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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EarthFix Reports
3:54 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

One County’s Controversial Move To Protect Homeowners From Landslide Risk

John Thompson, a geologist and senior planner with Whatcom County, surveys the Jim Creek and Bald Mountain landslides along Canyon Creek. The slides have blocked the creek repeatedly, causing flooding that has destroyed homes downstream.
Ashley Ahearn

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 11:00 pm

This is the first part of a two-part series on managing landslide risk. Read the second part of the serieshere.

GLACIER SPRINGS, Wash. — Canyon Creek comes plunging fast and steep down the Cascade Mountains near Mount Baker.

Since the March 22 Oso landslide killed 42 people, county governments in the Northwest have been thinking more about how to plan for and mitigate the risk of landslides.

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EarthFix Reports
7:55 am
Wed May 28, 2014

New Rules Make It Easier To Log Damaged Federal Forestland

A 330,000-acre area of Oregon's Fremont-Winema National Forest has been infested by bark beetles. It's one of the areas now designated for restoration logging under new rules.
Courtesy of Fremont-Winema National Forest

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 1:16 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has eased rules for logging millions of acres of Northwest forestland considered to be at risk of catastrophic fire.

These are forests where insects and disease have damaged trees and other vegetation, creating fuel for wildfires. These forestlands now have a special designation that allows a streamlined process for logging on larger tracts.

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Baby Lambs
7:54 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Pneumonia Outbreaks Hitting Northwest’s Wild Bighorn Sheep

File photo of Bighorn sheep in Glacier National Park, Montana.

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 5:54 pm

Bighorn sheep in the Northwest have their lambs in early spring. About now, those babies start playing together in the mountains – a sort of lamb daycare.

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The Birds
7:53 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Environmentalists See Chance To Quash Idaho Raven-Killing Experiment

File photo of a common raven

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 7:18 am

A plan to poison 3,500 ravens in Idaho won’t proceed this year as state wildlife managers had hoped. The idea is to stop the ravens from eating the eggs of the imperilled sage grouse.

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions
3:29 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Can Nuclear Power Ease Climate Disruptions?

The Columbia Generating Station in Richland, Wash., produces nuclear energy.
Flickr Photo/Nuclear Regulatory Commission (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher talks with Armond Cohen, co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Clean Air Task Force. The group works on global commercialization of nuclear power and clean coal technology.

Climate Change
3:11 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Boeing Focuses On Fuel Efficiency In Light Of Coming Climate Rules

A leading plane manufacturer invests in ETS Aviation, which helps airlines respond to regulatory pressure over carbon emissions
Flickr Photo/Chuck Taylor

Boeing is buying a software company that it says will make planes more fuel efficient.

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Global Health
2:38 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

A Simple, Elegant Invention That Draws Water From Air

The WarkaWater gathers water from fog and condensation. Named after an Ethiopian fig tree, it consists of a 30-foot bamboo frame and a nylon net. It was invented by an Italian firm and three of them are shown here in an Ethiopian village.
Courtesy of Architecture and Vision

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 7:49 am

When Italian designer Arturo Vittori and Swiss architect Andreas Vogler first visited Ethiopia in 2012, they were shocked to see women and children forced to walk miles for water.

Only 34 percent of Ethiopians have access to a reliable water supply. Some travel up to six hours a day to fetch some or, worse, resorts to using stagnant ponds contaminated by human waste, resulting in the spread of disease.

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Columbia River
8:09 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Scientists Discover California Brown Pelicans Nesting In The Northwest

California brown pelicans with red bill pouches, indicating they are in breeding condition, have been seen building nests on an island in the Columbia River. It's much farther north than their breeding grounds in Southern California and Mexico.
Courtesy of Bird Research Northwest

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:02 pm

California brown pelicans usually nest and hatch chicks in Southern California and Mexico. But in the past two years, scientists have seen them building nests much farther north on an island in the Columbia River.

The unusual nesting behavior follows a northward shift in the birds’ migratory patterns over the past three decades, according to Oregon State University seabird ecologist Dan Roby. He noted that a similar pelican species has also been moving north and expanding its breeding range on the East Coast, which suggests it could be linked to climate change.

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Central Oregon
8:08 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Oil Train Preparedness A Gap For Oregon's Hazmat Response

Photo of an oil train headed south through the Deschutes River Gorge Sunday, May 4.
Courtesy of Friends of the Gorge

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 12:11 pm

For seven years, Central Oregon has been without a state hazardous materials team.

It means that in the event of an oil train spill in Deschutes County, the closest team assigned to the area comes from Salem, roughly two and half to three hours away.

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Blood-Sucking Bugs
8:06 am
Tue May 27, 2014

How To Remove Ticks -- And Why A Hot Match Won’t Work

File photo of a tick

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 3:58 pm

Memorial Day weekend in the Northwest coincides with prime time for ticks. These arthropods can drink your blood for days without you knowing.

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EarthFix Report
3:46 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

China To Lift Ban On West Coast Shellfish

Last year the United States exported more than $500 million worth of shellfish with China as its biggest customer.
Katie Campbell

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 1:53 pm

China will lift its ban on imports of geoduck clams and other shellfish from the West Coast, according to a statement from Washington Congressman Derek Kilmer.

“The lifting of this ban is great news for shellfish growers and businesses in our region,” Kilmer said Friday in a statement. “China is a key export market for our region’s shellfish and this news means greater economic stability for the workers and families in our region.”

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Environment
3:00 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Traces Of Drugs In Water: What's The Impact?

Penn State graduate student Alison Franklin holds up one of five prescriptions in her medicine closet. (Katie Colaneri/WHYY)

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 3:28 am

Scientists have known for a long time that the water coming out of your faucet at home might contain traces of drugs prescribed to people you've never met.

Research shows no one is getting a full dose of say, Prozac, from drinking tap water. But scientists do wonder whether pharmaceuticals in water supplies may be having more subtle, long-term impacts on human health and aquatic life.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Katie Colaneri of WHYY reports.

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C02 Reductions
12:59 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Chinese Goverment Moves To Curb Air Pollution

Downtown Tianjin, China.
Flickr Photo/Francisco Anzola (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher talks to energy expert Mikkal Herberg about  China's proposed crack down on air pollution.

Summer Forecast
9:35 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Long, Warm Summer On Tap According To Weather Service Outlook

National Weather Service is forecasting a strong probability of above-normal temperatures in June, July and August for most of the Northwest.

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 4:28 pm

The supercomputers at the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center have crunched long-term trends to produce an outlook for June, July and August. For most of the Northwest, the forecast gives a strong probability of above-normal temperatures.

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Cascadia Fault Line
3:36 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

New Research Takes Us A Step Closer To Understanding Earthquakes

The Cadillac Hotel in Seattle suffered severe damage in the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake.
Credit Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives

Ross Reynolds talks to Dr. John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, about new research on predicting earthquakes.

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