Environment

Environment
9:24 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Tribes Push To Restore Salmon To Upper Columbia River

A pre-conference tour of Grand Coulee Dam on Monday kicked off a conversation about restoring salmon to the Upper Columbia Basin.
Tom Banse

Once upon a time, salmon and steelhead swam more than a thousand miles upriver to the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, at the foot of the Rockies in British Columbia.

Those epic migrations ended in 1938 with the construction of Grand Coulee Dam.

This week, tribes from both sides of the U.S.-Canada border along with scientists and policymakers are meeting in Spokane to figure out how Columbia River fish could be restored to their entire historical range. The idea draws passionate supporters, but has unknown costs that you might be asked to help pay.

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Smart Grid Technology
5:00 am
Mon March 17, 2014

UW Using Smart Grid Technology To Conserve Energy, Save Money

University of Washington

It’s often said that the best way to reduce our carbon emissions is through energy conservation. One way to do that more effectively is by using computer technology to make the electric grid more intelligent.  

It’s known as smart grid technology and for the past two years, the U.S. Department of Energy has been spending $178 million to test it in five Northwest states.

One of the biggest demonstration projects is on the campus of the University of Washington where knowledge of when power is used is saving big money.

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Wild Vs. Hatchery Fish
5:24 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Wild Fish In Gene Banks, Hatchery Fish In Elwha — Why The Two-Headed Strategy?

Bellamy Pailthorp

Washington state has banned hatchery-raised steelhead from three tributaries of the Upper Columbia River basin. The aim of these so-called "gene banks" is to maintain strongholds for wild fish, and the state plans to designate additional gene banks in the future.

So why were the state and federal governments back in court this week, defending the decision to place a new hatchery on the Elwha River as part of the dam removal process?

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Environment
5:41 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

State Of Our Salmon The Focus Of 2-Day Puget Sound Partnership Meeting

File image of Puget Sound.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Puget Sound Partnership, one of the state’s newest agencies, is holding a two-day meeting on salmon recovery this week. 

On the agenda is a presentation called “report card forum,” but there won’t be an announcement of a letter grade. That’s because there isn’t yet a grading system in place, says Jeaneatte Dorner, the agency’s Director of Local Ecosystem and Salmon Recovery.

“And until we actually have that system in place, it’s sort of like we don’t have the test scores to actually give a grade,” she said.

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Wild Vs. Hatchery Fish
2:35 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

To Protect Steelhead, State Bans Hatchery Fish From Designated Wild 'Gene Banks'

Earl Steele Flickr

Steelhead trout may be Washington’s official state fish, but they also make up some of the region's most vulnerable populations, first listed as threatened in the Columbia River basin in 1998. 

In an effort to reverse their decline, the state has designated three tributaries of the Columbia River as wild steelhead gene banks, which means they’re off-limits to hatchery fish.

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Olympic National Park
12:30 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Storm Splits Olympic National Park's Centuries-Old 'Kalaloch Cedar' Tree In Two

"Kalaloch cedar," after the storm.
Olympic National Park

A centuries-old red western cedar tree in Olympic National Park fell victim to a storm over the weekend.

Olympic National Park spokesperson Barb Maynes said the beloved tree known as the “Kalaloch cedar” split in two on Saturday, and a large portion of it fell away.

“It certainly has been an iconic tree for many, many years,” said Maynes. 

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Environment
3:46 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Cantwell, Murray Join Senate Democrats' All-Nighter Focused On Climate Change

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., left, is joined by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
Evan Vucci AP Photo

U.S. senators pulled an all-nighter Monday night to call attention to climate change. Democrats Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Barbara Boxer of California led the effort to shine light on the need for more curbs on carbon emissions.

Sen. Maria Cantwell and Sen. Patty Murray were both present for the event. Cantwell took the floor early Tuesday morning following more than 12 hours of testimony. She said the issue isn’t about the future; it’s about negative effects that industries here are already seeing.

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Japanese Tsunami Debris
3:03 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Three Years Later, Where Did Japanese Tsunami Debris Go?

In this Dec. 21, 2012 file photo provided by the Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, scientists inspect a dock that floated up on a remote stretch of wilderness beach in northwestern Washington.
AP Photo/Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

Exactly three years have passed since a huge tsunami in March 2011 took thousands of lives in Japan and washed whole villages out to sea. Suspected tsunami debris started arriving on our shores the following December, but it's been less than feared.

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Earthquake & Tsunami
5:00 am
Tue March 11, 2014

'Orphan Tsunami' Of 1700 Showed What A 'Megathrust' Could Do To Northwest Coast

A simulated tsunami like that of 1700 reaches Japan ten hours after its start along the Pacific coast of North America.
USGS

Three years ago today, a massive earthquake ripped through Japan, and the resulting tsunami sent thousands of tons of debris floating toward North America.

But a tsunami could also happen right along the Northwest coast, on the Cascadia subduction zone, which stretches from northern Vancouver Island to California’s Cape Mendocino.

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Oil Trains
5:09 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Seattle City Council Urges Gov To Stop Issuing Permits For Oil Trains

File image
Matthew Brown AP Photo

Seattle has joined Spokane and Bellingham in passing a resolution to restrict oil shipments by rail until further review.

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed the resolution co-sponsored by council member Mike O’Brien and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

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Oil Trains
5:08 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Seattle Mulls Resolution Calling For Closer Scrutiny Of Oil Trains

File image
AP Photo

Seattle is on its way to joining Spokane and Bellingham in demanding tougher scrutiny of oil trains traveling through the city. A resolution that would restrict oil shipments until further review has passed out of a city council committee, and is scheduled for a vote before the full council on Monday.

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Washington Waterfall
3:47 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

State Waterfall Bill Heads To Gov's Desk

Michael Matti Flickr

Washington would have an official state waterfall under a measure heading to Gov. Jay Inslee's desk.

House Bill 2119 passed through the Senate 46-3 Tuesday. It would designate Palouse Falls in southeastern Washington as the official state waterfall.

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Dam Fix
2:58 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Columbia River Drawdown Continues To Take Pressure Off Wanapum Dam

This undated photo provided by Grant County (Wash.) public utility, the Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River, Wash., is shown.
AP Photo/Grant County Public Utility

Water behind the Wanapum Dam near Vantage is being drawn down 26 feet to relieve pressure on the big crack in the structure. Officials say dozens of engineers are on site, and more around the country are studying the problem.

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Sonar Testing
10:26 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Navy Seeks Permission To Keep Using Sonar Training Plans, But Are Whales At Risk?

FILE - This image provided by the Cascadia Research Collective shows an adult female beaked whale swimming off the Kona coast in Hawaii, Dec. 4, 2006.
Robin W. Baird AP Photo/ Cascadia Research Collective

Active sonar is the Navy’s best weapon to detect the presence of hostile submarines. But that same powerful underwater pulse of sound can harm or even kill whales and other marine mammals.

Now, the Navy is seeking permission to continue using a huge swath of the Northwest coast, from northern California to the Canadian border, for a wide range of naval training and practice, including sonar. The Navy says it’s taking precautions to protect whales, but others say it’s not enough. 

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Environment
1:14 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Murray, Cantwell Praise EPA Move On Pebble Mine Project

FILE - In this July 13, 2007 file photo, workers with the Pebble Mine project test drill in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska near the village of Iliamma, Alaska.
Al Grillo AP Photo

Washington's U.S. senators are praising a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency for starting a process that could potentially restrict the development of proposed gold-and-copper mine in southwest Alaska.

The EPA on Friday asked Alaska and those behind the proposed Pebble Mine to make their case for the project.

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