Environment

Environment & Planning

Jes Burns / Earthfix

Before you can prosecute a thief, you have to know what he stole. This holds true for crimes against people - and crimes against nature.

Southern Oregon is home to the world’s only criminal forensics lab dedicated to this kind of evidence. Its traditional focus has been on endangered animal cases.

But that’s changing, thanks to an international push to stem the trafficking of hardwood from illegally logged forests.
 

Katie Campbell / Earthfix

Pinto abalone were poached almost to extinction by the end of the 90s.

The tasty meat of this shellfish, combined with its mother of pearl shell, made pinto abalone a target for illegal harvest, and a delicacy in Asia.

Thousands upon thousands of them were taken from Puget Sound.

You can hear the pride in Josh Bouma’s voice as he peers down into a tank at the NOAA labs in Mukilteo. Bouma is a shellfish biologist with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund and manages a captive breeding operation for pinto abalone. He’s raised these abalone from tiny larvae.

Angela Kellner

Saying she plans to do "more being and less doing" in her retirement, Julie Daniel has passed the crown of reduce, reuse, recycle to her successor after nearly 10 years as the Executive Director of BRING. After a national search the Board of Directors picked staff member Carolyn Stein to replace Daniel. Stein has been with BRING since 2008, serving first as Education Coordinator, then moving to her most recent position as Manager of the RE:think Business program, which she developed and launched in 2010.

Tony Schick / Earthfix

The U.S. is increasing its efforts to combat global wildlife trafficking. But resources have diminished for catching poachers stateside.

For our series on wildlife crimes, EarthFix reporter Tony Schick takes us to Central Oregon, where Fish and Wildlife troopers are struggling to protect a mule deer population that’s in decline
 

BEAN: “ Hello .... State Police ...“

Oregon Fish and Wildlife Trooper Darin Bean is searching a home in the backwoods of La Pine, Oregon.

BEAN: “Boy, there’s a lot of little rooms in this place …”

Courtney Flatt / Earthfix

Every year deer and elk lose their antlers. It’s kind of like when a child loses a baby tooth. For some, they’re are fun to collect. But other unscrupulous people are harassing animals to death in an effort grab the biggest antlers. Today in our series on wildlife crimes, Courtney Flatt from our EarthFix team takes a look at what that means for the animals and the people who try to protect them.

The trick to looking for antlers is to keep your eyes on the ground.

Tanner: “You’re trying to just find something that looks out of the ordinary.”

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.

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.

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