Bellamy Pailthorp

Environment Reporter

Bellamy Pailthorp joined the staff of KPLU as a general assignment reporter in 1999 and covered the business and labor beat for more than a decade. She now covers the environment beat. She was raised in Seattle, but spent 8 years in Berlin, Germany freelancing for NPR and working as a producer for Deutsche Welle TV after receiving a Fulbright scholarship in 1989. She holds a Bachelors degree in German language and literature from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and a Masters in journalism from New York's Columbia University, where she completed the Knight-Bagehot fellowship in business reporting in 2006.

Bellamy's most memorable KPLU radio moment: “Seeing the INS open a shipping container at the Port of Seattle that contained stowaways from China, three of whom died en route of seasickness. Harrowing stuff, with global economics and inequity at its root.”


Pest Management
8:06 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

State Officials Seize Cold Snap, Freeze Out Invasive Snails In Capitol Lake

A New Zealand mud snail, frozen in ice from Capitol Lake.
Allen Pleus Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife

A cold snap might be an effective tool for fish and wildlife managers trying to stop the spread of a tiny invasive species. Capitol Lake in Olympia is serving as a testing ground for freezing out New Zealand mud snails. 

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Northwest Fishing
5:01 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Five Things You Should Know About The Art of Steelhead Fishing

Author Sean M. Gallagher with Principle Photographer, Greg McDonald, in their college days.
courtesy Wild River Press


Listen to KPLU's exclusive interview with author Sean M. Gallagher

Sean M. Gallagher grew up fishing steelhead. He's one of hundreds of sport fishermen who spend hours on riverbanks, seeking out the sparkling skin of rainbow trout known as steelhead.

Like some salmon, they come back from the ocean in winter to spawn upriver. But while salmon turn red and die when they return to their origins, steelhead live for several years in fresh water and get bigger — as big as 40 pounds while they are traversing regional rivers.

Gallagher, a first time-author, shares “the lures and lore of a Pacific Northwest icon” in his new two-volume book titled “Wild Steelhead.” We asked him for a primer on the fish he loves so much.

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Weather With Cliff Mass
11:12 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Sorry, Skiers: After Recent Cold Snap, A 'Boring' Weekend Forecast

Rob McNair-Huff

Our drier-than-usual fall is coming to a mild end as we return to the "old boring stuff," says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

And that means a relatively dry weekend that’s much warmer than the last.

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South Puget Sound
5:00 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Homeowners at Odds with Gov't Agencies over Dredging, Disposal

This map shows disposal sites around Puget Sound.
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers

Some residents in the Olympia area are concerned about dredged materials being disposed of in the Puget Sound. They say the Department of Natural Resources is failing to protect underwater ecology at the same time that state and federal governments are spending millions on cleanup.                

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:07 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Mass: Bundle Up! Worst of the Cold Snap to Arrive this Weekend

Lisa Nakamura

Shivering in the cold snap? The worst has yet to come, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

‘Colder Air than We’ve Had’

Temperatures will drop even more this weekend, says Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

“The coldest temperature of this event will occur Saturday and Sunday, and I expect Sunday morning to be ground zero for cold,” he said. "As the low goes by, cold air is going to be moving out—even colder air than we’ve had before.”

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Job Creation
5:01 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Shipbuilders to Senators: Help Us Modernize Vessels, Create Jobs

U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, toured Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

How do you create jobs in Seattle and Alaska? By building fishing boats here and hiring workers who might otherwise only get jobs in fast-food restaurants.

That’s the message from a roundtable gathered for U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, in Seattle Thursday.

The problem is access to capital, according to the panel of representatives of the shipbuilding industry that builds and supports fishing boats for Seattle’s fleet.

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Northwest Coal
4:32 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

King County Council Resolution Calls for Coal Ban in Wash. State

Elaine Thompson Associated Press

King County is poised to join the city of Seattle and several other municipalities in passing a resolution banning the burning and the transportation of coal in Washington state. 

King County Council member Larry Philips is leading the charge to bring the county on board with what towns and cities all over the region have already done: saying loud and clear that coal is not the answer to the future of energy. The opponents are calling for a comprehensive environmental review of the effects of a proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham. 

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Weather with Cliff Mass
5:00 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Why We Don't Get Much Snow, But Plenty of Ice with Snow

File image
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Western Washington winters are relatively mild. We rarely see snow in the lowlands. But when it does snow, things freeze over in a hurry. 

Why does that happen? It has to do with our mild temperatures, says KPLU Weather expert Cliff Mass.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:43 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Mass: Snow in Lowlands Possible for Thanksgivikah Weekend

A frosty November morning in Mill Creek, Wash.
Jonathan Cooper

Uncertainty shrouds forecast models for the Thanksgiving weekend, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, but two things are for certain: there will be snow—possibly in the lowlands, and it will get much colder. 

But first, the good news: neither of those things will have started as people head out of town on Wednesday, says Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington and pens a popular blog

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5:01 am
Tue November 26, 2013

With One Dam Gone, Life Returns to Elwha River

Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

It’s been called the most significant environmental story of this century: the removal of hydroelectric dams on the Elwha River, near Port Angeles.

The project is only partly done; Elwha Dam, one of two structures holding back salmon and steelhead runs, has been fully removed, and the other, Glines Canyon Dam, will be out next fall. But the landscape is already changing dramatically.

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Snow Science
5:01 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Strange Snow Finding Suggests Fewer Trees Mean More Water

UW reserahcres found that in temperate climates, snow melts faster under trees than in clearings.
Kael Martin University of Washington

Quick quiz: In springtime, does snow melt faster out in the open or in the shade? 

You might figure it melts faster in the sunshine, and that seems to be the case for cold climates. But in places with temperate winters, like the Pacific Northwest, it might be just the opposite.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:51 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Mass: 'Most Amazing Pattern' Defies Tradition, Brings Dry Spell

Rob McNair-Huff

It may be chilly out there, but it’s also unusually dry for this time of year, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“It’s really startling,” said Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. “We’re in a most amazing pattern. I mean, this could be the wettest, stormiest time of the year, and it’s going to be basically dry over the next few days. In fact, I think probably the next week, we’re not going to see any precipitation.”

We may see a few clouds Tuesday and Wednesday, but then we’ll have wonderful weather for Thanksgiving, says Mass.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:28 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Mass: Hunker Down for Cold, Blustery Weekend

This snowy shot of Stevens Pass was taken earlier this month.
Jonathan Cooper

Batten down the hatches and get ready for a cold and gusty weekend, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Mass says a major system in the Gulf of Alaska is headed our way, and will hit the lowlands with strong winds and the mountains with snow.

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Election 2013
6:40 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

SeaTac Minimum Wage Initiative Passing by Just 43 Votes

In this Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 photo, wheelchair attendants Erick Conley, left, and Sesilia Vaitele assist a pair of passengers heading to an overseas flight at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, in SeaTac, Wash.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

The voter initiative to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour for airport and hotel workers in SeaTac is still undecided.

The initiative was passing by just 43 votes on Tuesday afternoon. And activists say they don’t expect a clear outcome before Thanksgiving due to hundreds of contested ballots in a relatively small electorate. 

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living wage initiative
1:28 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Problematic Ballots May Decide Fate of SeaTac's $15 Wage

In this Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 photo, 16-year veteran skycap Fred Harris prepares multiple baggage tags for a traveler at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Dozens of problematic ballots may determine the fate of an initiative to establish a $15 minimum wage for many workers in SeaTac.

The ballot measure was winning by just 43 votes Tuesday as officials in King County resumed counting ballots. There are likely hundreds more votes to count due to the lengthy ballot-collection process caused by the state's vote-by-mail system.

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