Environment

KUOW's environment beat brings you stories on the ongoing cleanup of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, alternative energy, the health of the Puget Sound, coal transportation and more. We're also partnered with several stations across the Northwest to bring you environmental news via EarthFix.

A central Oregon conservation group has filed a lawsuit against Portland General Electric over water quality on the lower Deschutes River.

The giant device, also called a “selective water withdrawal tower,” pulls warm water from the reservoir’s surface to blend with cold water from the bottom. The mix is intended to more closely resemble conditions were the dam not in place.

The discharge that ultimately emerges from the dam is a warmer blend from the three tributaries of the lower Deschutes — the Crooked, the Metolius and the Middle Deschutes rivers.

Courtesy of David Moskowitz

Bill Radke speaks with biologist and conservationist David Moskowitz about the dwindling herd of mountain caribou in Washington state and what that tells us about the state of conservation efforts today. 

Nestle is looking to build a commercial water bottling plant in the Northwest. Its most recent pitch is to the town of Waitsburg, 20 miles north of Walla Walla. The plan to bottle water from Coppei springs is tying the small community in knots.

Walk down Main Street in Waitsburg, and you’ll soon run into someone you know. A friendly wave from the pickup truck rolling by. A greeting from kids skipping out of the library, books in hand. Very Norman Rockwell.

A measure that was added to the November ballot less than a month ago would have imposed fines on rail cars transporting fossil fuels through the heart of Spokane. On Monday night, the city council opted to withdraw it.

Two weeks ago, the Spokane City Council approved a ballot measure that garnered national attention. It would impose a fine on every rail car that transports coal or oil through the heart of the city.  Monday the council could consider its withdrawal.

Conservation groups announced plans Monday to sue the Environmental Protection Agency. They say the agency isn’t doing enough to protect salmon from high water temperatures on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Warm water can be deadly for salmon. Just last year, 250,000 sockeye died on the Columbia because of high temperatures.

Jeremy Pots and Emily Sheil perform in the North Cascades National Park.
Courtesy of Music in the American Wild/Geoff Sheil

Bill Radke speaks with Emlyn Johnson, director of Music in the American Wild, about how nature inspires their musical performances and why they decided to celebrate the National Parks Service's 100th anniversary by touring the parks in Washington state.

A bipartisan coalition of Western U.S. lawmakers has renewed a call to change how the federal government pays to put out big forest fires. Currently, the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management divert money from fire prevention and other programs to pay firefighting costs during bad fire years.

Now, you can love your seafood and eat it, too. But first, you'll have to catch it. Fisherman Kirk Lombard's new book, The Sea Forager's Guide to the Northern California Coast, teaches the art, science, ethics and wisdom of fishing for your next meal in the ocean. Through wit, poetry and anecdotes, Lombard makes the case that the sincerest stewards of wild sea creatures are often those who intend to have them for dinner.

Just 12 years ago, researchers feared that the California Island fox, a species about the size of a cat inhabiting a group of islands off the Southern California coast, was toast. Non-native predators and pesticides had dramatically reduced their ranks. The few that remained were placed on the endangered species list.

2016 Oregon Lens Series Schedule

Aug 11, 2016

For 18 seasons Oregon Lens has showcased the talent and diversity of the Northwest’s independent filmmakers, and this year is no exception. Through their eyes, we explore the coffee farms of El Salvador, the rivers of Colorado and the wonders of our own backyard. We learn what it takes to be a carpenter, a bush pilot or a ballerina. We race motorcycles, ride trains and hike through the desert. And yes, we even see a Frogman team up with the Ghostbusters.

Here’s the lineup of this year’s films:

Sharks can live to be at least 272 years old in the Arctic seas, and scientists say one recently caught shark may have lived as long as 512 years.

If it had to happen, the worst case scenario couldn’t have played out more smoothly. That’s the sentiment in Mosier, Oregon, where a train loaded with highly volatile Bakken crude oil derailed two months ago.

Oil that spilled from a derailed train in the Columbia River Gorge in June contaminated nearby groundwater. Starting in the next week, Union Pacific Railroad will be working with Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality to clean it up.

More than 100 people attended a Forest Service community meeting in John Day Tuesday to discuss last summer’s Canyon Creek Fire.

Many residents in Grant County still have questions or bitterness about the massive Canyon Creek fire that destroyed 43 homes. Agency leaders said the meeting was necessary for the community to heal, and they wanted to give residents a chance to voice questions. And people did have questions.

Pages