Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

Earthfix
9:59 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Oregon Attorney General Orders Release of Pesticide Investigation Records

John and Barbara Burns. The Burns family reported feeling unwell following aerial herbicide spraying that took place near their property in October.
Amelia Templeton / OPB

The Oregon Department of Justice has ordered the state Department of Agriculture to turn over records that are part of an investigation into aerial herbicide spraying on timber lands near Gold Beach on Oct. 16, 2013.

In the weeks following the herbicide application, people from more than a dozen households complained to the Department of Agriculture of a strange smell and a helicopter flying over a community called Cedar Valley. Ten families in the Cedar Valley area reported symptoms of illness around that time, including skin rashes, nausea, and headaches.

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NPR Story
1:00 am
Mon March 24, 2014

EarthFix Conversation: 25 Years Later, Scientists Remember The Exxon Valdez

Killer whales swimming in Prince William Sound alongside boats skimming oil from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Scientists report that orca populations there have not recovered and oil is still being found.
(State of Alaska, Dan Lawn)

25 years ago today the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, Calif., ran aground in Prince William Sound.

11 million gallons of oil spilled out, polluting 1,300 miles of Alaska’s coastline.

At the time it was the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Gary Shigenaka and Alan Mearns responded to the Exxon Valdez, and they’ve been studying oil spills ever since. They're scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle.

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NPR Story
8:20 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

EarthFix Conversation: A Geologist's Take On The Tragic Stillaguamish Landslide

An image from Google Earth, taken before the current slide, shows the scars from a previous slide that took place at the same spot in 2006.
Google Earth https://www.google.com/maps?t=h&ll=48.2821316,-121.8494463&spn=0.0128873,0.0258214&output=classic

ARLINGTON, Wash. — Authorities have confirmed that the landslide on the Stillaguamish River has killed three people and destroyed several homes.

EarthFix's Ashley Ahearn turned to Dave Montgomery to find out what caused the slide. Montgomery is a geologist at the University of Washington.

AHEARN: Dave what happened on the Stillaguamish?

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Earthfix
3:01 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Rogue River Outfitters Hope For A Good Summer Season

Rafts waiting to be deployed on the Rogue River in 2013. Federal water managers say despite drought conditions, one of the Rogue's key reservoirs on on track to be filled with water. That means enough water to keep rafters and jet boats afloat in 2014.
Devan Schwartz

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:23 pm

A warm, dry winter brought little snow to parts of Southern Oregon. This led to thin snowpacks that prevented some local ski resorts from opening.

But federal water managers for the region's Rogue River Basin say there should be enough water for summer recreation.

Water flows on the Rogue River are largely controlled by the Lost Creek Dam.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers holds back water to prevent flooding and releases water to support fisheries and downstream communities.

And Army Corps officials say the Lost Creek Reservoir is on its way to being full.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Stopping A Stink Bug Invasion

Northwest researchers are teaming up to stop an invasion of stink bugs moving across the region. The bugs, which can smell like dirty gym socks, ruin tree fruit and grape vines.
Flickr Creative Commons: Armed Forces Pest Management Board

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 12:35 pm

WAPATO, Wash. -- You have to go through three airlocked doors to get to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s stink bug research lab.

The quarantined, closet-sized room has its own ventilation system. The brown marmorated stink bug colony is kept inside an even smaller room within the lab.

“So, here’s our colony,” says chemist Lee Ream, as he opens the door.

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Earthfix
5:12 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Study Tallies Economic Risks Of Oregon Coal Export Project

Exporting coal like this from a Wyoming mine will have negative economic consequences that exceed the benefits, according to an new analysis commissioned by groups opposed to transporting coal down the Columbia River for export to Asia.
Katie Campbell

A study released Thursday by coal export opponents tallies the economic risks of barging coal down the Columbia River –- from the cost of killing salmon and emitting air pollution to increased accidents and impacts to recreation in the Columbia River Gorge.

The report's author, Ecotrust economist Noah Enelow, suggests that the project's benefits might not be worth the risks of building the Morrow Pacific project.

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Earthfix
4:04 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Wildlife Agency May Stop Tracking Wandering Wolf OR-7

A photo captured an image of the wolf, OR-7, during his time across the Oregon border in Northern California.
California Department of Game

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 5:01 pm

Oregon’s famous wandering wolf OR-7 may soon be dropping off the maps.

State wildlife officials announced that they don’t plan to recollar the wolf – meaning that his future travels across the West would no longer be tracked. And that means his path would no longer be mapped for the world to follow on the Internet.

OR-7 was born in 2009 into the Imnaha Pack in Northeastern Oregon. He was fitted with a GPS collar in 2011.

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Earthfix
2:45 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

OR-7: A Wandering Wolf May Soon Wander Away

A photo captured an image of the wolf, OR-7, during his time across the Oregon border in Northern California.
California Department of Game

Oregon’s famous wandering wolf OR-7 may soon be dropping off the maps.

State wildlife officials announced that they don’t plan to recollar the wolf – meaning that his future travels across the West would no longer be tracked. And that means his path would no longer be mapped for the world to follow on the Internet.

OR-7 was born in 2010 into the Imnaha Pack in Northeastern Oregon. He was fitted with a GPS collar in 2011.

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NPR Story
8:00 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Washington Legislature Fails To Pass Any Oil Train Legislation

Increased oil train traffic had put public pressure on Washington lawmakers to act, but none of this session's oil-train bills passed before the Legislature adjourned Friday.
flickr/Russ Allison Loar https://www.flickr.com/photos/11072040@N08/6184231577/in/photolist-aqtNAn-9d8NnY-dMMvL1-9bXnje-fa6tG7-cCoWk1-cCp1fU-cCp3yQ-cCoSAq-cCoYf1-cCoUqj-cCoP3Q-cCoR5b-cCoLWY-cCoJUo-cCoD3Q-cCoGSL-foFREg-eQovqh-

SEATTLE -- More oil is moving through Washington state from the Bakken oil fields, putting public pressure on elected officials to pass laws protecting public health and the environment.

Bakken oil from North Dakota and Montana has proven extremely flammable, causing several explosions in North America, including one that killed 47 people in Quebec last July.

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NPR Story
3:30 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Congress Studies New Way To Fund Massive Wildfires

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell discusses the wildfire forecast at a news briefing in Boise. She's flanked by Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (left) and Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. (Right, L-R).
Aaron Kunz

BOISE, Idaho -- A coalition of Congressional Democrats and Republicans gathered in Boise today [Monday] to tout a proposal that would change the way the federal government pays for firefighting operations in the West and beyond.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell joined all four federal senators from Oregon and Idaho, an Idaho congressman, as well as Idaho’s governor at the National Interagency Fire Center.

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