Environment

Environment
9:18 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Northwest coastal waters slightly caffeinated, study finds

The Northwest's love of coffee is leading to caffeine spilling into coastal waters.
Diane Gilleland Flickr

The Northwest is known for its love of coffee. Now evidence of that is showing up in the Pacific Ocean. Researchers have found low levels of caffeine at half a dozen locations on the Oregon Coast.

Caffeine has previously been found to be pervasive in Puget Sound and has even turned up in relatively pristine Barkley Sound on the outer coast of Vancouver Island.

Read more
Global Warming
6:54 am
Wed July 25, 2012

'Heat dome' linked to Greenland's biggest melt in 30 years

In these illustrations NASA produced from satellite data, the melt in Greenland on July 8 (at left) and July 12 are shown. According to NASA, "the areas classified as 'probable melt' (light pink) correspond to those sites where at least one satellite detected surface melting. The areas classified as 'melt' (dark pink) correspond to sites where two or three satellites detected surface melting."
NASA

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 4:19 am

Last week there were the pictures of an iceberg twice the size of Manhattan breaking off Greenland's Petermann Glacier.

Now there are NASA images showing that in four days earlier this month, "Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations."

Read more
Environment
5:48 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Study: Coastal Oregon waters slightly caffeinated

Is Portland's love of coffee leading to the caffeination of Oregon coastal waters? Photo by Diane Gilleland via Flickr

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 4:19 pm

The Northwest is known for its love of coffee. Now evidence of that is showing up in the Pacific Ocean. Researchers have found low levels of caffeine at half a dozen locations on the Oregon Coast.

Caffeine does not occur naturally in the environment in the Pacific Northwest. Marine scientists believe the java jolt gets into seawater through treated sewage and septic runoff.

A Portland State University graduate student collected water samples at 14 coastal beaches and seven nearby river mouths. Samples taken after heavy stormwater runoff contained traces of caffeine.

Read more
Fighting Urban Sprawl
12:10 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Seattle deal would trade iconic views to preserve farmland and forests

King County's transfer of development rights program would be used to preserve rural farmland and forests while allowing taller buildings in South Lake Union.
courtesy King County

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine have proposed new development incentives for Seattle's bustling South Lake Union neighborhood.

The program would allow dramatically taller buildings in exchange for extra funds from developers to preserve farmland and forests in rural King County.

Read more
Environment
2:14 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Bite of Seattle attempts 100 percent compostable

Customers line up at last year's Bite of Seattle.

Over 50 food vendors are pitching tents at the Seattle Center this weekend for the annual Bite of Seattle food fest. Organizers are hoping to make this year’s festival a zero-waste event. There are three new composting and recycling booths where visitors can dump their plates and forks.

Read more
Environment
7:24 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Tolerable risk vs. terrible catastrophe: Dams and the big one

The Bureau of Reclamation is analyzing the economics and the options for reinforcing Scoggins Dam, 25 miles west of Portland. Photo by US Bureau of Reclamation

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 7:22 am

It's a question all of us face sooner or later: whether to spend a good chunk of money to protect against a catastrophe that has a very low chance of occurring. A workshop that just wrapped up in Corvallis considered that dilemma in the context of Northwest dams and a magnitude 9 earthquake.

Read more
Environment
7:15 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Iceberg twice the size of Manhattan breaks off glacier in Greenland

A view of the glacier taken Tuesday. Inside the square: the iceberg that broke off.
NASA Earth Observatory

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:30 am

A huge iceberg that's about twice the size of Manhattan has broken off the Petermann Glacier in Greenland — the same sheet of ice that just two years ago "calved" another massive berg.

Read more
Japanese Tsunami debris
5:29 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Northwest lawmakers say tsunami debris grants not enough

This map displays all possible tsunami debris sightings since December 2011. The red triangle designates confirmed sightings. Image via NOAA/ Coastal Response Research Center

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 8:25 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Lawmakers from the Northwest say a new federal grant to help clean up tsunami debris is just not enough to get the job done. They’re lobbying for millions of dollars to get rid of items washing ashore from last year’s tsunami in Japan.

Read more
Environment
8:57 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Washington wildlife officials: 8th wolf pack confirmed

Gray wolf shown in a photo taken from a remote camera in 2011 near Teanaway Pack of Kittitas County.
The Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington Fish and Wildlife officials say they've confirmed an eighth wolf pack in the state.

Read more
Global Warming
11:25 am
Mon July 16, 2012

Climate change is real for Northwest tribes in DC this week

Coastal tribes including Washington's Quileute, with headquarters in La Push, are among those hosting the inaugural First Nations symposium on climate change.
Sam Beebe, Ecotrust Flickr

Extreme weather patterns on the east coast have become evidence for many people lately that global warming is actually happening.

Here in the Northwest, coastal tribes have been dealing with the realities of melting glaciers, rising sea levels and ocean acidification for years.

Many are headed to Washington DC this week for what’s being billed as an inaugural First Stewards symposium on climate change. The idea comes from coastal tribal leaders in this Washington.

Read more
Endangered species
5:56 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

5 Washington critters among species group would have feds protect

The Cascades Frog is among the 53 amphibians and reptiles in a petition for federal protection by the Center for Biological Diversity. Washington is considered one of its strongholds. It has declined by 50% in California.
Courtesy US Fish & Wildlife Service

They’re slimy and cold-blooded.

But conservationists say amphibians and reptiles are important indicator species – and some of the most endangered.

Five of these sensitive creatures that call Washington home are among more than 50 included in a petition for federal protection.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:57 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Wildfire in southern Idaho is growing quickly

The view from above: A satellite image of Idaho and western Montana, taken Monday and posted by the USDA Forest Services's Active Fire Mapping website, showing smoke and clouds.
USDA Forest Service

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 4:30 am

Though firefighters have "gained ground on a number of wildfires across the West," they're having trouble in southern Idaho, The Associated Press reports.

There, winds have "fanned a fast-moving blaze across nearly 300 square miles of sagebrush and dry grass," the wire service says. The fire began Saturday. It was apparently sparked by a lightning strike.

Read more
Environment
5:01 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Highway 520 design in federal court on Tuesday

The state's planned replacement for the SR 520 bridge across Lake Washington has sparked a lawsuit from Seattle neighborhoods, who say it is too big and too expensive. It is nearly twice as wide as the old bridge.
WSDOT image

Even as its construction is well underway, design plans for the new 520 bridge across Lake Washington continue to spark controversy.

A federal judge will hear oral arguments tomorrow in a lawsuit against the replacement project by the State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

Read more
Environment
5:00 am
Mon July 9, 2012

The hunt is back on for gypsy moths in Washington

Washington State Department of Agriculture employee Bill Weatherspoon installs a gypsy moth trap in 2011.
Photo courtesy Mike Louisell / WSDA

The gypsy moth is considered to be the most destructive forest pest in the country. When they're caterpillars, they have a voracious appetite for almost any kind of tree or bush, and they can strip a tree bare overnight.

Gypsy moth caterpillars are capable of defoliating hundreds of thousands of acres of forest per year. This month, the Washington State Department of Agriculture is installing thousands of gypsy moth traps around the state.

Read more
Japanese Tsunami debris
7:36 am
Fri July 6, 2012

Hundreds turn out to clean up Northwest beaches of tsunami, other debris

Beach cleanup volunteers found this refrigerator on Long Beach with Japanese labels on July 5. Photo courtesy of Shelly Pollock

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 4:28 pm

More than 700 volunteers turned out Thursday to help pick up litter and flotsam on the Oregon and southwest Washington coasts. Volunteers were on alert for debris from last year's tsunami in Japan. There were some possible new finds on Long Beach, Washington.

The fifth of July is a traditional beach cleanup day in Manzanita and Seaside, Oregon and on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula. The coordinator of Manzanita's cleanup estimates the three dump truck loads hauled away were "99 percent fireworks" related.

Read more

Pages