Environment

Shoreline impacts
8:25 am
Tue February 22, 2011

King tides: a "teachable moment?"

A king tide in Budd Bay in Olympia in 2005.
Kay Schultz DOE Flickr feed

Shorelines around Washington are experiencing extreme high tides through the end of the month. Known as “king tides,” they’re a natural wintertime phenomenon in the Northwest. But they may also provide a glimpse into our future.

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Environment
7:27 am
Tue February 22, 2011

Study: more arid future for Northwest?

Map of Castor Lake.
Google Maps

A remarkable piece of scientific detective work has constructed a 6,000 year climate history of the Pacific Northwest. The record reveals a pattern of drought cycles and wet cycles.

Researchers drilled into the sediments at the bottom of Castor Lake near Omak, Washington. It's a telltale lake because with no river running out of it rainfall and evaporation rule there.

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Reflections on the water
2:29 am
Tue February 22, 2011

Returning the bones: Darren Blaney, keeping faith with tradition

Darren Blaney is a former chief of the Homalco First Nation, the northern-most of the Salish Sea tribes, near Campbell River, B.C.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News

The northern tip of the Salish Sea is the place where the Campbell River on Vancouver Island empties into Georgia Strait. 

In the final segment in our series “Reflections on the Water,” KPLU environment reporter Liam Moriarty talks with Darren Blaney, a wood carver and former chief of the Homalco First Nation, which is based in Campbell River.

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Coal Exports
10:25 am
Tue February 15, 2011

New revelations heat up Longview coal port fight

The coal export terminal would utilize the former Reynolds Aluminum smelter property in Longview, WA.
Tom Banse N3

Previously undisclosed documents are raising questions about whether the Australian company trying to build a new coal export facility in Longview has tried to snooker local officials.

According to an article in the New York Times, documents show officials at Millennium Bulk Terminals “tried to limit what state officials knew about its long-term goals during the early permitting process last year.”

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Budget battles
5:54 pm
Mon February 14, 2011

Enviro Groups Urge Higher Resource User Fees

A trail sign at Tiger Mountain in east King County. The recreational area is managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.
wta.org

Lawmakers in Olympia are proposing to slash or even eliminate dozens of important programs and services, as they struggle to eliminate a nearly $5 billion budget gap.

Environmental groups are hoping to stave off what they say would be crippling budget cuts to natural resource agencies in charge of protecting water, air and forests. But with education and health care for the poor on the chopping block, they face a tough battle.

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Hanford Cleanup
10:53 am
Mon February 14, 2011

Tri-Cities braces for less Hanford cleanup money in Obama budget

People with a direct stake in the Hanford Nuclear Reservation will be closely following President Obama's budget roll out. Money for cleaning up hazardous waste there is expected to be down.

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Endangered Species
5:44 am
Mon February 14, 2011

Endangered whales need endangered salmon

LA Times

We’ve known for a long time that killer whales eat salmon. But new findings suggest that local orcas rely on salmon – specifically, adult Chinook salmon – more than previously thought. So now fisheries managers are having to ask themselves: What happens when endangered whales depend on endangered fish?

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Environment
8:42 am
Fri February 11, 2011

Another push to expand and preserve Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Russian Butte and Middle Fork Snoqualmie River - Pratt RIver Valley
zlatkarp Flickr

There's bipartisan support to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Cascades. Republican Representative Dave Reichert and Democratic Senator Patty Murray reintroduced bills to expand the wilderness area and designate part of the Pratt River and the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River as wild and scenic.

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Reflections on the Water
8:07 am
Tue February 8, 2011

Growing an octopus' garden: Ken Kirkby helps bring back the kelp

Ken Kirkby heads the Nile Creek Enhancement Society in Bowser, B.C., on the east side of Vancouver Island.
Liam Moriarty KPLU

Human activity has taken a heavy toll on the Salish Sea. And efforts are underway across the region to restore depleted stocks of everything from salmon to eelgrass.

This week, as part of our series “Reflections on the Water,” KPLU environment reporter Liam Moriarty visits a project in the little town of Bowser, British Columbia. He sits on a beach with Ken Kirkby, who heads an innovative community nonprofit that’s been restoring a crucial type of habitat : underwater forests of bull kelp. 

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Nuclear Waste Clean-up
9:53 am
Fri February 4, 2011

A new generation begins taking the reins at Hanford

What do you do when you have a huge dilemma, and the number of people who can solve it is dwindling? That's the problem at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation -- one of the largest environmental cleanup projects in the world.

About 12,000 people are working on it right now. But the vast majority of Hanford's top experts are nearing retirement age. That leaves this complex cleanup task to the next generation.

The stakes are high: one wrong move could mean an environmental disaster, or a contaminated worker.

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Climate change
11:17 am
Thu February 3, 2011

State takes baby steps on climate change in agreement with B.C.

Bellingham Bay and Mt. Baker, as seen from Gooseberry Point, in Nov. 2008. Climate change is predicted to raise sea levels by as much as three feet by century's end. A new effort between Washington and British Columbia takes on climate change.
electronavalanche Flickr

Washington’s neighbors to the north (British Columbia) and to the south (California) are gearing up to launch a regional carbon cap-and-trade system next year. It’s the centerpiece of the Western Climate Initiative, a regional effort to tackle global warming.

In Olympia, however, environment officials are rolling out more modest climate measures.

For example: a pair of agreements signed Wednesday (with much fanfare) between the state and B.C.  

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Environment
10:00 am
Wed February 2, 2011

Visitors rave over new boardwalk at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

Visitors on the new boardwalk at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge experience the estuary in a way nobody has since the early 1900s.
U.S. Department of the Interior

For over a hundred years, nobody saw the mouth of the Nisqually River in its original, natural state. Now, thanks to a new, mile-long boardwalk and the removal of the dikes that fenced the water out, you can experience the estuary in a way that no living person ever has.

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Public Lands
8:44 am
Tue February 1, 2011

Say goodbye to free park access

Lime Kiln State Park on San Juan Island.
Jeff Maurone Flickr

Wanna use state parks and other recreational lands this summer? Under a new proposal, you’ll have to cough up a $30 annual fee.

Democratic Senator Kevin Ranker of Friday Harbor is sponsor of Senate Bill 5622. The measure would raise money for state parks, as well as the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, at a time when the state’s budget crisis is forcing lawmakers to close a massive budget gap.

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Waste and recycling
5:47 pm
Mon January 31, 2011

Green merit badge? Recycling just isn’t good enough anymore

CleanScapes garbage trucks dump out about three tons of trash, recyclables and yard waste at a Seattle transfer station. It represents the waste a typical Seattle family of four throws away each year.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News


Sure, like most Northwesterners, you recycle like a demon. Cans, glass, plastic, yard waste. You even compost your kitchen scraps. You’re a regular environmental hero.


Or maybe not ...

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Derelict Vessels
12:10 pm
Mon January 31, 2011

That sinking feeling: Cleaning up abandoned boats

This adandoned boat sank in the Duwamish River in Tukwila about two months ago. DNR says the city is going through the required process of trying to notify the boat's owner. If the owner doesn't deal with the boat by mid-February, the city will take over.
Liam Moriarty KPLU News

So, you live near a marina -- or a river or lake -- and you notice that an old, possibly-abandoned boat is sinking.

Who you gonna call?

Your first thought might be to notify the local police or fire department. Bryan Flint says that might work, or it might not.

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