Environment

Environment
5:00 pm
Thu July 28, 2011

Campaign to protect precious lands in San Juan Islands

A grassroots campaign of local conservation groups is hoping to get federally owned land in the San Juans declared a National Conservation Area.
Courtesy of San Juan Islands National Conservation Area

The San Juan Islands are known for pristine natural beauty that includes a national wildlife refuge and several remote state parks.  

But they also contain about 1,000 acres of federally owned land that has been largely forgotten by authorities. Some islanders fear it might be sold off to developers.

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Fraser River salmon
12:26 pm
Wed July 27, 2011

Controversy growing in Canada over ‘muzzling’ of salmon expert

Here is a stretch of the Fraser River in Vancouver, British Columbia. Scientists working with sockeye salmon struggling to cope with warming temperatures in the Fraser River have identified broad genetic traits that can predict which fish will live or die
Associated Press

Government officials in Ottawa are getting heat for apparently muzzling a scientist whose study discovered that a viral infection – which has been referred to as "salmon leukemia" – may be the cause of salmon stocks crashing off Canada’s west coast.

The Vancouver Sun reported that the Privy Council Office, which supports the Prime Minister’s Office, stopped the study’s lead scientist “from talking about one of the most significant discoveries to come out of a federal fisheries lab in years.”

The Canadian government told the Postmedia News, which wrote the story, that scientist Kristi Miller has not been permitted to talk about her work because she is expected to testify later this summer before a commission looking into the decline of the Frazer River sockeye salmon.

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Puget Sound
11:18 am
Wed July 27, 2011

Dead gray whale calf on Bremerton beach was very emaciated

BREMERTON, Wash. – A gray whale that washed up on a Bremerton beach was alive when the stranding was reported this morning but it was dead when a National Marine Fisheries employee arrived on the site on Dyes Inlet.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
5:42 pm
Tue July 26, 2011

Hanford cleans up underground trench waste ahead of schedule

Workers secure a box of low level waste for shipment at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
Northwest News Network

RICHLAND, Wash. – Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers have retrieved a key portion of radioactive waste ahead of schedule. That announcement came from the federal government today.

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Fisheries study
5:33 pm
Tue July 26, 2011

Genetically modified Atlantic salmon can breed with wild fish

New study shows that genetically modified Atlantic salmon can mate with their wild counter parts.
Don Taylor Flickr

A new study of genetically-modified Atlantic salmon shows they can breed with their wild counterparts. Critics worry escaped farmed fish could weaken wild stocks.

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Environment
5:23 pm
Tue July 26, 2011

Feds revoke authority to kill sea lions

Federal officials revoked the permission today they had given to Oregon and Washington to trap and kill sea lions on the Columbia River. But Rob Manning reports it may be just a temporary move.

The Humane Society of the United States is battling the two states and the federal government in court over the propriety of killing sea lions to save salmon. Government officials say there are doubts about whether the latest federal authorization was given properly – because the states hadn't requested new authority.

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Environment
4:02 pm
Mon July 25, 2011

Giant Palouse worm denied endangered status

The giant Palouse earthworm.
Photo courtesy Jodi Johnson-Maynard

The giant Palouse earthworm has had a celebrity status among Northwest species,  but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied the worm endangered status today.

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Endangered species
11:53 am
Mon July 25, 2011

Endangered pygmy rabbits finally breed like ... bunnies

The pygmy rabbit, at less than a pound, is the smallest rabbit in North America.
Photo courtesy of Oregon Zoo

Biologists say the endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit is breeding for the first time in a decade in its native habitat.

Wildlife managers are re-introducing the tiny rabbit on a wildlife reserve near Ephrata in Central Washington. They've confirmed several litters in a six-acre enclosure there.

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Killer Whales
9:15 am
Thu July 21, 2011

Inbreeding is new concern for Puget Sound orcas

Killer whales that spend their summer in the Puget Sound have been breeding within their own family groups.
Associated Press

Scientists have a new concern about the killer whales that spend their summer in the Puget Sound. The orcas have been breeding within their own family groups, which may mean the population is more fragile than scientists thought.

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Sustainability
6:20 pm
Wed July 20, 2011

Seattleites recycling more than ever before

A model Seattle family of recyclers: Bing Tso, Janet Gwilym and their kids put more than 70% of their waste each week into recycling and yard waste bins. Their trash fits into tiny receptacle at their feet.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

Seattle residents and businesses have hit an all-time high for recycling rates. And from the front yard of a model recycling family in Seattle, Mayor Mike McGinn gave the city a pat on the back:

“53 percent – an all-time high– 53 percent of the waste produced in the city of Seattle is taken out of the waste-stream and recycled,” McGinn said.

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Environment
3:20 pm
Wed July 20, 2011

Rising sea, stronger storms hammering West Coast shorelines

Where the shoreline might end up at Washaway Beach.
Washington Department of Ecology

With summer in full swing, area beaches see a lot of action. But the shores of the western coast of the United States may be hit with large-scale erosion in coming years, wiping out coastlines that provide protection from the surf, as well as pleasure.

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Environment
3:40 pm
Tue July 19, 2011

State, Seattle hit recycling milestones

Washington residents recycle more than 100 million pounds of electronics.
Bert van Dijk Flickr

Washington officials say residents have recycled more than 100 million pounds since the state's electronics recycling program began in January 2009.

In Seattle, residents have hit an all-time high in recycling of all products, according to the City of Seattle’s annual recycling report to be released Wednesday.

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Environment
8:06 am
Tue July 19, 2011

Idaho lab wants emissions permit for radiation

One of the objectives of the Idaho National Laboratory is to develop new technology and materials that can be used in future nuclear power facilities.
Idaho National Lab Flickr

A new facility at the Idaho National Laboratory would test the effects of radiation on the materials that could be used to build future nuclear reactors. The lab is requesting a permit from the state of Idaho and the federal EPA to allow low levels of radiation emissions.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
9:28 am
Fri July 15, 2011

House move on Yucca nuke repository could help Hanford

RICHLAND, Wash. – A bill in the U.S. House of Representatives would breathe new life into the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada. The House will vote today on a larger spending bill that includes a budget increase for reviewing the project.

Some nuclear cleanup advocates are concerned that if Yucca Mountain doesn't open, it could mean high level waste could be permanently stored at Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

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Environment
2:14 pm
Wed July 13, 2011

Seattle takes another step toward green with new electric cars

The Seattle motor pool's new Nissan Leafs
Mayor McGinn's photostream flickr.com

The city of Seattle is greening up its fleet of vehicles with the addition of five Nissan Leafs. The city plans to have a total of 35 Leafs by the end of 2012.

Seattle is one of 18 cities taking part in The EV Project, the nation's largest electric vehicle demonstration.

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