Environment

Environment
2:19 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

Puget Sound 'streaks' are likely harmless algae bloom

Marine plankton at the surface of Puget Sound east of Vashon Island. 6/20/11
Washington Department of Ecology

It may look like a toxic "red tide," but don't panic. Scientists with the Washington Department of Ecology say the reddish orange streaks in Puget Sound this week appear to be a harmless algae bloom.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
1:50 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

DOE Poneman's letter to Hanford employees

To the EM community - 

The safety of the DOE workforce and the communities around our facilities is of the utmost importance to Secretary Chu and is something that requires constant vigilance.  As he says regularly, "We must always be looking for ways to strengthen our approach to safety and foster a questioning attitude at each of our sites."   

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Metro Transit
11:49 am
Tue June 21, 2011

Higher car tab fees proposed to avoid Metro Transit cuts

Metro Transit will slash service if a hike in car tab fees isn't approved, according to King County Executive Dow Constantine.
Gary Davis

Are you willing to fork over extra money to register your car in order to keep buses running?

King County Executive Dow Constantine is betting you are. He’s urging the King County Council to pass an emergency ordinance temporarily increasing car tab fees by $20 per vehicle. The two-year charge would generate about $25 million per year and be used to preserve Metro Transit service at current levels.

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Environment
3:10 pm
Thu June 16, 2011

Invasive eelgrass doesn't follow the usual invader's script

Japanese eelgrass smothered Willapa Bay clam beds in September 2010.
Dr. Kim Patten WSU Extension

WILLAPA BAY, Wash. – The usual story of invasive species goes something like this: An exotic plant or critter hitches a ride on an incoming cargo ship. Alarm bells go off. An eradication campaign starts. But now there's a non-native seaweed on the West Coast that breaks the mold. Japanese eelgrass has defenders along with its critics.

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Environment
9:50 am
Thu June 16, 2011

Annual gypsy moth hunt begins

Unwanted: The gypsy moth
Ian Marsman Flickr

The summer search is under way across Washington for the gypsy moth, an invasive insect capable of defoliating forests and urban landscapes.

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Environment
10:29 am
Wed June 15, 2011

Two clouded leopards born at Point Defiance Zoo

Two clouded leopard cubs were born yesterday at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.
Seth Bynum Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

(Update with new photo and video)

Chai Li, a female clouded leopard at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, gave birth to a litter of two cubs Tuesday. Staff had been on a round-the-clock pregnancy watch of the 23-month-old clouded leopard for the past 24 hours.

This is Chai Li’s first litter. She and the cubs’ father, 23-month-old Nah Fun, were born at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand and put together as a future breeding pair when they were five days old.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
3:58 pm
Tue June 14, 2011

Statement on safety at Hanford by Bechtel

Suzanne Heaston, Bechtel’s spokeswoman in Richland. (Bechtel is the prime waste treatment plant contractor.)

WTP management and employees are fully committed to a strong nuclear safety and quality culture, and we welcome every opportunity to improve it. We will work with the DOE to carefully study the DNFSB report and any supporting information provided to identify further opportunities for enhancement.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
3:56 pm
Tue June 14, 2011

Statement by the Department of Energy on safety at Hanford

Jen Stutsman, a DOE spokeswoman:

At every level of the Department of Energy, we take our obligation to protect the safety of our workers and the public very seriously. We are committed to fostering a questioning, safety-driven attitude among all of our federal and contractor employees. That is why the Department has in place a number of distinct safety programs that include independent nuclear safety reviews and an integrated safety management program headed by the DOE Office of Health, Safety and Security.

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Boating
1:56 pm
Mon June 13, 2011

Seattle’s proposed regulations on liveaboards sharply criticized

Three Sheets Northwest reports that proposed regulations would impact liveaboards in Seattle, including around 600 people living on about 300 boats at Shilshole Bay Marina.
James Hall Flicker

The city of Seattle's revamped Shoreline Master Plan would limit the number of people living on boats to 25 percent of slips in any marina. The boating website Three Sheets Northwest reports the proposed regulation would dramatically reduce the number of liveaboards and place new requirements on the marinas they call home.

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Environment
10:40 am
Fri June 10, 2011

Science behind Hanford treatment tanks questioned

RICHLAND, Wash. - A federal nuclear watchdog agency is questioning some of the science behind a massive treatment plant at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. In a letter released Thursday, federal examiners say key treatment tanks could pose risks.

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Environment
4:16 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

Fishing for the ghost nets of Whatcom County

Dead crabs and live sea stars are among the creatures pulled up with derelict fishing gear collected by the Northwest Straits Initiative in Puget Sound, here on a boat at Alden Bank, off the coast of Ferndale.The coalition has mapped 934 remaining nets.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

They’re known as ghost nets – old tangles of synthetic lines snagged on underwater rocks or reefs and left behind by fishermen as long as seventy years ago.   

A coalition out of Mount Vernon has removed thousands of them over the past decade.  There’s still work to be done, but they’re running out of funding. 

Since 2002, The Northwest Straights Initiative has removed nearly four thousand derelict fishing nets from shallow waters of Puget Sound. 

“Because they just don’t degrade. They can get torn apart by wave action, but they won’t degrade," says Northwest Straits Initiative Director, Ginny Broadhurst.

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Environment
3:16 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

Critics of Washington plan want number of wolves capped

Cattlemen and hunting groups contend a proposed plan for managing and restoring gray wolves in Washington state allows for too many wolves.

A 17-member citizen advisory group has been meeting for nearly five years about how best to recover wolves in their historic territory while reducing and managing wolf-livestock conflicts.

Jack Field of the Washington Cattlemen Association says the number of wolves overall should be capped.

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Environment
9:55 am
Thu June 9, 2011

Preview: Fishing for the ghost nets of Whatcom County

Fishing for ghost nets in the Puget Sound too often yields injured or dead wildlife.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

(Updated at 11:49 a.m. with new photos)

This morning I’ll be up early, heading to Sandy Point Marina, near Bellingham, for a short field trip with the non-profit Northwest Straits.  They’re a non-partisan group that’s been removing derelict fishing gear from the waters of the region for the past decade. 

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Environment
2:04 pm
Fri June 3, 2011

Rainwater gardens preventing toxic runoff into Puget Sound

Anne Butler, Community Education Programs Coordinator with People for Puget Sound, shows off a "Rain Wise" garden in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.She says the native plants and troughs that replaced a lawn here filter runoff naturally.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

The forecast is for sunny skies this weekend and some of the warmest temps we've seen all year. 

But when it rains a lot – as it has been lately – the runoff from city streets and houses pours toxins straight into Puget Sound. 

How homeowners can address that kind of water pollution is the subject of a series of neighborhood tours put on throughout the region this summer.  The first one is this weekend in Seattle.

 

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Environment
10:00 am
Fri June 3, 2011

Bainbridge Island tries peer pressure to save energy

The inspiration for the energy use street painting came from Brighton, UK, where it looked like this.
Courtesy The Tidy Street Project.

Starting this weekend, residents of two neighborhoods on Bainbridge Island will get an in-your-face reminder of how much energy they’re using. Bainbridge is one of three Northwest cities to receive a federal grant to do aggressive energy efficiency outreach.

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