Environment

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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Northwest Salmon
9:59 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Tribes Optimistic About Returning Salmon To Upper Columbia Basin

A tribal fisherman hauls in a salmon with a gill-net Wednesday,, Sept. 7, 2011, along the Columbia River, near Hood River, Ore.
Rick Bowmer AP Photo

Hydropower dams built without fish ladders have blocked migratory fish from the upper reaches of the Columbia and Snake Rivers for decades. Tribal leaders from across the region gathered this week in Portland to strategize how to return salmon to their full historic range.

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Marine Life
2:07 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Feds Weigh Protecting Orcas In West Coast Waters

File image
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

A federal agency is weighing whether to protect endangered orcas in the waters off the West Coast.

NOAA Fisheries said Thursday it would consider a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity seeking to expand the critical habitat for southern resident killer whales.

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Transit Funding
4:17 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

With Prop. 1 Failing, Group Plans Ballot Initiative To Save Bus Service In Seattle

King County Metro Transit's Facebook Page

King County's Proposition 1, which would have raised sales taxes and car tab fees to preserve Metro bus service, is failing. Initial counts show 55 percent of voters rejected the measure, leaving low odds of passage.

Still, Seattle transit advocates are down, but not out of ideas.

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Oil Trains
2:03 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Wash. State Sen. Ericksen: Controversial Oil Trains 'Going To Be With Us For A While'

AP Photo

Washington state environmental regulators are expecting a lively crowd in the coastal city of Hoquiam on Thursday when the public will get a chance to weigh in about increased crude oil train traffic. But one powerful state senator says the controversial oil trains are needed.

Developers are proposing side-by-side marine terminal expansions on Grays Harbor along the Washington coast. They would receive crude oil by rail from the Northern Plains and send it out by barge and tanker to West Coast refineries.

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Environment
5:20 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Gregoire's Earth Day Message To College Kids: Puget Sound Health Depends On You

A southern resident J pod orca whale swims in Puget Sound in view of Mount Rainier and downtown Seattle, as seen from a federally permitted research vessel Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Forty four years ago, the modern environmental movement was born with the celebration of the first Earth Day. At massive teach-ins around the country, people called on industries to stop polluting.

Now the messages have become more personal, says former Gov. Chris Gregoire, who is speaking at Pacific Lutheran University Tuesday night.

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Wanapum Dam
4:56 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Wanapum Dam Fix Could Total $61 Million, Says Grant County PUD

Grant County PUD

The cost fixing the cracked Wanapum Dam will total $61 million, according to Grant County PUD officials.

About one-third of the cost is the result of the investigation into the crack, the guarding of the river and the loss of power production. The rest will cover the fix itself.

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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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