environment

Volcano Research
8:53 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Scientists Take A Look Deep Beneath Mount St. Helens

The crater of Mount St. Helens.
Courtesy of Dan Miskimin

If you're hiking in the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in July or August, and you feel the earth rumble briefly, it could just be scientists trying to plumb the depths of the Northwest’s most active volcano.

Scientists are peppering Mount St. Helens with thousands of sensitive instruments this summer to understand what makes the volcano tick.

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'Impenetrable Jungle'
4:30 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Hikers Trapped In Dense Rhododendron Forest

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 4:50 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with news of a rhododendron rescue. Who knew a shrub known for its brilliantly colored blooms could be life-threatening? But a couple hiking in Ireland's Knockmealdown Mountains was trapped when they got lost on a hillside so thick with wild rhododendrons, one rescuer told the BBC it was as impenetrable as a jungle - so dense that people could not hear each other, which is why it took five hours to rescue them. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

News From Canada
2:51 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Canadian PM Harper Approves Northern Gateway Pipeline

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Flickr Photo/The Prime Minister's Office (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman gets an update on the latest news from Canada with Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer, including an update on the Northern Gateway Pipeline and a teacher strike in British Columbia.

Controversial Project
2:50 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Robobees: The Future Of Pollination Or Mini Spies?

Several RoboBees sit on the ground next to a penny, while another is held in tweezers with the wings activated.
From Wikipedia

Marcie Sillman talks with Aljazeera America journalist Kaelyn Forde about her story on the RoboBees Project and why some environmentalists want to stop it.

EarthFix Reports
8:17 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Underwater Video: Starfish Die-offs Hit Hood Canal

Sunflower star in Hood Canal losing its arms, a symptom of sea star wasting syndrome.
Laura James

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 5:00 pm

Waypoints-blog-logo-FINAL-for-posts

SEATTLE -- In the last few months, Laura James has seen more dead and dying starfish than she can count. But the diver and videographer was shocked by what she saw in Hood Canal this weekend.

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Environment
6:18 am
Wed June 18, 2014

U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Area Would Nearly Double Under New Plan

The Department of the Interior is proposing a large expansion of U.S. efforts to make energy from offshore winds, with a plan centered off the Massachusetts coast. Here, a 2010 photo shows a sunrise over Nantucket Sound.
Julia Cumes AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 8:55 am

A large swath of the Atlantic Ocean could soon be used to generate electricity, as a U.S. agency proposes opening more than 1,000 square miles of ocean to wind energy projects. The area is off the coast of Massachusetts, which has been working on the proposal with federal officials.

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Local Wonder
7:49 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Why Are There So Few Mosquitos In Seattle?

Sharon Collman, an entomologist at Washington State University, hunts for mosquitos.
Credit KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

KUOW listener Nancy Beaudet had a question: Why are there so few mosquitos in Seattle?

As part of our Local Wonder series, we sent our environmental reporter, Ashley Ahearn, onto the muddy trails of the Washington Park Arboretum to find out why skeeters don’t plague Seattle summers.

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Environment
3:31 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Plastics Don't Disappear, But They Do End Up In Seabirds' Bellies

Plastic floats ashore in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Bay Ismoyo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 5:33 pm

The vast majority of debris in the ocean — about 75 percent of it — is made of plastic. It can consist of anything from plastic bottles to packaging materials, but whatever form it takes, it doesn't go away easily.

While plastic may break down into smaller and smaller pieces, some as small as grains of sand, these pieces are never truly biodegradable. The plastic bits, some small enough that they're called microplastics, threaten marine life like fish and birds, explains Richard Thompson, a professor of marine biology at Plymouth University in the U.K.

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Seafood
10:41 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Red Fish, Blue Fish: Where The Fish Flesh Rainbow Comes From

Yellowfin tuna; Chinook salmon; lingcod; Pacific halibut.
Chang/iStockphoto; Debbi Smirnoff/iStockphoto; via TeachAGirlToFish; Andrea Pokrzywinski/Flickr

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 1:36 pm

From red to white to orange to blue, fish flesh can land almost anywhere on the color spectrum.

What's behind this huge variation? A lot of things — from genetics to bile pigments. And parsing the rainbow can tell us something about where a fish came from, its swimming routine and what it ate.

Red yellowfin tuna: A classic of the sashimi counter, the yellowfin tuna is also the Michael Phelps of the fish world. And its athletic prowess has a lot to do with its ruby red flesh.

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Nuclear Waste
7:31 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Washington State, Energy Department Continue Talks Over Hanford Tank Cleanup

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 7:46 am

  Washington state and the U.S. Department of Energy just gave themselves a 40-day deadline. They need a clear cleanup plan for leaking tanks of radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

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EarthFix Reports
7:39 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Scientists Close In On What’s Killing Sea Stars

An ochre star's arm dangles by a thread, one of the signs of sea star wasting syndrome.
Katie Campbell

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 1:00 am

ORCAS ISLAND, Wash. -- Drew Harvell peers into the nooks and crannies along the rocky shoreline of Eastsound on Orcas Island. Purple and orange starfish clutch the rocks, as if hanging on for dear life.

Watch the video:

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Environment
7:38 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Redwood Burl Poaching Spreads To Oregon

A redwood with poached burl in the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest.
Wendell Wood Oregon Wild

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 4:07 pm

Redwood burl poaching has long been an issue in the Redwood National Park in California. But now a conservation group says it's spotted evidence of this type of tree damage in a national forest in Oregon.

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400 Miles Deep
12:27 pm
Sun June 15, 2014

Deep Underground, Oceans Of Water May Be Trapped In A Crystal 'Sponge'

Originally published on Sun June 15, 2014 3:58 pm

Science teachers may have to add a whole new layer to the water cycle.

Scientists have discovered evidence of a vast reservoir of water hiding up to 400 miles beneath the surface.

The discovery could transform our understanding of how the planet was formed, suggesting that Earth's water may have come from within, rather than from collisions with large, icy comets.

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EarthFix Reports
9:32 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Oregon Completes Controversial Sales Of State-Owned Coastal Forestlands

The controversy over the sales of forestlands to private timber companies centers on the marbled murrelet.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 1:59 pm

The state of Oregon has completed the sales of three parcels of public forestland to private timber companies.

The finalized sales of 1,453 acres from a coastal state forest were announced Thursday by the Oregon Department of State Lands. The agency says it netted and about $4.2 million through the transaction.

A lack of revenues from the Elliott State Forest were cited as the main reason for the sale. The state's Common School Fund relies on revenues generated from state-owned lands.

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EarthFix Reports
9:32 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Corps Plans To Kill Nearly 16,000 Cormorants Nesting In Columbia River

Nearly 30,000 cormorants are nesting on East Sand Island in the Columbia River and eating millions of protected salmon and steelhead.
Cassandra Profita

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 12:02 pm

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to kill nearly 16,000 cormorants nesting in the Columbia River estuary in an effort to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.

The corps issued its proposed management plan Thursday. It would wipe out about half the cormorants currently nesting on an island at the mouth of the Columbia River by 2018. Officials say it's the best way to reduce the colony to the number of birds required under an agreement that allows the Corps to operate dams on the Columbia River.

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