environment

Downy woodpecker, dark-eyed junco, tufted titmouse. These are just a few of the most popular birds to have been sighted in last year’s Great Backyard Bird Count, when in 2014, bird enthusiasts from 135 countries participated in counting over 4,000 species.

Monday is the final day of the annual count. It’s a chance for researchers at Cornell University’s Ornithology Lab to harness the power of nearly 100,000 citizen scientists over a 4-day period.

Feb. 17, 2015 is a happy day for biologists Brian Bangs and Paul Sheerer. Today the Oregon chub, a tiny minnow that exists only in the Willamette Valley, is the first fish species to be officially taken off the endangered species list.

Never heard of it?

“The Oregon chub is kind of an underdog. Not very many people know what they are. Actually, a lot of biologists don’t know what they are,” says Sheerer, who works for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “They only grow to be about three inches long.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has waded into the discussion about the proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay, Oregon.

The federal agency wants assurances the Jordan Cove terminal and associated pipeline won’t harm streams and wetlands in Southern Oregon.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it’s spent about $300 million to help restore and conserve more than 4 million acres of sage grouse habitat, according to a report the department issued Thursday.

Drain stencil, Broadview neighborhood in northwest Seattle.  Part of an effort by Seattle Public Utilities and creek advocates to protect water quality in the urban streams.
KUOW Photo/Alan Lande

Marcie Sillman talks with Jen McIntyre, a stormwater researcher at Washington State University, about how polluted stormwater is affecting our marine life. 

Vandals Damage Whychus Creek Near Sisters

Feb 12, 2015

Vandals damaged a recently restored creek near Sisters last week, according to a spokeswoman for the Deschutes National Forest. The agency discovered that the vandals moved boulders out of the stream bank and

rolled them into Whychus Creek.

"It's not just a game to roll those big boulders into the creek," said Jean Nelson-Dean with Deschutes National Forest. She said it could cause erosion and could hurt habitat for native fish. "It causes significant damage for a creek that we are trying to bring back to life."

Seventh graders Michael Herrera and Nicholas Barbee are preparing for a maritime journey.

One-inch thick sheets of green foam lie in front of them. The foam is usually used to insulate walls, but today the boys are cutting it to fill the hull of a model boat about 5 feet long. They want the foam to fight tightly.

“We’re going to cut it in thirds or half?” Barbee asks.

“Just half,” answers Herrera.

An Oregon Senate bill introduced Tuesday would tighten rules for aerial pesticide spraying on forest land and overhaul how the state responds to complaints of drift and exposure.

The bill has been in the works since 2013, when 16 Curry County residents filed complaints with the state that they became ill after an herbicide application. Dubbed The Public Health and Water Resources Protection Act, the bill would:

Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinault Indian Nation, stands on the docks as tribal crabbers unload their catch. The tribe has vowed to fight the oil train-to-ship terminals  proposed for Grays Harbor.
KUOW Photo/Ashley Ahearn

HOQUIAM, Wash. — Grays Harbor, with its deep-water berths and fast access to Pacific Ocean shipping routes, has all the ingredients to be a world-class port.

Cougars Reported Near Bend, Sunriver

Feb 9, 2015

Several mountain lion sightings have been reported in Sunriver in the past month.The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife killed a cougar after it was spotted in the heart of Bend last month.

ODFW says there's never been an attack on a human by a wild cougar in Oregon. But the population is growing, and the agency takes measures when the big cats appear in urban areas. Last month, wildlife advocates criticized cougar managers for euthanizing a mountain lion found in a Bend neighborhood.

Last Friday much of eastern Washington and Oregon was pelted with a dirty rain, but so far scientists do not agree on a cause.

A final cormorant management plan released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Friday calls for the killing of around 26,000 birds to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.

Trains carrying mass loads of heavy crude oil from Canada’s tar sands have begun moving through the Northwest, creating the potential for an oil spill in parts of Oregon and Washington where environmental agencies have no response plans or equipment in place.

Union Pacific now moves between seven and 10 of these mile-long trains of Canadian crude per month through Northwest states, according to railroad spokesman Aaron Hunt. They can carry more than a million gallons of oil.

Eleven packs of wolves have recolonized northeastern Washington. Now besieged politicians from that area are seriously proposing to relocate some of those protected wolves to western and southwestern Washington, where there are none.

geoduck
Flickr Photo/USDAgov

Marcie Sillman talks with Sean McDonald, a research scientist at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, to find out what impact geoduck farms can have. The demand for Puget Sound's weirdest looking clams has turned growing and harvesting them into a multi-million dollar industry. Now Taylor Shellfish wants to build a new 25-acre geoduck farm in Pierce County, but some environmental groups and residents have concerns.

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