Environment

Sockeye Salmon
2:45 pm
Mon October 24, 2011

U.S. Senate approves rapid response to fish-killing virus

Adult Sockeye salmon in the lower section of Adams River, British Columbia. The U.S. Senate has approved an amendment that calls for a rapid federal response to the ISA virus found in B.C. Sockeye.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service flickr

Alarm over a potentially deadly salmon virus has reached the halls of Congress. The U.S. Senate has approved an amendment that calls for a rapid federal response. Last week, scientists in British Columbia announced they've found the fish-killing virus in wild Pacific Salmon for the first time.

It's the second virus suspected in salmon deaths to be discovered this year.

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Environment
12:48 pm
Mon October 24, 2011

National outdoors effort includes 2 Washington trails

Olympic Discovery Trail along the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Maria M Flickr

A national initiative to improve access to the outdoors will focus on expanding two trails in Washington state.

President Barack Obama's Great Outdoors Initiative includes efforts to extend the Pacific Northwest Trail on the Olympic Peninsula and create a water trail along the entire length of the Columbia River through Washington.

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Sockeye Salmon
1:27 pm
Thu October 20, 2011

Update: Senator Cantwell calls for investigation into salmon virus

Sockeye salmon populations are facing a new challenge.
Flickr

Federal fisheries scientists plan to survey Pacific Northwest and Alaskan waters to determine if a harmful European fish virus has spread here.

And now, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and two senators from Alaska are calling for an investigation into the spread of the virus striking Canadian salmon.

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Environment
11:40 am
Thu October 20, 2011

Enviros say new stormwater guidelines too lax

Stormwater runoff must be reduced and monitored under draft rules just issued by the state Department of Ecology.
Thirteen of Clubs photo Flickr

It’s the single largest source of pollution entering Puget Sound – rain that hits pavement and carries grease, metals and other toxins into the water.

The Department of Ecology has just issued new rules that aim to keep stormwater runoff in check. However, several environmental groups complain the new rules are full of loopholes.

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Environment
5:55 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

Bristol Bay votes to block Pebble Mine operation

Site of the proposed Pebble Mine.
National Park Conservation Assn.

DILINGHAM, Alaska – Environmentalist groups are celebrating a victory in a remote corner of southeast Alaska. Residents near Bristol Bay have voted to try to block one of North America's largest open pit mining operations.

It's proposed for a spot next to one of the world's most productive salmon fisheries.

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Environment
5:30 pm
Mon October 17, 2011

Environmental groups file to block wolf hunt

A gray wolf.
Courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game

BOISE - Environmental groups filed a motion Monday to halt wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana.

Idaho based Friends of the Clearwater and two other groups filed an injunction in the 9th circuit court to immediately stop wolf hunts. The groups fear many wolves will be killed while they appeal a decision that upholds hunting.

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Fish versus Gold
4:30 am
Mon October 17, 2011

'Save Bristol Bay Road Show' to highlight risk to jobs in Seattle

Site of the proposed Pebble Mine.
National Park Conservation Assn.

It’s thousands of miles away, but supporters of a campaign to stop a controversial mine proposal in Alaska say it would harm more than just the pristine ecosystem where it’s located.

They’re launching a “Save Bristol Bay Road Show” in Seattle tonight, claiming the city’s fishing industry could lose thousands of jobs if the mine is built. 

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Fisher Slough
6:40 am
Fri October 14, 2011

More than fish depending on Skagit Valley estuary restoration

The Skagit River Valley is home to farmland that brings us everything from tulips to potatoes and berries. But the river that makes such rich soil possible is also home to all five native species of Pacific salmon – including threatened Chinook.

Efforts to restore fish habitat have sparked bitter battles in the past. Now, hopes are high as work wraps up on a project in the Skagit River Delta that has support from advocates for fish and farmers alike.

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Environment
2:09 pm
Wed October 12, 2011

Hanford ground water cleanup huge challenge, new pumps helping

RICHLAND, Wash. – Workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are trying to flush and clean contaminated groundwater that runs deep under southeast Washington.

The massive plumes of radioactive and toxic chemicals are leftovers from plutonium production during World War II and the Cold War. Decontaminating all that groundwater is a monumental task. And as correspondent Anna King found out, it will only get harder over time.

Some of the groundwater pumped up from Hanford near the Columbia River is so contaminated it looks like flat Mountain Dew.

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Environment
1:53 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Oregon panel approves increased logging on Elliot State Forest

Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler speaks with protesters following a meeting of the Oregon Land Board.
Chris Lehman KPLU

SALEM, Ore. - The Oregon Land Board gave the go-ahead Tuesday to a plan that will dramatically ramp up logging in a state forest in the Oregon Coast Range. The action came amid protests.

Environmental groups bused in protesters from Portland and Eugene. Long-time activist Tre Arrow led the group in a sing-along outside the Land Board headquarters.

Tre Arrow: "The time is now for the people to rise up."

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Environment
1:38 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Keeping sewage out of Puget Sound

Heavy rains can exceed the capacity of combined sewer/stormwater drainage systems, causing raw sewage to flow into local waterways
City of Seattle

It's a dirty topic with a refined name: Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). When heavy rains exceed the capacity of Seattle's century-old drainage system, raw sewage gets dumped into our rivers, lakes and Puget Sound.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is developing a Long-Term Control Plan for limiting CSOs to no more than one outfall per year.

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Environment
8:30 am
Fri October 7, 2011

Demand that Duwamish River be cleaned up enough to eat the fish

Duwamish Cleanup Coalition Coordinator, James Rasmussen, says the EPA's plan for restoring ecological health to the 32 square miles of Seattle's Superfund site should include the goal of being able to eat a fish out of the river.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

There’s a major milestone this week in the cleanup of Seattle’s Duwamish River. Excavators are removing toxic sludge from one of the most polluted spots in the city’s industrial core. Completion of this work will allow cleanup on the rest of the river. 

But critics say there are already signs it won’t go far enough.

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Environment
3:15 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Work begins on Slip 4 'hotspot' in Duwamish River

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Dennis McLerran celebrates the start of dredging on Slip 4, a hot spot in the Superfund cleanup plan for the Lower Duwamish Waterway.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

It’s one of the most polluted waterways in all of the Pacific Northwest. The lower five miles of Seattle’s Duwamish River were listed as a Superfund site a decade ago. This week, cleanup work has begun on one of its most toxic sections. 

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Environment
2:45 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Killer whales near Alaska village, appear stressed

Orcas, like the one pictured, have been seen farther up the Nushagak River than ever before.
DeWaine Tollefsrud Flikr

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Three killer whales have made an unusual trek up the Nushagak River in southwest Alaska.

NOAA Fisheries-Alaska region spokeswoman Julie Speegle says residents have seen killer whales at the mouth of the river, but never this far upriver.

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Alternative Energy
3:20 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Update: Biofuel demand high; $80 million to UW, WSU for research

Efforts to turn wood into biofuels received a major boost today in with the award of $80 million for research at the University of Washington and Washington State University.
Nigel Beaumont Flickr

Producing biofuels as an environmentally-friendly alternative to petroleum-based fossil fuels is a puzzle that has been bedeviling researchers for years.

Now, with $80 million pouring into research at the University of Washington and Washington State University, stakeholders hope to find the key for turning biomass from wood products into fuel for cars and jets.

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