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

Energy.gov

Light bulbs that rely on LED technology may soon be the best way to light your home. Courtney Flatt checked into a study that says LED light bulbs are becoming the best environmental choice.

Columbia River Indian tribes are opposing a ballot measure that would ban commercial gillnet fishing in Oregon. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Photo by Wikimedia user: Nieuw / Wikimedia Commons

Upgrading your windows may be one way to significantly lower your energy bill. Researchers in Richland, Washington, are comparing two homes to find out how much you can save. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has this report.

A wind company with operations in the Pacific Northwest has announced more layoffs this year as the industry prepares for the expiration of tax credits at the end of the year.

Photo by Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

There’s been some speculation over the years as to how wind farms would hold up in the event of a large wildfire. Now, the verdict is in. From EarthFix, Courtney Flatt reports a central Washington wind farm was not damaged. Scorched earth surrounds wind turbines just outside Cle Elum, Washington. A fire that drove through over the last week and a half destroyed more than 50 houses and has burned an estimated 23,000 acres. It did not burn 48 wind turbines. Operations manager Eric Melbardis...

Fire bosses say a blaze in central Washington is 90 percent contained. That’s while large fires continue to burn in Idaho and California. Getting these wildfires under control marks the beginning of a new problem: soil erosion.

Extreme heat from wildfires destroys trees and ground cover. That means plants no longer keep soil from sliding down hillsides and into streams.

Residents near the Taylor Bridge Wildfire could see more sediment on roads and in creeks. They also might...

Photo courtesy Wash. Department of Natural Resources

Dramatic images of destruction from a central Washington wildfire this week haave prompted an overwhelming flood of donations to fire victims. So much that the state of Washington is urging well meaning donors to stop giving food and clothing and donate money instead. In Cle Elum, correspondent Courtney Flatt checked out the brimming donation centers.

Photo courtesy Wash. Deptartment of Natural Resources

Fire bosses at the scene of a destructive wildfire in central Washington gave an upbeat progress report at a community briefing in Cle Elum Friday. Firefighters targeted full containment of the nearly 23,000 acre blaze by Sunday. Reporter Courtney Flatt is on the scene. She says the mood at the community briefing was more curious than anything else.

Wash. Department of Natural Resources

Residents are returning to their homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington nears containment.

A Washington congressmen returned to his hometown Wednesday to promote a bill protecting hydropower dams from removal. Courtney Flatt of EarthFix reports from Pasco, Washington.

Photo by Courtney Flatt / EarthFix

A small ranch in southeastern Washington is the site of some big disputes playing out between environmental regulators and farmers. The question: How much control can the government have over pollution from agricultural runoff? As part of EarthFix and Investigate West’s series on the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Courtney Flatt takes a look at a court case that could determine how strictly the state regulates polluted rainwater runoff.

The Pacific Northwests inland forests have dramatically changed over the past 100 years. Thats according to a new study by a conservation group. These changes can lead to larger fires and insect outbreaks.

A campaign is kicking off in the Northwest to build support for coal exports. The Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports includes major mining companies, railways and labor groups, all signing on to support coal export terminals in Oregon and Washington. The group is launching newspaper, radio, and television ads.

Northwest News Network

You may have visited zoos where the animals look less than thrilled sitting in their cages. But scientists at Washington State Universitys Bear Research Center are working to help captive animals enjoy their environment. Reporter Courtney Flatt followed researchers who are trying to learn more about captive bears moods.

Northwest News Network

The Department of Ecology has fined a gold mine in northeastern Washington for water quality violations. The company plans to appeal the fines. The mine has faced numerous penalties over the past five years.

Chris Doley / NOAA Restoration Center

Oregon voters will decide whether to ban commercial gillnet fishing this November.

Benutzer:Alex Anlicker / Wikimedia Commons

A new public opinion poll finds that water quality ranks as Northwesterners top environmental concern. DHM Research asked 1,200 residents in Washington, Idaho and Oregon about their environmental concerns. 60 percent said they worried about drinking water, and 54 percent said they were concerned about local lakes, rivers and streams. That result tracks with previous polls. People said they were happy, overall, with the water that comes out of their tap. DHM Researchs John Horvick says most survey respondents thought that water quality has not improved since the implementation of the Clean Water Act 40 years ago. He says that finding surprised him.

A new study has found that increased coal train traffic could adversely affect Pacific Northwest communities. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Only one of the Northwests various coal export proposals would rely on two different ports. That has residents in a pair of Columbia River towns in wondering if coal will be good for their communities. EarthFix reporter Courtney Flatt has the first part of our story in Boardman.

Environmental regulators have detected high levels of fecal coliform in one of the Northwests most important areas for growing food. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Riccardo Rossi / Wikimedia Commons

You might remember predictions of really high spring Chinook runs this year. But, turns outs, after spring salmon runs wrapped up, the numbers were not as high as everyone had hoped.

Since 1978, one eastern Washington county has out-produced all other wheat-growing counties in the U.S. But what to do with all the leftover straw? Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt explains a group of students at Washington State University has found a way to provide power from farmers scraps.

Researchers have developed a fuel cell that could one day power your neighborhood. From EarthFix, Courtney Flatt explains, this new system is much more efficient than power plants.

Photo courtesy Oregon Zoo

Its been a decade-long struggle for Washingtons pygmy rabbits. The palm-sized bunnies have been all but wiped out from the state. And efforts to breed them in captivity were failing. So, biologists are now attempting to breed the rabbits in their natural habitat. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt explains, the pygmy rabbits are finally doing what rabbits are supposed to do.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber Tuesday released plans to increase renewable energy in the state. Both Washington and Idaho already have energy plans in place. Reporting for EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Photo by Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

PULLMAN, Wash. – Black-tailed deer roam forested areas of western Washington and Oregon, but some say their numbers are declining. Scientists suspect that’s because these deer are having trouble finding food to eat. Correspondent Courtney Flatt spoke with researchers who are studying black-tailed deer’s diet. Once they know what deer like to munch on, wildlife managers can make sure those plants keep growing in the wild. On the hilly Palouse, four black-tailed deer graze in a shaded pen. Two...

Researchers in the Northwest have found some pollution is making thunderstorms stronger and the atmosphere warmer. Correspondent Courtney Flatt explains. Those giant, anvil-shaped thunderclouds you see looming in the distance may actually be getting bigger and stronger this summer, all because of aerosol pollutants. Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, have discovered these really big clouds trap more heat high in the atmosphere. Scientist Jiwen Fan...

Doling out water in the arid western United States is tough to do. Theres not much to be had, and everyone wants a fair share. Whats fair? It depends who you ask. But as correspondent Courtney Flatt reports, one basin in central Washington is finding a way for fish, farmers and communities to have enough water.

Photo courtesy of USGS

Giant smoke stacks and industrial dump sites are no longer the only water quality problem on the Columbia River. a recent study has found that our day to day life has a major impact as well. U.S. Geological Survey researchers looked at nine cities along the river, from Wenatchee to Longview, Wash. They detected hundreds of contaminants flowing from wastewater treatment plants and stormwater runoff. Hydrologist Jennifer Morace says the toxic contaminants included things like shampoo and pharmaceuticals.

Photo by Courtney Flatt / Northwest News Network

Nine fluffy owlets recently turned up at Washington State Universitys Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Doctors thought the babies looked like great horned owls. But to their surprise, the owlets turned out to be an even more unusual species. As correspondent Courtney Flatt reports, help poured in from around the country to solve the tiny owls identity crisis.

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