Environment

Environment & Planning

Willamette Riverkeepers

Rising water and colder temperatures have driven many illegal campers from the banks of the Willamette River. Behind, they leave a remarkable amount of trash. Recently, 50 volunteers got together to clean up a one-mile stretch of river in Eugene. 

Volunteers are walking the riverbank along the railroad tracks off Franklin Blvd., and removing anything that doesn't belong. It's no easy task. The nearly 2 tons of trash collected by volunteers includes soiled mattresses and broken television sets. And that's just the debris they could touch.

Ashley Ahearn / Earthfix

It may be pretty wet this time of year in the Northwest, but that hasn’t stopped an ongoing battle over water in Washington’s Skagit river valley.

Richard and Marnie Fox want to build a new house on their land, but they can’t get a building permit. The state says there’s not enough water in the area to support any more new residences without endangering salmon - especially during the drier parts of the year.

The Foxes are taking legal action. Their case will go before a judge on Tuesday.

Wind Warning Surges Along Oregon Coast

Dec 11, 2014
Amanda Butt

A high wind warning is in effect along the Oregon coast today. Winds are expected to reach up to 85 miles per hour in the higher coastal elevations. This extreme weather threat caused Siuslaw school district to shut down for the day and public officials prepared for emergencies.

The National Weather Service has forecast high winds all along the Oregon Coast. Siuslaw Fire and Rescue Chief Jim Langborg began warning the Florence community on social media and preparing his responders when he heard the storm was on its way.

Oregon Department of Forestry

The Oregon State Land Board is meeting in Salem Tuesday [Dec. 9] to discuss how to increase revenues from the Elliott State Forest. Earlier this year, after the forest began losing money, the Board decided to sell off parcels to timber companies.

But now the state is moving away from private auctions and focusing on public management.

Anna King

As Congress prepares to adjourn next week, still unresolved is a pair of bills with wide-reaching implications for southern and western Oregon. Over the past year, Senator Ron Wyden has pushed hard for compromise measures that would address long-standing conflicts over logging and water. But now those bills are in limbo.

oregon.gov

Oregon is looking to protect farmland by the use of conservation easements. The voluntary agreement between a land owner and a land trust or government agency limits the use of land for conservation purposes.

Conservation easements are popular in other states to protect farming and could give Oregon a strong tool to keep farms from disappearing. Tom Salazer is General Manager of the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District. He says the state should look at easements to protect farm land on a permanent basis.

Tony Schick / Earthfix

Forest owners in the Northwest use helicopters to spray weed killer after logging.
It’s an effective way to kill plants like blackberry and alder that compete with the next crop of tree seedlings. But it’s controversial. Last year people near the coastal Oregon city of Gold Beach claimed they were poisoned. State officials and timber lobbyists blamed that incident on mistakes by the pilot. But sometimes, communities report drift even when timber companies appear to be following the rules.

Climate Change And Indigenous Peoples Conference

Dec 2, 2014

Tuesday evening, the third annual Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples Conference begins at the University of Oregon. 63 undergraduate students conducted research and will be presenting their findings.

Rising temperatures and ocean water levels are threatening Native American traditions in the Northwest. The conference will look at how indigenous sovereignty and culture are affected by climate change.  

forestcamping.com

New camping rules for parts of the Umpqua National Forest near Cottage Grove go into effect today (Monday). Officials say long-term, homeless campers have created unsanitary conditions.

Camping along portions of Brice Creek and Sharps Creek will be limited to 14 days in a 45-day period. Melissa Swain is with the Cottage Grove Ranger District. She says the rule is changing because some campers have not kept clean sites:

Courtney Flatt / Earthfix

This summer, the Carlton Complex wildfire swept through north-central Washington. The fire consumed more acres than any other fire in the state’s history. Now, ecologists are trying to make forests more sustainable to help prevent these large-scale fires.

Fire ecologist Susan Prichard was driving from Seattle to her home in Winthrop just as the Carlton Complex fire picked up.

Prichard: “I saw the plume of smoke, and I felt the wind. At that moment, I hadn’t even possibly considered that the fire could race all the way down to the Columbia River.”

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