Environment

Salmon vs. Sea Lions
11:49 am
Sat April 19, 2014

First Nuisance Sea Lions Of 2014 Killed At Bonneville Dam

This file photo shows a California sea lion consuming a salmon just below the Columbia River's Bonneville Dam.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

 

State wildlife officers trapped and killed six salmon-chomping sea lions at Bonneville Dam earlier this week.

It's part of a renewed campaign against nuisance predators who follow the spring salmon run.

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Alternative Energy
5:01 am
Wed April 16, 2014

PUD Changes Course; No Dam for Skykomish River’s Sunset Falls

Skykomish River
Courtesy Andrea Matzke

Plans to put a dam on one of Washington’s most scenic rivers have been called off.

The Snohomish County Public Utilities District says it has a better plan for the area on the Skykomish River near Index. But opponents of the project say it’s still too early to declare a victory. 

Snohomish County PUD was planning an inflatable weir for the bend in the river near Sunset Falls, not far from Index. The utility said it had a design that would rise and fall with the river, making it safe for endangered fish runs and minimally disruptive to the scenic value of the area.

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Salmon Runs
2:14 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Endangered Chinook Hitching A Ride On Trucks Around Cracked Wanapum Dam

Workers scramble to place temporary fixes on the fish ladders at the cracked Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River.
Anna King

Hundreds of Chinook salmon are being rounded up and loaded into tanker trucks that will drive them around the cracked Wanapum Dam in southweast Washington.

The Columbia River will remain drawn down at least until June, which means fish can’t reach their traditional ladders. Engineers are working on extensions and water slides of sorts to get fish ladders working again. But work to install this new equipment has been difficult, with cranes, man baskets and the whipping wind.

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Endangered Fish
5:01 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Scientists Monitoring Oso Slide’s Effects On Stillaguamish Fish Runs

Turbid waters at the confluence of the Stillaguamish River after the mudslide present challenging circumstances for endangered fish.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

As the search for victims of the Oso mudslide continues, scientists are monitoring its effects on endangered fish runs.

The cloudiness of the Stillaguamish River due to sediment washing down after the slide is a big concern. But it looks like initial fears of devastation are giving way to optimism. 

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Water Forecast
2:22 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Water Supply Rebounds Across Most Of Northwest After March Storms

On this map of current snow conditions, blues and greens are good. Red, orange and yellow represent below-average snowpack.
NWRFC

Irrigators, hydropower dam operators and tugboat captains are sitting pretty across most of the Northwest, according to the latest regional water supply forecast presented Thursday.

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Oil Trains
5:01 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Sen. Murray Calls Federal Hearing On Risks, Procedures For Rail Shipment Of Crude Oil

AP Photo

Less than four years ago, there were virtually no shipments of crude oil by rail car through Washington state. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see the dark-gray tanks at crossings all over the state.  

U.S.  Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., held a hearing with top transportation and safety officials to discuss potential safety measures to protect communities in the face of more growth.  

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Northwest Salmon
8:40 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

New Quotas Clear Way For Banner Summer Salmon Fishing In Pacific Ocean

Andrew Russell Flickr

A federal fisheries management panel approved what some charter captains are calling the best ocean fishing season in 20 years.

Meeting at a hotel in Vancouver, Washington, the Pacific Fishery Management Council on Wednesday adopted the 2014 season quotas unanimously after days of lengthy negotiations between commercial troll and recreational fishing representatives, treaty tribes and government regulators.

The quotas are a big turnaround from the recent past when ocean salmon fishing was sharply curtailed or not allowed at all.

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A Whale Of A Time Underwater
11:03 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Whales' New Breath-Hold Record Like 'Flying From Seattle To San Jose' Without A Gasp

Satellite tag being attached to the dorsal fin of a Cuvier's beaked whale. The tagging arrow can be seen in the air as it detaches from the tag.
Erin Falcone Cascadia Research under NOAA permit 16111

Think about how long you can hold your breath, then consider this.

Northwest-based whale researchers have documented a new breath-hold record among mammals. They timed a dive by a beaked whale that lasted 2 hours and 17 minutes.

A paper published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One by scientists with the Cascadia Research Collective of Olympia revealed two new records. The researchers tagged Cuvier's beaked whales, a rarely-seen species which forages in deep ocean waters worldwide, including off the U.S. West Coast.

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Environment
4:46 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Seattle Council Mulls Supporting Ban On Routine Feeding Of Antibiotics To Livestock

File image
Jeff Roberson AP Photo

Seattle may join several other cities in a campaign calling for a federal ban on the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms. A resolution on the issue has passed out of committee, and will be considered by the full council on Monday. 

The resolution calls for an end to routine feeding of antibiotics to animals, which critics say is leading to drug-resistant superbugs that harm human health. 

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Oso Slide
5:34 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

One Week After Deadly Mudslide, Darrington Observes Moment Of Silence

First responders shield two babies from drizzle in Darrington, Wash., during a brief ceremony to mark one week since the deadly mudslide on Highway 530 just west of town.
Kyle Stokes KPLU

Local leaders in Darrington bowed their heads and observed a moment of silence at 10:37 a.m. Saturday, exactly one week after the deadly mudslide wreaked havoc in nearby Oso.

Search and rescue workers, firefighters and other first responders marked the moment in front of Darrington's fire station, standing in steady rain that continues to hamper rescue efforts at the site of the slide 12 miles down the road.

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Natural Disaster
6:05 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Snoqualmie Tribe Donates $275,000 To Agencies Responding To Oso Slide

Chuck Morrison, left, of the Red Cross accepts a check for $50,000 from Snoqualmie Tribe vice chair Bob De Los Angeles.
Kyle Stokes KPLU

Leaders of the Snoqualmie Tribe announced it would donate $275,000 to six groups and agencies responding to last weekend's deadly mudslide in Oso.

Tribal elders announced donations of $50,000 to the Oso, Arlington and Darrington fire departments on Friday. They'll also contribute $50,000 apiece to the Red Cross and the Cascade Valley Hospital Relief Foundation, in addition to $25,000 to the Snohomish County Search & Rescue K-9 team.

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Natural Disaster
3:58 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Are You Covered? Few Washington Homeowners Hold Insurance For Landslides

Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Though much of the Puget Sound region is "especially vulnerable" to landslides like the one that claimed 14 lives in Snohomish County over the weekend, only a handful of Washington homeowners' insurance policies would cover damages from a similar disaster.

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Anniversary
9:07 am
Mon March 24, 2014

25 Years Later, A Look Back At The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

A lone Steller sea lion swims near the edge of the oil oozing in Prince William Sound.
Kimbal Sundberg Alaska Dept Fish and Game

At midnight 25 years ago, a ship called Exxon Valdez hit Bligh Reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound, spilling enough crude oil to fill 17 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

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Wolf Protection
5:01 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Federal Push To Lift Protection For Wolves Has Conservation Groups Howling

FILE - This April 18, 2008, file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife shows a gray wolf.
Gary Kramer AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Don’t be alarmed if you hear the eerie sound of wolves howling in the distance at noon today. The group howl heard in the city will be put on by humans.

The howl is a protest action aimed at stopping active management programs that allow the killing of a species, which, until recently, was listed as endangered under federal law. 

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Hydropower
1:02 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Feds OK Snohomish County PUD's Tidal Power Project In Admiralty Inlet

Admiralty Inlet
hj_west Flickr

Federal regulators have given unanimous approval for an underwater energy project powered by the tides in Washington’s Admiralty Inlet.

Two turbines will take advantage of the fast-moving currents and daily tidal movements in the busy passage west of Whidbey Island, at a depth of about 200 feet.

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