Environment

Environment
5:01 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Why You Won’t See Wild Steelhead On Many Dinner Plates This Season

Earl Steele Flickr

It’s prime time for wild steelhead, but you likely won’t see it on a plate, not even at the Steelhead Diner in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

“I don’t kill wild steelhead. I don’t eat them and I don’t serve them at my restaurant, and I never have,” said Kevin Davis, the restaurant’s chef who likes the Washington state fish so much that he named his first restaurant after it.

Many share Davis’ passion for the steelhead, which is a type of rainbow trout. Some restaurants and most vendors in Pike Place Market have informally banned selling or serving wild steelhead.

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Wine Industry's Impact
8:01 am
Sun December 22, 2013

In Oregon’s Wine Country, Family Holds Onto Oak Tradition

Sarah and Ben Deumling stand beneath one of the many oak trees on their 1,300 acre property northwest of Salem, Oregon.
Devan Schwartz

The Northwest wine industry has grown tremendously over the last few decades. That’s had a big economic impact, but that growth has also changed the region’s landscape.

In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, you don’t see a lot of oak trees anymore. Spacious oak savannas have been replaced by farms and vineyards. But one family is holding onto an old oak tradition despite the odds.

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Flood Management
8:21 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

With New Levy, Orting Hopes For No More Chronic Flooding Of Puyallup River

Pierce County Television

Devastating floods in the Puyallup River valley near Orting are soon to become a thing of the past.

The city is breaking ground on a new $16 million levy. The project will restore the landscape around the river at the foot of Mount Rainer to something more natural, with room for floodwaters to soak into the landscape.

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Pest Management
8:06 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

State Officials Seize Cold Snap, Freeze Out Invasive Snails In Capitol Lake

A New Zealand mud snail, frozen in ice from Capitol Lake.
Allen Pleus Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife

A cold snap might be an effective tool for fish and wildlife managers trying to stop the spread of a tiny invasive species. Capitol Lake in Olympia is serving as a testing ground for freezing out New Zealand mud snails. 

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Electric Cars
1:01 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Government Fleets Soon To Include More Fully-Electric Cars

Commuter Steve Marsh, left, of Kent, Wash. was honored Monday as the first in the nation to log 100,000 miles on an all-electric Nissan Leaf.
Tom Banse

Just like consumers who postponed new car buying during the recent recession, so did government agencies put off vehicle replacements. But now procurement officers are getting busy again. In this buying cycle, every Western state is under a directive to buy alternative fuel vehicles and to reduce fossil fuel use.

The legislation or executive order always comes with a caveat: do so, except when it's not economically or logistically possible. A western Washington driver is showing what is possible when you push an electric car to its limit.

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Northwest Fishing
5:01 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Five Things You Should Know About The Art of Steelhead Fishing

Author Sean M. Gallagher with Principle Photographer, Greg McDonald, in their college days.
courtesy Wild River Press

 

Listen to KPLU's exclusive interview with author Sean M. Gallagher

Sean M. Gallagher grew up fishing steelhead. He's one of hundreds of sport fishermen who spend hours on riverbanks, seeking out the sparkling skin of rainbow trout known as steelhead.

Like some salmon, they come back from the ocean in winter to spawn upriver. But while salmon turn red and die when they return to their origins, steelhead live for several years in fresh water and get bigger — as big as 40 pounds while they are traversing regional rivers.

Gallagher, a first time-author, shares “the lures and lore of a Pacific Northwest icon” in his new two-volume book titled “Wild Steelhead.” We asked him for a primer on the fish he loves so much.

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South Puget Sound
5:00 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Homeowners at Odds with Gov't Agencies over Dredging, Disposal

This map shows disposal sites around Puget Sound.
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers

Some residents in the Olympia area are concerned about dredged materials being disposed of in the Puget Sound. They say the Department of Natural Resources is failing to protect underwater ecology at the same time that state and federal governments are spending millions on cleanup.                

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air quality
1:45 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

As Air Quality Dips, a Warning for Your Health

Tim Durkan

The spectacular sunsets we've been enjoying recently have a downside: they’re indicators of increasing air pollution.

Pollution has risen to unhealthy levels around Puget Sound this week. State health officials say pollution often goes up in the winter.

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Northwest Coal
4:32 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

King County Council Resolution Calls for Coal Ban in Wash. State

Elaine Thompson Associated Press

King County is poised to join the city of Seattle and several other municipalities in passing a resolution banning the burning and the transportation of coal in Washington state. 

King County Council member Larry Philips is leading the charge to bring the county on board with what towns and cities all over the region have already done: saying loud and clear that coal is not the answer to the future of energy. The opponents are calling for a comprehensive environmental review of the effects of a proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham. 

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Environment
5:01 am
Tue November 26, 2013

With One Dam Gone, Life Returns to Elwha River

Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

It’s been called the most significant environmental story of this century: the removal of hydroelectric dams on the Elwha River, near Port Angeles.

The project is only partly done; Elwha Dam, one of two structures holding back salmon and steelhead runs, has been fully removed, and the other, Glines Canyon Dam, will be out next fall. But the landscape is already changing dramatically.

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hanford cleanup
3:21 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Hanford Managers Focus on Flammable Gas in Waste Tanks

File image
Associated Press

Managers and scientists are working against the clock to solve a new possible problem at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

How much sludge can be dumped into a double-shelled radioactive waste tank before flammable gas might build up in a big bubble?

At a group of waste tanks called the C-Farm, workers are pumping the radioactive sludge out these old single-shelled tanks into the more stable double-hulled ones This radioactive witch’s brew constantly generates hydrogen and other flammable gases.

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Columbia River Treaty
4:21 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

U.S. Columbia River Users Call for 'Better Bargain' with Canada

Anomieus Flickr

U.S. Senators from the Northwest say it’s time "to strike a better bargain" with Canada over hydropower generated along the shared Columbia River. That was one upshot of a Thursday Senate hearing to discuss how to renegotiate a nearly 50-year-old cross-border treaty.

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Election 2013
3:14 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Coal Issue Apparently Decisive in Whatcom County Council Races

Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Environmentalists are celebrating an apparent victory in Whatcom County where controversy over a proposed coal terminal seems to have tipped the balance of power.

Four candidates backed by the Seattle-based Washington Conservation Voters appear to be winning. They are incumbents Ken Mann and Carl Weimer, and challengers Barry Buchanan and Rud Browne.

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Fish Consumption Rates
6:59 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

State to Lay Out Options for Clean Water, Fish Consumption Updates

What does the amount of fish people eat have to do with whether big employers thrive in Washington state?

Fish consumption is at the heart of the state Department of Ecology's quest for compliance with the federal Clean Water Act, which aims to protect human health. Fish absorb toxins from polluted water. So when people eat it, their health might be at risk. That risk increases with more fish in their diet. 

Right now, the state Department of Ecology officially assumes that people eat only about one meal of fish per month—a standard that’s known to be outdated and insufficient to protect human health.

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Champion of Change
5:15 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

White House to Honor Seattle Vet for Advancing Clean Energy

Avi Jacobson rappels off a building in 2012 for the “Over the Edge” benefit at the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.
WSHFC

Avi Jacobson was serving his first tour in Iraq in 2007 when he noticed his own unit's heavy reliance on a single generator. 

Jacobson’s Air Force base ran almost solely on the generator, which was overworked with computers and air conditioners almost daily. When the usage hit the generator’s tipping point, Jacobson said, “everything would die," triggering an eerie silence.

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