Environment

Environment
11:31 am
Mon March 5, 2012

Environmentalists push climate change suits on behalf of kids

Nelson Kanuk, a 16 year old from Kipnuk, Alaska, has a lawsuit against the state of Alaska that aims to force the state to reduce carbon emissions.
Courtesy of OurChildrensTrust.org

EUGENE, Ore. – Environmental lawyers are trying a new legal tactic, hoping to force the government to take more aggressive steps against global warming. They’re bringing lawsuits on behalf of kids – including young plaintiffs in the Northwest . The cases use a legal theory put forth by a University of Oregon professor.

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Environment
1:26 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Hybrid cars still a rarity in the Northwest

The hybrid badge on a Toyota Prius
Carlos Perez flickr.com

We may think about driving hybrid cars, but very few of us actually buy one.

A poll by of Washington and Oregon drivers by Seattle-based PEMCO Insurance finds less than 2% say they own a hybrid.

However, more than half of the drivers in Washington (56%) and Oregon (59%) say they'd consider buying a hybrid the next time they shop for a car.

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Environment
7:18 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Spotted owl recovery plan: more active forestry management...and shooting rivals

The highly adaptable barred owl has moved in from points east and pushed out the endangered northern spotted owl. Lethal and non-lethal removals are part of the new spotted owl recovery plan announced by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
caroltlw photo Flickr

In the long saga to protect the northern spotted owl, it's now officially "owl vs owl."

US Fish and Wildlife says the decline of the iconic northwest species can’t be helped without killing some of its more aggressive cousins, the barred owl.

It’s part of a court-ordered plan to increase the spotted owl’s forest habitat.

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Environment
1:50 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Puget Sound 'tub' tainted by industrial residue of toxic dioxin

A dioxin survey map from the EPA, establishing baseline data through sampling by the research vessel Bold. Sediment samples were collected and analyzed at 70 locations throughout the Sound.
US EPA image

When you think about Puget Sound, a bathtub might not be the first image to come to mind.

But that’s one way environmentalists and scientists sometimes describe it, because the shape of Puget Sound is an important factor when it comes to keeping it clean.

A long-awaited report from the Environmental Protection Agency on the health effects of dioxin is confirming what many experts have known for a long time. 

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Environment
9:36 am
Tue February 21, 2012

Northwest back country ripe for more avalanches

An avalanche near Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park
Mike Danisiewicz National Park Service

The conditions that led to fatal avalanches in the Washington Cascades could get worse this week. Three expert skiers died near Stevens Pass on Sunday and a snowboarder died in a separate avalanche near Snoqualmie.

Mark Moore is the director of the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center. He says a crystalline layer of frost prevented new snow from bonding with the bottom layers. He estimates that led to hundreds if not thousands of avalanches in remote areas over the weekend.

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Envisioning the Future
5:31 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Waterfront design workshops at Town Hall Seattle

A conceptual rendering of the view looking at Elliott Bay and Pier 62/63 from the proposed Overlook Fold, which would help reconnect the waterfront to downtown and the Pike Place Market.
Courtesy james corner field operations and City of Seattle

Should the Pike Place Market be connected to Elliot Bay with new walkways?

That’s one of many expensive questions on the minds of landscape designers in charge of rebuilding Seattle’s waterfront.

In less than a week, the city will once again convene stakeholders and the public for help shaping the future of the city’s  “front door” on Puget Sound.

The group Waterfront Seattle is calling on the public to join in discussions that will help determine what the new waterfront will look like, after the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down.

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Whale Hunting
9:37 am
Fri February 17, 2012

Judge allows 'Whale Wars' to continue

A Sea Shepherd crew tangles with a Japanese whaling ship in Antarctic waters in 2011
Sea Sheperd Conservation Society

A federal judge in Seattle Thursday refused a request for protection made by Japanese whalers. The whalers were hoping to put a stop to almost daily harassment by an aggressive anti-whaling group based in western Washington.

U.S. federal district court judge Richard Jones did not give a reason for denying the request for a preliminary injunction. It would have prevented the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society from interfering with the Japanese whaling fleet.

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Environment
4:50 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Pot plantations laying waste to national forests

This marijuana grow site was discovered in Ross Lake National Recreation Area, in North Cascades National Park, in 2008. Many more have been found in the Northwest's national forests, including Oregon's biggest ever last summer, in Wallowa County.
National Parks Service Photo

With its delicate, bright-green leaves, it’s a beautiful plant to look at.

And its medicinal qualities are well-known, but it requires huge amounts of water and light to grow. 

And that’s just the start of the problems caused by marijuana that authorities have been discovering growing in national forests.

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Environment
3:57 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

City by city, plastic bag bans gaining momentum

A plastic bag ban ordinance modeled after the ones already passed in Bellingham and Seattle is on the agenda of two suburban Puget Sound cities this week.

Bainbridge Island’s council is holding a public hearing on the issue tonight (Wednesday, 5:30 pm.) The hearing can be monitored via webcast.

And a committee at the City of Issaquah takes up the issue Thursday evening.

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Killer Whales
7:18 am
Tue February 14, 2012

Mystery surrounds bruised and bloody killer whale carcass

Necropsy team including personnel from Portland State University, Seaside Aquarium, Cascadia Research, Seattle Seal Sitters and WDFW.
Dyanna Lambourn WDFW

The bruised and bloody carcass of an endangered killer whale washed ashore at Long Beach, Wash., this weekend. An initial necropsy did not pinpoint a cause of death.

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Environment
12:02 am
Mon February 13, 2012

Researchers on hunt for killer whales' winter hideout

A porpoising juvenile transient orca. Photo by Richard Dudley/Flickr

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 5:45 pm

This week , federal biologists will cast off on a research cruise from NOAA's new homeport in Newport, Oregon. They hope to crack an enduring mystery about some of the most studied killer whales on earth. Namely, where do the Northwest's resident orca whales go in the winter?

Every winter, the three pods of orca whales that call Northwest waters home just disappear into the wild blue yonder. Research biologist Dawn Noren and colleagues from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center are about to embark on a three-week mission to find them.

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The Salt
7:56 am
Sun February 12, 2012

Battling the bottle: Students and industry face off over water

Humbolt State University

Originally published on Sun February 12, 2012 3:55 am

Bottled water is trickling away from college campuses nationwide, thanks to the efforts of student activists and the non-profit groups that support them with campaigns like Ban the Bottle.

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Gardening
9:47 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Artistic passions on display at the NW Flower and Garden Show

It’s been sunny and fair lately…but what do you do when the dark and cloudy skies of late winter get you down?
 
For many people in the Pacific Northwest, the answer is gardening.
 
Their passion is on display this week at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.
 
KPLU environment reporter Bellamy Pailthorp went to check it out. (Click on the "Listen" button up top to hear some highlights from the preview tour.)
 

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Environment
3:44 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

Pierce County burn ban lifted

Air quality is improving. The Stage One burn ban in Pierce County ends at 4 p.m. today.

During a Stage One ban, burning is prohibited in uncertified wood stoves and fire places. Outdoor fires are also not allowed.

You can learn more about burn bans and air quality at pscleanair.org.

Environment
12:22 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

Loggers and tree huggers united: feds rewarding cooperation in U.S. National Forests

Restoration projects in Eastern Washington’s Colville National Forest are a model for the nation; that was the word from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack two years ago.  

And now those efforts are netting nearly a million dollars in new federal funding.

At the same time, funding has been renewed for another project in Washington: the Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative, near Yakima.

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