Environment

Protecting Fish
9:01 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Watchdog Group Concerned about Hydraulic Code Update

Any construction that touches the state's waterways is subject to regulation under Washington's Hydraulic Code
philsnyder Flickr via compfight

Proposals to streamline permitting for development in and around state waters have some environmental groups worried. The groups are concerned the changes could weaken crucial protections for fish and their habitat. 

The law in question is the state’s Hydraulic Code, which dictates how permits are issued for any project that touches a waterway—things like docks, culverts, and bulkheads. The law’s main aim is to protect fish and their habitat.

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climate change
4:18 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Inslee Wants to Explore State-Only 'Cap and Trade' Scheme

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday laid out how he'd like the state to combat global warming pollution, including eliminating any electricity generated by coal and putting a statewide cap on greenhouse gas emissions. Legislative Republicans immediately raised concerns.

Back in 2008, the Washington Legislature set ambitious goals for reducing the state's carbon footprint. But they're just goals without enforcement mechanisms. Subsequently, a pact between 11 western states and provinces to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions fell apart. 

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Regulating Pollution
4:54 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Clean Water Suit Alleges State's Fish Consumption Rate Outdated

How much fish is safe to eat? That’s the key question in a federal lawsuit filed today

The plaintiffs are trying to force stricter limits on pollution in local waters. A coalition of groups including clean water advocates, tribes, and the commercial fishing industry have filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Foraging in the Northwest
5:02 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Happy Foragers Finding Bumper Crop of Wild Mushrooms

James Nowak reaching for a prime specimen of porcini in underbrush near Alpental ski area.
Justin Steyer KPLU

Wild mushrooms are going gangbusters this year in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to just the right weather conditions, and foragers are rejoicing after last year’s shortage

Among them is James Nowak, an amateur mycologist who spends most of his days working with mushrooms. When he’s not out in a forest hunting for mushrooms, he grows them in his lab in Seattle or processes them for sale to restaurants and home cooks.

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plastic bag ban
2:40 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Olympia Becomes 10th Wash. City to Ban Plastic Bags

Starting in July, Olympia will ban single-use plastic bags like these

Olympia has become the tenth city in Washington to ban disposable plastic bags from retail stores.

A unanimous vote from the Olympia City Council means starting in July, shoppers will have to bring their own reusable totes or pay 5 cents for a paper bag. Olympia joins nearby Tumwater and unincorporated Thurston County in enacting the ban.

Katrina Rosen, field director with Environment Washington, says the news is evidence of the growing movement spreading in the south Sound.

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snow on the trail
4:44 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Snow Stalls Hikers on Increasingly Popular Pacific Crest Trail

PCT thru-hikers struggling through several feet of snow on the trail earlier this week, north of Stevens Pass.
Kayla Bordelon

Bad weather is posing a hurdle for dozens of long-distance hikers determined to finish the Pacific Crest Trail. 

Rescuers are searching for two hikers stranded in snow in Skamania County. A Coast Guard helicopter rescued two other hikers stranded on the trail on Tuesday night. And many more hikers are trying to decide whether to continue on, or give up.

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Shipwreck
3:54 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

99-Year-Old Tugboat Sinks Off of Bainbridge, Leaking Fuel

The Chickamaugan or "Sea Chicken" was the first diesel-powered tug on the West Coast, and possibly in America.
IMLS DCC Puget Sound Maritimne Historical Society

A historic tugboat has sunk off Bainbridge Island, spilling fuel into the waters of Eagle Harbor. The tug Chickamauga is 99 years old, and it’s thought to be the first diesel-powered tugboat on the West Coast, according to the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society.

Bainbridge Firefighters got a call that it was sinking at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, and quickly deployed booms and other containment equipment.

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Navy Sonar Use
11:27 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Judge Wants Feds to Reassess Navy Sonar Permits

File image
Hugh E. Gentry AP Photo

A judge is requiring federal regulators to reassess permits that allow the Navy's expanded use of sonar in training exercises off the West Coast.

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Environment
5:00 am
Thu September 26, 2013

B.C. First Nations Dig in Heels on Northern Gateway Pipeline

 

An alliance of aboriginal groups in British Columbia has told federal officials that if Ottawa wants to get tribal cooperation on energy development, they'll have to kill a controversial oil pipeline proposal.

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Environment
5:49 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Watchdog Group Appeals Shoreline Permits, Urges Better Marine Habitat Protection

Timber-pile bulkheads built to protect residential property from erosion on the west side of Whidbey Island, Puget Sound. This type of beach "armoring" can impact nearshore fish habitat.
Hugh Shipman, Washington Department of Ecology

A recently-formed environmental watchdog group is appealing nearly a dozen permits issued for development along the Puget Sound shoreline. Sound Action says too many permits are being issued without the restrictions the law requires to protect important fish species.

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fish consumption
11:55 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Warning: Some Columbia River Fish Not Safe to Eat

WSK_2005 Flickr

Some fish in the Columbia River aren’t safe to eat, according to advisories issued Monday by health officials in Washington and Oregon.

The warnings do not apply to ocean-going fish like salmon and steelhead.

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Environment
5:01 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Bill McKibben of 350.org to Lead Climate Change Rally in Seattle

Steve Liptay Photo

This Saturday, environmental activist and author Bill McKibben will lead a rally against fossil fuel exports and the Keystone XL pipeline in Seattle. 

Known as one of the first voices to warn of the dangers of global warming, McKibben is on tour with his new book, Oil and Honey. He is also the founder of an international organization called 350.org, which he created to fight climate change. 

McKibben says 350 is "the most important number in the world, but nobody knew it until 2008, when Jim Hansen and his team at NASA published a paper saying we now know enough about carbon to know how much in the atmosphere is too much." 

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climate change
4:27 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Cantwell Grills NOAA Nominee on Ocean Acidification Funding

Cantwell says Washington's $270 million shellfish industry is at risk without adequate funding for monitoring of ocean acidification.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Ocean health is at stake as Congress decides whether to confirm the next head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The nominee faced tough questions from Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, about funding for research of and adaptation to ocean acidification.

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Environment
5:01 am
Wed September 18, 2013

As Fatal Epidemic Looms, Bat Walk Showcases Local Species

6-year-old Lucinda Purdy gets a close view of a preserved bat carcass from Professor Bassett's collection.
Bellamy Pailthorp photo KPLU News

Two times this summer, rabid bats have been found in Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood. Health officials say it was an unusual coincidence, not a sign of an outbreak. But it doesn’t help the reputation of a creature that’s facing an epidemic. White-nose syndrome has been spreading westward from New York. 

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Environment
5:05 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Dam Dispute Surfaces in Salmon Policy

Pink salmon running in the Skykomish River at Sunset Falls.
Andrea Matzke at Wild Washington Rivers

The road map for balancing environmental needs with the need to generate power from the Northwest's hydroelectric dams is being revised. And the move has some people worried it could open the door to destructive dam projects on Washington rivers.

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