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

Salmon Cannon
7:04 am
Fri September 26, 2014

A New Technology To Transport Fish: The Salmon Cannon

Washington Deparment of Fish and Wildlife crews load 30-pound fall chinook salmon into the salmon cannon. The cannon sucks the fish up to a truck at 22 miles per hour. The fish will then be driven to a nearby hatchery.
Credit Courtney Flatt / EarthFix

Salmon may soon have a faster way to make it around dams. There’s a new technology that’s helping to transport hatchery fish in Washington. It’s called the salmon cannon — yes, you read that right.

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Flood, Fish, and Farmers
5:14 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Flash Floods Create Unusual Problem For Farmers, Fish

An example of a salmon screen that has become muddy due to recent flooding.
Credit Danny Didricksen / Earthfix

Flash floods this August swept mud, debris, and ash through north central Washington. All that gunk has created an unusual problem for farmers and migratory fish.

Farmers usually install screens on the end of irrigation pipes to prevent clogs. Those screens also keep fish from being sucked out of the water and into farmers’ fields. But fish screens do little good when they get inundated with debris and mud.

Danny Didricksen is with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He said crews have been working non-stop to help unclog fish screens.

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Flood Warning System
6:38 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Mine Fines Help Wildfire Aftermath With Rain Sensors

A resident of Twisp stands by the aftermath of a flash flood that occurred as a result of a fire this summer.
Credit Anna King / Northwest News Network

High tech weather sensors are now installed throughout the area scorched by the Carlton Complex wildfire. The hope is that they will warn residents of potential flash floods. The funding for the technology is coming from an unusual source.

In August, flash flooding swept through north central Washington. The area had earlier been burned by the Carlton Complex fire. The flooding took residents by surprise.

Now, new rain gauges that communicate via satellite will warn of future flash flooding in the area.

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alpha wolf killed
8:14 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Wolf Shot By State Was Alpha Female

Credit Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

The helicopter shooting of a wolf in northeastern Washington didn’t go as planned. A sharp shooter took out the livestock-killing pack’s alpha female. Officials worry that could lower the pack’s chances of survival.

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Oil Spill Risk
8:53 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Conservation Groups Concerned Oil Spill Would Harm Wildlife

An oil train moves through Skagit County in Western Washington, headed to refineries in the Northwestern part of the state.
Credit Katie Campbell / EarthFix

More oil trains traveling along the Columbia River and Puget Sound mean an increased risk for oil spills. Conservation groups worry methods to clean up those spills could harm sensitive wildlife.

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Endangered Species
5:13 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Oregon Spotted Frog Listed Under Endangered Species Act

The Oregon spotted frog will now receive protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Credit Teal Waterstrat (USFWS) / Flickr

The Oregon spotted frog will now receive protection under the Endangered Species Act. The small frog was once abundant in the Northwest. It’s now mostly found in a few scattered wetlands.

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Geothermal Energy
7:54 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Northwest Researchers Work To Boost Geothermal Power

A geothermal power plant. There’s been a lot of hype around geothermal power, which uses heat from the below the earth’s surface to provide energy. Several Northwest researchers are hoping to push the renewable energy forward.
Credit Scott Ableman / Flickr

There’s been a lot of hype around geothermal power. This type of power uses heat from below the earth’s surface to provide a steady, renewable source of energy. But the field’s been slow to take off. With help from federal grants, several Northwest researchers are hoping to push the technology forward. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

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Deer Displacement
7:56 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Washington Wildfires Displace Deer

Wildfires will leave one of the Washington's largest deer herds without a place to go this winter.
Credit Alan Vernon / Flickr

Wildfires have ravaged more than 1 million acres across the Northwest. In central Washington, the burned landscape will make it difficult for one of the state’s largest deer herds to find food. Farmers worry the deer would then wander onto their fields. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt reports.

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Drones For Forests
6:57 am
Wed August 6, 2014

How Drones Could Make Forest Restoration Easier

Rheno Prajadipta tests out a drone he helped build with Yakima Valley Community College classmates. The drone will survey the health of the forest. The hope is that drones will speed up restoration efforts and save some money.
Credit Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

Drones could soon be the newest gadgets in forest conservation. A group of Washington college students recently built and tested a drone that will survey the health of the forest. The hope is that drones will speed up restoration efforts and save some money. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

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Fire Shelters
6:08 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Fire Evacuees Find Help With Donation Centers, Shelters

Volunteers hang cardboard signs to point people in the direction of donation centers and shelters.
Credit Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

Update: You can give to the Red Cross or volunteer to help fire victims by visiting redcross.org/ewa or calling 509-663-3907

The Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department ordered more homeowners to evacuate this afternoon Monday. These newest evacuations come after firefighters saw a brief relief from high winds and hot weather Sunday. Correspondent Courtney Flatt visited donation centers in the region where people are turning for help.

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