Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Southern Oregon Pesticide Case Highlights Gaps In State Oversight

The yellow helicopter belonging to Steve Owen of Pacific Air Research was at the center of an investigation into alleged overspray during an aerial herbicide application onto forestland in Curry County.
Oregon Department of Agriculture

Steve Owen should not have been ferrying gallons of herbicides by helicopter over homes near Gold Beach, Ore.

But when John Burns glanced up from his pruning he saw the tail of Owen's helicopter high overhead. Neighbor Keith Wright noticed it dip between two trees as he tinkered with his fire department’s Humvee. A slight vibration and hum filled the room in Kathyrn Rickard’s home where she sat, studying.

The National Guard was out looking for pot farms, they each thought — not an uncommon or alarming sight in southwestern Oregon.

Then came the smell.

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Earthfix
4:37 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Investigators Link Bee Die-Off To Unauthorized Hives In Oregon

A honeybee. The Oregon Department of Agriculture is investigating a die-off southwest of Portland in Sherwood.
Flickr/Brad Smith https://www.flickr.com/photos/57402879@N00/248636075/in/photolist-nYjQT-5fntxz-fgZ9od-899FXx-6aTDPG-7F5QEA-ph56x-bCGC2G-52wQSg-e6WTco-6e1sBG-ebf52v-Jy9Fp-FFCMo-4kii5y-5BFfjJ-4DqYXh-ehtwk-g23pT7-d5QvQ-

Investigators have discovered 30 unauthorized commercial honeybee hives near the site of a large bee die-off in Sherwood southwest of Portland.

Observers reported thousands of dead honeybees on a busy stretch of Highway 99W on Sunday.

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NPR Story
3:49 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

New Study: Mercury Found In Sport Fish In Remote Northwest Lakes

New research from the U.S. Geological Survey shows some fish in the West's pristine, alpine lakes like Lake Solitude in Grand Teton National Park (pictured here) have high mercury levels.
U.S. Geological Survey/John Pritz

SEATTLE — Some bad news for backcountry in the West: Some of the fish in the region's wild alpine lakes contain unsafe levels of mercury, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Earthfix
3:05 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Climate Model Shows Asian Pollution Influences Global Weather

The Pacific storm track, seen here in a simulation by NOAA, affects weather and climate around the world.
Courtesy of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 2:43 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. — A new climate study says pollution in Asia can influence weather over much of the world.

Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory helped develop a new type of climate model that was used to develop the study. It was published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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NPR Story
11:13 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Lawsuit Challenges Sale Of Elliott State Forest Parcel

A lawsuit filed today challenges Oregon's plans to sell a tract of land in the Elliott State Forest to a private timber company.
Oregon Department of Forestry

Three environmental groups are suing to stop the state of Oregon from selling a 788-acre parcel within the Elliott State Forest.

The Audubon Society of Portland, Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands say the East Hakki Ridge parcel — one of several the state is selling to the highest bidder — can't be sold to a private company because it used to be national forestland.

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NPR Story
6:55 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Wash. DNR Postpones Clear-Cuts It Approved Near Oso Landslide

The aftermath of the March 22, 2014 Oso mudslide. The state of Washington has canceled a timber sale near the town so it can assess risks to the public.
Courtesy of King County Sheriff's Office

Washington state officials have postponed selling 250 acres of timber on steep slopes near the town of Oso.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources had scheduled the 188-acre "Riley Rotor" timber sale and the 62-acre "Home Repairs" timber sale for auction this Wednesday, a month and a day after the March 22 landslide that killed at least 39 people in Oso.

The Riley Rotor site is on state land about five miles southwest of the deadly Oso slide. Much of the site is so steep that the DNR had proposed logging it with helicopters.

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Earthfix
3:37 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Ranchers And Tribes' Klamath Agreement Shifts The Hard Work To Congress

A wildlife refuge in the Klamath Basin. Drought conditions can limit the amount of water that reaches refuges like this one.
Flickr

Congress will soon be charged with solving decades of water conflicts in the Klamath Basin – an arid region spanning Southern Oregon and Northern California.

Members of the tribal and ranching communities formally gave their support this month to a pact settling disputes over water rights and access to irrigation water. That was the final hurdle before federal legislation could be written to enact the Klamath Agreements.

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NPR Story
7:08 am
Thu April 17, 2014

WA Lands Commissioner Defends Taking Timber Money Despite Vow

Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark thanks one of the volunteers at the Great Gravel Pack-In at the Capitol State Forest, March 29, 2014.
Credit Flickr Photo/Diana Lofflin, DNR

It's not unusual for elected officials to cozy up to people with money. Yet Washington Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark's relationship with the timber industry he regulates has changed dramatically since the two-term Democrat first ran for the office six years ago.

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Earthfix Northwest Environmental News
2:41 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Oregon GMO Panel Holds First Meeting

Governor John Kitzhaber explains the importance of the panel's work on GMOs.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber convened a panel of regional experts Thursday on issues of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

At Oregon State University's Food Innovations Center in downtown Portland, Kitzhaber spoke on the importance of debating the role of GMOs in the state.

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Earthfix
4:00 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Federal Government Blazes Ahead On Comprehensive Fire Management Plan

Wildfire seasons in many parts of Oregon and the rest of the West are getting hotter and longer.

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 3:45 pm

A new national strategy for preventing and fighting wildfires has been announced by the federal government in response to increasingly costly firefighting seasons in the West.

Rather than waiting to address wildfires until after they ignite, the new strategy emphasizes restoring forests and rangelands while stabilizing funding.

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