Environment

Salmon recovery
9:59 am
Wed September 14, 2011

Grant will expand use of ‘sensor fish’ in dams

A new generation of 'robo-salmon' will help scientists better understand how the fish interact with dams.
Carol Munro Flickr

RICHLAND, Wash. – As salmon wind their way through dams on the Columbia River, a small percentage ultimately end up passing through turbines. A project that helps fish move more safely through turbines recently received a grant to expand its scope.

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Environment
10:35 am
Tue September 13, 2011

Electric vehicles could help store NW wind power

... even the U.S. Army is doing it.
U.S. Army Flickr

RICHLAND, Wash. – As the Pacific Northwest begins to integrate more renewable energy, grid operators sometimes have trouble predicting the variability that comes with it. Researchers have found a way to use electric vehicles to help balance wind power’s inconsistency.

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Endangered species
4:26 pm
Mon September 12, 2011

Wolf groups file 9th Circuit appeal

Groups sue to put wolves back on the Endangered Species list.

BOISE, Idaho – Two wolf advocacy organizations officially made their case last week in federal court to get wolves listed as endangered species. They want the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule that taking wolves off the Endangered Species list earlier this year was unconstitutional.

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Environment
11:19 am
Mon September 12, 2011

Hecla mine clean-up settlement could also be mini-stimulus

A worker replaces contaminated soil with clean soil as part of the yard clean-up program in Idaho's Silver Valley.
EPA

An environmental clean-up settlement could also be a mini-stimulus for the Inland Northwest economy. A federal judge has approved the Hecla Mining company's $263 million settlement in one of the largest superfund clean-up projects in the country.

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Protected Lands
10:52 am
Fri September 9, 2011

New refuge preserves underwater landscapes in Puget Sound

A management plan for the proposed Nisqually Reach Aquatic Reserve is to be signed at a ceremony today near Olympia. It will be the seventh area to receive this designation as part of the state's efforts to clean up and protect Puget Sound.
Courtesy Washington State Department of Natural Resources

The state is adding 15,000 acres of protected land around the Nisqually Reach Wildlife Refuge, exempting it from commercial development of any kind.

All the land is under water. It’s the seventh and southern-most area in Puget Sound to be designated as an Aquatic Reserve. Signing of a new management plan takes place today at 1:30 p.m.

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Fisheries meeting
7:00 am
Thu September 8, 2011

Eat more sardines and herring to help fisheries, experts advise

Sardines are plentiful and tasty, suggest scientists at the annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society in Seattle.
bikehikedive Flickr

Responsible fishing and fish consumption were among the agenda items at the annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society in Seattle. The conference (in its 141st year) has brought thousands of scientists, wildlife managers and other experts together for five days of wide-ranging discussions.

One of the more intriguing messages: Eating more sardines may be one of the best things you can do to help keep the planet healthy.

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Environment
3:37 pm
Wed September 7, 2011

Pine white butterflies flit to new homes in Washington desert

Pine white butterflies are finding new homes among the newly planted trees in the Tri-Cities.
Lynette Schimming Flickr

RICHLAND, Wash. – It's been 30 years since the last outbreak, but now white butterflies are flitting between pine trees across areas of eastern Oregon and Washington.

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Alternative Energy
11:23 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Snohomish PUD drilling for geothermal energy in Cascades

Graphic from the Snohomish County PUD brochure on its geothermal projects.

The same forces of nature that create natural hot springs and volcanoes may soon become a source of electricity in Snohomish County. The county’s Public Utility District has broken ground on a deep geothermic well, just north of the town of Skykomish.

The exploratory well is the first of its kind in Washington. 

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Energy development
5:41 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Grants awarded to improve hydropower generation in Wash.

RICHLAND, Wash. – New projects in the Pacific Northwest may soon improve the efficiency and reduce costs of hydropower generation, thanks to a new round of federal spending announced today.

Two projects in Washington received grants to help improve hydropower generation.

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Storm water runoff
12:20 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Seattle removes rain gardens in Ballard

This photo, taken in the winter of 2011, shows one of the failed rain gardens in Ballard the city is spending $500,000 to remove.
Ballard Raingardengue blog

Just a year ago, Seattle was promoting its roadside rain garden project in Ballard. Now, the city is spending half a million dollars to dismantle huge sections of it.

Some neighborhood residents say, despite good intentions, the whole thing has been a fiasco.

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Environment
11:24 am
Tue September 6, 2011

Electric vehicles becoming more mainstream

With these new all-electric plug-in Nissan Leaf hatchbacks added to its fleet, King County "raises the bar" for van pool programs, says Executive Dow Constantine. Children's Hospital installed the first 4 of 20 at their campus in Seattle.
Photo courtesy Children's Hospital

It’s been eight months since Nissan made its first delivery of its all-electric Leaf car to a customer in the pacific Northwest.

Now, driving an all-electric vehicle is well on its way to becoming mainstream reality. A pilot program is installing thousands of electric car charging stations in the Puget Sound region and making them more available to regular folks.

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Environment
12:21 pm
Thu September 1, 2011

Report calls for reduction in chemical spraying on Oregon highways

The Eugene-based Oregon Toxics Alliance has published a report that looks at pesticide use on 5 state highways in Lane County. The organization wants the state to reduce its use of chemicals along roadways.

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Environment
9:35 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Efforts to control seabirds doing more damage to salmon

Efforts to coax terns from one island to another at the mouth of the Columbia River have not helped the salmon.
Tim Flickr

EAST SAND ISLAND, Wash. — An attempt by government wildlife experts to control seabirds at the mouth of the Columbia River has led to some unintended consequences, all of which have been detrimental to salmon.

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Wolf hunting
4:39 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Wolf advocates call for Idaho boycott

Members of Friends of Animals protesting.
Northwest News Network

BOISE, Idaho – As Idaho opened it’s 2011 wolf hunt today, critics started voicing their concern across the country.

One group asked people at Central Park in New York City to call Idaho Governor Butch Otter and ask him to stop the hunt.

The New York based group Friends of Animals says this is a last minute effort in response to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision last week to turn down a request to stop the wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana.

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Fraser River salmon
1:00 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Sockeye salmon in Canada to be tested for radiation from Japan

Sockeye preparing to spawn.
Chris Pike Flickr

Sockeye salmon returning to Canada this year will be tested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for radiation contamination that might be picked up in the North Pacific from Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster.

However, Washington state officials have no plans to test salmon specifically for radiation related to the Japanese disaster because earlier environmental testing showed so few signs of radiation that current levels in fish, if any, would be "undetectable," a spokesperson for the Department of Health said.

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