Environment

Environment & Planning

Oregon Department of Forestry

The State of Oregon is now looking for a buyer willing to take the Elliott State Forest off its hands, following Thursday’s vote by the Land Board to move ahead with plans to sell the public forest located near Coos Bay.

The state of Oregon is under a constitutional obligation to manage the Elliott Forest to make money for public schools. But with declines in timber sales in recent years, the state has been losing money on the land.

Our Children's Trust

Young people in Eugene Wednesday filed a federal climate lawsuit against the U.S. Government and the President. KLCC's Rachael McDonald spoke with one plaintiff who is part of the lawsuit sponsored by the organization Our Children's Trust.

Groundwater Levels Dropping In Klamath Basin

Aug 12, 2015
Jes Burns / Earthfix

Groundwater levels in Oregon’s Klamath Basin have dropped as much as 25-feet in the past fifteen years. A new report shows there is a relationship between the declines and pumping by farmers in the region.

River Design Group

It can be tough for salmon and steelhead returning to spawn in Northwest rivers and streams. High water temperatures, parasites, and predators all pose natural threats.

But the fish also encounter man-made obstacles – like dams - that make getting to the best spawning habitat difficult.

www.nasa.gov

If July felt hot and sweaty, it was for good reason. The heat broke records in the Willamette Valley.

It was the hottest July ever in Eugene, crushing the previous record, set in 1958. Andy Bryant with the National Weather Service says the heat was well above normal:

Bryant: “So the average temperature for Eugene for the month of July was 71.5 degrees, that’s 4.7 degrees above average. The average high, if you look at all the highs during the month of July, the average was 88.2, also a few degrees above average.”

Douglas Forest Protective Association

People have been allowed to go home after being evacuated from communities near the Stouts Fire in southwest Oregon. But they must be ready to leave again if conditions worsen. Cooler temperatures and clouds Sunday helped crews battling the fire that grew quickly in the triple-digit temperatures of late last week.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest Public Radio

Salmon are a touchstone in the Northwest...in food, in nature, and now, in the damage wrought by the ongoing drought: less than half of returning Sockeye are expected to survive to the end of summer. But another important fish is dying in unprecedented numbers too: the massive white sturgeon native to the Columbia River.

Jeremy Fox/Owyhee Coalition.

A new proposal to protect about 2 million acres of the Owyhee Canyonlands in Eastern Oregon needs a sponsor in Congress to move forward.

Half of the proposed region is already designated as a Wilderness Study Area. The biggest opposition so far has come from ranchers. Brent Fenty is with the Oregon Natural Desert Association. He says farmers shouldn't be concerned about the future of grazing rights under the proposal.

https://www.facebook.com/DouglasForestProtectiveAssociation

A fire burning west of Roseburg jumped its lines last (Wednesday) night, and has expanded to an estimated 600 acres. Here is an update on the Cable Crossing Fire.

The fire off highway 138 near Glide started Tuesday afternoon. Kyle Reed, with the Douglas Forest Protection Association, says it’s grown beyond their capacity:

Reed: “Our district covers 1.6 million acres. So with this fire growing in complexity and size we went ahead and brought in a team from the Oregon Department of Forestry. And basically they’re coming in to relieve our guys working on that fire.”

Researchers Map Portland's Hottest, Most Polluted Places

Jul 30, 2015
Cassandra Profita / Earthfix

When it's hot outside, city neighborhoods with lots of pavement get hotter and more polluted than the ones with more greenery. It's called the urban heat island effect. And as the summers in the Northwest get hotter with climate change, these hot spots pose a growing risk to human health.In Portland, researchers are mapping the city's hottest, dirtiest places, and looking for ways to cool them down.

Douglas Forest Protective Association

With triple digit temperatures, tinder dry forests, and the threat of lightning storms in the next few days, officials are urging the public to be extra careful to prevent human-caused fires.

City Data

The City of Oakridge is asking residents and businesses to conserve water. The council has imposed a moderate water curtailment plan.

Louis Gomez is Oakridge City Administrator. He says the city has 4 active wells. A year ago this month they were drawn down to 62 feet. This year, the drawdown is at 85 feet.

Joe Chung

Oregon has enjoyed cooler days over the past week, thanks to low pressure from the Gulf of Alaska. By Wednesday, extremely hot weather is expected to return.

Andy Bryant is with the National Weather Service. He says people should be prepared for above average temperatures later this week:

Bryant: “In the south Willamette Valley, we have a forecast high on Thursday of 100 for Eugene. It looks like it’s going to be hot all throughout western Oregon.”

Wikimedia Commons

Honey bees around the world are facing serious challenges. In recent years, annual hive losses have risen to 50 percent or more. Now, a California non-profit is working to help farmers and other landowners create habitat for bees and other pollinators.

Oregon Delays Stream Buffer Decision

Jul 24, 2015
Earthfix / OPB

The Oregon Forestry Board Thursday delayed a decision on logging restrictions to keep water cool for endangered salmon.

At issue is how many trees should be left standing to provide shade along fish-bearing streams. Cold water is essential for many Northwest fish.

Ashley Ahearn / Earthfix

River levels around the Northwest are dropping as the drought continues - and the water’s getting warmer.
That’s a problem for salmon. Wildlife managers in Washington and Oregon have limited fishing to certain times of day and closed some rivers altogether. But some say that’s not enough to help struggling fish.

Lindsay Eyink

UPDATED Thursday 11:47am

Voters in Jackson and Josephine Counties last year approved county-wide bans on the cultivation of genetically-modified crops. Backers of those measures fear a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives today would roll back those bans – as well as scores of other GMO-related measures across the country.

More than 1600 acres of old growth rainforest have burned in Washington’s Olympic National Park.
Firefighters are mounting a difficult response in a remote river valley. This is the largest fire in the park’s history, but it’s not the first to burn in the rainforests of the Olympics.

Newport Dams Evaluated In New Seismic Report

Jul 21, 2015
newslincolncounty.com

The Newport City Council met Monday to discuss a seismic evaluation study of the two Big Creek dams. Several recommendations were made in the report and the city will select the best option for upgrading the structures. KLCC’s Corinne Boyer has more.

Lincoln County Seeks Public Input On New Disaster Plan

Jul 21, 2015
http://www.co.lincoln.or.us

Lincoln County is looking to limit the risks of natural disasters. They’ve partnered with several state agencies to develop a mitigation plan. Now the county wants resident to review the public document.

To be eligible for FEMA funding, natural hazards mitigation plans have to be updated every 5 years. Emergency manager Jenny Demaris says the University of Oregon helped lead Lincoln County through the process.

Oregon Water Resources Department

23 of Oregon's 36 counties are now officially in drought. Governor Kate Brown Tuesday added Curry, Hood River and Union Counties to the list. Water managers say current stream conditions are as low as what is normally seen in mid to late August.

Northwest States Experiencing Average Fire Season…So Far

Jul 20, 2015
National Interagency Fire Center

In much of the West, wildfire season has gotten off to a relatively slow start this summer. Some recent, timely rains have helped a lot. The moderate activity has led fire managers in Boise to update the national preparedness level.

wikipedia Commons

Yachats is in a water shortage emergency. Residents are restricted on when they can water outdoors.

One of the reasons water is scarce is because a private timber company logged in the salmon creek watershed the feeds into the Yachats River. A provision of city charter had prevented Yachats from purchasing the watershed land before the logging took place.

KLCC's Rachael McDonald spoke with Yachats Mayor Ron Brean. He says despite the coastal climate, it's been dry.

Junction City

Yachats last week declared a water shortage emergency. The city council has imposed phase one water restrictions t. Junction City is also coping with a water shortage.
 

Junction City relies on well water. It will move forward with digging a new well to help cope with its water shortage. Last night, Tuesday, the City Council approved staff to proceed with engineering and design work for a well at 11th and Elm.

Soft-Shell Clam Advisory Issued For Oregon Coast

Jul 14, 2015
traveloregon.com

A soft-shell clam advisory has been issued for the Oregon coast. The clams contain high levels of naturally occurring arsenic which can cause harmful health effects over long periods of time.

Oregon soft-shell clams are not served in restaurants. The advisory is for people who dig their own clams.

Jonathan Modie with Oregon Public Health says long-term exposure to the arsenic in clams is a serious concern, but there are no immediate health risks associated with eating clams. He says the risk of arsenic exposure is significantly reduced if the clam neck is removed.

Oregon Department of Forestry

The Oregon legislature has just adjourned for the year, leaving some unfinished business when it comes to a state forest that’s been the subject of controversy.

Bobby/morguefile.com

There have been moves in Congress to limit protections under the Endangered Species Act recently, and that may not sit well with voters. A new poll shows a majority of Americans support the current version of the ESA.

Bacterial Infection Causing Salmon To Die

Jul 9, 2015
gettyimages.com

Several dying and dead salmon were found in the Deschutes and Columbia rivers. The Oregon department of Fish and Wildlife says a bacterial infection is the cause.

Fish biologist Rob French with ODFW says dead fish were collected from the lower three miles of the Deschutes. He says the bacterial infection columnaris is typically associated with warm water and low oxygen conditions.

French: “It’s not uncommon for the Columbia to get to these temperatures. What’s most uncommon is how early in the year they got to these temperatures. Same for the Deschutes River.”

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Oregon is reviewing how it protects wildlife and habitat. This means reviewing numerous planning documents and asking the public's input.

Brian Davies / Register Guard (pool)

Two Eugene teens have appealed a Lane County judge's ruling against their climate change lawsuit. The appeal was filed Tuesday.

Kelsey Juliana and Olivia Chernaik are part of a global youth-driven campaign to get governments to do more to curtail the effects of climate change.

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