Environment

Earthquake Risk
5:54 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Earthquake Study Raises Risk Potential Around Central Washington Dams

Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River.
Photo by Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Central Washington was considered at low risk for earthquakes back when big hydropower dams went up on the Columbia River many decades ago. But a recently completed seismic hazard assessment has found greater earthquake potential for the area than previously thought. Now the dam owners have to figure out how to respond. Seismic retrofits could cost ratepayers across the region hundreds of millions of dollars. Correspondent Tom Banse has this exclusive report.

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Willamette Pollution
5:57 am
Thu August 9, 2012

Willamette Pollution Riles Environmentalists

Polluted water in the Willamette River turns brown.
Photo by Vince Patton Northwest News Network

The Willamette Riverkeeper is threatening to sue two pulp mills in the Willamette Valley for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act. OPB’s Vince Patton was paddling with the Riverkeeper director when the water suddenly turned dark brown.

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Citizen Science
6:36 am
Wed August 8, 2012

"Citizen Science" Gains Momentum In Northwest And Nationally

Joan Rupp of Tacoma counts and records bird sightings outside her living room window as part of Project FeederWatch.
Photo by Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Public participation in scientific research is mushrooming in the Northwest and across the country. The trend is called "citizen science." It can take the form of volunteer monitoring and data collection, or crowd-sourced science, or science education with a research component. One sign the movement is gaining acceptance and credibility: It's a big topic of discussion at a science conference in Portland this week. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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Wastewater Heat
6:12 am
Fri August 3, 2012

King County Opens The Door For Heat Energy From Wastewater

This sewage pipe was installed in 1905 near Discovery Park. King County wants to partner with the private sector to harness the heat energy from wastewater for use in buildings.
Photo by Ashley Ahearn Northwest News Network

The Department of Energy estimates that 350 billion KWH of energy are flushed down drains in the form of heated water. King County is one of the first counties in the nation to try to do something about all that wasted heat energy. EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn reports.

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Rainwater Collection
5:55 am
Fri July 27, 2012

Southern Oregon Man Sentenced to Jail Time For Illegal Rainwater Reservoirs

Collecting rainwater can get you in legal trouble in Oregon. A court has sentenced a southern Oregon man to 30 days in jail, and a fine, for maintaining 3 illegal reservoirs on his property. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports.

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Lonesome Larry
6:12 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Lonesome Larry Hits 20-Year Anniversary

20 years ago, Lonesome Larry was the only sockeye salmon to make the 800-mile trip from the Pacific Ocean to Redfish Lake, once a popular spawning area for salmon.
Photo by Aaron Kunz Northwest News Network

This year is the twenty year anniversary of Lonesome Larry, a lone sockeye salmon that made the 800 mile trip from the ocean to Redfish Lake in central Idaho. It helped jump start a multi-billion dollar effort to save Snake River salmon from certain extinction. Earthfix reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

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Duwamish River Pollution
6:05 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Clean Water: The Next Act - Seattle's Duwamish River Part II

The upper part of the Duwamish River, seen from 119th Street in Tukwila, Wash.
Photo by Joe Mabel Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

This fall marks the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act – a piece of legislation that changed the way waterbodies in this country are regulated and protected.

Pollution was supposed to be curtailed so that fish from all the waters in America would be safe for people to eat. 40 years later, though, many waterways still bear fish too tainted to consume safely.

One of the most polluted waterways in the Northwest is Seattle’s Duwamish River. We’re taking a look at the Duwamish as part of EarthFix’s series “Clean Water: The Next Act.”

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Duwamish River Pollution
6:27 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Clean Water: The Next Act - Seattle's Duwamish River, Part I

The upper part of the Duwamish River, seen from 119th Street in Tukwila, Wash.
Photo by Joe Mabel Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Seattle’s Duwamish River has been the industrial heart of the city for a century. It’s been straightened, filled and diked. During World War II thousands of airplanes were built there. Today cargo from around the world arrives in massive container ships, lining the mouth of the river. Industrial facilities dot its banks.

As part of EarthFix and Investigate West’s series on the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Ashley Ahearn takes a look at the Duwamish River now – and how its future recovery could play out.

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Northwest Water Quality
4:59 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Poll Finds Water Quality NW Residents Top Concern

60 percent of people in the Northwest say they worry about the quality of drinking water.
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 Research’s 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.

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Coal Terminal
6:04 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Coal Export Study Warns of Train Congestion

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

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