Bellamy Pailthorp

COURTESY KARLA SALP / WASH. STATE DEPT OF AGRICULTURE

Teams of technicians from the state Department of Agriculture are scouring neighborhoods this month for egg masses laid by gypsy moths.

They’re targeting places where they trapped high numbers of the invasive species this summer, such as one area near Graham, in Pierce County.

ELAINE THOMPSON / Associated Press

A proposal to spray a neurotoxic pesticide on oyster beds in Southwest Washington is back on the table. Growers in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor are looking for ways to address an infestation of burrowing shrimp.

  The state is taking comments on the controversial plan through Wednesday.

Riccardo Rossi / Flickr

Despite its stunning natural beauty, lots of problems lurk beneath the surface of Puget Sound. The state agency in charge of coordinating its cleanup meets this week to finalize its latest “State of the Sound” report. 

Gilbert Le Moigne / Wikimedia Creative Commons

  Most beaches in the central Puget Sound area are closed to recreational shellfish harvesting, because of unsafe levels of toxins that can be fatal. The presence of Paralytic Shellfish Poison has resulted in a closure extending from Seattle’s Alki Beach south to the Pierce County line, including Vashon Island.  

NOAA Fisheries

Whale researchers who track the small endangered population of Puget Sound orcas say three whales are believed dead or missing since this summer. The Center for Whale Research says, as of Friday, there are only 80 animals. Two females and a 10-month old calf are believed gone.

Associated Press / AP Images

It’s been 8 years in the making, but Washington State finally has a rule that places limits on carbon pollution from its largest sources. It comes in response to reduction targets on greenhouse gas emissions first called for by the legislature in 2008. Starting next year, regulators at the Department of Ecology are requiring large industrial emitters to gradually reduce their carbon emissions over time. The rule will cover industries including power plants, oil refineries, fuel distributors, pulp and paper mills and others.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr

August is National Tree Check Month. The USDA is working with state agencies to ask residents for help looking for invasive pests.

One year ago, a mudslide wreaked havoc on Oso, a small community in Washington state. It took just a few minutes to topple dozens of homes, leaving 43 people dead. Volunteers and first responders rushed to the scene to save trapped residents. Yet, remarkably, none of them were hurt, at least not physically.

In the weeks and months following the landslide, thousands of people from the outlying areas formed teams. Loggers brought in heavy equipment; Red Cross and other groups organized volunteers and protected families from the throngs of media.

Snohomish County / Flickr

How to prevent unsafe logging on steep slopes that could cause future landslides will be at the center of discussions tomorrow in Olympia.

In the wake of the Oso tragedy, the state’s Forest Practices Board is in the process of updating permitting guidelines. The board is rewriting the section of its manual that deals with unstable slopes, based on the latest and best advice from a panel of geologists. State Forester Aaron Everett says while the guidelines are not binding, they should make it harder for companies seeking to log in unsafe areas.

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