Environment

Environment
1:04 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Information Gap In Northwest Oil Train Emergency Response

More oil is moving along Northwest railways. The Bakken Oil fields of North Dakota are booming. But Bakken oil is explosive at relatively low temperatures. There have been several oil train accidents since the boom began, one of them costing the lives of 47 people in Quebec.

That’s prompted KUOW’s EarthFix team to take a look at how prepared the Northwest is for the rise of oil train traffic. Ashley Ahearn reports.

Read more
Science
6:00 am
Mon January 13, 2014

How A 3-D Printer Is Helping Preserve A Saber-Toothed Salmon

The University of Oregon's saber-toothed fossil skull, prepared for a CT scan.
Credit University of Oregon

For years paleontologists have searched for a way to duplicate fragile fossils without damaging them. Now scientists with the University of Oregon say 3D printing is the secret.

The University’s Museum is building an exhibit on the evolution of salmon.

The centerpiece is the fossil head of a sabertooth salmon that spawned in Oregon roughly 5 million years ago.

Imagine a sockeye, “Put a big old gnarly tooth in the front jaw. That would be a saber-tooth salmon. And also make it a lot bigger.“

Read more
Forest Management
6:53 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Tree Sitters Don’t Buy Logging Designed To Mimic Nature

Kate Armstrong climbing up to tree camp. She and her fellow Cascadia Forest Defender protesters are concerned about a plan to log 120-year-old forests on O&C Lands.
Amelia Templeton

A group of protesters and college students has spent the past six months living in the woods on a ridge near Roseburg, Oregon. They’re using civil disobedience to try to prevent logging on the site. It sounds like an old story in the Northwest. But there’s a new twist. A forestry professor says the logging was designed to mimic nature.

Last year, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management sold the rights to log a small grove of Douglas firs to a private company called Roseburg Forest Products.

Read more
Oak Savannah
7:22 am
Thu January 9, 2014

In Oregon’s Wine Country, Family Holds Onto Oak Tradition

Sarah and Ben Deumling stand beneath one of the many oak trees on their 1,300 acre property northwest of Salem.
Credit Devan Schwartz

The Northwest wine industry has grown tremendously over the last few decades.

That’s had a big economic impact but that growth has also changed the region’s landscape.

In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, you don’t see a lot of oak trees anymore. Spacious oak savannas have been replaced by farms and vineyards.

Devan Schwartz reports on one family holding onto an old oak tradition, despite the odds.

Economists are predicting a global wine shortage, and that means demand for Northwest grapes will only grow.

Read more
Ski resorts
6:34 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Ski Industry Praying For Snow After Record Dry Year

Mt Bachelor is one of the few northwest ski resorts that has opened for the season so far.
Credit Mt Bachelor Ski Resort

2013 was a record dry year in Eugene and Medford [Oregon]. Many areas around the region have gotten half of their average snowfall or less. That’s got Northwest ski resorts, many of which haven’t even opened yet, nervously waiting for snow. So are thousands of workers and retailers who depend on the ski season. And, there’s little relief in sight.

Read more
Light Pollution
6:22 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Rules To Curb Light Pollution Advance One City And Park At A Time

Urban sky glow is evident in the night sky over Seattle.
Credit Tom Banse

Chances are you can't see the Milky Way at night. That's because the glare from city lights washes out all but the brightest stars where most people live. A smattering of Northwest cities and counties are taking action by passing new rules for outdoor lighting. It's not all about the stars. And some people take a dim view of light regulation.

Once you're aware of obnoxious lighting, you'll "know it when you see it," says City of Tumwater, Washington senior planner David Ginther.

Read more
weather
10:16 am
Tue December 31, 2013

2013 Was A Dry Year For Oregon

2013 was the driest on record in Eugene, despite a soggy September.
Credit wikimedia

2013 was a really dry year for Oregon. Climate scientists at Oregon State University say it was the driest on record for Eugene despite a soggy September.

Deputy Director of the Oregon Climate Service at OSU Kathie Dello says Eugene saw less than half of its normal precipitation this year. Dello says September brought a lot of rain but not enough to make up for the rest of the year. The snow-storm in early December was very dry. Dello spoke by cell from a ski trip in the Cascades.

Read more
Hunting
10:32 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Sauvie Island To Open To Waterfowl Hunters

Waterfowl hunters will soon have a new location at their disposal. The former duck hunting club, Flight's End on Sauvie Island opens to hunting January 1st. 

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife acquired the property in September through the Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program. The agreement guarantees more than $117 million for fish and wildlife habitat conservation and restoration, protecting a minimum of 16,880 acres of important native habitats.

Read more
Salmon Habitat
5:55 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Conservation Group Turns Christmas Trees Into Salmon Habitat

Christmas trees in a coastal stream.
Credit 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.

Read more
Pacific lamprey
7:15 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Creating A Northwest Lamprey Hatchery

7-month old lamprey.
Credit 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.

Read more

Pages