Environment

Protecting Puget Sound
6:01 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Freshmen Congressmen Convene Puget Sound Recovery Caucus

Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Puget Sound lost a champion when Congressman Norm Dicks retired last year. Two freshman U.S. Representatives have formed a special caucus to fill the void. 

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renewable energy
5:01 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Renewable Natural Gas from Landfill Fueling Local Buses

Pierce Transit has signed an agreement to use renewable natural gas produced at nearby Cedar Hills Regional Landfill.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Natural gas from organic waste is gaining momentum as a renewable energy source, and a local transit agency is already on board. 

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climate change
3:05 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Sea Level Rise Map Shows 30 Wash. Towns Inundated

Update: The original version of this story incorrectly summarized this study as showing populations to be displaced by 2100 if current trends continue. Author Ben Strauss sent the following correction: "by 2100, we would most likely be *locked in* to such an outcome in a more distant future, time unspecified, but essentially inevitable." We have updated the story accordingly. 

The warming climate is causing sea levels to rise as oceans expand, and, combined with more frequent storms, the effects could be devastating.

A new map shows more than 1,400 towns in the U.S., 30 in Washington state, where half the population will be displaced  if current trends continue through the end of this century.

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Alternative Energy Art
2:57 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

'Sonic Bloom' Showcasing Solar Power at Seattle Center

Courtesy Pacific Science Center

It looks a bit like something you might find in a book by Dr. Seuss: five huge sculpted sunflowers with striped green and orange stems.

The new installation outside Seattle’s Pacific Science Center is meant to draw in and educate the public about solar power. 

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P-Patch Culture
3:34 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Seattle Setting Example for Community Gardens Nationwide

Courtesy City of Seattle

Seattle started its first city-sponsored P-Patch program 40 years ago. To help mark the anniversary, the American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) is holding its national conference here. Gardeners from more than 30 states and six foreign countries are attending.

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Environment
4:38 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Snail Eradication Leads to Costly Settlement for Port of Tacoma

An attempt to get rid of tiny pests has proven costly for the Port of Tacoma.

The Port and two contractors have agreed to pay a half-million dollar fine and spend more than $4 million to restore and enhance wetlands under a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The wetlands at Hylebos Marsh were damaged during attempts by the Port to eradicate an invasive snail. The dime-sized vineyard snail comes from the Mediterranean and can destroy grain crops.

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Endangered species
12:06 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Puget Sound Orcas to Remain Protected

chasedekker photo Flickr

  The charismatic black and white killer whales that spend their summers in Puget Sound will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has rejected a call to de-list resident orcas. 

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climate change
5:41 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Mounting Consequences as Arctic Sea Ice Melts

Melting sea ice in the Arctic is reducing food sources for polar bears—just one of many consequences, according to a new Review article published in the journal, Science.
Cecilia Bitz photo

Arctic sea ice is melting at record rates, and the loss of that ice could drive significant degradation of marine and terrestrial ecosystems, according to a researcher at the University of Washington. The researcher, Cecilia Bitz, is part of an international team of scientists whose findings are published this week in the journal, Science

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Northwest coal
12:40 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

State Promising Extensive Review for Proposed Coal Exports

Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Environmentalists are applauding the state Department of Ecology, which announced it will conduct an extensive review of the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham. 

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Water pollution
8:02 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

EPA Put on Notice over Wash. State's Fish Consumption Rate

How much fish is safe to eat? Only one small filet per month under Washington's current water quality standard - a fraction of what's shown in this picture of a traditional NW meal of wild salmon on cedar planks.
woodleywonderworks photo Flickr

The official estimate of how much fish people eat dictates the levels of pollution that are allowed, and a statewide coalition of clean water advocates says an accurate standard is long overdue.

Waterkeepers Washington is threatening to sue the federal government over lack of enforcement.

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Environment
6:06 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Seattle Project Highlights Role of Declining Bumblebees

A Bombus Occidentlais bumblebee, also known as the Western Bumblebee. A queen was recently spotted for the first time in the Seattle area since the mid 1990s.
Jo Hoffman

The plight of honeybees is well-known. Their numbers are dropping, and entomologists are trying to figure out the cause. But did you know that bumblebees—the larger, slower, and furrier relatives of the honeybee—are also in trouble?

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Wildlife sighting
5:01 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Close Encounter with Fighting Eagles at Seward Park

It’s always pretty special to see an eagle soaring near the water. But summer revelers in Seattle were recently shocked when they saw two of the large birds fighting in mid-air, dive-bombing each other at Seward Park. 

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energy efficiency 2.0
8:13 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Seattle, Microsoft team up to make buildings more energy-efficient

The Seattle Sheraton Hotel, one of four buildings that are part of the city's High-Performance Building Pilot Project. The aim is to use real-time data to reduce energy use by 10 to 25 percent without reducing worker productivity.
mage courtesy of Sheraton Seattle Hotel Facebook page.

Already known as a leader in sustainable architecture, Seattle is teaming up with Microsoft to take green building to the next level with the help of big-data computing.

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Environment
5:01 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Feds testing drones for scientific and environmental missions

The Puma AE unmanned aircraft system, shown during a pre-flight check for tests in NOAA's marine research missions from La Push, on the Olympic Penninsula. It launches without a runway, making it ideal for NOAA's missions at sea, the agency says.
Bellamy Pailthorp Photo KPLU News

They’re the tools of modern-day warfare: unmanned aircraft systems better known as drones.

They’re also being tested to help carry out important scientific missions, including surveys of wildlife and marine debris in the National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula.

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Environment
5:25 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

House Dems remove fish-consumption study from budget

jpellgen Flickr

Washington state House Democrats removed funds for a fish-consumption study from the final budget. That went against the wishes of one of the state's biggest business interests, Boeing.

The state Department of Ecology currently assumes that people in Washington eat about one meal of fish a month. But the state acknowledges the standard is out of date; many people eat a lot more fish than that.

Tribes and environmental groups have been urging the state to update its standard and require stricter regulation of water pollution. But that has been met with resistance from businesses, including Boeing.

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