Ashley Ahearn

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Bristol Bay Mining
7:10 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Report Details Risks of Proposed Mine Near Alaska's Bristol Bay

Bristol Bay, in Southwestern Alaska, is the home of one of the world’s largest runs of Sockeye salmon. In fact, all five types of salmon spawn in the bay’s freshwater tributaries.

Bristol Bay could also become the home of a new mine to extract copper, gold and other minerals.

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a risk assessment study on how mining could impact the ecosystem there. The Agency will hold a public hearing in Seattle Thursday.

Ashley Ahearn reports that fishermen in the Northwest are watching the process closely.

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Salmon Virus
7:00 am
Wed May 30, 2012

Deadly Virus Makes First Appearance in Washington Salmon Farm

A deadly virus that prompted salmon farmers in British Columbia to kill 560,000 fish has shown up for the first time in Washington. Ashley Ahearn reports.

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Puget Sound Acidification
7:28 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Algae and Puget Sound Acidification Linked

Christopher Krembs, an oceanographer with the Washington Department of Ecology, photographs algae in Puget Sound.
Photo by Ashley Ahearn Northwest News Network

The ocean absorbs a large portion of the CO2 that we release into the atmosphere from our power plants and tail pipes. But when it gets there that CO2 makes the water more acidic and less hospitable for some creatures, like shellfish. In Puget Sound some shellfish hatcheries have already lost millions of oyster larvae because of exposure to acidic water.

Ocean acidification has scientists and policymakers in the Northwest concerned. Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has convened a panel on Ocean Acidification, which met this week. Ashley Ahearn reports.

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Animals
2:00 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

What Killed Orca Victoria? Some Point To Naval Tests

Orca L112, also known as Victoria, was 3 years old when she washed up on the Washington coast. An investigation into her death has been inconclusive.
Center for Whale Research

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 4:34 pm

Few people know the orcas of Puget Sound as well as Ken Balcomb.

A researcher with the Center for Whale Research on Washington state's San Juan Island, Balcomb has been studying the whales for more than 30 years.

It takes Balcomb only a few seconds of listening to the squeaks and whistles of underwater whale recordings to recognize the different pods of orcas.

In one recording, Balcomb identifies the group known as the L Pod — the family many people in the area are talking about right now.

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Cause Of Orca Death Unknown
5:21 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Report Inconclusive On What Killed Orca L112

Orca L112 was necropsied near Long Beach, Washington.
Cascadia Research

Scientists are still trying to pinpoint the cause of death for a young female orca that washed up near Long Beach, Washington in February.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report today with details from the whale’s necropsy.

Right now scientists still aren’t sure what caused the death of orca L112, also known as “Victoria”.

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Algae Bloom
6:02 am
Tue May 15, 2012

Algae Booming in Puget Sound

The white foamy line marks a bloom of algae in South Puget Sound.
Photo by Ashley Ahearn Northwest News Network

All this warm weather is making for a lot of shiny happy people in Western Washington. Turns out the algae in the waters of Puget Sound are feeling the same way. Ashley Ahearn reports that algal blooms are making one scientist take note.

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Salmon Hatcheries
6:11 am
Mon May 14, 2012

New Research: Hatchery Salmon Posing Problems For Wild Stocks

In the early part of the 20th century, when many Northwestern rivers were dammed, fish hatcheries provided a way to keep salmon in rivers. But now an estimated 5 billion hatchery fish are released into the Pacific every year. A collection of research released Monday highlights possible concerns about how all those hatchery fish might be impacting wild stocks. Ashley Ahearn reports.

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Northwest Beekeeping
6:40 am
Wed May 2, 2012

Care To Borrow A Bee?

From her individual cage the queen bee emits pheromones to convert worker bees into her loyal subjects so they don't kill her when she's released into the hive.
Photo by Ashley Ahearn Northwest News Network

Honeybees have run into some trouble. Diseases, funguses and pesticides are just some of the factors scientists believe may be contributing to the decline of these insects nation-wide. But honeybees play a critical role in pollinating everything from the Washington apple crop to the flowers in your back yard. Ashley Ahearn reports on one booming business that’s bringing bees back to the urban environment. Care to borrow a bee?

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Puget Sound Tankers
6:37 am
Mon April 30, 2012

New Report Details Tanker Risk In Puget Sound

Twelve years ago, BP built a second dock at its Cherry Point refinery north of Bellingham, WA. But they didn’t do an assessment of what that added dock capacity would mean for tanker traffic in Washington waters. Now the Army Corps of Engineers has released a long-awaited study that does just that. Ashley Ahearn reports.

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Puget Sound Waste Regulations
5:48 am
Wed April 25, 2012

New Restrictions On Cruise Ship Waste Discharge For The Port Of Seattle

As the weather warms up, cruise ships will begin arriving at the Port of Seattle. More than 200 ships are scheduled to visit the port this year, bringing millions of dollars in tourist revenue. In the past those ships have also brought wastewater into Puget Sound. But this year, the regulations are a little bit stricter. Ashley Ahearn reports.

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