Environment

Wildlife
5:00 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Young-Adult Cougars Looking For A Home Of Their Own Can Cause Problems

File image
AP Photo/ Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

This time of year, young Northwest cougars are getting kicked out of the nest by their mother cats. That means many of these young adults are looking for their own home range.

But these rookie hunters are in a cat-crowded field, and that sometimes ends in trouble.

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Steelhead
4:18 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Study: Hatcheries Can Disrupt Steelhead Navigation

This undated photo provided by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife shows a steelhead in the Lower Deschutes.
AP Photo/Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via The Bulletin

A new study suggests steelhead trout can have trouble using the Earth's magnetic field to navigate if they were raised in a hatchery, where the field may be distorted by iron pipes.

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Environment
1:52 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Counties Deploying Bacteria-Sniffing Dogs To Find Failing Septic Systems

Molly, a border collie trained by Environmental Canine Services, can sniff out human fecal coliform bacteria in water samples. She recently worked for King County at creeks in Seattle and Kirkland.
Chris Kittredge Photo

In recent years, the Samish River Basin in Skagit County has suffered severe pollution from fecal coliform bacteria. Water polluted with untreated sewage and manure leads to frequent closures of shellfish beds and beaches. County authorities are testing a new method to find the sources: poop-sniffing dogs

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A Second Life
11:18 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Why Some In The Northwest Want More Of These Jawless, Eel-Like Creatures

A Pacific Lamprey affixed to an aquarium, before being released at Ahtanum Creek last May 24.
Tim Hill Washington Department of Ecology

Jawless and eel-like with concentric rings of teeth, the Pacific lamprey's unsavory looks may be one reason why populations have declined. Now, some people are taking charge of restoring the fish.

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Invasive Species
12:03 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

There's Now An App To Report Sightings Of Invasive Species

Yellow starthistle is one of 50 plants and animals that the Washington Invasive Species Council is trying to keep track of.
Martin Jambon Flickr

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Creek Restoration
5:14 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Currently A Ditch, Seattle's Longest Creek Soon To Be A Stream Again

SPU's Jason Sharpley survey's a culvert that will soon be removed to help restore Thornton Creek.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

Utility crews are about to take a busy northeast Seattle thoroughfare out of commission for six months.

But in exchange for shutting down five blocks of 35th Avenue Northeast, utilities officials say the neighborhood will get relief from chronic flooding and a very new look for the city's longest creek.

The north and south branches of Thornton Creek converge just east of 35th Avenue. Floodwaters often submerge sections of the street after big storms and can inundate homes, Meadowbrook Community Center and nearby Nathan Hale High School.

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Northwest Wildlife
9:00 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Pneumonia Outbreaks Hitting Northwest’s Wild Bighorn Sheep

Kim Keating USGS

Bighorn sheep in the Northwest have their lambs in early spring. About now, those babies start playing together in the mountains — a sort of lamb daycare.

But that sweet, social behavior is spreading a deadly disease in several herds throughout the region.

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Superfund Site
10:21 am
Wed May 14, 2014

At Idaho Superfund Site, Pavement Used To Help The Environment

A street in Wallace, Idaho was repaved last fall as part of the Superfund cleanup in the Coeur d'Alene Basin.
EPA

With the weather warming up, work has resuming at one of the largest Superfund sites in the nation. The EPA is trying to clear decades of mine pollution from Idaho's Coeur d'Alene River Basin and the upper reaches of the Spokane River. And this summer, managers are using an environmental remedy you might not expect: pavement.

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Wildlife
5:00 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Limping Elk And Deformed Hooves Spreading In Southwest Washington

A strange disease has plagued Washington elk since 2008, causing their hooves to deform and fall off.
Sushan Han and Kristin Mansfield Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is trying to find out the cause of a fast-spreading hoof disease plaguing elk in southwest Washington.

The disease causes hoof claws to swell, grow long, twist around each other and sometimes slough off completely, leaving some animals limping around on nubs.

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Environment
4:53 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Inslee Predicts Washington Will Adopt Controversial Fuel Standard

Kristen Steele Flickr

Gov. Jay Inslee says Washington will likely adopt a California-style pollution limit on gasoline and other transportation fuels.

Inslee recently ordered a feasibility and cost study of a low-carbon fuel standard.

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Protecting Wildlife
3:41 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Lone Caribou Herd In Lower 48 Keeps Federal Protection

Woodland Caribou from the Southern Selkirk Mountains population.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A small herd of mountain caribou found in the Northwest will retain federal protection, officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said, but it will be as a threatened species rather than endangered.

These caribou are the last in the Lower 48 states. It's believed there are 20 to 30 of them left.

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Environment
3:23 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Latest National Climate Report Shows Big Impacts In The Northwest

As sea levels rise, waves will crash with greater intensity along the coast.
Photo by andreyphoto.com Flickr

Global climate change is having tangible effects all over the country, including in Washington and the greater northwest.

That’s according to the latest National Climate Assessment released Tuesday by the Obama administration.

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Environment
5:01 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Worried About Landslides? Seattle Has A Map For That

In the wake of the deadly disaster in Oso, many people may be worrying about the potential for mudslides in their neighborhoods.

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Volcanic Activity
10:02 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Magma Rising Beneath Mount St. Helens, But No Eruption Imminent

File image
Don Ryan AP Photo

Scientists monitoring Mount St. Helens confirmed Wednesday that magma is on the rise and "re-pressurizing" the volcano in southwest Washington.

However, they also stress there are no signs of an imminent eruption.

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Alternative Energy
3:11 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Progress In Turning Woody Debris From Northwest Forests Into Biofuels

Slash piles of woody debris in Northwest forests are seen as a promising new source of feedstock for low-emission biofuels.
Potjie photo Flickr via Compfight

In 2011, biofuels in the Northwest got a huge boost. The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $80 million in grants to researchers at the University of Washington and Washington State University. It’s meant to help turn woody biomass into environmentally-friendly fuels for cars and jets.

Now they’re at about the half-way point in their research, and several hundred are attending a conference on wood-based biofuels in Seattle.  

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