Environment

Environment & Planning

The Plane That Won A War And Polluted A River

Sep 28, 2015
www.taphilo.com

This month marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.

People around the Northwest contributed to the war effort - thousands of them by building planes in Seattle.

A subcommittee of the Oregon Board of Forestry has identified two proposals for new state logging rules to keep streams in Western Oregon cool enough for salmon.

One proposal increases no-cut buffer zones to 90 feet. The other offers approaches such as thinning or staggering harvests. Currently, trees must not be cut within 20 feet from streams.

Conservation and fishing groups say neither proposal is sufficient. They say no-cut buffers should be 100-feet deep.

John Ryan / KUCB

Aquatic robots have been spotted in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands this summer. Two ocean-going drones were seen sailing toward the busy fishing port of Dutch Harbor with no one on board. Just what were these orange robots doing out there--and is there cause for alarm?

Sage Grouse Decision Presents New Frustrations

Sep 23, 2015
Oregon News Service

The Obama administration’s decision Tuesday not to list the greater sage grouse as an endangered species rippled across the West. Many came out in favor of the decision, saying it represents a big victory for wildlife conservation. But in Idaho, the reaction to the news was far-ranging...and the issue likely isn’t over.

OPB

Autumn starts Wednesday, and cooler weather will soon follow. This is a relief for firefighters and residents whose homes were threatened during this summer's fire season.

Courtney Flatt

This summer’s hot, dry weather has left Northwest apple growers hurting for water to irrigate their orchards. It’s a hint at what’s predicted as the climate continues to warm.

Ashley Ahearn

As we get into the late summer, water supplies in much of the Northwest continue to drop.

The snow that usually melts and keeps streams and lakes full late in the season never really showed up this year.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest Public Radio

This wildfire season has hit northwest tribal lands particularly hard. Firefighters’ first priority is “life and property.” But, some tribal members wonder why protecting some kinds of property—like farms and even second homes— comes before tribal forest land.

Lane County Waste Management

Lane County is building an addition to its Short Mountain Landfill south of Eugene. The $4.3 million project will increase capacity and improve the site's wastewater capturing system.

Courtney Flatt

 

Southeastern Oregon is filled with the kind of wide open rangeland where an iconic bird is struggling to survive: the greater sage grouse. Eleven states in the West are working out strategies for the survival of the sage grouse. In Oregon’s Harney County ranchers are eager for solutions that will avoid more government restrictions.

The plight of greater sage grouse is now at the top of mind for ranchers, conservationists, and politicians across the West.

So much so that one ranch in southeastern Oregon has put a wildlife biologist on its payroll.

Prescribed Burns To Begin In Douglas County

Sep 8, 2015
article.wn.com

Smoke will soon be returning to Douglas County, only this time, it won't be from a wildfire. Farmers will be utilizing *prescribed burns to prepare fields and pastures for next spring. Prescribed burns help remove noxious weeds, insects, and diseased plants, and they help firefighters by reducing the buildup of brush and other flammable vegetation. The effects on populated areas should be minimized by allowing burns only to take place when conditions are appropriate and weather patterns favorable.

Jes Burns / Earthfix

Opponents of a natural gas export project in Southern Oregon are on a month-long protest hike along the route of a proposed pipeline. This weekend, the hikers neared the halfway point in Jackson County.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/willamette/

Bow hunting season opened in Oregon over the weekend. Local land managers are welcoming visitors to the forests, but they have several cautions.

Recent rains and cooler temperatures have brought a taste of fall.

But Jude McHugh of the Willamette National Forest says the moisture hasn’t penetrated the tree canopy, and fire danger remains high:

Northwest Permaculture Convergence

This weekend Eugene is hosting the 8th annual Northwest Permaculture Convergence. The idea of meeting human needs in ways that also are good for the environment is a philosophy that has resonance in Eugene. At the event people can participate in workshops and tour local homes to see examples of sustainable gardens and yards. Jan Spencer is the Coordinator of Northwest Permaculture Convergence. He hopes people understand permaculture is a lifestyle choice.

Could The Mushroom Save The Honeybee?

Aug 25, 2015
Katja Schulz / Flckr Commons

Honeybee populations have been plummeting for nearly a decade throughout the United States.

Now, two scientists in Washington state are teaming up to help the pollinator, and they’re investigating an unconventional source for their remedy: the mushroom.

NASA Earth Observatory

This weekend the South Willamette Valley was blanketed with smoke from wildfires, mainly burning east of the cascades. Monday, conditions have improved. It's because the wind changed direction.

OSU Report Says Algae Blooms Are Poorly Monitored In U.S.

Aug 18, 2015
Joe Eilers

Blooms of toxic cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, is increasingly creating a global health threat and poorly monitored in the U.S. That's according to a report released by scientists at Oregon State University and the University of North Carolina.

Danielle Tinker / Beyond Toxics

Governor Kate Brown has proclaimed this Saturday Oregon Native Bees Conservation Awareness Day.  There will be events in Eugene celebrating the pollinators.

Kurt Jenson

It's been 20 years since environmental activists set up a blockade on a forest service road near Oakridge to prevent logging in the Warner Creek watershed in the Willamette National Forest.

Oregon Department of Forestry

The State of Oregon is now looking for a buyer willing to take the Elliott State Forest off its hands, following Thursday’s vote by the Land Board to move ahead with plans to sell the public forest located near Coos Bay.

The state of Oregon is under a constitutional obligation to manage the Elliott Forest to make money for public schools. But with declines in timber sales in recent years, the state has been losing money on the land.

Our Children's Trust

Young people in Eugene Wednesday filed a federal climate lawsuit against the U.S. Government and the President. KLCC's Rachael McDonald spoke with one plaintiff who is part of the lawsuit sponsored by the organization Our Children's Trust.

Groundwater Levels Dropping In Klamath Basin

Aug 12, 2015
Jes Burns / Earthfix

Groundwater levels in Oregon’s Klamath Basin have dropped as much as 25-feet in the past fifteen years. A new report shows there is a relationship between the declines and pumping by farmers in the region.

River Design Group

It can be tough for salmon and steelhead returning to spawn in Northwest rivers and streams. High water temperatures, parasites, and predators all pose natural threats.

But the fish also encounter man-made obstacles – like dams - that make getting to the best spawning habitat difficult.

www.nasa.gov

If July felt hot and sweaty, it was for good reason. The heat broke records in the Willamette Valley.

It was the hottest July ever in Eugene, crushing the previous record, set in 1958. Andy Bryant with the National Weather Service says the heat was well above normal:

Bryant: “So the average temperature for Eugene for the month of July was 71.5 degrees, that’s 4.7 degrees above average. The average high, if you look at all the highs during the month of July, the average was 88.2, also a few degrees above average.”

Douglas Forest Protective Association

People have been allowed to go home after being evacuated from communities near the Stouts Fire in southwest Oregon. But they must be ready to leave again if conditions worsen. Cooler temperatures and clouds Sunday helped crews battling the fire that grew quickly in the triple-digit temperatures of late last week.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest Public Radio

Salmon are a touchstone in the Northwest...in food, in nature, and now, in the damage wrought by the ongoing drought: less than half of returning Sockeye are expected to survive to the end of summer. But another important fish is dying in unprecedented numbers too: the massive white sturgeon native to the Columbia River.

Jeremy Fox/Owyhee Coalition.

A new proposal to protect about 2 million acres of the Owyhee Canyonlands in Eastern Oregon needs a sponsor in Congress to move forward.

Half of the proposed region is already designated as a Wilderness Study Area. The biggest opposition so far has come from ranchers. Brent Fenty is with the Oregon Natural Desert Association. He says farmers shouldn't be concerned about the future of grazing rights under the proposal.

https://www.facebook.com/DouglasForestProtectiveAssociation

A fire burning west of Roseburg jumped its lines last (Wednesday) night, and has expanded to an estimated 600 acres. Here is an update on the Cable Crossing Fire.

The fire off highway 138 near Glide started Tuesday afternoon. Kyle Reed, with the Douglas Forest Protection Association, says it’s grown beyond their capacity:

Reed: “Our district covers 1.6 million acres. So with this fire growing in complexity and size we went ahead and brought in a team from the Oregon Department of Forestry. And basically they’re coming in to relieve our guys working on that fire.”

Researchers Map Portland's Hottest, Most Polluted Places

Jul 30, 2015
Cassandra Profita / Earthfix

When it's hot outside, city neighborhoods with lots of pavement get hotter and more polluted than the ones with more greenery. It's called the urban heat island effect. And as the summers in the Northwest get hotter with climate change, these hot spots pose a growing risk to human health.In Portland, researchers are mapping the city's hottest, dirtiest places, and looking for ways to cool them down.

Douglas Forest Protective Association

With triple digit temperatures, tinder dry forests, and the threat of lightning storms in the next few days, officials are urging the public to be extra careful to prevent human-caused fires.

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