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.

Male seeks female — and makes a direct advance towards mating. That's one version of the drive to reproduce in the animal kingdom.

It's a hot summer day outside Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He's wading in to rotting vegetables, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Lots of tater tots.

"You can get a lot of tater tots out of schools," Chappelle says. "It doesn't matter if it's elementary, middle school or high school. Tater tots. Bar none."

A long-negotiated series of agreements to manage water in the Klamath Basin in Southern Oregon and Northern California received Senate committee passage Thursday.

“This legislation is the result of a historic collaboration of efforts,” said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden during the committee meeting.

Paying Wind Generators Not To Produce Power

Nov 13, 2014

The Bonneville Power Administration operates the federal hydropower dams in the Columbia Basin. In springtime, during snow melt, there can be so much water in the river that – combined with the output of the dozens of wind farms that have cropped up in Oregon and Washington – there’s more electricity in the system than anyone can use.

Dam operators could dump the extra water over the spillways. But as the BPA’s Doug Johnson explains, that causes problems for salmon and other fish.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute announced Monday that trace amounts of radioactivity from Fukushima have been detected off the West Coast.

Glaciers set the North Cascades apart. Their runoff allows fish to navigate streams when rainfall is scarce. Their trickle gathers in rivers with currents powerful enough to generate hydroelectricity for millions of residents. But they're not powerful enough to withstand climate change.

NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK, Wash. -- Jon Riedel’s white hair and light blue eyes match the icy tint of the landscape he’s studied for more than 30 years.

He moved to Washington soon after finishing his PhD at the University of Wisconsin because he says the glaciers of the Northwest are still writing the landscape, still carving out curves and valleys.

PORTLAND -- New research suggests sea lions are eating more salmon in the Columbia River than previously thought.

Data from tracking salmon over the past five years show a significant drop in survival below Bonneville Dam. Michelle Rub, a researcher with with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, says preliminary numbers show survival dropping from 90 percent in 2010 to 55 percent in 2014.

The Carlton Complex fires burned more than 255,000 acres in Washington’s Methow Valley past summer. There are thousands of fire-scrubbed hillsides and slopes that threaten to become torrents of mud running down in nearly every direction.

Removing and disposing of contaminated soil is one of the biggest jobs at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

NW Colleges Showcase Innovations In Campus Sustainability

Nov 7, 2014

In the Reuse Room at Portland State University, everything is free and the door is always open.

Students and staff can walk into the converted mailroom anytime to donate or take supplies, ranging from three-ring binders to iPods.

Smoke stacks during a night scene in Tacoma, Wash. Election-night shifts in the Oregon state Senate moved it closer to a carbon tax. Washington might have distanced itself further.
Flickr Photo/Tom Collins (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Environmentalists spent more than $1.5 million in Oregon and Washington in bids to secure Democratic majorities in state legislatures — majorities they wanted for approving clean-fuel standards and a tax on carbon emissions.

The plan worked in Oregon. It didn’t in Washington.

The Environmental Protection Agency is testing out a new technique for keeping heavily-used river banks from eroding into the water.

RICHLAND, Wash. -- Three environmental groups say the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant is harming fish. The groups are suing a Washington state agency because they say it issued a permit that violates the Clean Water Act.

Growing populations of wild horses in the inland Northwest are creating headaches for federal land managers. Wild and feral horse herds overrun tribal lands in our region too.

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