Environment

Environment
9:31 am
Mon July 11, 2011

Newborn calf spotted among returning orcas

In this July 6 photo provided by the Center for Whale Research, K-44, right, a newborn male orca whale, is shown swimming with his mother, K-27, near Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands.
Associated Press

FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. – A newborn calf has been spotted among one of the pods of killer whales returning to the Puget Sound.

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Environment
10:06 pm
Sun July 10, 2011

Baseline radiation mapping beginning in Seattle and Bellevue

The Bell Helicopter that will perform the aerial survey has radiation detection equipment located in the capsules attached to its sides.
Photo courtesy Washington State Dept of Health

If you see an unusually low-flying helicopter cruising above Seattle or Bellevue, don't worry. It’s just a project of the State Department of Health to measure naturally occurring radiation in King and Pierce Counties.

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Environment
9:09 am
Fri July 8, 2011

Marlin, blue fin tuna could become regulars in Northwest waters

Shannon Hunter of Newport holds an opah caught last summer on the charter vessel "Misty." Opah is tasty fish normally found in Hawaiian waters.
Courtesy of Robert Waddell

NEWPORT, Ore. – Climate change may push fish native to the Northwest coast further northward and bring fish from southern waters up here.

That's according to a forthcoming study by American and Canadian fisheries biologists. They suggest West Coast fishermen will need to adapt to different prey if the Pacific Ocean warms as projected over the next fifty years.

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Environment
12:34 pm
Wed July 6, 2011

Big, crafty raccoon eating rare chickens, ducks, peacocks

This undated photo provided by Leo Pauly shows a raccoon that park officials are certain is responsible for killing about two dozen birds at the Pioneer Park Aviary, in Walla Walla, Wash.
Courtesy of Leo Pauly

WALLA WALLA – Walla Walla park officials are certain the predator that has killed about two dozen birds at the Pioneer Park Aviary is a big raccoon.

A motion detector camera showed the raccoon stealing bait from a trap.

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Environment
8:51 am
Wed July 6, 2011

As Idaho plans wolf hunt without quotas, new pack confirmed in Cascades

DNA tests confirm that a wolf captured on film by Conservation Northwest volunteers is part of a new wolf pack in the Teanaway area east of Seattle.
Conservation Northwest

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is developing a proposal that could make this year's wolf hunting season even more controversial. It would allow wolf hunting in most parts of Idaho without a cap on the total number of wolves being killed. As correspondent Jessica Robinson reports, that news from Idaho comes on the same day Washington announces some new wolf numbers of its own.

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Environment
3:00 pm
Fri July 1, 2011

Photo confirms grizzly in Washington's N. Cascades

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a hiker's photo confirms a sighting of a grizzly bear in North Cascades.
Joe Sebille Courtesy of Conservation Northwest

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a hiker's photo confirms a sighting of a grizzly bear in Washington state's North Cascades for the first time in perhaps half a century.

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Environment
8:40 am
Fri July 1, 2011

Update: Shooting spotted owl's rival won't work, expert laments

A new plan for saving the northern spotted owl was released this week.
Associated Press

A new plan released yesterday for saving the northern spotted owl is taking aim – maybe literally – at a rival bird.

Federal agency leaders said Thursday the spotted owl is losing out to a bigger, more aggressive invader from the eastern United States, the barred owl.

However, one biologist whose research led to the listing of the spotted owl believes shooting and other measures to control the barred owl are too little too late.  Because, he lamented, the spotted owl's population has shrunk over the last 15 years in spite of conservation efforts. (Interactive map inside)

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Environment
7:00 am
Thu June 30, 2011

Spotted owl recovery plan pits one species against another

Threatened northern spotted owl adult with young (Strix occidentalis caurina.)
Photo by Jim Thrailkill USFWS

It’s an icon of the northwest.

With its muted brown feathers and dark eyes, the northern spotted owl doesn’t look all that impressive. But scientists say its survival indicates the health of the entire forest ecosystem. That’s why conservationists want the government to protect more of the old-growth habitat spotted owls prefer.

But a recovery plan for the owl due for release this morning is ruffing feathers.

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Environment
2:45 pm
Tue June 28, 2011

Whale skeleton being processed for assembly, display in Tacoma

After being buried for six months under over 10 yards of horse manure, the gray whale bones, including the skull are excavated by a team of volunteers from Highline Community College's Marine Science and Technology Center.
Highline Community College MaST Center

The skeleton of a gray whale that died last year in Seattle is taking shape in Tacoma.

Highline Community College marine biologist Rus Higley, staff and volunteers are bleaching and assembling the skeleton for display in later this year. (Photo gallery inside)

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Discover Pass
3:57 pm
Sat June 25, 2011

Fees boost price of Washington state park pass beyond $30

Washington State Parks

The true cost of the new annual pass for Washington state parks will be $30 plus fees, when purchased online or at a licensed dealer.

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Environment
8:58 am
Fri June 24, 2011

Zoo releases new video of clouded leopard cubs

Point Defiance Zoo has released new photo and video of its clouded leopard cubs.
Seth Bynum Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Just a day away from public viewing, the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium has released a new photo (above) and a new video of the newborn clouded leopard cubs.

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Environment
8:00 am
Wed June 22, 2011

Leopard cubs to make debut at Point Defiance Zoo

11-day old clouded leopard cubs being cared for by zoo staff biologists in their new cub room exhibit.
Seth Bynum Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

(Updated with new video)

The newborn clouded leopard cubs at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium will be available for public viewing this weekend, zoo officials say.

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Environment
2:19 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

Puget Sound 'streaks' are likely harmless algae bloom

Marine plankton at the surface of Puget Sound east of Vashon Island. 6/20/11
Washington Department of Ecology

It may look like a toxic "red tide," but don't panic. Scientists with the Washington Department of Ecology say the reddish orange streaks in Puget Sound this week appear to be a harmless algae bloom.

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Hanford Nuclear Reservation
1:50 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

DOE Poneman's letter to Hanford employees

To the EM community - 

The safety of the DOE workforce and the communities around our facilities is of the utmost importance to Secretary Chu and is something that requires constant vigilance.  As he says regularly, "We must always be looking for ways to strengthen our approach to safety and foster a questioning attitude at each of our sites."   

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Metro Transit
11:49 am
Tue June 21, 2011

Higher car tab fees proposed to avoid Metro Transit cuts

Metro Transit will slash service if a hike in car tab fees isn't approved, according to King County Executive Dow Constantine.
Gary Davis

Are you willing to fork over extra money to register your car in order to keep buses running?

King County Executive Dow Constantine is betting you are. He’s urging the King County Council to pass an emergency ordinance temporarily increasing car tab fees by $20 per vehicle. The two-year charge would generate about $25 million per year and be used to preserve Metro Transit service at current levels.

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