environment

Just Call Ashland 'Bee City, USA'

Jan 21, 2015

Southern Oregon hopes to attract more than just tourists now that Ashland has held up its end of the deal in becoming the state's second Bee City, USA.

The Ashland Daily Tidings reports City Council members first approved the resolution to make Ashland an official pollinator destination in December, and now with the city's first sign, the tagline is official.

A Portland start-up has tapped the city's water pipes as a new source of renewable hydropower that doesn't disrupt fish migration or stream flows.

Lucid Energy has installed a series of small hydroelectric generators inside a pipe that carries drinking water to the city. The company announced Tuesday that its new in-pipe hydro system is now producing power for Portland General Electric customers.

SSA Terminals will pay $215,000 dollars for violations of the Clean Water Act at its Harbor Island facility in Seattle.

After several years of litigation, brought by the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, the company has agreed to reduce their pollution discharges into Elliott Bay. The settlement was announced in a consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Tuesday.

Citizen scientists have been monitoring seabirds in Puget Sound for the past seven years, and they have some good news to report.

In fact, of 18 species the volunteers surveyed, 14 show improvement over the past seven years.

The study did find declines in four species: the white-winged scoter, brant, western grebe and red-necked grebe.

But overall, the numbers are heartening. Many seabird species are thought to have declined around Puget Sound since the 1960s and '70s, but the new results suggest that the trend may be changing.

If you’ve hiked anywhere in the Northwest, there’s a good chance you’ve seen an illegal trail. Often they’re quick shortcuts or paths to off-trail viewpoints. But in extreme cases, they’re longer, surreptitiously constructed paths that wind through public and private land.

The unauthorized trails can cause a range of problems in wild areas. As more and more people spend time in the woods, closing down these illegal trails has become increasingly difficult.

Last year was the hottest year on record, according to data released Friday by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"For the 21st century, nine out of 10 years have been warmest on record — 1998 was the only year prior to the 21st century that made the top 10," said Thomas Karl, director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

Ocean temperatures were higher than land temperatures, which raised the overall global average.

A survey by the Oregon State Fire Marshal found 81 percent of the state's fire departments don't have the equipment they need to respond to an oil train accident.

In a report to Gov. John Kitzhaber's office, the fire marshal tallied up $2.7 million in "start-up" costs for the additional equipment, personnel and training needed for the state to prepare for a crude oil incident.

The governor's office says it's unclear where that money would come from, but the governor is working with lawmakers to bridge the gap.

A coyote hunting contest scheduled in Burns this weekend has drawn criticism from wildlife advocates.

This is the second year of the Coyote Classic which awards prizes to those who shoot the most coyotes during a three day period. Wildlife advocacy groups are protesting the event through social media.

The contest is legal under state law since coyotes are classified as an unregulated predator.

"Hunting of coyotes is pretty wide open." says Rick Swart, spokesperson for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Avian Flu Detected In Oregon Wild Duck

Jan 15, 2015

Wildlife officials in Oregon say a mallard duck shot by a hunter near Eugene has tested positive for avian flu.

The strain of influenza (H5N2) is relatively common in Europe and Asia and has not caused any human sickness. The flu does not appear to cause illness in wild waterfowl, which have evolved with the virus. But it could kill falcons and hawks.

A judge ruled Tuesday that dairies are contaminating drinking water in Washington’s Yakima Valley.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by two environmental groups after an EPA study linked the dairies to high nitrate levels in residential drinking wells.

SEATTLE -- For the past several years the Navy has been in the process of renewing the permits it needs under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to continue detonating explosives and performing sonar tests and other military activities along a large swath of the Northwest coast, from Northern California to the Canadian border.

Hundreds of people attended a Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission meeting Tuesday as it considered a zoning decision for a controversial propane export terminal.

The Canadian company Pembina has proposed building a $500 million propane export terminal at the Port of Portland on the Columbia River by 2018.

New Wolf Confirmed In Southern Oregon

Jan 14, 2015

Wildlife officials in Oregon say a new wolf is roaming the wooded hills near Klamath Falls. It’s in some of the same territory staked out by OR-7, the famous wandering wolf.

Over the past month, wildlife biologists have found wolf tracks and a trail camera captured a partial image of a wolf in the southwest Oregon Cascades, near the border with California. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Michelle Dennehy says the wolf is not member of the newly-designated Rogue Pack, which is tracked by GPS collar.

The Navy conducts training and testing in a stretch of the Pacific roughly the size of Montana.

It wants to continue and expand its activities in these waters off the West Coast from Washington to Northern California. But first, the Navy must renew its permit under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The plan calls for detonating explosives, moving vessels, and deploying 700 more sonobuoys per year. And that's drawing criticism from environmentalists who say the increased use of sonar poses increased risk for whales and other marine mammals.

U.S. Coast Guard/Travis Marsh

The Seattle Port Commission decided on Tuesday to let Shell Oil's Arctic drilling fleet use West Seattle as its home port.

Shell's drill rigs and barges would overwinter at the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5 in West Seattle while the terminal is being renovated.

Pages