Earthfix Northwest Environmental News

NPR Story
1:36 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Talks Set In Beijing On West Coast Shellfish Ban

Geoduck clams harvested from Puget Sound, along with most shellfish from the West Coast of the U.S., have not been allowed into China. But an upcoming meeting in Beijing between U.S. and Chinese officials could ease that ban.
Katie Campbell

SEATTLE -- There are signs of a thaw in the icy trade relations between the United States and China over a Chinese ban on imported shellfish from the West Coast of the U.S.

Chinese officials have agreed to meet next week with U.S. counterparts to discuss China’s import ban on shellfish harvested from Alaska, Washington, Oregon and part of California.

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NPR Story
1:05 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Conservationists Say They'll Sue Over Privatization Of State Forest

The marbled murrelet, a federally protected seabird that nests in the coastal forests of Washington, Oregon and Northern California.
Thomas Hamer, Hamer Environmental LP/USFWS

Conservation groups want timber companies to know they'll sue if an endangered seabird's habitat is threatened by logging. The groups object to the potential privatization of the Elliott State Forest in Oregon's Coast Range.

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NPR Story
1:00 am
Thu March 13, 2014

EarthFix Conversation: Using Environmental Law To Combat Climate Change

Mary Wood is the founder of the University of Oregon's Environment and Natural Resources Law Program.
Courtesy of University of Oregon http://around.uoregon.edu/content/phil-it-video-mary-wood-philip-h-knight-professor-law

Can environmental laws protect the planet from climate change? They haven't so far, according to University of Oregon law professor Mary Wood. But she says one day they could.

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NPR Story
1:00 am
Tue March 11, 2014

An Undammed River's Sediment Brings New Life Downstream

About 3 million cubic yards of sediment have been flushed down the Elwha River since dam removal began in 2011. That’s only 16 percent of what’s expected to move downstream in the next five years.
Katie Campbell

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 4:00 am

PORT ANGELES, Wash. -- Anne Shaffer sits on the sandy shoreline of the Elwha River and looks around in amazement. Just two years ago, this area would have been under about 20 feet of water.

So far about 3 million cubic yards of sediment -- enough to fill about 300,000 dump trucks -- has been released from the giant bathtubs of sediment that formed behind the two hydroelectric dams upstream. And that’s only 16 percent of what’s expected to be delivered downstream in the next five years.

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NPR Story
1:00 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Improving River Health With Natural Infrastructure And Incentives

Craig Burns' hazelnut farm abuts the McKenzie River northeast of Eugene, Ore. A new voluntary program provides incentives for property owners to ensure their land is managed in ways that improve the river's health.
Amelia Templeton

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 2:00 am

For decades, the government has enforced regulations to protect and improve water quality. But what about rewarding people for voluntarily managing their land in ways that keep rivers cool and clean?

It's an approach that's underway along two Oregon watersheds: the McKenzie River east of Eugene and the Rogue River near Medford.

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NPR Story
4:08 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Report Looks At Columbia Generating Station Safety

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists says the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant reported three safety problems in 2013. Officials at the plant say the problems have been fixed.
Flickr Creative Commons: NRCgov

RICHLAND, Wash. -- A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists says the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant reported three safety problems in 2013. Officials at the plant say the problems have been fixed.

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NPR Story
3:43 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Southern Oregon Sawmill To Reopen Thanks to State Help

A millworker stacks lumber at the Cave Junction, Ore. Rough & Ready Sawmill in 2013, a few weeks before it closed. State and federal assistance will allow the mill to reopen.
Amelia Templeton

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced a $5 million finance package Friday that will allow a Southern Oregon county's last sawmill to re-open.

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NPR Story
8:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

What Does Climate Change Mean For Ice Climbing?

Whitman College freshman Laura Rey makes her way up the Weeping Wall, outside Dayton, Wash. This was Rey's first ice climbing trip.
Courtney Flatt

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 11:01 pm

DAYTON, Wash. -- High up in Washington’s Blue Mountains, behind trees and across the Touchet River, is what locals call the Weeping Wall.

Water seeps through the permeable basalt and can freeze on the cliff’s moss-covered face. When the conditions are right, that creates a curtain of ice that is irresistible for ice climbers.

When the ice freezes and makes this 50-foot cliff climbable, students often make the 45-minute drive from Walla Walla, Wash. to scale the wall.

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NPR Story
1:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Why Northwest Mills Want China To Buy Lumber Instead Of Logs

Tillamook mill manager Mark Elston says without efforts to export lumber to China, his mill would have gone under.
Cassandra Profita

Mark Elston followed his father into the timber industry back when business was booming.

"When I started, you could really mess things up and still make good money," he said. "You can't do that anymore."

Elston runs a lumber mill in Tillamook, Ore., for Hampton Affiliates. The company has spent millions on energy efficiency and technology upgrades that allow his mill to make the most out of every log.

But despite those investments, the mill was on the ropes after the U.S. housing market collapsed in 2008.

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NPR Story
10:47 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Klamath Tribes And Ranchers Seek Water Solutions In New Agreement

The Klamath Basin spans northern California and southern Oregon and has seen frequent water crises between the farming, ranching, tribal and environmental communities.
Devan Schwartz

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 12:00 pm

An agreement announced Wednesday between ranchers and Native American tribes seeks to resolve contentious water rights issues in the Klamath Basin, a drought-ridden region spanning southern Oregon and northern California.

Amidst a deep drought last summer, the Klamath Tribes and the federal government called on their senior water rights –- meaning they received access to limited water supplies.

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