EarthFix

News Fixed on the Environment.

EarthFix is a public media partnership of KLCC, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Idaho Public Television, KCTS9 Seattle, KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio, Northwest Public Radio and Television, Jefferson Public Radio, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Gray wolves are once again the center of attention for Oregon wildlife officials.

The state is considering revisions to the state’s Wolf Management Plan, which directs how the state’s gray wolf population is protected. The plan also addresses how conflicts with humans, livestock and deer and elk population goals should be handled.

“We’re looking at plan, how we implemented it, what works and what doesn’t - and what we could do better,” Wolf Program Coordinator Russ Morgan said Friday at an Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting in Klamath Falls.

Nature Time Improves Your Well-Being, Says OSU Study

Apr 21, 2017

Researchers at Oregon State University have found that people who spend time in nature feel greater life satisfaction.

That's certainly true for Gig Harbor, Washington, resident Bill Coughlin, who recently spent the day hiking with his kids at Smith Rock State Park near Terrebonne, Oregon.

"It recharges me more than anything," Coughlin said, gazing up at the giant red rock face. "There’s nothing like getting back into nature. It’s just so peaceful, too. It’s needed. In our busy lives, it’s just so important."

The state of Oregon has announced a new round of taxpayer-funded grants to help schools and other public buildings better withstand a major earthquake.

The grant program is funded by state bonds. It was created just over a decade ago when lawmakers became convinced of the need to protect critical infrastructure as well as to protect lives of vulnerable people in the event of a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

One of President Trump’s top economic advisors says the administration plans to approve a permit for the controversial Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project in Coos Bay.

In an interview at a policy summit Thursday, White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn said building terminals that would ship LNG to Japan and Germany would offer a big boost the U.S. economy.

Looming Budget Cuts Put Scientists In Limbo

Apr 21, 2017

Eric Dexter pulls a giant windsock out a plastic tub and drops it into the Columbia River.

“So now we’re going catch the zooplankton samples, which is what I'm most interested in,” he said.

He’s looking for invasive species – but not the kind you usually hear about. Invasive plankton are practically invisible. They come in the ballast water of cargo ships, often from Asia. To even find these microscopic organisms, you need a plankton fishing net.

Washington’s Department of Ecology wants more information before deciding whether to approve a shoreline permit for a controversial methanol refinery in Kalama.

In its application, NW Innovation Works establishes a self-imposed limit of 976,131 metric tons greenhouse gas emissions annually. But in the letter to the county, the Department of Ecology says its calculations found an additional 232,136 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions will be emitted per year.

Oregon is proposing to relax protections for bald eagles on private land. A series of public hearings on the rule change began Wednesday.

Recovery of the bald eagle is considered to be an endangered-species success story. The eagle was taken off the federal list of endangered species in 2007. Oregon delisted it in 2012.

Helping juvenile salmon migrate out to sea has long been difficult and controversial. Barging is a common way to get the fish around dams.

The salmon are hauled around eight dams in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Idaho Conservation groups say this practice harms fish — and needs to stop now.

Seven groups sent a letter to NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, asking the agencies to this spring stop sending salmon along their migration route in barges.

Northwest communities are getting their drinking water from aging infrastructure that is costly to maintain and prone to breaking down.

That’s the conclusion of a new report issued by the Olympia-based Center for Sustainable Infrastructure, which is affiliated with The Evergreen State College.

The center's director, Rhys Roth, said those water systems were state-of-the-art when they were built a century ago.

It's Raining, But Wildfire Season Is Starting In Washington

Apr 14, 2017

Despite a wet and windy spring, wildfire season officially begins in Washington state Saturday. Oregon’s fire season typically begins next month, depending on weather conditions.

As the season begins, fire officials caution people working in the woods or clearing land to have fire prevention equipment on hand.

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