Environment & Planning

Lane County Waste Management

Lane County is building an addition to its Short Mountain Landfill south of Eugene. The $4.3 million project will increase capacity and improve the site's wastewater capturing system.

Courtney Flatt


Southeastern Oregon is filled with the kind of wide open rangeland where an iconic bird is struggling to survive: the greater sage grouse. Eleven states in the West are working out strategies for the survival of the sage grouse. In Oregon’s Harney County ranchers are eager for solutions that will avoid more government restrictions.

The plight of greater sage grouse is now at the top of mind for ranchers, conservationists, and politicians across the West.

So much so that one ranch in southeastern Oregon has put a wildlife biologist on its payroll.

Prescribed Burns To Begin In Douglas County

Sep 8, 2015

Smoke will soon be returning to Douglas County, only this time, it won't be from a wildfire. Farmers will be utilizing *prescribed burns to prepare fields and pastures for next spring. Prescribed burns help remove noxious weeds, insects, and diseased plants, and they help firefighters by reducing the buildup of brush and other flammable vegetation. The effects on populated areas should be minimized by allowing burns only to take place when conditions are appropriate and weather patterns favorable.

Jes Burns / Earthfix

Opponents of a natural gas export project in Southern Oregon are on a month-long protest hike along the route of a proposed pipeline. This weekend, the hikers neared the halfway point in Jackson County.


Bow hunting season opened in Oregon over the weekend. Local land managers are welcoming visitors to the forests, but they have several cautions.

Recent rains and cooler temperatures have brought a taste of fall.

But Jude McHugh of the Willamette National Forest says the moisture hasn’t penetrated the tree canopy, and fire danger remains high:

Northwest Permaculture Convergence

This weekend Eugene is hosting the 8th annual Northwest Permaculture Convergence. The idea of meeting human needs in ways that also are good for the environment is a philosophy that has resonance in Eugene. At the event people can participate in workshops and tour local homes to see examples of sustainable gardens and yards. Jan Spencer is the Coordinator of Northwest Permaculture Convergence. He hopes people understand permaculture is a lifestyle choice.

Could The Mushroom Save The Honeybee?

Aug 25, 2015
Katja Schulz / Flckr Commons

Honeybee populations have been plummeting for nearly a decade throughout the United States.

Now, two scientists in Washington state are teaming up to help the pollinator, and they’re investigating an unconventional source for their remedy: the mushroom.

NASA Earth Observatory

This weekend the South Willamette Valley was blanketed with smoke from wildfires, mainly burning east of the cascades. Monday, conditions have improved. It's because the wind changed direction.

OSU Report Says Algae Blooms Are Poorly Monitored In U.S.

Aug 18, 2015
Joe Eilers

Blooms of toxic cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, is increasingly creating a global health threat and poorly monitored in the U.S. That's according to a report released by scientists at Oregon State University and the University of North Carolina.

Danielle Tinker / Beyond Toxics

Governor Kate Brown has proclaimed this Saturday Oregon Native Bees Conservation Awareness Day.  There will be events in Eugene celebrating the pollinators.

Kurt Jenson

It's been 20 years since environmental activists set up a blockade on a forest service road near Oakridge to prevent logging in the Warner Creek watershed in the Willamette National Forest.

Oregon Department of Forestry

The State of Oregon is now looking for a buyer willing to take the Elliott State Forest off its hands, following Thursday’s vote by the Land Board to move ahead with plans to sell the public forest located near Coos Bay.

The state of Oregon is under a constitutional obligation to manage the Elliott Forest to make money for public schools. But with declines in timber sales in recent years, the state has been losing money on the land.

Our Children's Trust

Young people in Eugene Wednesday filed a federal climate lawsuit against the U.S. Government and the President. KLCC's Rachael McDonald spoke with one plaintiff who is part of the lawsuit sponsored by the organization Our Children's Trust.

Groundwater Levels Dropping In Klamath Basin

Aug 12, 2015
Jes Burns / Earthfix

Groundwater levels in Oregon’s Klamath Basin have dropped as much as 25-feet in the past fifteen years. A new report shows there is a relationship between the declines and pumping by farmers in the region.

River Design Group

It can be tough for salmon and steelhead returning to spawn in Northwest rivers and streams. High water temperatures, parasites, and predators all pose natural threats.

But the fish also encounter man-made obstacles – like dams - that make getting to the best spawning habitat difficult.


If July felt hot and sweaty, it was for good reason. The heat broke records in the Willamette Valley.

It was the hottest July ever in Eugene, crushing the previous record, set in 1958. Andy Bryant with the National Weather Service says the heat was well above normal:

Bryant: “So the average temperature for Eugene for the month of July was 71.5 degrees, that’s 4.7 degrees above average. The average high, if you look at all the highs during the month of July, the average was 88.2, also a few degrees above average.”

Douglas Forest Protective Association

People have been allowed to go home after being evacuated from communities near the Stouts Fire in southwest Oregon. But they must be ready to leave again if conditions worsen. Cooler temperatures and clouds Sunday helped crews battling the fire that grew quickly in the triple-digit temperatures of late last week.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest Public Radio

Salmon are a touchstone in the Northwest...in food, in nature, and now, in the damage wrought by the ongoing drought: less than half of returning Sockeye are expected to survive to the end of summer. But another important fish is dying in unprecedented numbers too: the massive white sturgeon native to the Columbia River.

Jeremy Fox/Owyhee Coalition.

A new proposal to protect about 2 million acres of the Owyhee Canyonlands in Eastern Oregon needs a sponsor in Congress to move forward.

Half of the proposed region is already designated as a Wilderness Study Area. The biggest opposition so far has come from ranchers. Brent Fenty is with the Oregon Natural Desert Association. He says farmers shouldn't be concerned about the future of grazing rights under the proposal.


A fire burning west of Roseburg jumped its lines last (Wednesday) night, and has expanded to an estimated 600 acres. Here is an update on the Cable Crossing Fire.

The fire off highway 138 near Glide started Tuesday afternoon. Kyle Reed, with the Douglas Forest Protection Association, says it’s grown beyond their capacity:

Reed: “Our district covers 1.6 million acres. So with this fire growing in complexity and size we went ahead and brought in a team from the Oregon Department of Forestry. And basically they’re coming in to relieve our guys working on that fire.”

Researchers Map Portland's Hottest, Most Polluted Places

Jul 30, 2015
Cassandra Profita / Earthfix

When it's hot outside, city neighborhoods with lots of pavement get hotter and more polluted than the ones with more greenery. It's called the urban heat island effect. And as the summers in the Northwest get hotter with climate change, these hot spots pose a growing risk to human health.In Portland, researchers are mapping the city's hottest, dirtiest places, and looking for ways to cool them down.

Douglas Forest Protective Association

With triple digit temperatures, tinder dry forests, and the threat of lightning storms in the next few days, officials are urging the public to be extra careful to prevent human-caused fires.

City Data

The City of Oakridge is asking residents and businesses to conserve water. The council has imposed a moderate water curtailment plan.

Louis Gomez is Oakridge City Administrator. He says the city has 4 active wells. A year ago this month they were drawn down to 62 feet. This year, the drawdown is at 85 feet.

Joe Chung

Oregon has enjoyed cooler days over the past week, thanks to low pressure from the Gulf of Alaska. By Wednesday, extremely hot weather is expected to return.

Andy Bryant is with the National Weather Service. He says people should be prepared for above average temperatures later this week:

Bryant: “In the south Willamette Valley, we have a forecast high on Thursday of 100 for Eugene. It looks like it’s going to be hot all throughout western Oregon.”

Wikimedia Commons

Honey bees around the world are facing serious challenges. In recent years, annual hive losses have risen to 50 percent or more. Now, a California non-profit is working to help farmers and other landowners create habitat for bees and other pollinators.

Oregon Delays Stream Buffer Decision

Jul 24, 2015
Earthfix / OPB

The Oregon Forestry Board Thursday delayed a decision on logging restrictions to keep water cool for endangered salmon.

At issue is how many trees should be left standing to provide shade along fish-bearing streams. Cold water is essential for many Northwest fish.

Ashley Ahearn / Earthfix

River levels around the Northwest are dropping as the drought continues - and the water’s getting warmer.
That’s a problem for salmon. Wildlife managers in Washington and Oregon have limited fishing to certain times of day and closed some rivers altogether. But some say that’s not enough to help struggling fish.

Lindsay Eyink

UPDATED Thursday 11:47am

Voters in Jackson and Josephine Counties last year approved county-wide bans on the cultivation of genetically-modified crops. Backers of those measures fear a bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives today would roll back those bans – as well as scores of other GMO-related measures across the country.

More than 1600 acres of old growth rainforest have burned in Washington’s Olympic National Park.
Firefighters are mounting a difficult response in a remote river valley. This is the largest fire in the park’s history, but it’s not the first to burn in the rainforests of the Olympics.

Newport Dams Evaluated In New Seismic Report

Jul 21, 2015

The Newport City Council met Monday to discuss a seismic evaluation study of the two Big Creek dams. Several recommendations were made in the report and the city will select the best option for upgrading the structures. KLCC’s Corinne Boyer has more.