Environment

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 Spacious oak savannas have been replaced by farms and vineyards.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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Wildlife
6:00 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Rodent Poisoning Harms Wildlife, Raptors

Credit 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.

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Environment
5:38 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Oregon Farmers Can Help Threatened Bird

The streaked horned lark.
Credit 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.

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Bees
8:31 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Penalties Of $2,800 For Wilsonville Bee Deaths

Western Bumble Bee (Bombus occidentalis) in the Mt. Hood National Forest during summer 2013.
Credit 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.

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