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.

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