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.

Officials confirmed this brown bat found in King County, Washington, contracted white-nose-syndrome.
Courtesy of Progressive Animal Welfare Society

Jeannie Yandel talks with Earthfix reporter Jes Burns about a deadly fungus called white nose syndrome that's killed millions of bats on the East coast. In March, a single bat with white nose syndrome was discovered in Washington state. Burns talks about what the spread of this syndrome could do to the state's ecosystem and agriculture. 

The Wild Fish Conservancy filed a lawsuit Thursday that accuses two federal agencies of violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to consider the impacts of Columbia River Basin hatcheries on threatened and endangered wild fish and their habitat.

Oregon Kills 4 Wolves After Confirming Livestock Attacks

Mar 31, 2016

Oregon wildlife officials killed four wolves in northeastern Oregon Thursday after determining they are responsible for killing too many livestock.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday that information transmitted from collared wolves in the Imnaha pack allowed the agency to confirm that four pack members have been chronically preying on livestock.

A devastating disease that has killed millions of bats in the eastern United States has now been confirmed in the Pacific Northwest. For the first time white nose syndrome has been found west of the Rocky Mountains.

In mid-March, a hiker on a mountain trail east of Seattle found an ailing bat and brought it into a local animal hospital. Two days later, the bat was dead. A government lab confirmed it had an advanced case of white nose syndrome.

In Northwest farm country, tiny blueberry buds are already starting to plump up. But cold snaps could kill them. To save more of those fruit-bearing buds, blueberry farmers are currently waging an epic battle against frost.

April 1 is, on average, generally considered the date of the peak snowpack in the Northwest. And around now, is when many irrigation districts begin filling their canals to get ready for watering season.

There are grounds for optimism as well as caution.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

An oil refinery on Puget Sound wants to ship a raw material for plastic overseas, and some environmental groups say that's a bad idea. 

The Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington, is proposing a $400 million expansion.

The upgraded refinery could make cleaner, low-sulfur gasoline and ship up to five tankers a month of the chemical known as xylene to Asia.

Seattle restaurant magnate Tom Douglas came out of his kitchen Wednesday to host a conference for chefs on the science connecting the food they serve and the environment from where it comes.

“More and more chefs are counted upon for knowing what is going on in our food supply chain. I want to know more about the system. I want to know what I as a chef should be supporting through purchases,” said Douglas, who operates more than a dozen restaurants, hosts a radio show and markets his own line of kitchen products and cookbooks.

An orca pod travels past the Seattle skyline. A new study shows that pods are most likely led by older females.
Courtesy of NOAA/Candice Emmons

Bill Radke speaks with Joe Gaydos, chief scientist for the University of California Davis Wildlife on Orcas Island, about the creation of individual health care records for all the resident orcas in Puget Sound. 

Five years after an earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, Japanese authorities say a long-planned "ice wall" around the leaking facility can be turned on.

The underground refrigeration system that should create the frozen barrier was completed last month — more than a year behind schedule, The Associated Press reports.

Washington state lawmakers have flushed a proposed ban on state business travel to Victoria, British Columbia. The travel restriction surfaced last month in one version of a state budget. It was meant to pressure Victoria to stop dumping raw sewage into shared border waters.

On a cold night in January 2012, Dustin Bergsing climbed on top of a crude oil storage tank in North Dakota's Bakken oil field. His job was to open the hatch on top and drop a rope inside to measure the level of oil. But just after midnight, a co-worker found him dead, slumped next to the open hatch.

Klamath Forest Wildfire Plan Faces Pushback

Mar 29, 2016

During the summer of 2014, wildfires burned more than 200,000 acres of the Klamath National Forest in northern California’s Siskiyou County. Last year, the U.S. Forest Service proposed a program of salvage logging, replanting and hazardous tree removal. That plan faced opposition from environmental groups and the Karuk Indian tribe. Now, a modified version of the plan has been approved, and was immediately met with a challenge in federal court.

Lisa Herbold at the former Linda Manor Apartments in West Seattle’s Gatewood neighborhood.
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold about residents in her West Seattle district that illegally cut down over 150 trees to improve their view. 

Pages