Jes Burns


Jes Burns is a former KLCC host/reporter.  As of September 2014 she is a reporter for EarthFix.

Ways To Connect

Oregon State University

Oregon State University professor Jane Lubchenco has had a long career building and promoting lines of connections between ocean health and human health.

Her work has carried her from the laboratory and classroom to the highest levels of public policy administration. She served as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, from 2009 to 2013 and was recently named a US Science Envoy for the Ocean by the State Department.

Revisions to the Northwest Forest Plan are in the works. The groundbreaking 1994 management plan limited logging on old-growth forests and put in place environmental protections for wildlife like the northern spotted owl.

Timber interests and environmental groups appear to be gearing up for a multi-year fight over how federal forestlands are managed in Washington, Oregon and Northern California.

Jes Burns / Earthfix

The legislatures of Washington and Oregon both have bills in front of them that could limit suction dredge mining. The gold mining technique uses large floating vacuums to suck up rocky streambeds and sift out precious metals. If Oregon lawmakers don’t act this session, miners will be forced to pack up their dredges and go elsewhere.

There are very few spots that are more significant in the lore of mining in Oregon than Josephine Creek. The way miner Tom Kitchar tells it, it was here that a group of white settlers first discovered gold in the state.

Scott McGuffin

Arsenic in drinking water supplies is a worldwide problem. A discovery by scientists at the University of Oregon could lead to a new way to remove the toxic chemical, making groundwater supplies safer for communities.

Call it a cleanse. Or detoxification. That’s basically the process happening in groundwater, identified by University of Oregon geology professor Qusheng Jin.

He tested well-water in Creswell, Oregon, and found microbes are naturally transforming toxic water-born arsenic into a gas that can rise and get trapped in the soil, where it’s less of a problem.

Jes Burns / Earthfix

If you’ve hiked anywhere in the Northwest, there’s a good chance you’ve seen an illegal trail. Often they’re quick shortcuts or paths to off-trail viewpoints. But in extreme cases, they’re longer, surreptitiously constructed trails that wind through public and private land.

The unauthorized trails can cause a range of problems in wild areas. As more and more people spend time in the woods, closing down these illegal trails has become increasingly difficult.

There's one case where wildlife officials and trail users are trying to solve the problem together.

Wikimedia Commons

Wildlife officials in Oregon say a mallard duck shot by a hunter near Eugene has tested positive for avian flu.

The strain of influenza is relatively common in Europe and Asia and has not caused any human sickness. The flu does not appear to cause illness in wild waterfowl, which have evolved with the virus. But it could kill falcons and hawks, as well as domesticated birds.

Oregon officials say they are not surprised this strain of avian flu has arrived in the state. Wild birds in Washington, California and Utah have also tested positive.

Jes Burns / Earthfix

The West Coast of the United States and Canada is like a superhighway for migratory birds. Dozens of species travel from summer nesting grounds in Alaska down into Washington, Oregon and California. The cackling Canada goose is one of them.

In the 1980s there were only about 25-thousand left, but now the population is averaging more than a quarter million.

It’s farmers in Oregon and Washington that are paying the price for the recovery.

Marie and Joe Gadotti are sick of the geese.

Marie Gadotti: “I have my own pet name for them; they’re flying rats.”

Jes Burns / Earthfix

A nickel isn’t what it used to be. Back in the 1970s, two nickels could buy you a postage stamp, and a just few more could get you a loaf of bread. So when Oregon’s Bottle Bill went into effect in 1972, the nickel deposit on a soda made people take notice -- and return empties that were a large part of Oregon’s litter problem.

Not so today. But changes are underway to get Oregon’s plummeting bottle return rate back to early levels. Redemption centers continue to pop up.

And Oregonians will likely see the deposit raised to a dime sooner rather than later.

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.

Jes Burns / Earthfix

As universities around the country try to meet carbon reduction goals, a growing number are opting to burn wood to produce power on campus. Southern Oregon University is vying to be the first campus in the Northwest to adopt this biomass technology, as it’s called.

Tucked away on the backside of Southern Oregon University’s Ashland campus is a modest 1950s era warehouse. Puffs of cloud-white steam emerge from its smokestack, the result of burning natural gas to produce heat for the campus.