 20 percent last year, with demand peaking in the fourth quarter.

Most of the West Coast logs shipped overseas are going to China -- although Japan has upped its demand, as well. With limited forestlands of their own, these countries rely on the United States’ timber supply.

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EarthFix Reports
9:33 am
Mon February 24, 2014

What Does Climate Change Mean For Ice Climbing?

Whitman College freshman Laura Rey makes her way up the Weeping Wall, outside Dayton, Wash. This was Rey's first ice climbing trip.
EarthFix Photo/Courtney Flatt

High up in Washington’s Blue Mountains, behind trees and across the Touchet River, is what locals call the Weeping Wall.

Water seeps through the permeable basalt and can freeze on the cliff’s moss-covered face. When the conditions are right, that creates a curtain of ice that is irresistible for ice climbers.

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EarthFix Reports
4:50 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Navy Looks To Renew Permits For Bombing And Sonar Exercises In The Northwest

The U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis transits the Pacific Ocean alongside the oiler USNS Yukon.
Official U.S. Navy Imagery/Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate

The Navy is pursuing permits to continue conducting sonar and explosives exercises in a large area of the Pacific Ocean — and that’s putting marine mammal advocates on high alert.

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Utilities
3:09 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Garbage Collection Advice From Oregon: 'Go For It'

Tacoma, Olympia and Portland, Ore., have all moved to garbage collection every other week.
Flickr Photo/Kevin Harber (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Michael Armstrong, senior sustainability manager for the City of Portland, about Portland's biweekly trash program. Seattle is currently considering a proposal to reduce garbage collection to every other week.

Snow Dump
7:52 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Washington Snowpack Building Toward Normal

Lake Mowich with Mount Rainier in the background had little snow in the beginning of the winter season. February is helping the Cascade Mountain range catch up with its snowpack.
Credit KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

On a clear day in Seattle, Nick Bond can size up the mountain snowpack on his bike ride to work at the University of Washington. However, in his role as the state’s climatologist, Bond crunches the data to get a much more precise picture. That’s because a lot of people care about snowpack.

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Winter Weather
9:09 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Avalanche Deaths Highlight Unstable Backcountry Conditions

A deep slab avalanche, seen from above.
Janet Kellam/Sawtooth Avalanche Center

The avalanche center in Idaho's Sun Valley area is urging people to consider cancelling their plans in the backcountry.

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EarthFix Reports
8:38 am
Wed February 19, 2014

How Northwest's Natural Resource Policy-Making Could Change

The Northwest is in for a shakeup when it comes to natural resources policy. That's because the region is losing Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Doc Hastings, two key chairman of congressional committees that set policy on forests, rivers, mining and energy.

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 2:36 pm

The natural resource arena is losing two influential policymakers from the Northwest.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., recently announced he would not seek reelection after representing central Washington for 20 years. Hastings has served on the House Committee on Natural Resources since 1995 and as its chair since 2011.

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EarthFix Reports
10:41 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Volcanic Eruptions Could Be More Rare Than You Think

Researchers may soon be able to better predict when a volcano will erupt because of findings that show magma under the surface may not be as hot as previously thought.
Eric Klemetti, Denison University

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 1:00 am

Right before a volcano erupts, molten rock, known as magma, is moving around underneath the surface. New research suggests this liquid magma is very rare. That’s an important finding for researchers trying to predict when a volcano may erupt.

Geologists from University of Califonia, Davis, and Oregon State University studied Mount Hood and have found that magma is often too cold to move around so much. And cold, here, is a relative term.

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EarthFix Reports
8:35 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Is Fukushima Radiation Causing Pacific Starfish Die-Offs?

Scientists in Washington state are conducting lab-based infectiousnesss experiments to understand how the epidemic is spreading.
Credit EarthFix Photo/Katie Campbell

Scientists seeking the answer to why starfish are dying off along parts of the west coast are almost certain that they can cross radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster off the list of causes.

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