Environment

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

Kurt Clark / Flickr

As temperatures hike into the high 80s this week, many will be flocking to beaches to cool down. But some swimming areas in Bellevue will be temporarily shutting down this week, specifically Bellevue’s Newcastle, Meydenbauer and Clyde beach parks.

The culprit for the closures is milfoil, an invasive weed that the state Department of Ecology views as the most problematic plant in Washington. The city of Bellevue and homeowners will be applying herbicide to shoreline areas adjacent to the three beach parks to control invasive milfoil blooms.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed dramatically increasing the fish consumption rate that drives clean water standards in the state.

Inslee said Wednesday he plans to set the fish consumption rate at 175 grams a day, which would protect people who eat about a serving a day of fish. Current water quality standards assume only one serving of fish per month, or 6.5 grams a day.

Courtesy of Kiley Riffell

As much as one-third of our food supply depends on pollinators like insects and birds that fertilize plants when they fly between blossoms.

Chris Lehman

Farmers across the country are riled up over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to revise the 1972 Clean Water Act.

Depending on who you talk to, these revisions are either a “land grab” under the “brute force” of the federal government or a simple clarification of rules that ensure all Americans have clean water to drink.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Ever hear an orca speak? Ken Balcomb, who many regard as the godfather of whale conservation, captured their chatter using a hydrophone on San Juan Island: 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Scientists studying southern resident killer whales for the past decade now know they are among the most contaminated marine mammals and prefer to eat Chinook salmon.

Snohomish County Flickr

Three months after a deadly landslide hit the town of Oso, Washington, Snohomish County is again looking at options to tighten land-use policy in slide-prone areas. 

Bellamy Pailthorp

A cornerstone of Gov. Jay Inslee’s election campaign was the promise of new jobs in clean technology.

But how healthy is the sector in Washington and what’s still holding it back? Hard data on those questions is yet to come, but a visit to the state's inaugural Clean Technology Showcase provided some answers.

Don Ryan / AP Photo

A group of Northwest scientists are sprinkling the landscape around Mount St. Helens with high-tech sensors as part of a new effort to map the volcano’s deep plumbing.

Scientists have a pretty good understanding of what’s happening right under the mountain, where a big chamber periodically fills up with magma before an eruption. Now they’re looking deeper — down dozens of miles — to the tubes and tunnels that feed that chamber.

Photo provided by Weyerhaeuser.

Timber giant Weyerhaeuser is joining the pay-to-play and pay-to-hunt trend. This week, the largest private forestland owner in Washington and Oregon will begin selling seasonal access permits to hunters, horse riders, hikers and other recreators.

The Washington state-based company is not the first to charge access fees. But the breadth and high prices it will charge are generating more push back than before.

AP Photo/Redwood National and State Parks, Laura Denn

Redwood burl poaching has long been an issue in the Redwood National Park in California. But now a conservation group says it has spotted evidence of this type of tree damage in a national forest in Oregon.

Burls are the knobby growths sometimes found at the base of the towering trees. They're highly valued for their intricate designs; cross-sections are used to make furniture or artwork.

Matthew Brown / AP Photo

With rail traffic continuing to increase in the Northwest, Gov. Jay Inslee directed Washington state on Thursday to begin developing an oil train spill response plan.

Inslee announced the directive in a meeting with The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver.

Dan Hershman / Flickr

For the first time in 20 years, the Wenatchee River in eastern Washington has opened for spring Chinook salmon fishing.

Wildlife officials say it’s a sign of successful management of the hatcheries program. 

Matthew Brown AP Photo

The rapid increase of trains carrying crude oil across the region has raised alarm bells in the wake of a series of serious accidents. Communities and first responders say they can’t adequately prepare for possible disasters because railroads are not required to give any information on the shipments.

That’s about to change, at least to some extent, with a new regulation that takes effect Friday.

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