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.

There's good news for Oregon after a historic round of snowfall led to Gov. Kate Brown declaring a state of emergency Wednesday: The state should be mostly free from snow for the rest of the week.

But temperatures east of the Cascades and in the Columbia River Gorge will remain dangerously low through the end of the week, with some possible flooding due to melting snow.

Clam shells and pebbles crunch underfoot on the shore of the Lummi Nation’s Portage Bay in northwest Washington. At the lowest tides, Lummi fishermen can walk out to harvest clams.

“Usually, it’s during the nighttime,” says 25-year-old Lummi tribal fisherman Lonnie James Jr, who’s been digging clams since he was six. “We go out there with headlights and a rake and a bag and have to dress warm and inch down in the ground, flip flop it over,” he explains. “You’re bent over for five or six hours.”

Union Pacific Railroad is suing Oregon's Wasco County and Columbia River Gorge commissioners in an effort to push through a proposed track expansion.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the company asked a federal court to preempt a Wasco County ordinance that is blocking the company from expanding its track through the Columbia River Gorge.

It was a historic evening for Portland and surrounding areas Tuesday night as record snowfall led to one of the snowiest days ever recorded at the Portland International Airport.

By 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service said it recorded 6.5 inches at their offices near the airport.

“That makes this the ninth snowiest calendar day at PDX since 1940,” said Colby Neuman, a meteorologist with the NWS in Portland. The agency also described it as the snowiest day in the Portland and Vancouver area since Jan. 20, 2008.

Central Oregon's Big Bad Winter Continues

Jan 11, 2017

School districts in the Portland metro area were already canceling school Wednesday as snow began to fall at a rate of one inch per hour Tuesday night.

While that’s significant, this winter has been particularly hard on central Oregon. Another winter storm is hammering that region with even more snow.

Clint Burleigh, a lieutenant with the Bend Police Department, said his vehicle has studded snow tires and all-wheel drive, and he still struggled to get around town Tuesday.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit over dams in the Columbia River Basin are asking the court to order federal agencies to spill more water over the dams this spring to help threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead

Conservation groups together with the state of Oregon and the Nez Perce Tribe filed a motion in U.S. District Court on Monday.

Todd True, an EarthJustice attorney representing the conservation groups, said new science shows spilling more water over the dams in the spring will improve the survival rate of imperiled fish by helping them reach the ocean.

The Navy is scraping the hull of a decommissioned aircraft carrier docked at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard just outside of Bremerton. The goal is to prevent potentially invasive species from traveling with the ship when it’s towed to Texas to be dismantled.

Port Of Vancouver Names CEO Finalists

Jan 10, 2017

The Port of Vancouver has named three finalists for CEO.

The candidates include: Edward Galligan, the executive director for the Port of Olympia; Arthur Scheunemann, the former CEO of the economic development council for Seattle and King County; and Julianna Marler, the Port’s current interim CEO.

The finalists were chosen from about 80 applicants, according to Port officials, who hope to have a new CEO in place by March.

The next CEO will be tasked with navigating how to handle what would be the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal.

Predicting Toxic Algae Blooms Just Got Easier

Jan 9, 2017

Scientists at Oregon State University have figured out a way to predict outbreaks of a dangerous neurotoxin called domoic acid in the Pacific Ocean. The toxin is produced during algae blooms and can make crab and shellfish unsafe to eat.

A few years back, Oregon State University researcher Morgaine McKibben noticed that the ocean off Oregon had warmed considerably. It was part of a natural climate cycle called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

2016 was the year one modest Forest Service research project turned the Northwest’s storied art glass industry upside down.

Samples taken near two Portland art glass factories were shown to carry dangerously high concentrations of heavy metals. These companies make supplies for glass artists all over the world, from stained glass church windows to fancy light fixtures in big hotels — even most the blown glass holiday ornaments you might have had hanging around the house last month.

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