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.

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Public Safety
1:24 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

EPA Cleans Up 'Chemical House' In Seattle's Green Lake Neighborhood

Containers were found inside and outside the house.
EPA Photo

The Environmental Protection Agency is working to remove hundreds of containers of hazardous chemicals from a Craftsman home in Seattle's Green Lake neighborhood.

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EarthFix Reports
6:13 am
Wed April 9, 2014

The Wetland That Saved Highway 101 From Flooding

A restoration project last year allowed this wetland to flood while an infamous stretch of Highway 101 stayed dry this winter.
Credit North Coast Land Conservancy

Every winter on Oregon's north coast, the Necanicum River spills out over its banks during heavy rains and swallows the road just south of Seaside. This happens at least once — and up to seven times — a year.

But not this year.

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Water
1:46 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Bringing The Colorado River Back To Long-Dry Parts Of Mexico

An eight-week release of water from the Morelos Dam has filled parts of the Colorado River Delta that haven't seen water in nearly two decades, like this spot about 20 miles south of the dam. (Stina Sieg/KJZZ)

For the first time in almost 20 years, the Colorado River is flowing into northern Mexico through a dam that usually stops it. It’s called a pulse flow — a temporary release of water.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Stina Sieg of KJZZ traveled to see the effect it’s having on Mexico’s long-barren delta.

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EarthFix Reports
5:39 am
Tue April 8, 2014

'Silicon Forest' Could Gain New Meaning With High-Tech Uses For Trees

The cellulose from trees, like these being harvested for pulp and paper, can now be processed into high-tech energy storage devices.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 4:49 pm

Scientists at Oregon State University may have discovered a new high-tech use for the state’s abundant forests: the trees could play a big role in making energy storage devices.

It's the cellulose found in trees that scientists have zeroed in on. That cellulose could be a key component in something called supercapacitors.

Supercapacitors are high-power energy devices with applications ranging from electronics to cars, aviation to alternative energy.

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Aquaculture Harvest
2:46 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Can Fish Farms Thrive In The USA?

Live tilapia are loaded into a truck bound for New York.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on

Why hasn't fish farming taken off in the United States?

It's certainly not for lack of demand for the fish. Slowly but surely, seafood that's grown in aquaculture is taking over the seafood section at your supermarket, and the vast majority is imported. The shrimp and tilapia typically come from warm-water ponds in southeast Asia and Latin America. Farmed salmon come from big net pens in the coastal waters of Norway or Chile.

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Oso Clear-Cut
12:24 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Oso Logger: We Followed Rules, Cut Edge Of Landslide Zone Cautiously

Washington Department of Natural Resources image shows 2005 clear-cut (near dotted purple line) extending into no-logging zone (marked with yellow line) at site of Oso landslide.
Credit Washington Department of Natural Resources

The forester who clear-cut land above the Oso, Wash., landslide zone in 2005 says he followed standard procedures and state regulations when logging there.

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Agriculture
9:02 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Low Prices Prompt Northwest Asparagus Growers To Try To Delay Harvest

File photo
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 5:48 pm

Northwest asparagus growers are just starting to harvest spears in the warmer sites around Pasco, Wash.

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EarthFix Reports
6:15 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Pollution Is Not The Top Priority At Oso Landslide Site, But It Is A Concern

Propane tanks floated to the surface of the massive landslide debris field that engulfed 42 homes near Oso, Wash.
EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

An orange backhoe beeps in the background as cleanup workers and search dogs slog through the gray-blue clay of the Oso landslide zone. In the distance a muddy American flag waves over hummocks of exposed roots, broken trees and the remnants of the 42 homes that used to line this stretch of highway in the Cascade Mountains northeast of Seattle.

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Environment
6:03 am
Mon April 7, 2014

A Long, Dry Summer For River Resort Communities Behind Wanapum Dam?

Boat launches and docks have been left high and dry from the drawdown of water behind the damaged Wanapum dam.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 3:33 pm

This summer could be a bust for a resort community in central Washington after a crack in the Wanapum Dam forced operators to draw down the Columbia River more than 25 feet.

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EarthFix Reports
3:58 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Timber Company Says It Will Clearcut If It Buys Public Forestland

Sunrise through the fog and trees along Marlow Creek in the Elliott State Forest.
Oregon Department of Forestry

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 5:07 pm

A prominent timber family’s bid to purchase state forest land in Oregon is hitting a nerve with environmentalists who say it could lead to logging on the habitat of species protected by state and federal laws.

The Seneca Jones Timber Co. has submitted a bid on a 788-acre parcel of Elliott State Forest in the Oregon Coast Range northeast of Coos Bay. The parcel was put up for sale by the Oregon Department of State Lands.

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Climate Change
9:03 am
Thu April 3, 2014

‘Our Right To Be Cold’ With Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier.
Credit Flickr Photo/Michael Ignatieff (CC BY-NC-ND)

“We have to fight for our right to be cold.”

Sheila Watt-Cloutier is an Inuit activist who tackles issues indigenous people are facing, including pollution and sustainability. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

She spoke at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on March 11, 2014, as part of the Graduate School lecture series.

EarthFix Reports
8:44 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Wash. Puts Release Of Hatchery Steelhead On Hold

A steelhead trout in an Oregon stream.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 6:28 pm

State fish managers are halting their plans to release juvenile steelhead into Puget Sound rivers this spring. This decision comes in response to a lawsuit filed by wild fish advocates.

The Wild Fish Conservancy sued the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, contending that the agency’s planting of early winter hatchery steelhead violates the Endangered Species Act.

In response, agency officials have decided not to release more than 900,000 juvenile Chambers Creek steelhead in Puget Sound rivers.

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Wildlife
4:06 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Northwest Researchers Document Whales Which Set New Breath-Hold Record

Satellite tag being attached to the dorsal fin of a Cuvier's beaked whale. The tagging arrow can be seen in the air as it detaches from the tag.
Erin Falcone Cascadia Research under NOAA permit 16111

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 5:21 pm

Think about how long you can hold your breath and then let this discovery blow your mind.

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Animals In Captivity
2:44 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

'Horrible Torture:' The Argument Against Elephants Kept In Zoos

Credit Flickr Photo/Jonavin (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Gay Bradshaw about why she thinks elephants don't belong in zoos. Bradshaw is the executive director of the Kerulos Center in Jacksonville, Ore., and author of "Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us About Humanity."

Natural Gas
8:49 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Washington LNG Plant Still Not Safe For Investigators

Google Earth view of the liquefied natural gas storage facility in Plymouth, Wash.
Google Earth

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 3:20 pm

State and federal pipeline safety investigators have not yet been able to access the scene of an explosion and fire at a natural gas facility in southeast Washington.

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