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.

Pages

Sage Grouse
10:31 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Saving The Greater Sage Grouse

Biologists in the Northwest are working to boost the numbers of the greater sage grouse locally.
Credit Pacific Southwest Region/Flickr

The West’s greater sage grouse are in trouble. The birds make their homes in desert sagebrush country. But their habitat is shrinking because of people, wildfires, and agriculture. With fewer wide-open places to live, sage grouse numbers are dwindling.

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LNG Explosion
6:38 am
Wed April 2, 2014

What Plymouth Explosion Means For LNG Proposals

People opposed to exporting liquefied natural gas in Oregon say Monday’s explosion along the Columbia River points out safety problems at these types of facilities.
Credit TruckPR/Flickr

People opposed to exporting liquefied natural gas in Oregon say Monday’s explosion along the Columbia River points out safety problems at these types of facilities. But project supporters say the explosion should not affect decisions about their facilities.

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Plymouth Explosion
6:45 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Some Plymouth Residents Return Home

Duane VanBeek is the spokesman for the response team for the natural gas explosion in Plymouth, Wash.
Credit Courtney Flatt

Most of the evacuated residents of Plymouth, Washington, were able to return to their homes Monday night after an explosion at a natural gas tank rocked the small town on the Washington-Oregon border.

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Columbia and Snake River Birds
8:08 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Fish-Eating Birds To Be Killed At 5 Dams

Officials at five dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers will start killing birds that eat migrating juvenile salmon. They are meant to protect endangered salmon and steelhead as they begin their journey out to sea.

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Puget Sound Tidal Energy
6:27 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Feds Give OK To Tidal Energy Project In Puget Sound

The waters off of Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound will be home to the future tidal energy project.
Credit Ricardo Martin

Puget Sound tides may soon be generating power.  A proposal for the world’s first tidal energy project that’s connected to the grid received a federal license Thursday.

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Stinkbug Invasion
6:57 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Something Smells: Invasion Of The Stink Bugs!

Originally from Asia, the brown marmorated stink bug first appeared in Pennsylvania in 1998. It has since made its way across the United States.
Credit Lildobe

Northwest researchers are teaming up to stop an invasion of stink bugs moving across the region. The bugs, which can smell like dirty gym socks, ruin tree fruit and grape vines. Those crops are vital to Northwest agriculture.

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Lamprey Dams
7:02 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Swim, Lamprey, Swim!

The Lamprey is a jawless fish which has a toothy, funnel-like mouth.
Credit USFWS Pacific

An eel-like fish native to the Northwest can now more easily make it up the Columbia River. Managers at the Columbia’s McNary Dam have installed a new passage system for Pacific lamprey – the first of its kind for the toothy fish.

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Climate Change
7:18 am
Mon February 24, 2014

What Does Climate Change Mean For Ice Climbing?

Whitman College freshman Laura Rey makes her way up the Weeping Wall, outside Dayton, Wash. This was Rey's first ice climbing trip.
Courtney Flatt

Ice climbers are a lot like snowboarders and skiers – they count on winter weather to create the right conditions for their sport. But here’s a big difference: mountain resorts can manufacture snow; no one has invented a machine to freeze waterfalls. And as winter temperatures rise, outdoor recreationalists worry that climate change could threaten some ice climbing destinations.

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Magma Research
7:47 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Volcanic Eruptions Could Be More Rare Than You Think

Researchers studying Mount Hood have found that magma is often too cold to move around so much.
Credit Greg Harness/Flickr

Right before a volcano erupts, molten rock, known as magma, is moving around underneath the surface. New research suggests this liquid magma is very rare. That’s an important finding for researchers trying to predict when a volcano may erupt.

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Pacific Lamprey
6:03 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Creating A Northwest Lamprey Hatchery

Northwest researchers are trying to develop a lamprey hatchery – the first of its kind in the world.
Courtney Flatt

Pacific lamprey numbers are quickly declining throughout Northwestern waters. Tribal elders remember times when the Columbia River was black with the eel-like fish. Now, Northwest researchers are trying to develop a lamprey hatchery – the first of its kind in the world. But, there are challenges ahead.

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