Environment

Northwest Salmon
5:11 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Chinook Salmon Head Up The Columbia In Big Numbers

Retired Hanford pipe fitter Melvin Miller, 60, was fishing early for Chinook salmon on the Columbia River near Columbia Point Marina in Richland, Washington.
Anna King

Fisheries experts say the return of chinook salmon to the Columbia River may not quite break records this fall as expected.

Last year’s run of nearly 1.3 million salmon was a record, but future years may not bring those kinds of numbers.

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Swimming Upstream
5:00 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Part 1: Adult Chinook In The Pacific Ocean Prepare For Long Journey Home

A salmon jumps in the Pacific Ocean.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Editor's Note: Fifteen years ago, Puget Sound salmon were listed under the Endangered Species Act. Despite the billions of dollars spent on recovery since, the results remain mixed. Some runs are seeing record returns while others are facing one of their worst years ever.

To learn more about the challenges of salmon recovery, this series follows one Chinook run from the open ocean to Puget Sound, through the Ballard Locks, past Renton and finally home to native spawning grounds on the Cedar River.

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Climate Change
6:16 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Governor Inslee Urges Scientists To Lead Conversation On Climate Change

Huge areas of the Port of Seattle could be inundated when higher tides combine with more extreme storm surges, accdording to the Draft National Assessment on Climate Change.
Bjørn Giesenbauer photo Flickr

Many of the region’s top researchers have gathered this week for the Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference at the University of Washington.

Gov. Jay Inslee gave the keynote address and called on scientists to get more engaged in public policy.

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UW Research
2:00 am
Fri September 5, 2014

UW Study: Despite Boat Strikes, California Blue Whales Have Rebounded

A 65-foot-long California blue whale swims off Baja California. This pooulation of blue whales are also known as eastern North Pacific blue whales. They were hunted to the brink of extinction in the 1930s, but UW researchers say they've recovered.
Gilpatrick/Lynn/NOAA

California blue whales have rebounded after decades of commercial whaling.

New research from the University of Washington suggests their numbers are back to where they were before humans started hunting the species. 

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Erosion
11:15 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Mules Moving Historic Lodge In Olympic National Park

This photo taken on March 12, 2014 and released by the Olympic National Park Service, shows a log cabin teeters on the eroding bank of the Quinault River in Olympic National Park in Washington.
AP Photo/Olympic National Park Service

Olympic National Park says a house-mover is putting all the animals and equipment in place to pull a historic lodge away from the eroding edge of a river in the Enchanted Valley.

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Coal Export Terminals
4:05 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Coal Opponents Point To Weak Finances Of Company Behind Proposed Terminals

File image
AP Photo

Oregon regulators’ rejection of a proposed coal export terminal on the Columbia River is just the latest hurdle for the energy company behind it, according to anti-coal activists.

The activists are asking Washington officials to consider Ambre Energy’s finances before allowing a terminal it’s involved in at Longview, Washington. 

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Climate Change
11:01 am
Thu August 21, 2014

UW Study: Despite 'Hiatus' In Rising Temps, Oceans Show Globe Still Warming

FILE - The sun shines on Point Barrow, Alaska, and the Arctic Ocean at the northern tip of the United States, July 16, 2002.
Laura Rauch AP Photo

Despite widespread concern about global warming, rising air temperatures have actually slowed down dramatically over the past 15 years. This so-called “hiatus” has posed a big puzzle for climate scientists.

Researchers at the University of Washington looked deep into the oceans for answers, and found that despite the surficial evidence, climate change has not stopped. 

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Environment
9:45 am
Thu August 21, 2014

EPA Says Idaho Must Clean Up The Air In The Silver Valley

The Environmental Protection Agency has given the state of Idaho notice that a corner of the Idaho panhandle isn't meeting stricter new air quality standards. The agency intends to change that by forcing the state to reduce what are called “fine particulates” in the air.

One likely target will be pollution from wood burning. Wood stoves and outdoor burning are major contributors to air pollution throughout the Northwest, including Idaho's Silver Valley.

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City Parks
3:14 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Seattle Mayor Promises Better Facilities, More Accountability With New Park District

beataT1i Flickr

As the city of Seattle prepares to put in place its new voter-approved park district, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says citizens can expect both better facilities and more accountability. 

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Coal Export
4:24 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Oregon Agency Rejects Coal Terminal On The Columbia River

Oregon state regulators have rejected a proposal for a coal terminal on the Columbia River that would be a conduit for exporting millions of tons of American coal a year to Asia.

The decision is a victory for tribal groups that said the terminal threatened their fishing. It's also a win for Washington state, said Kimberly Larsen with the group Climate Solutions.

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Elwha Restoration
2:42 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

As Life Rebounds, Rangers Offer Tour Of Elwha's Once-Underwater Landscapes

"Oregon Sunshine blooms in former Lake Aldwell."
National Park Service

With crews working to remove the last of the second dam on the Elwha River, Olympia National Park officials are inviting the public to take a guided tour of land that sat underwater just two years ago.

Lake Aldwell disappeared after the removal of the Elwha Dam, revealing “a fascinating, up-close look at shifting sediments, both old and new vegetation, giant stumps logged a century ago, and the river re-establishing itself,” according to the National Park Service.

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Environment
3:01 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Triple Rescue And Rehab Ends Well For Lucky Ospreys

Rehabbed osprey flies away after its release Wednesday in Finley, Washington.
Andrea Berglin

Three young ospreys and a parent are flying free along the Columbia River today after surviving close calls with litter.

One of these ospreys was rescued by BPA linemen last week as it dangled from its nest in a tangle of plastic baling twine near Kennewick, Washington. The other two were pushed out of a different nest near Burbank, Washington, when their mother thrashed about in a wad of derelict fishing net.

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Environment
5:01 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Head Of EPA Tours Puget Sound, Supports Congressional Cleanup Caucus

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy touring Commencement Bay on August 13, 2014, with Puget Sound Partnership Executive Director Sheida Sahandy in the background.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

She’s been called President Obama’s “green quarterback.” Gina McCarthy is the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and she's known for tackling sources of climate change. And now she’s shining a light on efforts to clean up Puget Sound.

McCarthy met with government officials and community groups in Tacoma on Wednesday and toured Commencement Bay by boat to learn more about what still needs to be done. 

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Environment
4:00 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Feds Decide Wolverine Does Not Merit Threatened Species Status

FILE - This undated photo provided by Defenders Of Wildlife shows a wolverine that had been tagged for research purposes in Glacier National Park, Montana.
AP Photo/Defenders of Wildlife, Ken Curtis

The wolverine is not going on the threatened species list, after all. On Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced federal protected status for the fierce and rare carnivore is unwarranted at this time.

The wolverine is making a slow comeback from the brink of extinction in the Lower 48 states. But shrinking mountain snow packs caused by global warming could reverse those gains.

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Environment
5:00 am
Tue August 12, 2014

WSU Researchers Collaborating With Feds In Effort To Bring Back Bumblebees

Preparing to inseminate a queen bee.
Megan Asche

Some scientists are going to great lengths to help the agreeable Western bumblebee make a comeback.

You might not have noticed, but this important pollinator of both flowers and greenhouse crops has nearly disappeared from the landscape. An introduced fungal disease is suspected of decimating populations of the fat and furry Western bumblebee (Bombus occidentalis).

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