Environment

Environment & Planning

forestcamping.com

New camping rules for parts of the Umpqua National Forest near Cottage Grove go into effect today (Monday). Officials say long-term, homeless campers have created unsanitary conditions.

Camping along portions of Brice Creek and Sharps Creek will be limited to 14 days in a 45-day period. Melissa Swain is with the Cottage Grove Ranger District. She says the rule is changing because some campers have not kept clean sites:

Courtney Flatt / Earthfix

This summer, the Carlton Complex wildfire swept through north-central Washington. The fire consumed more acres than any other fire in the state’s history. Now, ecologists are trying to make forests more sustainable to help prevent these large-scale fires.

Fire ecologist Susan Prichard was driving from Seattle to her home in Winthrop just as the Carlton Complex fire picked up.

Prichard: “I saw the plume of smoke, and I felt the wind. At that moment, I hadn’t even possibly considered that the fire could race all the way down to the Columbia River.”

Be Noble Foundation

A 26-acre property in South Eugene will be preserved thanks to a private / public partnership between the City of Eugene and the Be Noble Foundation.

The property includes the headwaters of Amazon Creek and is habitat for wildlife and a favorite hiking place for locals. The city and Be Noble Foundation purchased three lots for a total of $1.75 million.

Ashley Ahearn / Earthfix

Seattle’s dirty river is gearing up for a major overhaul. The Environmental Protection Agency is about to release its final decision on the Duwamish River Superfund cleanup. The river has been polluted by industry for decades. The question now is how much cleanup will be required, and at what cost?

You might say Ken Workman is an old school Duwamish River celebrity.

His people have lived along the banks of this waterway and others in the region for thousands of years. He’s the great great great great grandson of Chief Seattle.

Jes Burns / Earthfix

As universities around the country try to meet carbon reduction goals, a growing number are opting to burn wood to produce power on campus. Southern Oregon University is vying to be the first campus in the Northwest to adopt this biomass technology, as it’s called.

Tucked away on the backside of Southern Oregon University’s Ashland campus is a modest 1950s era warehouse. Puffs of cloud-white steam emerge from its smokestack, the result of burning natural gas to produce heat for the campus.

City of San Diego

A pile of food waste can make rich compost for the garden. But some Northwest companies are going beyond composting. This week we’ve been bringing you stories on the challenges of wasted food. We discovered three companies that are using it to power homes, race cars and city buses.

Remember that last scene in Back to the Future?

Doc: “Marty you’ve got to come with me.”
Marty: “Where?”
Doc: “Back to the Future.”

Doc tears into Marty’s driveway in the DeLorean time machine and raids the trash can.

Doc: “I need fuel”

Katie Campbell / Earthfix

Portland and Seattle are working to reduce the environmental impacts of food waste by offering curbside composting. But no one said it would be easy. We’ve been taking a look this week at the challenges and opportunities of wasted food.  Cassandra Profita from our EarthFix team looks at what two Northwest cities are doing to get people to put the right things in the compost bin.

Paul Kelly was assigned a new task this year. He's standing in a lake of purple liquid, picking through a pile of rotting food with a pitchfork.

Taylor White / Earthfix

A new report published Monday identifies the culprit behind the mysterious disease that’s been killing millions of West Coast starfish.

After months of research, scientists have identified the pathogen at the heart of the starfish wasting disease. They say it’s different from all other known viruses infecting marine organisms.They’ve dubbed it “sea star associated denso virus.” Oddly enough, West Coast starfish have been living with the virus for decades.

In the U.S., we waste about 40 percent of all of the food we produce. A lot of that food winds up rotting in landfills and releasing air pollution. But many cities are trying to turn it into something more valuable and less harmful to the environment. EarthFix reporter Cassandra Profita kicks off our series of reports this week on food waste by exploring the virtues of curbside composting:

Fish Passage Upgrades Proposed For Fall Creek Dam

Nov 14, 2014
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing to upgrade the fish collection facility at Fall Creek Dam. The enhancements would improve passage for Willamette River Chinook, steelhead, and other native fish. Scott Clemans is a Spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Portland. He says the proposed upgrades are designed to reduce the amount of contact with the fish.

Clemans: "Because physical handling means stress, and stress often results in fish dying before they are able to spawn."

Ryan Hasert / Earthfix

Washington has more glaciers than any other state in the lower 48.
Besides Alaska, it's the number one glacial stronghold in the U.S. Glaciers are a key part of our water supply in the Northwest. But they’re melting away.

Guess how many glaciers feed into the Skagit River? Just take a guess.

Answer: 376.

No joke.

Jon Riedel is hiking up to one of them, on the slope of Mount Baker in Washington’s North Cascades.

Rachael McDonald

Thursday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed a new version of Oregon Senator Ron Wyden’s bill to boost logging on public forests called O & C lands -- named for the Oregon and California Railroad that once owned them.

Jes Burns of EarthFix explains some of the changes.

Tom Banse

An east wind is pushing arctic air from the central U.S. to the Pacific Northwest. Temperatures have plummeted in the last couple of days. 

The cold front is forecast to bring snow to the mountains and central Oregon and even into the Willamette Valley overnight and into Thursday. Laurel McCoy is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland. She says the snow isn't likely to stick around in the South Willamette Valley. But it's good news for Oregon's ski areas.

WHOI

An oceanography institute announced Monday that trace amounts of radioactivity from Fukushima have been detected off the West Coast. This stems from the 2011 nuclear plant accident in Japan. Radiation experts say the very low levels of radioactivity measured do not pose a health threat here.

A Second Silent Spring

Oct 27, 2014

Recorded on: October 24th, 2014

Air Date: October 27th, 2014

We have been hearing about the hazards of chemical contaminants in the environment since Rachel Carson presented her argument against DDT in her book Silent Spring. Although chemical companies opposed her views, the environmental movement she inspired has led to policy changes. More than half a century later, Professor Tyrone B. Hayes — a biologist and professor of Integrative Biology at University of California, Berkeley — faces similar opposition.

Oregon Coast Aquarium

A team of divers has discovered thousands of young sea stars off the Oregon coast near Florence. Some say it could be a sign of recovery from a disease that's been wiping out sea stars all along the Pacific coast.

Tiffany Eckert

Landowners, small farmers and urban park enthusiasts exercised their First Amendment rights today (Wednesday) with a march on Springfield City Hall. They want the city to immediately abandon plans to place an industrial zone near the entrance to one of the largest urban parks in the world…Buford Park. KLCC's Tiffany Eckert was on the march route and has this story.

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www.nmfs.noaa.gov

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has some new tools to help anglers avoid fishing in designated marine reserve areas off the coast. There's a new app for both apple and android smart phones called "Fish Alerts" that displays borders for all protected areas and includes rule summaries. Stacy Galleher is ODFW's Community Outreach Coordinator.

Galleher: "It's hard to pop out a paper map and know exactly where you are, and it's just more intuitive as we keep going with technology that people are looking to their electronic devices to know where they are."

Lindsay Eyink

Last spring, voters in two southern Oregon counties passed measures to ban the cultivation of genetically engineered crops. Now, Oregon voters statewide are being asked to approve a measure to require genetically engineered foods to be labeled. As with the similar, unsuccessful ballot measures in Washington and California, lots of out-of-state money is flooding into the campaigns on both sides.

Is Alaska Safe For Sea Stars?

Oct 15, 2014
Taylor White / Earthfix

A deadly disease has been wiping out West Coast starfish for more than a year. One place that has held off the disease the longest is Alaska. Researchers recently traveled there to search for new clues.

City Club of Eugene - Oregon’s Geology: Scientists Warn of Hazards, But Do Lawmakers & Agencies Respond?

Meeting date: October 10, 2014

KLCC air date: October 13, 2014

Natural disasters are often followed by a period of public reflection: Did anyone know something like this could happen? Had we taken precautions to prevent and minimize the damage from the earthquake, hurricane, flood or other event that just turned life upside down?

www.noaa.gov

This Columbus Day weekend, those heading to the Oregon Coast should be extra cautious. There is a potential for deadly sneaker waves in the next few days.

Sneaker waves are sudden, unexpected waves that reach farther up the beach than normal. Mark Spilde is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He says conditions exist for sporadic waves up to 18 feet high:

howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

More funds will soon be available to Oregon farmers and landowners who choose to use non-lethal deterrent techniques for wolves.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture just received a $53,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be used for non-lethal preventative measures. Those may include barriers, alarms, or animals to guard the livestock. ODA Program Director Jason Barber says the most efficient method to prevent wolf attacks are range riders.

Alexi Horowitz / Earthfix

As hunting season begins across the Pacific Northwest, Oregon conservationists and state agencies are taking a new look at the issue of lead ammunition and its effects on wildlife.

Inside the operating room at the Portland Audubon Society Wildlife Care Center head veterinarian Deb Shaeffer is carefully inserting a syringe into the shoulder of an injured red-tail hawk.

Shaeffer: “It’s a very simple blood draw, it takes one drop of blood, and we run it through a machine, and it takes about three minutes and we get a result back.”

Wikimedia Commons

A controversial nickel mining project in a roadless area of Southwestern Oregon has failed to clear an early hurdle. The state has denied a UK-based company permission to use water from a small creek.

It’s difficult to use water when there’s no water flowing. Or so discovered Red Flat Nickel Corporation when the State of Oregon denied its application to use water for five years.

oregonriverguides.com

A remarkable rebound for salmon in Oregon has led to a bountiful fishing season. It's also meant fishing quotas are being met early, resulting in the closure of one river.

Wild coho season on the Umpqua River will end October first, when biologists predict the quota of 2,000 fish will be met. Jessica Sall is with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Sall: "We do want to remind anglers that the river is still open for hatchery coho, or those fish that have their adipose fin clipped."

Rachael McDonald

People walking Oregon's beaches this fall may come across juvenile shorebirds that seem to be distressed or ill. Wildlife experts say it's best to leave them be.

The Common Murre is a small shorebird with black and white feathers, kind of like a mini- penguin. This time of year, the young ones have just fledged and are learning to feed themselves.
Laura Todd is with US Fish and Wildlife's Newport field office. She says some of them don't survive. If you come across a bird that's not moving and seems weak and unwell…

osumg.blogspot.com

People holding outdoor gatherings might be facing intrusions from wasps and yellow jackets. As summer winds down, the insects are likely searching for protein-rich food before overwintering.

According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, many people assume applying pesticides to their flower beds will get rid of the nuisances. But many products end up harming honeybees instead. ODA spokeswoman Rose Kachadoorian says spraying insecticides around the yard won't do much good.

Billmoyers.com

Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Eugene Sunday to rally for more action on climate change. This is in solidarity with a Global Climate march focused on the United Nations Climate Summit taking place this week in New York.

The biggest climate march in history is happening on Sunday, and Oregon is joining in. Events around the world will bring together hundreds of organizations in a call for action to protect the air, food and water.

Demonstrations are centered in New York City, where a U.N. Climate Summit takes place Tuesday. The gathering in New York is expected to attract over 200-thousand people. Local rallies are planned for several Oregon communities, including Eugene.

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