Environment

Environment & Planning

Pollen Season In Full Swing In Willamette Valley

May 29, 2015
Oregon Allergy Associates

Allergy season is in full swing in the Willamette Valley. According to the Oregon Allergy Associates Research Department, Friday the grass pollen count is at high levels, and the tree pollen is at a moderate level. Because of large grass seed farming and general geography Eugene is consistently ranked as one of the toughest cities for allergy prone patients. Judy Moran is a nurse at Oregon Allergy Associates. She says just because the season is staring a little earlier this year, doesn't mean clear breathing will come sooner.

Central Oregon Fire Info

Local, state and federal officials are bracing for an expensive, potentially catastrophic fire season.Over the past two years, the Oregon Department of Forestry spent more than 200 million dollars fighting wildfires. 2013 was a record season for acres burned and money spent firefighting on state land. ODF spokesman Rod Nichols says drought conditions in Oregon may mean another rough season, but a lot depends on the weather.

Bend Issues Water Curtailment Alert

May 26, 2015
http://visitcentraloregon.com

The city of Bend has implemented a stage 1 water curtailment alert after Governor Kate Brown declared Deschutes County to be in a state of drought.

Bend’s curtailment is a voluntary alert and reminds citizens to use their water wisely. The city has two water sources which come from Bridge Creek and the Deschutes Regional Aquifer. Bend water conservation program manager Mike Buettner says citizens should focus on efficiency.

KMTR

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced drought emergencies in 8 additional counties Friday, including Lane.  Many reservoirs in Lane County are only half full.

John R. McMillan / NOAA Fisheries

Salmon and other threatened fish need cold water to thrive. Research shows current logging rules in Oregon can result in streams warming up more than is allowed under standards meant to protect the fish. That could force the state Board of Forestry to require more trees be left standing alongside fish-bearing streams. And that would be an economic hit to private forest landowners.

Liam Moriarty / JPR

The federal government has been telling Oregon for over a decade that its rules to protect threatened coastal salmon are not up to snuff. Now, the state is faced with a loss of federal dollars unless it gets with the program. In response, the Oregon Board of Forestry is weighing whether to require timberland owners to leave more trees standing along streams to better protect fish habitat. And that’s got owners of small timber lands especially worried.

Kai-Huei Yau

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington is one of the most contaminated places on earth. It’s also one of the most sacred landscapes for Northwest tribes.

One woman is working to heal it.

 

Downstream from the Yakima Greenway, Hanford is changing. Cleanup is happening. But Natalie Swan is also changing, because of the southeast Washington nuclear site.

“I’m a quiet person,” she said. “But I’m getting a little bit louder.”

Fighting for Treaty rights

Brian Davies / Register Guard (pool)

Monday, a State judge ruled against a climate change lawsuit brought by two Eugene teens. The suit sought to force Oregon lawmakers to do more to reduce carbon emissions and help prevent climate change.

Theresa Tilson / Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

A record number of sea lions have been feeding in the Columbia River this spring. A lack of food in the ocean and a big run of smelt drew them in. And now they’re eating salmon. That has a lot of people debating the best way to manage these hulking pinnipeds. While some are shooting at them, and arguing for their lethal removal, others are rushing to their defense.
 

In Astoria's East Mooring Basin, big blubbery sea lions have taken over the docks that are supposed to harbor boats. Bill Hunsinger oversees those docks as a commissioner with the Port of Astoria.

What Does Species Recovery Look Like For Wolves?

May 5, 2015
Wolf
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Desmond: Since wolves first started returning to Washington and Oregon in the late 1990s, the population has been increasing steadily – especially over the past few years.

Now wildlife officials are taking a look at the species’ protected status. In late April, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission initiated the process of removing wolves from the state’s endangered species list.

All this brings up questions of whether the wolf has actually recovered enough to dial back protections.

With me now with some answers is EarthFix Correspondent Jes Burns.

Chris Hansen

Oregon's Southeastern desert canyon country has a new group of volunteers dedicated to preservation projects and organizing special events. "Friends of Owyhee" is part of an informal network of individuals who enjoy the area near Burns and Ontario. Tim Davis is the founder of the group. He says it's becoming harder to find places to escape to.

Willamette National Forest

 Jude McHugh is spokeswoman for the Willamette National Forest. She says a lot has changed in more than 20 years. She says the forest managers hope to hear from folks in the middle ground.

McHugh: "There's also we know a great number of people who generally don't get their voices heard about the national forest that maybe they recreate in, that they appreciate knowing are there for quietude and solitude. Maybe they go up and they get firewood or other forest products, and we don't get to hear from those people that often."

Wikimedia Commons

Friday the Bureau of Land Management released a menu of options for managing its public forests in Western Oregon. At stake are 2.5 million acres. They’re called O&C Lands because they were once owned by the Oregon and California Railroad. This is being closely watched by conservation groups, timber companies and local governments:

Timber sales on O&C Lands traditionally provided a lot of money for counties in Western Oregon. But that funding nearly dried up in the 1990s. That’s when a number of endangered species protections went into effect.

Wolf
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Friday began the process of removing gray wolves from the state’s endangered species list.
 

The Commission asked Fish and Wildlife staff to develop two proposals - one that would delist the wolf statewide and another that would allow for a partial delisting that would maintain protections for wolves in the western part of the state.

Wildlife biologists say there are now 77 wolves in Oregon and certain key conservation goals have been met.

Last week, Governor Kate Brown declared drought emergency in two more Oregon counties—Wheeler and Baker. Currently, more than half of the state is eligible for emergency federal aid—and it's only April. KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert spoke with one of the state’s leading climatologists about regional drought and what the future holds.

Kari Greer / U.S. Forest Service

Nearly a quarter-million acres of forest burned in last summer’s fires in and around the Klamath National Forest in (northern California’s) Siskiyou County. The U-S Forest Service is proposing a recovery plan that includes salvage logging and other elements critics say will damage wildlife habitat and make future fires more likely.
 

Melisa Pinnow / Orca Network and the Center for Whale Research

Beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean it can get pretty noisy.
Hundreds of big ships, barges, fishing boats and other vessels motor up and down the Northwest coast every year.
Some new research details how that noise could make life harder for endangered marine mammals.

Picture yourself at a noisy bar. You realize that you have been shouting at the top of your lungs all night in order to be heard. Well, orcas in Puget Sound are in kind of the same situation.

Cassandra Profita / Earthfix

A lot of energy in the Northwest comes from hydropower and wind turbines – all carbon-free.
There will be even less greenhouse gas pollution in the coming years, because the only coal plants in Oregon and Washington are scheduled to shut down. But that won’t stop coal-fired power from flowing into the region from out-of-state plants. So, Northwest clean energy advocates are taking aim at coal plants in Wyoming, Montana and Utah.

Davis: "The next level's the coal bunkers."

Wikimedia Commons

California is four years into a historic drought, and water for human use is vying with the water needs of wildlife, such as threatened salmon.

In parts of northern California, an explosive and unregulated increase in marijuana cultivation is contributing to the problem. Now, a study says the impact of pot grows on fish-bearing streams is threatening their survival.

Researchers monitoring water levels in streams in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties last summer say the water impacts of cannabis grow operations are dramatic.

US Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service has engaged the public in Seattle, Portland and Redding, California on the need for a new Northwest Forest Plan.  Now it’s moving its road show to smaller communities.

Lisa Romano, speaking for the Siuslaw National Forest Research Station, says at least a dozen local community sessions will be held in upcoming weeks. After introductions from forest service staff, participants will be called on to discuss three questions:

Cascadia Wildlands

It’s been more than twenty years since the Northwest Forest Plan set out to ease tensions in the “Timber Wars” of Oregon, Washington and Northern California.

The plan signaled a historic shift in how public lands were managed – focusing efforts on maintaining biodiversity instead of keeping timber production high.

Now the Forest Plan is up for revision, a process Northwesterners will be hearing about often in the coming years. But how did we get here?

Portland, Oregon. April. 1993.

Cascadia Wildlands

Federal wildlife officials are taking a new look at the status of the threatened northern spotted owl. Despite decades of efforts to save the species, it could soon be considered endangered.

A California conservation group petitioned the Department of the Interior in 2012 to change the status of the spotted owl under the Endangered Species Act. The group argued that owl populations are still on the decline because of habitat loss and the incursion of the barred owl, especially in Washington and Northern Oregon.

OSU Microbiologist Heads For South Africa

Apr 8, 2015

Joey is crowd funding to raise money for his scientific studies. For more information, click here:

https://experiment.com/projects/discovering-plant-destroyers-in-south-africa-with-citizen-science

Brian Davies / Register Guard (pool)

A Lane County Judge heard arguments Tuesday in a case brought by two youth against the state of Oregon. The suit asks for more to be done by leaders to prevent climate change.

Eugene teens Olivia Chernaik and Kelsey Juliana originally filed brought the suit four years ago. They're asking Judge Karsten Rasmussen to include the atmosphere as a public trust as is already the case with land and water. Attorney Chris Winter explained to reporters after the hearing.

Willamette Riverkeeper has filed a 60 day notice to sue against Bartels Packing. The notice documents several Clean Water Act violations by the Eugene based meat packing company located near Fern Ridge Reservoir.

Willamette Riverkeeper says Bartels butchers cattle onsite. The 60 day notice documents the discharging of blood wastes from Bartels slaughterhouse into the Fern Ridge Reservoir.

Riverkeeper Executive Director Travis Williams says, “the reason [they] sent the 60 day notice is [they] feel there is a reasonable potential for these types of violations to continue.”

Rachael McDonald

A lawsuit brought against the state by two Eugene teens will finally get its day in court Tuesday. The suit asks the Oregon governor to do more to prevent climate change.

Olivia Chernaik and Kelsey Juliana will appear in Lane County District Court before Judge Karsten Rasmussen. Their case asks the judge to recognize that lawmakers hold natural resources, including air and water, in public trust and those resources must be preserved for the future.

Kelsey Juliana was a freshman in high school when she first filed the lawsuit. Now she's a freshman in college.

Chafer Machinery

Few people come into contact with farm chemicals the way agricultural workers do. That's why a new health report on a commonly used herbicide is raising special concerns about farmworkers and cancer.

For years, researchers have seen glyphosate as one of the least harmful herbicides. It doesn’t cause very many acute poisonings. But now the World Health Organization has said there’s “limited evidence” long-term exposure can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma in people.

Perspectives On Alternate Approaches To Forest Management

Mar 30, 2015

Recorded on: March 27th, 2015

Air Date: March 30th, 2015

Many Oregon forest managers seek to balance long-term economic value with a conservation ethic. With the ecology in mind, speakers from two consulting companies based in Oregon will focus on timber harvesting and management of forestlands as small as 10 acres and as large as 10,000 acres. The speakers will also discuss Siuslaw National Forest projects that conduct logging within a framework of ecosystem restoration.

Oregon State University

Oregon State University professor Jane Lubchenco has had a long career building and promoting lines of connections between ocean health and human health.

Her work has carried her from the laboratory and classroom to the highest levels of public policy administration. She served as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, from 2009 to 2013 and was recently named a US Science Envoy for the Ocean by the State Department.

Cascadia Wildlands

The Forest Service is looking for public comment on a nearly 25-hundred acre logging proposal in the Willamette National Forest near McKenzie Bridge. The Goose Project has already been blocked by a federal judge.

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