Environment

Environment & Planning

Conservation Group Turns Christmas Trees Into Salmon Habitat

Dec 30, 2013
Michael D. Ellis

Before you kick your dying Christmas tree to the curb, consider this: Members of the conservation group Trout Unlimited would love to turn that tree into fish habitat.
 

On three Saturdays in January, the Tualatin Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited will be collecting Christmas tree donations at two locations in the Portland metropolitan area. Later, they’ll place the trees into a side channel of the Necanicum River near Seaside, where they will provide predator protection and food sources for baby coho salmon.

Creating A Northwest Lamprey Hatchery

Dec 27, 2013
Courtney Flatt

Pacific lamprey numbers are quickly declining throughout Northwestern waters. Tribal elders remember times when the Columbia River was black with the eel-like fish.

Now, Northwest researchers are trying to develop a lamprey hatchery – the first of its kind in the world. But, there are challenges ahead.

Pacific lampreys were once a major staple in Northwest tribes’ diets. The oils were a source of vitamins. Babies used lamprey tails as teething rings.

Now, as numbers decline, lamprey only make it to the table during ceremonies or special occasions.

Rodent Poisoning Harms Wildlife, Raptors

Dec 26, 2013
audobonmagazine.com

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife noticed an uptick of wild animals killed by rodent poison this fall.

ODFW Veterinarian Julia Burco says a lot of times, the problem stems from people not reading directions carefully enough. She says people may notice they have rodent problems but might not think of the consequences of other animals directly or indirectly ingesting bait.

Oregon Department of Agriculture

The federal government is counting on Willamette Valley farmers to help the recovery of a threatened bird. This fall, the streaked horned lark was added to the endangered species list.

The bird prefers open habitat, which has been declining, so it's showing up on agricultural land. Typically, finding an endangered species on your land would prohibit any disturbance to the area. But in this case, an exemption will not penalize farmers who find the lark on their property.

Penalties Of $2,800 For Wilsonville Bee Deaths

Dec 23, 2013
Rich Hatfield, Xerces Society

Penalties are in for a company implicated in the deaths of bumblebees in Oregon earlier this year. The Oregon Department of Agriculture has issued civil penalties to the pesticide company and its employees.

$2,886. That’s how much pesticide company Collier Arbor Care and four of its employees will pay for bumblebee kills.

The most notable incident killed 50,000 bumblebees in Wilsonville, Ore. Collier employees incorrectly applied a pesticide to blooming linden trees.

The fine also includes a smaller incident in downtown Portland.

Oregon Department of Forestry

The timber industry practice of spraying herbicides on clear cuts to ensure replanted saplings can take hold has been cause for controversy in Oregon.  Now the Eugene-based anti-pesticide group Beyond Toxics has released an analysis finding industry spraying in one rural community increased over a three year period.  

Executive Director Lisa Arkin:

Brett Cole, Oregon News Service

Senator Ron Wyden's long-awaited bill to promote logging on national forests in Eastern Oregon has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

The Oregon Democrat's Senate Natural Resource's Committee approved the bill Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Timber industry and conservation groups that had once supported Wyden's efforts to use logging to promote healthier national forests while helping small mills survive are not happy with the latest changes. Tom Partin of the American Forest Resources Council says it puts ecological restoration ahead of economic considerations.

Electric water heaters eat up a lot of power -- and can take up about a fifth of your electricity bill. But there’s a hot new thing in the water heater world.

It’s called the heat pump water heater. Most Northwest utilities claim the new device can save you a lot of money, and they’re offering big rebates to people who make the switch from standard electric.

But heat pump water heaters aren’t right for everyone.

A refrigerator in reverse

Public Colleges & Universities

Warmer Weather Coming This Weekend

Dec 12, 2013

Freezing rain is expected in the early afternoon Thursday, but normal temperatures will begin creeping up this weekend.

The South Willamette Valley should be experiencing warmer weather as early as Friday, with temperatures predicted to reach the mid 40s in the afternoon. Hydrologist Andy Bryant of the National Weather Service says despite some Friday night cold, the weekend should be warmer.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

The job of learning what it is Oregon's hikers, bikers, swimmers and other recreators want improved rests with Kreg Lindberg.  He's an associate professor of tourism and outdoor leadership at O.S.U.'s Cascades Campus.  Each year he helps determine local and recreational priorities with a statewide survey he conducts.  In this audio report, Lindberg tells of the origins and nature of this survey, and what was most recently learned.

The weeks leading up to Christmas are the biggest retail shopping time of the year.  But this month’s unusually cold weather is keeping people indoors – hurting some businesses in the Eugene-Springfield area. Other businesses, though, are seeing a boost.

Oregon Department of Forestry

Tuesday the Oregon State Land Board gave the green light to sell five scattered tracts in the Elliott State Forest east of Coos Bay.

The 27-hundred acres have been managed by the state for almost a century. Earnings from timber sales go to the state's Common School Fund. Due to restricted harvests, the School Fund lost money in 2013, reducing payments to all Oregon school districts. Jim Paul is with the state land board. He says this sale may set a precedent for future state land sales.

Lane County:
Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner has canceled his Community Meeting Scheduled for Wednesday evening at the Cottage Grove Community Center

• Lane Council of Governments - LCOG - Meals on Wheels in Lane County are closed except in Florence. Cafe 60 Dining Rooms in Lane County are closed except in Florence. Posted: Wed. 11th, 07:45 AM

City of Eugene:

Winter Weather Closure Information For Tuesday

Dec 9, 2013

University of Oregon:
 UO will resume its regular schedule Tuesday morning at 8.

Oregon State University:
Campus reopens at 9am Tuesday.

Lane Community College:
Lane Community College:  LCC Eugene and Cottage Grove locations opening at noon: 8 and 10 a.m. finals will be rescheduled. 12 p.m. finals will be on time. Florence center open.

Frosty Temperature Will Soon Ease

Dec 9, 2013

The South Willamette Valley has experienced record setting lows this past week.

The area hasn’t felt anything this low since the early 1970s. With recorded temperatures reaching minus  10, some residents are fearful that the current frost will continue. Meteorologist Matthew Cullen is with the National Weather Service in Portland.

“Temperatures will gradually be increasing. So we’re still going to be on the cold side for the next few days, but will gradually coming back towards where we should be, kind of normal for this time of year.”

Oregon Department of Forestry

The state of Oregon may decide to sell up to 3-thousand acres of the Elliott State Forest. The Land Board meets Tuesday in Salem.

Stink Bug Spread Alarms Growers, Scientists

Dec 6, 2013
Tom Banse

A malodorous invasive bug has gone from a worry to a certifiable nuisance for some Northwest (or Western) farmers and gardeners. The name of this insect is a mouthful: the brown marmorated stink bug. Researchers say the population really seems to have taken off this year. With the approach of winter, these stink bugs are leaving the fields and may just crawl into your home.

Agreement Could Mean End To Klamath Water Wars

Dec 5, 2013
flickr

For decades, farmers and ranchers have engaged in a bitter tug-of-war with fishermen and Indian tribes over scarce water supplies in the Klamath Basin. Now, government officials and stakeholders have announced the broad outlines of an agreement they say could finally bring peace to the region.

At the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Governor John Kitzhaber, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and an array of state and federal officials met with Klamath water users. They came to unveil what they called an historic agreement. Senator Wyden …

‘Tis the season for cold, and by Friday, arctic air might mix with moisture to bring snow to the Willamette Valley.

Steve Pierce is with the American Meteorological Society. He says this week’s chilly weather has been heading our way from Alaska.

Pierce: “That’s now sliding down across the entire Willamette Valley today and will be in place by this evening. People will notice the temperatures will drop substantially tonight as colder drier air moves over the area.”

Rachael McDonald

US Senator Ron Wyden's bill to increase timber harvest in Western Oregon is generating criticism from both sides of the ongoing logging debate.

Doug Robertson is a Douglas County Commissioner and the President of the Association of O & C Counties. He says he's still analyzing Senator Wyden's bill but...

Klamath Tribes and Ranchers Strike Water Sharing Deal

Dec 3, 2013
flickr

In Oregon’s Klamath basin, tribes say they have reached a major breakthrough in negotiations over sharing water with local ranchers.

They have the outline of a deal that could end 38 years of lawsuits and pave the way for removing four dams.

The conflict came to a head this summer when the Klamath Tribes used their senior rights to protect fish by shutting off the water to nearby ranches.

Those shutoffs sparked new negotiations. Don Gentry, Chairman of the Klamath Tribes, says the two sides have reached an agreement in principle.

This weekend is expected to end with a storm followed by a cold snap. Overnight lows are forecast to drop into the teens next week.

Rain and wind are expected to hit late Sunday in the Pacific Northwest. If you're traveling over the Cascades and coast range Sunday, National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Cullen says be prepared for heavy rain.

Cullen: "But we do think it will stay rain until very late Sunday evening. If you're driving back Monday definitely some accumulating snow is very possible so definitely be aware and be alert for those conditions."

Wyden Proposes Timber Compromise

Nov 27, 2013
Rachael McDonald

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has unveiled a bill to balance competing demands on more than two million acres of federal forest land in the state. So far, opinions differ on whether he’s found an approach that can resolve this long-standing tug-of-war.

Flanked by Governor John Kitzhaber, the Senate Democrat said his bill hit the sweet spot between conservation and cutting timber.

Ron Wyden: “We have found a way to create good-paying jobs in rural Oregon, and protect our natural treasures.”

Cassandra Profita

Across the Northwest, thousands of people are weighing in on controversial new fossil fuel projects. Agencies have collected more than 200,000 public comments on coal export and oil-by-rail proposals. What happens to all those comments? EarthFix reporter Cassandra Profita goes behind the scenes of a coal export project in Longview to find out.

People attending public comment sessions on coal export and oil-by-rail projects often hear a warning something like this.

Drill to Prevent Further Worse Spills

Nov 13, 2013

Members of the Army Corps of Engineers and EWEB worked together Wednesday in an oil spill response drill at Dexter Dam. The scenario depicted the failure of the dam’s powerhouse transformer, causing 58-hundred gallons of insulating oil to spill into the Middle Fork Willamette River. EWEB and the engineers were joined by fire departments and response teams from the surrounding towns and counties. EWEB spokesman Joe Harwood says the main goal of the exercise was to be prepared ahead of time.

Beyond The Curb: How Recycling Works Best

Oct 22, 2013
Karen Richards

Recycling works because it's economically feasible. Someone makes money re-using your papers and packaging. To ensure recycling is also environmentally sound, consumers need to put the right things, in the right way, in the bin. Some of the no-no's may be surprising. To avoid mistakes, it helps to know what happens after you bring your recycling to the curb.

Veneta just hit a milestone. For the last four years, the city has been planning and constructing a pipeline to connect with Eugene Water and Electric Board's distribution system. Tomorrow (Thursday) the community will celebrate their success in securing a long term water supply.

National Earthquake Drill Thursday

Oct 16, 2013
The Great Shake Out

Thursday morning, Oregonians will participate in a national Earthquake Drill. Organizers of the Great Shake Out are encouraging everyone to take part.

Linda Cook is Lane County Emergency Manager. She says it's inevitable that earthquakes will affect our region.

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