EarthFix Northwest Environmental News

Three Oregon conservation groups say a new plan to manage National Wildlife Refuges in the Klamath Basin doesn’t do enough to protect habitat. The groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Medford to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider additional options.

Washington is requiring dairies with 200 or more cows to apply for updated water quality permits. The new regulations are meant to curb water pollution from livestock manure.

This type of runoff can cause excessive nitrates in drinking water, which is harmful to infants, adults with compromised immune systems, and women who are trying to become pregnant. Pollution from manure can also contaminate shellfish beds and beaches.

The perfect day for an outdoor wedding or a baseball game? That’s a “mild day,” says Sarah Kapnick, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“I like to call mild weather days the ‘Goldilocks days,’” she says. “They’re not too hot. They’re not too cold. They’re just right.”

Kapnick is one of the co-authors of a study published Wednesday that has good news for picnickers and hikers in the Pacific Northwest: As climate change advances, we’ll have more mild weather.

Invasive Species Add Up To Big Losses For Washington

Jan 17, 2017

Invasive species could cost the state of Washington $1.3 billion a year if left unchecked, a new study found.

In mid-November, thousands of people took to the streets in cities across the nation, including Portland and Seattle, to express their unhappiness with Donald Trump's election.

Protesters gathered in the central Oregon city of Bend, too. But their numbers were much smaller.

Bend TV station KTVZ reported that a couple of hundred marchers sang and carried signs.

The Oregon Department of Transportation closed Interstate 84 in both directions between Troutdale and Hood River due to icy conditions just before 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Rain and freezing rain rolled into the Portland metro area early Tuesday afternoon. Roads in and around the city grew slick with new precipitation on top of melting snow left over from last week's storm.

Portlanders pride themselves on their cutting-edge green buildings.

In the early 2000s, the U.S. Green Building Council rated several Portland buildings Platinum — the highest level certification in the council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, or LEED.

The city scored many "firsts" in the U.S. for Platinum ratings: the first condominium in the Henry in the Pearl; the first historic renovation in the Gerding Theater; and the first med-science facility in OHSU’s Center for Health and Healing, to name just a few.

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley says he does not believe President Obama will designate the Owyhee Canyonlands as a national monument before leaving office on Friday.

Merkley said Interior Secretary Sally Jewel told him a monument designation for the eastern Oregon lands has been shelved.

Obama has taken a series of monument actions in recent months, including expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon.

The timber industry thinks it may able to reverse President Barack Obama's expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Southern Oregon.

The president's decision to add 48,000 acres to the 65,000-acre national monument was praised by environmentalists and Oregon's two senators, Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

But a timber industry trade group argued that Obama misused his power under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

New research shows Dungeness crab fisheries could suffer as the Pacific Ocean grows more acidic.

Increasing acidification from carbon pollution will drive down food supplies for crab, according to new scientific modeling from the University of Washington and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In a tiny island laboratory in the Northwesternmost corner of Washington, one marine biologist is on a mission: scan every known fish species in the world.

It’s a painstaking and smelly task, but one that promises to fundamentally change the way scientists and educators look at marine anatomy.

President Obama on Thursday announced an anticipated expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon.

The monument is currently about 65,000 acres in Jackson County, east of Ashland. The expansion adds 48,000 acres to the monument.

The president issued a statement announcing the expansion, saying his administration has tried "to protect the most important public lands for the benefit of future generations."

The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that two proposed fossil fuel terminal projects in Grays Harbor cannot go forward without further environmental review.

The court Thursday sided with the Quinault Indian tribe and four environmental groups in overturning a 2015 appeals court decision that the two projects were not subject to review under the state’s Ocean Resources Management Act.

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.

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