environment

EarthFix Report
9:32 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Ashland City Council Passes Fossil Fuel Divestment Resolution

File photo of a truck at a Wyoming coal mine. Ashland has become the second Oregon city to formally come out against the investment of its dollars in coal and other fossil fuel industries.
Katie Campbell

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 10:53 pm

ASHLAND, Ore. -- Ashland has joined in the nationwide movement to divest from fossil fuel. Tuesday night, the city council became the second in Oregon to pass a divestment resolution.

“We’re not going to invest, but we’re going to still use fossil fuels?” he asked.

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EarthFix Report
9:32 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Oregon Divers Find Hope In Thousands Of Baby Sea Stars

Divers with the Oregon Coast Aquarium discovered thousands of juvenile sea stars in Florence.
Courtesy of Oregon Coast Aquarium

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 10:42 am

Divers at the Oregon Coast Aquarium say they have new hope that sea stars will recover from the widespread wasting syndrome that's wiping them out all along the Pacific coast.

This month they found thousands of thumbnail-sized juvenile sea stars, commonly called starfish, on the North Jetty in Florence.

Diver Jenna Walker said her team didn't recognize them as sea stars at first because there were so many, and they were so small.

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EarthFix Report
6:26 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Baby Orca Missing In Puget Sound And Presumed Dead

A calf born this year to a resident Puget Sound orca has not been seen recently and scientists think it may have died.

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 9:27 am

Orca enthusiasts rejoiced when a newborn calf was spotted 7 weeks ago.

But as of Tuesday morning, the endangered killer whale calf has not been seen.

L120 was the first calf born in the past 2 years. The calf's mother was spotted three times since Friday. Her baby was nowhere to be seen.

Orca experts believe the calf is dead, though no carcass has been found and it's unclear how it died.

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Weather
6:42 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Long-Range Forecast Calls For Warmer, Drier Winter

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 3:37 pm

The long-range weather outlook from the Climate Prediction Center gives high probabilities for a warmer and drier than average winter across the Northwest.

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Environment
8:44 am
Sun October 19, 2014

As Their Wells Run Dry, California Residents Blame Thirsty Farms

Many rural California residents rely on private wells for tap water — wells that are starting to dry up.
Jeremy Raff KQED

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 8:43 am

Imagine flushing the toilet and watching sand come up. That's what happened to Pam Vieira, who lives south of Modesto, Calif. Her water well has slowed to a trickle, and you can see the sand in the tank of her toilet.

"Sometimes we have brown water," Vieira says. "Sometimes we have no water."

Vieira is one of as many as 2 million rural California residents who rely on private domestic wells for drinking water.

Some of those people are among the hardest hit by the state's severe drought, as wells across the state's Central Valley farm belt start to go dry.

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Environment
7:42 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Methow Valley Irrigation Gets Overhaul For Fish

The Methow River in Okanogan County, Washington.

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 2:54 pm

Construction begins this week on a state project in the Methow Valley that will give fish a boost of cold, clean water in rivers near Twisp, Washington.

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EarthFix Reports
7:40 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Oregon On Track To Begin Wolf Delisting Process

Oregon's wolf population is on track to cross the milestone of having four breeding pairs for three consecutive years at the end of December.
Courtesy of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 10:10 pm

Oregon's wolf population is on track to reach a key milestone. If current trends in Eastern Oregon continue, the state can relax protections and consider removing wolves from its endangered species list next year.

Russ Morgan, wolf coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said state rules call for launching a delisting process for wolves when Eastern Oregon has four breeding pairs for three consecutive years. A breeding pair is an adult male, adult female and at least two pups surviving to the end of the calendar year.

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Business
6:27 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Predictions Of 'Peak Oil' Production Prove Slippery

Workers drill for oil in the Bakken shale formation outside Watford City, N.D., an area experiencing an oil boom.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 18, 2014 9:52 am

The dustiest portion of my home library includes the 1980s books — about how Japan's economy would dominate the world.

And then there are the 1990s books — about how the Y2K computer glitch would end the modern era.

Go up one more shelf for the late 2000s books — about oil "peaking." The authors claimed global oil production was reaching a peak and would soon decline, causing economic chaos.

The titles include Peak Oil and the Second Great Depression, Peak Oil Survival and When Oil Peaked.

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News
6:37 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Cross-time Photos From Northwest Lookouts Reveal Big Changes

John Marshall photographs the Cascade Creek burn on the slopes of Mount Adams.

Originally published on Sat October 11, 2014 11:42 am

The old saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words." That was the reaction of a U.S. Forest Service researcher when he rediscovered a trove of landscape panoramas called the Osborne Panoramas.

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EarthFix Report
6:16 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Fish Are Relocating Toward The Poles To Avoid Warming Waters

Sockeye salmon in the Fraser River. Warming waters could steer the Fraser sockeye run away from Puget Sound and north into Canada.
NOAA

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 4:16 pm

SEATTLE -- If you can’t take the heat… head to the poles. That’s what fish are doing anyway.

A new study published in the ICES Journal of Marine Science looked at historical data for more than 800 commercial fisheries around the world and found that fish are heading to deeper waters and higher latitudes as the world's oceans warm.

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EarthFix Report
6:16 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Conservationists Sue For Wolverine Protections

Conservationists want the courts to require a federal agency to list the wolverine as an endangered species.
Flickr/Josh More https://www.flickr.com/photos/guppiecat/3143370036/in/photolist-5MLAp7-82XHF1-9guKLi-71jwh5-9rZaM9-5inHNP-hh681x-8qsTaN-8CrWot-8PJmgy-ogwzot-ffUM4w-dHTnQP-9BGCnA-a6qebv-o92gxr-od7VwX-auFFgd-3UWRpP-h9t

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 5:33 pm

Wolverines need deep snowpack to build their nests and rear their young. But climate models project a rise in temperatures across the wolverine’s current habitat in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, and Oregon.

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EarthFix Reports
6:51 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Study: After Dams Are Removed, Rivers Quickly Return To Normal

More dams are being removed from rivers as they get older and no longer produce hydropower. Researchers studied the Rogue River and found after aging dams come down, rivers return to their natural state surprisingly fast.
Flickr Creative Commons: Jerry

Originally published on Fri October 10, 2014 3:52 pm

More dams are being removed from rivers as they get older and no longer produce hydropower. Researchers have found after these dams come down, rivers return to their natural state surprisingly fast.

Over the years lots of sediment backs up behind dams. Ecologists have worried the release of that sediment would harm habitat and cause flooding.

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EarthFix Reports
6:33 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Is Alaska Safe For Sea Stars?

Near Sitka, AK, researcher Melissa Miner finds an ochre star with whitened diseased arms – a symptom of sea star wasting disease.
Greg Davis

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 6:31 am

SITKA, AK -- It’s early morning in southeast Alaska. Stars have yet to fade from the night sky. A group of scientists sets out in search of a different kind of star.

Sea stars, commonly known as starfish, have been vanishing from North America’s Pacific shoreline.

“Almost everywhere we’ve looked in the last year, we’ve seen catastrophic losses of sea stars,” says Pete Raimondi, a biology professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who has been studying an alarming epidemic that’s been killing starfish by the millions.

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Oceanography
12:11 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Legos Wash Ashore The Cornish Coast After 17 Years In The Atlantic

An octopus Lego from the 1997 spill. Most of the Legos were sea-themed.
Tracey Williams/Lego Lost At Sea

Marcie Sillman speaks with retired oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, publisher of the newsletter Beachcombers' Alert!, about the afterlife of nearly 5 million maritime-themed Lego pieces.

The Legos fell off the container ship Tokio Express off the coast of England in 1997 and have been hunted by beachcombers, such as Tracey Williams and Jo Atherton, ever since.

Wildlife
6:36 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Washington To Remove Sick Bighorn Sheep

More of Washington’s bighorn sheep have been infected with bacteria that cause pneumonia. Wildlife managers are planning to remove several animals from one herd so that they don’t infect other sheep.
Flickr Creative Commons: Bmaas

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 4:56 pm

More of Washington’s bighorn sheep have been infected with bacteria that cause pneumonia. The disease can sometimes wipe out entire herds. Wildlife managers are planning to remove several animals from one herd so that they don’t infect other sheep.

This type of bacterial pneumonia is highly contagious and often fatal to bighorn sheep. Adults that survive can pass the disease on to lambs.

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