Environment

Environment & Planning

Wolf
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

It may not come as a surprise to hear that wolves make cows nervous. Unlike bovine that haven’t ever had a run-in with a wolf pack, ones that have can experience stress-related illnesses. KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert reports researchers with Oregon State University have found a way to measure the stress of a wolf attack on beef cows.

What Does Climate Change Mean For Ice Climbing?

Mar 10, 2014
Courtney Flatt

Ice climbers are a lot like snowboarders and skiers – they count on winter weather to create the right conditions for their sport. But here’s a big difference: mountain resorts can manufacture snow; no one has invented a machine to freeze waterfalls. And as winter temperatures rise, outdoor recreationalists worry that climate change could threaten some ice climbing destinations.

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

Rural Development Initiatives

Outdoor enthusiasts in Oregon will soon have another venue for their passion. Today (Monday) kicks off a project to link Sweet Home to the Willamette National Forest through a public access trail system.

About 36 private and public entities are coming together to launch the South Santiam River Corridor Project. They will commit to creating 12 miles of trails paralleling Highway 20. Sweet Home City Manager Craig Martin says the forest project will create jobs:

Gilchrist State Forest To Add Nearly 29,000 Acres

Mar 6, 2014
Oregon Department of Forestry

The Gilchrist State Forest south of Bend is adding nearly 29,000 acres. The Board of Forestry approved completion of the multi-year acquisition Wednesday.

Legislators first approved the purchase in 2010. The State acquired 43,000 acres that became the first new Oregon State Forest in 60 years. At the same time, The Conservation Fund bought about 25,000 acres directly adjacent with the intention of eventually selling it to the Oregon Department of Forestry. ODF spokesman John Pellissier says they aren't usually in the habit selling or purchasing land.

Anna King

A situation on the Columbia River is rapidly unfolding with the damaged Wanapum Dam near Vantage, in Central Washington. Teams of engineers are scrambling to figure out what’s gone wrong with part of Wanapum’s spillway structure. Correspondent Anna King winded her way up the Columbia River to the dam, and files this investigative report.

Former NASA Scientist James Hansen On Climate Change

Mar 4, 2014
Cassandra Profita

Until last year, James Hansen ran the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA. In that role, he issued some of the earliest warnings about the risks of climate change.

Hansen was in Eugene this past weekend to give a keynote speech at the Environmental Law Conference. Before the speech, Hansen sat down with EarthFix reporter Cassandra Profita to talk about his new life as a public speaker and climate scientist at Columbia University.

Q: Dr. Hansen, it's been almost a year since you left NASA. How has your work changed?

Anna King

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden is saying cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is like something out the movie “Groundhog Day.” In a boathouse on the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon,  Saturday, he said the problems at the nuclear site repeat over and over.

Senator Wyden says key documents at Hanford were kept from him, the State of Washington and the public.

Ron Wyden: “We were told in 2012 that this double-shelled tank … was an isolated issue. Now we have obtained documents indicating some very serious questions about whether that was actually the case.”

Rachael McDonald

The northwest is famous for political activism-- WTO protests, tree-sits, Occupy… When activists get arrested, there's a law firm in Eugene that might represent them for no little or no money. Lauren Regan's Civil Liberties Defense Center celebrates its tenth year at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference this weekend.

Oregon Department of Forestry

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is drafting a new plan to better manage timber harvest, recreation, and wildlife habitat.

uo lawblog

Thousands of Environmental activists, lawyers and students will be at the University of Oregon in Eugene this weekend for the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. The 3 day event begins Thursday afternoon.

The theme of the law conference this year is "Running into Running Out"

Brinson: "With the 6th largest mass extinction currently happening, we've got to do something. So hopefully, this conference can be an opportunity for people to figure some of this stuff out."

Oregon Department of Forestry

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is drafting a new plan to better manage timber harvest, recreation, and wildlife habitat.

Mt Pisgah Arboretum

The 1999 fire that burned Mt. Pisgah grasslands also benefited the site by eradicating poison oak. Similarly, the winter storm earlier this month both damaged and enhanced the Lane County arboretum.  Tom LoCascio, Mt. Pisgah site manager, says the deciduous forest got hit:

LoCascio:  “We saw a lot of tops breaking out of trees.  It seemed like the oaks in particular took it pretty hard, and some of the big leaf maples as well.”

In assessing damage, LoCascio says, sometimes we consider only the individual species, the single oak tree,

Ashley Ahearn

Steelhead in Puget Sound have been listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act since 2007.

Millions of dollars have been spent improving the habitat of this iconic fish, but the population isn’t increasing.
In fact, a lot of the fish aren’t even making it out of Puget Sound.
And scientists can’t pinpoint why. KUOW’s Ashley Ahearn jumped in a boat with one scientist who’s looking for answers.

Desmond O'Boyle

InStove, which produces and develops cleaner cooking technologies, is drawing international figures to Cottage Grove. This Week, Zambian Ambassador, His Excellency Palan Mulonda met with researchers, and government officials, including Cottage Grove Mayor Thomas Munroe.

saveamazonheadwaters.org

The Eugene City Council put off a decision to purchase the 26-acre Beverly property in south Eugene. At a work session Wednesday council members unanimously voted to table the discussion.

Heather Sielicki is with the Southeast Neighbors Association. She says she’s disappointed with the decision to delay a vote to purchase the lots.

Karen Richards

The group "Support Local Food Rights" continues to fight to get its anti-GMO initiative on the November ballot in Lane County. Today (Tuesday) a judge heard challenges to the measure's wording.

The local food group wants to restrict genetically engineered seeds from being grown in Lane County. A Junction City farmer who plants genetically modified sugar beets claims the title of the ordinance is not legal.

Volcanic Eruptions Could Be More Rare Than You Think

Feb 18, 2014
Eric Klemetti, Denison University

Right before a volcano erupts, molten rock, known as magma, is moving around underneath the surface. New research suggests this liquid magma is very rare. That’s an important finding for researchers trying to predict when a volcano may erupt.

Magma may not be bubbling beneath the Northwest’s volcanoes as much as you think.

Researchers studying Mount Hood have found that magma is often too cold to move around so much. And cold, here, is a relative term. About 750 degrees Celsius.

Heavy Rain Slows Fallen Tree Recovery Process

Feb 14, 2014

The Eugene Public Works Department says it may take weeks to recover from extensive damage caused by last week's ice storm, and this weekend's heavy rain isn't helping. Carrie Peterson is a Spokeswoman for the Public Works Department. She says the heavy rain is over-saturating the soil and causing already weakened trees to uproot entirely.

Petterson: "So the areas we once had cleared for the roadways and bike paths are now having trees fall on them again."

beyondtoxics.org

Valentine's Day celebrates the "birds and the bees." Lately, bees have not been doing so well. Saturday, thousands of people in five cities including Eugene will ask major retailers to remove certain pesticides and garden plants, blamed for killing bee populations.

Supporters want major retailers Home Depot and Lowes to stop selling pesticides and garden plants containing neonicotinoids . The chemical is used to fight aphids and other leaf eating insects. Lisa Arkin of the environmental group Beyond Toxics says neonicotinoids are found in the soil of plants sold at those stores.

EWEB Facebook page

Thousands of Oregonians were still without power Monday morning after Saturday's ice storm. Crews from local utilities have been working long hours to restore it but for a few people the wait may go into tomorrow.

As of Monday morning about 14 hundred Eugene Water & Electric customers were without power.  EWEB's Joe Harwood estimates Saturday morning about 6 thousand had their power out. Harwood says Saturday's ice storm was unprecedented:

Updated 8:15  a.m. Monday

Transportation

• Lane Transit District - 24 will not serve Pearl St. and 34th-it will stay on Donald
28 will not serve Martin, service will end at Snell.
41 & 43 will not run on 8th-using 6th or 7th instead.
EmX using alternative stop at Hilyard Station only. Posted: Mon. 10th, 06:31 AM

  • Tonight's (Sat. 2/8) UO Opera Ensemble presentation "A Tale of Two Women" has been cancelled or postponed. As of this writing (9:40 a.m. on 2/8), the Sun. 2/9 presentation is still planned, though this may change.
  • The Eugene Folklore Event for Saturday, Feb.. 8th has been cancelled.

Updated 10:12 a.m. Saturday

Updated at 12:25 p.m. Thursday

Oregon State Police report hazardous road and weather on I-5 between Salem and Eugene and urge caution.  Request people not drive unless they have to. 

All Lane Community College Campuses will close today (Thursday, February 6) at 1 p.m.

Counties
Benton County and City of Corvallis offices are closing due to snow and icy conditions across the county as of 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Oregon Department of Forestry has reached a settlement with conservation groups that had sued to prevent logging in forests that are home to a threatened seabird.   The agreement was filed Wednesday in U-S District Court in Eugene and still must be approved by a judge.

Rachael McDonald

A small minnow native to Oregon's Willamette Valley could be removed from the Federal Endangered Species List. The Oregon chub is the first fish to be de-listed because its population has been restored. The announcement came Tuesday near Eugene.

The Oregon Chub was listed as endangered 20 years ago. At that time there were only about 1000 of the tiny fish in the Willamette Basin. Three years ago it was moved to threatened status. Now, biologists say there are more than 100 thousand Oregon chub.

Bangs: "Bouncing around in my hand. But that's a little Oregon chub."

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

 

A tiny, unsung fish that lives only in Oregon's Willamette Valley is suddenly in the limelight. The Oregon chub is a minnow that was listed as endangered more than 20 years ago. But it’s on the rebound. Three years ago, the species was upgraded to threatened status. Officials are now petitioning to make Oregon chub the first fish ever to be recovered and removed from the endangered species list.

Auer: "Hank! Come."

John Auer and his dog Hank are in the middle of his family's 900-acre farm near Monmouth.

Shaun Che

The Cascades could see some much-needed snow this weekend, as cold air moves into the Northwest.

The snowpack so far this winter in the Cascades is low – really low.

Pierce: “The mountain areas, and especially on the east side as well, very low snowpack… Some of the lowest snowpack totals that we’ve seen in a couple decades.  In some cases, 20 and 30 year lows.”

Wikipedia

The northwest is in for another arctic blast this week. Snow is likely this weekend in the lower elevations, including the south Willamette Valley.

Andy Bryant is with the National Weather Service in Portland. He says it will be very cold this week in Oregon. In the Willamette Valley daytime highs will be in the low to mid 30s Wednesday and Thursday. He says overnight lows will be in the teens.

Killing One Owl Species To Save Another

Jan 31, 2014
Liam Moriarty, JPR

It’s been nearly 20 years since the Northwest Forest Plan scaled back logging across the region, in large part to preserve habitat for the endangered northern spotted owl. But the spotted owl continues to decline. Scientists blame the larger, more aggressive barred owl for pushing the spotted owl out of its natural habitat. Now, federal wildlife managers have begun shooting barred owls to see if removing the competition will allow spotted owls to recover. A look at the controversy over the wisdom -- and ethics -- of killing one owl species to save another.

Spotted Frog Proposal Revives Endangered Species Fears

Jan 30, 2014
Oregon Fish & Wildlife

Twenty-three years ago, the listing of the northern spotted owl under the Endangered Species Act was one of the factors that led to a sharply reduced Northwest timber harvest. Now, wildlife officials are proposing to list the Oregon spotted frog. If approved, this listing would not have nearly the far-reaching impact the spotted owl listing had. But, officials in Klamath County are pushing back against a proposal they fear will lead to intrusive and economically-damaging regulations.

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