Environment

Stories about the environment focused on the Pacific Northwest, with many from KPLU's Environment reporter, Bellamy Pailthorp.

Tom Banse / N3

Plans for a coal export terminal on the Columbia River at Longview are coming under fire from environmental groups. Many of them showed up at a Cowlitz County commission hearing  on Tuesday.

Sheila Malcolmson
Liam Moriarty / KPLU

There are more than a thousand islands in the Salish Sea. Some of them are home to good-sized towns, others are inhabited only by wildlife. Either way, the island experience is one of the signatures of this region.

This week in our series “Reflections on the Water,” KPLU environment reporter Liam Moriarty takes a ferry to Gabriola Island, in British Columbia, population about 4,000. He talks with Sheila Malcolmson about the joys and challenges of island living.

Whooo knew?

Nov 8, 2010
Sandy Stamato/KPLU

This barred owl perched in a tree Monday outside the window of KPLU's Seattle studios.  In short order, it began drawing the attention of passersby in the Belltown neighborhood, and a crowd under the tree attempting to get a good picture. This photo was taken by our own Sandy Stamato.  Other than some pretty upset crows who made a ruccous, the owl's visit been warmly received.

A radioactively contaminated rabbit has been caught and killed on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland in southeast Washington.

The U.S. Department of Energy says that's not unusual. Last year the agency caught 33 contaminated animals. But this rabbit was unusually close to workers and the public.

The bunny was found just a few miles outside of the city of Richland in Hanford's 300 Area. Todd Nelson is a spokesman for one of the federal contractors that clean up Hanford. He downplayed the incident.

If you've been stuck in traffic jams on I-5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord recently, you're not alone. The back-ups are an almost daily occurrence since thousands of soldiers returned from deployments. The race is on to come up with some long-term solutions, not only to the transportation troubles but to education and social service demands. That's because military analysts predict an additional 14,000 more soldiers and their families will arrive by 2015.

Tom Banse

Tom Banse: "I'm standing at the lip of Elwha Dam. That's the sound of the Elwha River in the background gushing out of a spillway and then crashing down 105 feet into an emerald, green pool at the base of dam. Because the sun is hitting just right now, I can see salmon. Actually, quite a few salmon...circling aimlessly here at the foot of the dam...still looking after all these years for some way over. It's been 100 years since Elwha Dam was constructed. It was built without fish ladders. Because of that...and those frustrated salmon below...this dam's days are numbered."

Andrew Reding / Flickr

In some ways, the Puget Sound's orca whales  are very familiar. We've even given them individual names.  But there's still a lot we don't know, like where the whales go and what they eat.

Now that they're listed as endangered, those have become important questions. KPLU environment reporter Liam Moriarty accompanied a research crew trying to get answers.

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