environment

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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'Coyote On Steroids'
9:32 am
Fri June 13, 2014

The Wolf At The Door: California Wrestles With A Predator’s Return

A new wolf pack forming in Southern Oregon has some California ranchers worried the animals could return to the state within the next decade.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Originally published on Sun June 15, 2014 12:11 am

It’s been 90 years since the last native California wolf was trapped and killed. This month, Oregon wildlife officials announced that OR-7, the wolf they’ve tracked wandering in and out of northern California, had found a mate and fathered a new litter in southern Oregon.

That news contributes to the growing sense that it’s only a matter of time until wolves re-inhabit the Golden State. Against this backdrop, California wildlife officials extended endangered species status to the gray wolf.

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EarthFix Reports
7:06 am
Thu June 12, 2014

How Crowdfunding May Help Build Solar Roadways

Scott and Julie Brusaw stand on a 12x12-foot parking lot, the first installation of their Solar Roadways project. The Brusaws hope to oneday pave over the nation's roadways with solar panels. They have raised more than $2 million on a crowdfunding site.
Courtesy of Solar Roadways

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 5:21 pm

You’re moving slowly through rush hour traffic. Instead of asphalt, your car is driving on top of specially designed solar panels. That’s the vision of one Northern Idaho couple. It’s a vision that’s coming closer to reality thanks to their successful crowdfunding campaign.

For nearly 10 years, engineer Scott Brusaw has been chipping away at his idea to change the nation’s roadways.

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EarthFix Reports
7:04 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Under New EPA Rules, Washington To Face Deepest Mandatory Cuts In CO2 Emissions

Washington has one of the lowest CO2 emissions levels from electricity generation in the country, since it's home to only one coal-burning power plant. Under new EPA rules, Washington is on the hook to cut those emissions by more than any other state.
Michael Werner

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 3:02 pm

SEATTLE -- Under the new rules released by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, each state has a specific percentage by which it has to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

The average of all the individual state-level cuts will be CO2 emissions from power plants 30 percent below 2005 levels.

"It’s a goal that we can, should and will meet, in part because we’ve already taken early action in our state," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told EarthFix.

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EarthFix Report
1:43 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Northwest States Tread Lightly With Oil Train Route Disclosures

Railroads are being required by the federal government to share some information with states about their shipments of oil from North Dakota's Bakken fields. But they don't want the states to disclose that information to the public.
Flickr Photo/Russ Allison Loar

The Northwest’s two main freight rail operators are complying with a federal requirement to inform states about the North Dakota crude oil they’re hauling, but they want the states to keep the public from finding out by signing non-disclosure agreements.

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Courts
7:50 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Dozens Of Oso Slide Legal Claims Filed Against Washington

A view of the slope where the Oso landslide took place. (File photo)
Snohomish County Flickr

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 5:49 pm

The deadly Oso landslide in March has resulted in a blizzard of legal claims against the state of Washington.

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EarthFix Reports
8:00 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Not Much Refuge In Klamath Basin For Migratory Birds

Wildlife refuges in the Klamath Basin often feature a mixture of commercial agriculture and what remains of the historic wetlands.

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:06 am

This is the second part of a series on challenges facing wildlife refuges. Read part one here.

The nation’s original waterfowl refuge may be too dry this year to provide much hospitality for migratory birds arriving in the Klamath Basin.

You could blame it on the region's prolonged drought.

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Environment
4:04 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Japan Says It Wants To Resume Larger Annual Whale Hunt

The Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru leaves Shimonoseki port in Yamaguchi Prefecture, southwestern Japan, last month. Japan's prime minister says he wants to expand whaling operations after they were temporarily scaled back.
Kyodo/Landov

Japan, which earlier this year said it would scale back what it has described as "research whaling," is signaling that it wants to go back to a larger hunt.

"I want to aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

Japan, which is a signatory to a 1986 International Whaling Commission moratorium, has nonetheless continued to hunt cetaceans using a loophole in the ban that allows taking some whales for scientific purposes.

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Agriculture
1:06 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

California Farmers Ask: Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Some Water?

Allen Peterson's farm, near the city of Turlock, Calif., lies next to a concrete-lined canal full of water. He's one of the lucky ones.
Dan Charles/NPR

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 6:29 am

Imagine if a gallon of milk cost $3 in your town, but 100 miles away it cost $100, or even $200.

Something similar is happening right now in California with water that farmers use to irrigate their crops. Some farmers are paying 50 or even 100 times more for that water than others who live just an hour's drive away.

The situation is provoking debate about whether water in California should move more freely, so that it can be sold to the highest bidder.

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EarthFix Reports
10:32 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Oregon Firefighters Brace For Warm Temperatures, Gusty Winds As Fire Persists

The Two Bulls fire burns near Pilot Butte on Sunday.
Contributed photo / Lauren Martinez

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 8:49 am

Firefighters in Central Oregon braced for warm temperatures and gusty winds Monday as they continued to battle the Two Bulls fire burning west of Bend.

About 50 homes remained under evacuation notices Monday. Several area schools were also closed due to the fire.

The fire is estimated to be 6,180 acres. Incident commanders say the fire is burning in heavy timber and brush.

And they say although it’s only June, the fuel the fire is consuming is as dry as if it were July.

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EarthFix Reports
10:32 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Turning Around Malheur Wildlife Refuge One Carp Carcass At A Time

Invasive carp taken out of Malheur Lake are measured for height and weight to better understand the invasive fish that refuge staff are trying to reduce.
Devan Schwartz

Originally published on Mon June 9, 2014 1:00 am

This is the first part of a series on challenges facing wildlife refuges.

What could become the largest carp removal project in history got its start recently at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Oregon.

Commercial fishermen were brought in from the Midwest, where carp fishing is an established industry. Although these guys make a living fishing for huge volumes of carp and other invasive fish, the kind of haul they’re making on this day is on whole new level.

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