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.

When television chef Nathan Lyon read about California's worsening drought earlier this year, he started thinking about the amount of water it takes to grow the food in recipes he creates.

That's when he and his girlfriend and culinary manager, Sarah Forman, decided to develop what they call "drought-friendly recipes."

Mercury Cleanup Begins In Central Oregon

Jun 8, 2015

Cleanup of a mercury-contaminated site began Monday on a Bureau of Land Management area in Central Oregon.

The Barnes Butte Area near Prineville will close for two weeks while crews work to remove mercury contamination from a 1940s mine site. The BLM area is a popular destination for hikers, dog walkers and and horse riders.

BLM field manager Susie Manezes said no one has ever complained to the BLM of health problems associated with the contaminated area. But the high mercury levels aren't safe.

The Clean Energy Governor And The Columbia River Oil Refinery

Jun 7, 2015

A new oil refinery is the last thing you might expect Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's administration to be courting. After all, Inslee has developed a national reputation as a champion of curbing the use of fossil fuels.

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows almost all of eastern Oregon and parts of eastern Washington are now in severe drought.

The Port of Astoria attempted to scare hundreds of sea lions off its docks Thursday using a motorized orca made of fiberglass. But after a series of mishaps, the experiment went belly up.

Port leaders had high hopes for the fake orca as it pulled into town on a trailer from Bellingham, Washington. A fake baby orca tagged along, lashed onto the roof of an SUV.

An example of Seattle's Pollinator Pathway.
Pollinatorpathway.com

Sarah Bergmann was working at a New York ad agency when she heard about the decline in honeybee populations. The agency was working on a campaign to raise awareness of the honeybee, Bergmann says.

"The more I read, the more I realized the honeybee is actually a symptom," she says.

A gray wolf trots along a road in Washington state.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (CC BY 2.0)

Marcie Sillman talks with the executive director of the Human-Wildlife Conflict Collaboration, Francine Madden, about the underlying tensions in Washington's battle over wolf management. 

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has found no evidence that hydraulic fracturing — better known as fracking — has led to widespread pollution of drinking water. The oil industry and its backers welcome the long-awaited study, while environmental groups criticize it.

She was a year and a half old, whimpering under the shade of a horse trailer when rescuers found her.

A wildfire in North-Central Washington had been burning for a month. The young bear's paws were so badly charred that she'd been crawling on her knees and elbows. They were burned, too.

That was in 2014. The bear was a casualty of what would be known as the Carlton Complex fire. It was the biggest wildfire in Washington history.

Poach Fish, Get Caught, Keep Your License

Jun 3, 2015

Get caught poaching fish one too many times in Northwest waters and you’re likely to lose your sport fishing license.

Do the same under a commercial license, on a much larger scale, and you’ll likely avoid the same fate.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has suspended thousands of recreational fishing licenses since 2003 because of rule violations, according to agency data. It has revoked zero licenses for commercial fishing violations since then. They're almost as uncommon in Oregon.

Recent flash flooding in the Methow Valley area in northeast Washington state has critics asking the state to stop logging there.

Matt Madsen watches as a commercial kitchen mixer churns in the center of his lab. Inside the stainless steel bowl is a thick, chunky brown mixture. This is no ordinary dough.

“Diatomaceous earth, bentonite clay, compost, worm castings,” said Madsen, an ecologist at the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center, ticking the ingredients off on his fingers.

In the latest attempt to shoo away the hundreds of hungry sea lions lying around Port of Astoria docks, the city is bringing in a fake baby orca to swim alongside the adult-sized model Thursday. Reporter Cassandra Profita reports that the models will be dropped into the water after noon.

Following the untimely death of the widely photographed and loved mule deer known as "Buck Norris," a group is hoping to raise enough money to build a memorial in honor of Central Oregon's unofficial mascot.

"He fearlessly roamed the roads and yards around town and made friends across the region," wrote the campaign's creator Cari Lampshire on the GoFundMe page. "Let's give Buck the memorial he deserves for bringing so many of us so much joy and awe over the years."

The Polar Pioneer and hundreds of kayaking protesters on Seattle's Duwamish Waterway on May 16, 2015.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Shell Oil has rejected state officials' position that parking an Arctic oil rig at the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5 violates the state constitution.

Shell's Polar Pioneer rig has been at the port since mid-May. Its arrival in environmentally-minded Seattle has sparked protest and government scrutiny at various levels.

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