Courtney Flatt

Multimedia Journalist - Based in Richland, WA

Courtney Flatt began her journalism career at The Dallas Morning News as a neighbors editor. There, she also wrote articles for the Metro section, where she reported on community issues ranging from water security to the arts. Courtney earned her master’s in convergence journalism at the University of Missouri and developed a love for radio and documentary film. As a producer at KBIA-FM she hosted a weekly business show, reported and produced talk shows on community and international issues. Her work took her from the unemployment lines, to a Methamphetamine bust, to the tornado damage aftermath in Joplin, Mo.

What I cover
Energy, climate change and the Columbia Basin

Soon to be favorite outdoor activity
Having never lived so close to mountains before, I am determined to learn to snowboard this winter.

A funny thing happened one day in the field...
It was an icy winter morning, and I was trying to get some ambient sound of the Missouri River, which seemed easy enough. I had to make it over a pile of cement rocks to reach this one sandbar. (And if you know me, you know I’m a walking example of Murphy’s Law.)

Realizing this, I securely attached every piece of equipment to my body. Everything except my extra mic. I had climbed halfway across the cement pile when, woosh! My mic fell through a small hole covered by leaves. The mound was probably 10 feet tall.

As I peered down, a fisherman wandered by. He helped me lift a few of the blocks – they probably weighed 50 pounds each. But the mic wasn’t anywhere near the top. Every time I saw the pile after that day, I wondered where my mic wound up.

Likes
Farmers markets, traveling, tea and painting (though I’m pretty bad at it)

Dislikes
There’s not much… Maybe traffic?

If I weren't a journalist, I would be...
Working on an organic farm in Spain. I actually joined the WOOF program right before graduation. Then I got a job.

Ways To Connect

Courtney Flatt / EarthFix

The plight of greater sage grouse is 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.

Alan Sylvestre / EarthFix

Oregon and Washington officials are curtailing fishing starting Saturday on many of the states’ rivers in hopes of helping salmon, trout and steelhead survive drought conditions.

J Brew

    

A warming climate is making water more scarce in places that rely on runoff from mountain snowpack — places like the Yakima River basin in Central Washington. A Senate panel took up a plan today that would ensure plenty of water for decades to come in this agricultural hub.

Courtney Flatt / NWPR/EarthFix

Puget Sound steelhead will be heading to an inland Washington lake again this summer. That’s because federal officials are conducting a review of those hatchery programs. The controversy is bringing up a lot of debate about hatchery science in the Northwest.

Ken Balcomb / Center for Whale Research

It’s been a one-two punch of low snowpack last winter and not enough rain this spring for many Northwest rivers. Warm temperatures and low river flows are causing problems for salmon making the return migration.

Courtney Flatt

One bear has become a symbol of resilience after the biggest wildfire in Washington history burned thousands of acres last year in the state’s north-central region.  After a year of rehabilitation, Cinder the Bear was released into the wild Wednesday.

Courtney Flatt / EarthFix

 

 

Every year deer and elk lose their antlers. It’s kind of like when a child loses a baby tooth. For some, they’re are fun to collect. But other unscrupulous people are harassing animals to death in an effort grab the biggest antlers.  The trick to looking for antlers is to keep your eyes on the ground.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Growing marijuana indoors requires a lot of energy -- lights to speed up plant growth, dehumidifiers, heating and cooling equipment. Could sustainable outdoor farms be a more environmentally responsible alternative? A group of Washington marijuana growers say yes.

Several workers sit around a  white table in a small room on a marijuana farm in Goldendale, Washington. They’ve got scissors in hand, scales set to carefully measure out grams.

“I am weighing out some weed," said one of the workers. "Yesterday was an 18 hour day trying to get an order out.”

kaylaword / Flickr

Air pollution caused by wood stoves in Washington is in line with federal clean air requirements for the first time in seven years.

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency lowered its limits on air pollution. For most of Washington state, that wasn’t a problem. But the air in Pierce County was too polluted from wood stove smoke. The fine particulate from that smoke has been linked to asthma and heart attacks and high blood pressure.

Binsar Bakkara / Associated Press

An international report on the health risks of a commonly used herbicide is raising special concerns about farmworkers and cancer.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the weed-killer Roundup. A study by the World Health Organization has found limited evidence that glyphosate is probably capable of causing cancer in humans.

Chuck Benbrook studies pesticides at Washington State University. He said the new report could be bad news for farmworkers.

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