Environment

Coal Export
4:24 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Oregon Agency Rejects Coal Terminal On The Columbia River

Oregon state regulators have rejected a proposal for a coal terminal on the Columbia River that would be a conduit for exporting millions of tons of American coal a year to Asia.

The decision is a victory for tribal groups that said the terminal threatened their fishing. It's also a win for Washington state, said Kimberly Larsen with the group Climate Solutions.

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Elwha Restoration
2:42 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

As Life Rebounds, Rangers Offer Tour Of Elwha's Once-Underwater Landscapes

"Oregon Sunshine blooms in former Lake Aldwell."
National Park Service

With crews working to remove the last of the second dam on the Elwha River, Olympia National Park officials are inviting the public to take a guided tour of land that sat underwater just two years ago.

Lake Aldwell disappeared after the removal of the Elwha Dam, revealing “a fascinating, up-close look at shifting sediments, both old and new vegetation, giant stumps logged a century ago, and the river re-establishing itself,” according to the National Park Service.

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Environment
3:01 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Triple Rescue And Rehab Ends Well For Lucky Ospreys

Rehabbed osprey flies away after its release Wednesday in Finley, Washington.
Andrea Berglin

Three young ospreys and a parent are flying free along the Columbia River today after surviving close calls with litter.

One of these ospreys was rescued by BPA linemen last week as it dangled from its nest in a tangle of plastic baling twine near Kennewick, Washington. The other two were pushed out of a different nest near Burbank, Washington, when their mother thrashed about in a wad of derelict fishing net.

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Environment
5:01 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Head Of EPA Tours Puget Sound, Supports Congressional Cleanup Caucus

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy touring Commencement Bay on August 13, 2014, with Puget Sound Partnership Executive Director Sheida Sahandy in the background.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

She’s been called President Obama’s “green quarterback.” Gina McCarthy is the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and she's known for tackling sources of climate change. And now she’s shining a light on efforts to clean up Puget Sound.

McCarthy met with government officials and community groups in Tacoma on Wednesday and toured Commencement Bay by boat to learn more about what still needs to be done. 

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Environment
4:00 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Feds Decide Wolverine Does Not Merit Threatened Species Status

FILE - This undated photo provided by Defenders Of Wildlife shows a wolverine that had been tagged for research purposes in Glacier National Park, Montana.
AP Photo/Defenders of Wildlife, Ken Curtis

The wolverine is not going on the threatened species list, after all. On Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced federal protected status for the fierce and rare carnivore is unwarranted at this time.

The wolverine is making a slow comeback from the brink of extinction in the Lower 48 states. But shrinking mountain snow packs caused by global warming could reverse those gains.

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Environment
5:00 am
Tue August 12, 2014

WSU Researchers Collaborating With Feds In Effort To Bring Back Bumblebees

Preparing to inseminate a queen bee.
Megan Asche

Some scientists are going to great lengths to help the agreeable Western bumblebee make a comeback.

You might not have noticed, but this important pollinator of both flowers and greenhouse crops has nearly disappeared from the landscape. An introduced fungal disease is suspected of decimating populations of the fat and furry Western bumblebee (Bombus occidentalis).

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Tracking Wildfires
4:59 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Is Wildfire Severity Really Getting Worse?

FILE - A plane drops fire retardant over a wildfire as clouds of smoke billow behind and above Saturday, July 19, 2014, near Carlton, Washington.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

It might seem like fire season is as bad as it's ever been. But there's a group of researchers who question that prevailing wisdom.

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Environment
11:30 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Native Groups, Environmentalists Rally To 'Protect Our Salish Sea'

Courtesy of James Leder / Idle No More Washington

Flanked by Puget Sound on one side and railroad tracks on the other, dozens of people gathered at Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park on Monday to bring attention to protecting the Salish Sea — the waters of Puget Sound, Georgia Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

The coalition of environmental groups and Native Americans voiced their opposition to the increased traffic in coal- and oil trains, as well as the proposed coal terminals that would be built in Longview and on the Great Lummi Nation’s sacred burial ground.

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Climate Change
11:10 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

New Ocean Acidification Monitors Could Protect Nation's $70 Billion Fisheries Industry

The prototype of an underwater ocean glider is one of many new tools that are said to be smarter, smaller, more durable and more accurate for gathering data on ocean conditions including acidification.
Bellamy Pailthorp

Federal scientists and their supporters are seeking increased funding to monitor ocean acidification in an effort to gather additional environmental intelligence.

U.S Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and fellow Democrat Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska toured a lab in Seattle Monday to see the latest technology and highlight their hopes of making ocean acidification monitoring a national priority. 

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Weather
10:49 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Gallery: Supermoon Over Western Wash.

Supermoon over Mount Rainier.
Tim Durkan

Did you catch the supermoon over the weekend? Lucky for us, several Seattle-area photographers did. 

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Environment
5:08 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Crews At Work On Slow, Expensive Disposal Of Notorious Derelict Vessel Helena Star

The Helena Star at Stabbert Marine in Seattle on August 8, 2014.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

A poster child for Washington state’s problem with abandoned boats is at a shipyard in Seattle. The notorious Helena Star is being scrapped by Stabbert Maritime in Ballard.

The decrepit vessel once made headlines as a drug-smuggling ship; in 1978, the U.S. Coast Guard seized the ship off the coast of Washington with $75 million worth of marijuana on board. Now it’s an object lesson on how and why the process of cleanup and recovery of abandoned boats is so complex and expensive.

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Northwest Salmon
12:34 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Tribes Urge U.S., Canada To Update Columbia River Treaty

FILE - In this March 7, 2012, file photo, the Columbia River flows past the Vista House on Crown Point at right near Corbett, Oregon.
Don Ryan AP Photo

The U.S. and Canada are looking at renegotiating the Columbia River treaty, which has been in effect since 1964.

The treaty put into place a mechanism for the two countries to reduce flooding and increase electrical power generation. But it did not address the status of salmon and steelhead that have been decimated by the dams on the giant waterway. 

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Environment
5:00 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Fatal Attraction: Ospreys In A Bind With Baling Twine, Fishing Line

This is how ospreys' unhealthy affinity for baling twine can kill. Idaho Fish and Game biologist Beth Waterbury rescued this osprey in the nick of time.
Beth Waterbury Idaho Fish and Game

Osprey nests are a common sight near rivers, lakes and bays in the Northwest. If you look closely with binoculars, you might notice some of these large raptors like to line their nests with discarded baling twine or fishing line. The problem is it can kill them.

Now wildlife biologists are working with ranchers and at boat ramps to keep the attractive nuisance out of the ospreys' clutches.

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Environment
2:39 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

B.C. Mine Dam Break Threatens Northwest Salmon Fisheries

Silty water from the breached Mount Polley Mine dam floods a downstream creek and road Monday.
Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre

A dam break at a central British Columbia mine could threaten salmon fisheries in the Pacific Northwest.

Mount Polley is an open-pit copper and gold mine roughly 400 miles north of Seattle. A dam holding back water and silt leftover from the mining process broke Monday, releasing enough material to fill more than 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

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Elwha Restoration
5:00 am
Wed August 6, 2014

New Life After Dam Removal: Surf Smelt Spawning In Mouth Of Elwha

File image of surf smelt.
NOAA Fisheries West Coast

Tiny forage fish don’t have the iconic status of Northwest species such as salmon or orcas, but the marine creatures at the bottom of the food chain play a critical role. So scientists are excited to see signs they’re spawning in new habitat created by the Elwha dam removals. 

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