Environment

Environment
5:06 am
Thu January 27, 2011

Obama's salmon quip: Is salmon management a joke?

NPR asked listeners to describe President Obama's State of the Union speech in three words. More than 4,000 responded. NPR ran the responses through a word cloud generator and this is what came out.
NPR.org

In President Obama’s State of the Union speech, he got the biggest laugh of the night when – to illustrate the need to simplify government – he made a crack about salmon management.

"The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they're in saltwater ... I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."

See it here, along with a shot of Commerce Secretary (and former Washington Governor) Gary Locke trying to be a good sport.

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Preservation
8:07 am
Wed January 26, 2011

New site proposed for Hanford Reach Interpretive Center

Supporters of a proposed interpretive center for the Hanford Reach have identified a new location for the star-crossed project. They're hoping the fresh site will breathe new life into a project that's been mired in controversy and divisiveness.

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Environment
1:46 pm
Tue January 25, 2011

UW scientist captures strange song of cracking iceberg

Iceberg B-15A was 76 miles long and 17 miles wide
Josh Landis National Science Foundation

If an iceberg cracks in Antarctica and no one's there to hear it, does it make a sound? Now we know the answer is, in fact, yes.

A University of Washington oceanographer has released a recording of the breakup of one of the largest icebergs ever observed in Antarctica.

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Water Quality
12:03 pm
Mon January 24, 2011

Marine “dead zones” detailed in interactive online map

This screen shot is from a new interactive online map that shows some of the nearly two dozen marine areas in Washington that experience low oxygen from nutrient pollution.
World Resources Institute

Growing populations and increasing pollution are contributing to more and more “dead zones” in bays and oceans around the world.

Now there’s an interactive online map pinpointing more than 760 spots across the globe—including 22 in Washington – that either are dead zones or are in danger of becoming one.

What’s a “dead zone?”

It happens when excess nutrients in the water help trigger an algae bloom. Mindy Selman explains that when all the algae die, they sink to the bottom.

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Puget Sound Pollution
7:27 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Stormwater runoff: A flood of crud

Heavy rains often wash curbside trash into storm drains and eventually into Puget Sound.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News

We’re still dealing with landslides and flooding from the heavy rains brought by last week’s Pineapple Express storms. But the downpour also washed a flood of gunk and junk off of the region’s streets, sidewalks and parking lots, into more than 4,500 storm drains and right into Puget Sound.

Storm drains usually empty underwater, so nobody sees the flood of crud that pours into rivers and bays across the region.

Well, almost no one ...

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Timber Theft
12:32 pm
Wed January 19, 2011

DNR nabs timber thieves on state land in Lewis County

The men who illegally cut this alder log in Lewis County were arrested by DNR Law Enforcement officers who had staked out the area. This and another log had been stripped of bark and cut into 10-foot lengths for sale to a wholesale wood dealer.
Courtesy DNR

State enforcement officers from the Department of Natural Resources have arrested two men for illegally cutting down large alder trees on state property.

The DNR blog Ear to the Ground reports that:

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Oil Spill Response
12:02 pm
Tue January 18, 2011

Is Washington ready to handle The Big Spill?

A boat with an oil boom tries to contain oil spilled from the explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
AP

Some lawmakers in Olympia say “no.” They’re proposing a bill that would make the oil industry pay for a variety of precautions designed to protect Washington’s shorelines from an Exxon Valdez or Deepwater Horizon disaster.

(I wrote about the state of Washington's oil spill prevention and response while the Gulf spill was ongoing last spring ...)

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West Coast Fisheries
11:38 am
Tue January 18, 2011

A new way to divvy up the West Coast fish catch

The fishing fleets along the US west coast are impacted by changes to fishing catch shares, or quotas. This is the southern Oregon port of Brookings, in 2009.
AP

West Coast fishermen are faced with a new way of deciding who gets to catch how much of what kinds of fish. Federal fisheries managers -- and many fishermen -- say it’ll be good for business and for fish stocks. But others fear the impact on small fishing communities.

How has it been done up till now?

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Environment
1:21 pm
Wed January 12, 2011

The safe way to trash your TV

An E-Cycle collection event in Redmond
ecyclewashington.org

Washington's electronics recycling program has collected 78,000,000 pounds of e-waste in its first two years. Put in perspective, that's roughly the same weight as Maine's lobster catch or US black bean exports to Mexico! The state Department of Ecology says the amount of e-waste recycled each year amounts to 5.8 pounds per person.  Old TVs account for 61% of the waste.

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Environment
1:48 pm
Tue January 11, 2011

Goldmark promotes plan to make jet fuel from wood waste

Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark says he'll propose legislation to promote making aviation fuel out of wood waste.

Goldmark told the Pacific West Biomass Conference in Seattle on Tuesday that he wants to start a pilot project to make jet fuel as part of the Department of Natural Resources' forest biomass program. 

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Endangered Species Act
2:22 pm
Wed January 5, 2011

Habitat protection plan for Pacific smelt

This photo provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Tuesday, March 16, 2010 shows Pacific Smelt. The small silvery fish that was a staple of Northwest tribes when the Lewis and Clark expedition arrived, is getting federal protection.
AP/Oregon Fish & Wildlife

NOAA Fisheries Service is proposing habitat protection for the threatened Pacific smelt. The proposal released Wednesday would designate about 292 miles of freshwater creeks, rivers and estuaries in Washington, Oregon and California as critical habitat areas.

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Water Purification
5:55 pm
Sun January 2, 2011

Some help for Yakima Valley residents with bad wells

Sandy Halstead, of the Environmental Protection Agency, and a summer intern, listen to the concerns of a homeowner in the Yakima Valley. Many private wells in the Eastern Washington agricultural area are polluted with nitrates.
Anna King N3

Residents with contaminated wells in the Yakima Valley are getting state-funded purification systems, at least some of them are. Many families there have been drinking water polluted with nitrates and bacteria.

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Environment
3:09 am
Tue December 28, 2010

Tiny paper can shred recycling options

Waste Management does not accept shredded paper in residential recycling bins
Bart Maguire Flickr photo

A lot of people clear out old documents after the New Year, but you might want to think twice before shredding them.  Paper scraps are too small for some recycling companies to take from residential customers. 

Recycling workers sort out all types and sizes of paper when it arrives at the center.  Newspapers go in one pile, envelopes in another.  But those scraps of shredded bills?    

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Cancun Climate Conference
4:18 am
Mon December 13, 2010

Looking forward from Cancun

Greenpeace activists form the word hope as a question with their bodies, next to a giant life saver, during a demonstration near the site of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010.
AP

It was time to put up or shut up. Delegates to the United Nations climate conference in Cancun knew if they came out of the talks empty-handed, the whole effort to reach a global warming treaty could collapse. The agreement that emerged over the past weekend made just enough progress to keep the talks alive for another year.

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Cancun Climate Conference
8:40 am
Fri December 10, 2010

Ocean acidification: Global warming's evil twin

Commercial fishermen and other mariners join together to send an urgent message to save the oceans from ocean acidification caused by fossil fuel emissions in Homer, Alaska, Sunday Sept. 6, 2009. Boaters and fishers took part in the protest.
AP/Lou Dematteis-SpectralQ

The focus of attention at the U.N. climate summit in Cancun, Mexico is global warming caused by too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But there’s another impact of high carbon levels that poses a whole different set of problems: it makes the ocean more acidic.

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