Environment

Environment & Planning

Schin Haakenson / Inciweb

Eugene experienced its hottest summer on record this year. The area saw 34 days of 90 degree temperatures or higher. The old record was set in 1958. On average, only about 12 days of 90 degree temperatures are expected, according to Clinton Rocky with the National Weather Service in Portland.

“We just lost our good classic onshore flow that brought us those morning clouds. This year not the case. So instead, we got the warm days plus we got all those obnoxious warm nights where the temperature sometimes had a hard time getting back down under 60 degrees.”

Coos County

The Oregon Health Authority has issued an advisory due to high levels of blue-green algae in Tenmile Lakes south of Reedsport. The toxins in the water can be harmful to humans and animals.

David Farrer is a toxicologist with the Oregon Health Authority.
He says people, especially children and pets, should avoid any contact with the water of Tenmile Lakes. Farrer says the blue-green algae produces the same toxin that led authorities in Toledo, Ohio to place a municipal ban on drinking water last month.

Danny Didricksen

Flash floods this August swept mud, debris, and ash through north-central Washington. All that gunk has created an unusual problem for farmers and migratory fish.

Farmers usually install screens on the end of irrigation pipes to prevent clogs. Those screens also keep fish from being sucked out of the water and into farmers’ fields. But fish screens do little good when they get inundated with debris and mud.

Danny Didricksen is with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He says crews have been working non-stop to help unclog fish screens.

The Oregonian

A 2 thousand acre wildfire near Estacada is creating unhealthy air quality in many parts of Oregon. The Department of Environmental Quality says the impacted areas range from Portland to the Southern Willamette Valley and will likely continue until Wednesday morning. DEQ spokesman Greg Svelund  says if people need to know the air quality in their area, sometimes it's best to look outside.

www.bringrecycling.org

Passive solar. LED lighting. Urban gardens. This weekend, BRING Recycling's Home and Garden Tour in Eugene highlights sustainable design and low-impact construction.

Julie Daniel is the Executive Director of BRING. She says the tour started as a showcase for re-used materials. Over six years, it's expanded:

Daniel: "There's more than one new building on the tour this year. Some are still under construction. There's a net zero home, which is a home that uses no energy, it actually returns more energy than it uses to the grid, including charging their electric car."

Inciweb

Hot, dry, windy weather is forecast for the next few days in Oregon. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag warning for most of the state.

Matthew Cullin is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland. He says the most of the state will be at risk for fires to spark and grow rapidly through Saturday.

Cullin: "Most notably it's hot and it's very dry. The relative humilities are going to be very low which promotes fire growth, if you were to have a spark, it would rapidly be able to start a fire. So, along with that, we have quite gusty winds."

Stephen Baboi / Earthfix

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The landmark environmental law requires that wilderness areas remain roadless and untrammeled by people. As part of our series on the law, EarthFix reporter Cassandra Profita visited a proposed wilderness area in the southeast corner of Oregon. She explains why it's harder to create wilderness now than it was half a century ago.
 

Hansen: "Echo!"

Chris Hansen calls out into a desert canyon in Southeast Oregon's Leslie Gulch.

Hansen: "Hello!"

Devan Schwartz / Earthfix

Scientists say whitebark pines are one of the Northwest’s most iconic and ecologically important trees — the majority of which are found in rugged wilderness.

Wilderness areas are preserves where human disturbances are outlawed. And yet, whitebark pines face the possibility of extinction. And many of the tree’s threats are connected to human-caused climate change.

The Wilderness Act Part I: The Legacy Of Wilderness

Sep 2, 2014
David Steves / Earthfix

When you consider how long mountains, forests and deserts have been a part of the American landscape, 50 years is the blink of an eye.

But it’s something of a milestone when a law protecting these places turns 50. That’s happening this week.

To kick off our series on Wilderness, David Steves from our EarthFix team hiked into Washington’s Cascade Mountains. He brings us this report on what a half-century of wilderness protection has meant for a place called the Goat Rocks.

Rachael McDonald

A teen from Eugene has taken her activism on the road. KLCC’s Rachael McDonald spoke with her by phone as she walks across the U.S. in the Great March for Climate Action.

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