Environment & Planning


If you’re a resident killer whale, Puget Sound can be a busy, noisy place.  During the summer tourist season - when orcas come into the Sound regularly - they can be surrounded by more than 20 boats. New research out this week shows the speed of those boats is a critical factor in how much noise they make, underwater.

The cost of fighting wildfires has skyrocketed over the last 30 years. At the same time, close to two million acres of wildland have been developed each year.

One of the major drivers of that expense is protecting lives and property in fire-prone areas where people didn’t used to live.

Conventional wisdom says forests in the West are overstocked and need to be thinned to prevent “catastrophic” wildfires. But some researchers say focusing on reducing fuels downplays a greater and growing driver of wildfire: climate change.

A century of putting out wildfires has left many forests in the West much thicker than in the past. That buildup of fire fuel is widely seen as a disaster waiting to happen. 

And an innovative project in Ashland, Oregon is an example of an increasingly popular approach to dealing with that fire risk.

Lane Community College

The Global Climate Summit takes place in Paris this week. Lane Community College President Mary Spilde was invited to the White House earlier this month to take part in a meeting in advance of the conference.

Desmond O'Boyle

As world leaders gather in Paris at the Global Climate Summit this week environmental activists around the world held rallies and marches asking political leaders to develop a comprehensive plan addressing climate change.

Very Old Firewood Tells A Tale Of Flammable Forests

Nov 28, 2015
John Marshall

A photographer from Wenatchee (Washington) has made a revealing discovery at the scene of a remote and long-abandoned fire lookout. Who knew a pile of very old firewood could tell a story? Correspondent Tom Banse brings it to us.

Seafloor Samples Reveal Ghosts Of Blobs Past

Nov 27, 2015
Dan Ayres / Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

A huge mass of warm water in the Pacific Ocean is causing problems off the coast of Oregon and Washington. The so-called “blob” is being blamed for toxic algae blooms, which have caused marine mammal deaths and crabbing closures. New evidence shows this isn’t the first time the blob has appeared off the Northwest coast.

Friends of Trees

In a uniquely Pacific Northwest approach to charity, every University of Oregon touchdown this season will be converted to trees in the ground.


Thanksgiving's the one day of the year that cranberries get a guaranteed spot at most tables across the U.S. But Oregon's south coast farmers are hoping to change that.