Environment

Environment & Planning

Scott McGuffin

Arsenic in drinking water supplies is a worldwide problem. A discovery by scientists at the University of Oregon could lead to a new way to remove the toxic chemical, making groundwater supplies safer for communities.

Call it a cleanse. Or detoxification. That’s basically the process happening in groundwater, identified by University of Oregon geology professor Qusheng Jin.

He tested well-water in Creswell, Oregon, and found microbes are naturally transforming toxic water-born arsenic into a gas that can rise and get trapped in the soil, where it’s less of a problem.

Ask any Northwest skiers and they’ll tell you it’s been a bad year for snow.
They’re right. Snow levels are at record lows for Washington and Oregon.
But it’s not time to hit the panic button yet.

Scott Pattee, a water supply specialist with the National Resources Conservation Service, checks snow levels at Stevens Pass ski resort in Washington's Cascade Mountains.Credit Ashley Ahearn / EarthfixEdit | Remove

Scott Pattee: "Alrighty, off we go."

A new hydroelectric turbine is up and running in the City of Astoria. The renewable energy project is expected to save the city thousands in annual power costs.

The turbine is located in Astoria’s Bear Creek Reservoir and will balance the amount of power used by the city’s water treatment plant. Pacific Power spokesman Tom Gauntt says the idea for the hydroelectric turbine began in 2006 when the city was looking for renewable energy ideas. The generator was partially funded by donations from Pacific Power customers.  

Crater Lake Has Record Low Snow Levels

Mar 2, 2015

Crater Lake is experiencing record low snow levels for this time of year.  Sunday it was at 37 inches. That's about a third of what the average depth is for this date. Marsha McCabe works for the park. She explains where she notices the lack of snow the most:

"It's pretty unusual because you can actually see out of the windows on the first floor of the buildings. Which, normally this time of year, they would be buried."

Recorded on: February 27, 2015

Air Date: March 2nd, 2015

A relatively new, and currently controversial, process for extracting natural gas (methane) and oil from shale formations is high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing. Fracking, as it is called, has motivated the creation of a substantial literature of personal narratives recounting fracking’s adverse impact on humans.

oregonstate.edu

Sunday the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife begun the process of collaring about 500 mule deer in the Southern Blue Mountain Range near Prineville.

Corinne Boyer

An olive ridley turtle now in Newport recovering from hypothermia will be moved to San Diego tomorrow (Tuesday).

The turtle was named “Solstice” because she was found on a northwest beach on December 21st. Erin Paxton is with the Oregon Coast Aquarium. She says the endangered animal was scheduled to recuperate there a little longer, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has ruled her healthy enough to travel. Paxton says this is good news:

Egan Warming Center

As temperatures are expected to drop this evening to the upper 20's in Lane County, Egan Warming Center locations will be activated. All Egan volunteers are asked to check in through the Egan Warming Center website.  There is also a new site opening tonight at Lane Community College. For more information call (541) 689-6747, or visit eganwarmingcenter.com.

And Cottage Grove's Beds for Freezing Night Coalition are activating their warming center located at the Perpetual Help Catholic Church.

541-968-3357

Desmond O'Boyle

The 77th Annual Oregon Logging Conference returned to Eugene last weekend. Industry professionals, equipment, and networking are the main attractions. Saturday morning featured family activities and some friendly competition.

All the heavy equipment is on display and demonstrations are ongoing here at the 2015 Oregon Logging Conference. This mobile wood splitter can dissect a tree into firewood fast.

Big toys and industry information sharing aren't the only activities going on Saturday.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Oregon’s snowpack is at a record low for this time of year. Some areas of the Cascades haven’t received any snow yet. Ski areas are suffering and the lack of snow could affect stream flows this summer.

Oregon could experience decent storms through late March before the snowpack levels peaks in April. Liana Ramirez with the National Weather Service in Portland says the low snow levels may cause warmer water temperatures this summer.

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