Environment

Environment
4:33 am
Thu December 29, 2011

What's the best way to dispose of a Christmas tree?

Don't burn your tree outside! It's better to dissect it and re-use in the yard, if you can. Better yet, ecology experts say, don't buy one at all: rent instead.
CocteauBoy Flickr

Statewide, recycling for Washington State has reached the highest rates ever.  The biggest areas in which people are doing more are in reusing construction materials and composting food waste…and then there are those pesky Christmas trees.

Recycling rates have grown to 49% statewide – higher than ever. It’s an increase of 14% more than the prior year. 

But even though we’ve all become great at composting, many people still aren’t sure how to dispose of their Christmas trees.

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Transportation
4:30 am
Thu December 22, 2011

SR 520 Tolls – kicking in one week from today

Get ready! It might hurt, but there's no choice about tolls on the 520 bridge starting on December 29th.
Courtesy Zach Lewis theseattlesalmon.com

Get ready for tolling charges on the 520 bridge.

The state department of transportation will be flipping a virtual switch one week from today.

That means now is a really good time to set up a Good to Go account online – or face more expensive travel.

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Environment
1:35 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Baby joins orcas in Puget Sound, raising their numbers to 89

New killer whale calf born to Jpod in December 2011.
Candace Emmons NOAA - NMFS Research Permit #781-1824.

A new baby orca was photographed Saturday in a pod that lives in Puget Sound.

The Northwest Fisheries Science Center posted a website photo Wednesday shot by scientist Candice Emmons.

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Environment
11:29 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Eagle to be removed from critical habitat list in Washington

A bald eagle photographed near Bainbridge Island in 2008.
Karen Morris Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Forest Practices Board plans to remove the bald eagle and peregrine falcon from the state critical habitat list to be consistent with federal and state endangered species laws.

The board will listen to testimony on the changes at hearing Jan. 3 in Olympia and Jan. 5 in Ellensburg.

Salmon Habitat
10:25 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Pierce County is the biggest winner in land of recovery grants

Florian Leischner, salmon recovery biologist for the Nisqually Tribe, marks a tree donated by Tacoma Public Utilities, for use in a habitat restoration project in 2008.
By nwifc-photos NWIFC Flickr

Getting diverse governments to cooperate is more art than science.

And there’s a project in Pierce County that is being honored with something called a “surf board award.”

It’s for meeting the difficult challenge of protecting endangered Chinook salmon, which were listed on the endangered species act more than a decade ago.

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Salmon virus fears
2:28 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Scientist claims early evidence of salmon virus, feared lab would be closed

Canadian scientist Kristi Miller testifying that she found evidence of the ISA virus in salmon at the Cohen Commission hearings in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday.
Craig McCulloch KPLU

VANCOUVER, B.C. – A Canadian scientist testifying in front of a commission on the collapse of the Fraser River salmon fishery says that tests done as far back as 2002 did find indicators of the Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) virus in pacific salmon and that her lab had discovered evidence of the virus from fish gathered in 1986.

Dr Kristi Miller, Head of Molecular Genetics in Nanaimo for the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Ocean, testified in Vancouver, B.C., that Canada's food inspection agency was not happy with her doing the tests.  

She said there was a general feeling she should not be looking at viruses or diseases. She was fearful that all samples would be taken from her lab and was also very concerned that samples from her genomics program, also based in the lab, would be removed.

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Salmon virus controversy
5:51 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Hearing Thursday on decline of salmon in Canada's Fraser River

In British Columbia on Thursday, Canadian scientists will testify about the decline of salmon in the Fraser River. 

Even if you don’t like fish, advocates say you should still be concerned.

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Japanese Tsunami
4:30 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Most tsunami debris must be removed from the ocean by hand

The whole crew of Project Kaisei tries to lift an island of net and plastic estimated at over a ton.
Ryan Yerkley

How do you remove from the ocean more than 100,000 tons of Japanese tsunami debris heading for Northwest shores? By hand, says one expert.

“When you’re talking about open ocean … It’s a very big ocean,” says Andrea Neal, an experienced ocean cleaner. “There isn’t a whole lot being done in the open ocean.”

That’s because most programs devoted to cleaning marine debris focus on prevention and coastal cleanup. When crews do confront debris in the open ocean, cleanup efforts require hands, a ship and supplies which can cost more than $35,000 per day to operate, because the composition of the debris makes it difficult to get out of the ocean.

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Environment
1:46 pm
Tue December 13, 2011

Pierce County burn ban elevated to stage two

Air quality is worsening in Pierce County. 

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has raised the burn ban in Pierce County to Stage 2. No burning is allowed in ANY wood-burning fireplaces, wood stoves, fireplace inserts (certified or uncertified) or pellet stoves. The only exception is if a wood stove is a home's only adequate source of heat.

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Environment
9:50 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Proposed Eastern Washington biomass facility debated

  • An error occurred ingesting this audio file to NPR

A large biomass plant proposed for the Yakima area, is winning praise from supporters. But critics say this plant could pollute Eastern Washington’s air.

The 20 megawatt plant would start up in 2013 and use slash piles and other wood debris from the Yakama Indian Reservation as fuel.

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Transportation
6:11 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

520 tolling to begin in 3 weeks

Tolling rates for the 520 bridge. You can save money by registering with the state's Good to Go system. Drivers without transponders will pay the highest rates.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Tolling on the 520 Bridge will start at 5 am on December 29th.

That’s the word from the state Department of Transportation, after multiple glitches that have delayed the system till now.

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Environment
1:44 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Light winds allow counties to lift burn bans

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency is lifting the burn bans for Pierce and Snohomish counties.

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Clean Air Act
3:42 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Federal ruling could force state to work harder to regulate oil refineries

A big ruling in a federal suit brought against the state aims to force more regulation of one of the biggest sources of air pollution: oil refineries.

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Environment
9:45 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Jordan Cove : Decision On Gas Export License Could Come This Week (script)

The boom in natural gas drilling in the U.S. has led a handful of companies to propose liquefying the gas for export. one project in Oregon could be close to a decision on its export license.

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Park rules
9:30 am
Tue December 6, 2011

Vancouver, Wash., council bans tobacco in city parks

The freedom to smoke no longer includes parks in Vancouver, Wash.
Simen Svale Skogsrud Flickr

VANCOUVER, Wash. — The Vancouver City Council voted Monday to ban tobacco from city parks and recreation centers.

The council heard from at least one speaker who called the ban a form of discrimination.

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