environment

Wheat Straw Energy
6:20 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Creating Power From Wheat Straw

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.

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Fuel Cells
6:26 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Fuel Cells Could Power Your Neighborhood

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.

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Superfund Cleanup
5:09 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Work Begins On Central Washington Superfund Site

The Moses Lake Wellfield Contamination Superfund Site is located in the City of Moses Lake in eastern Washington.
EPA Northwest News Network

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has started the cleanup of a superfund site near Moses Lake in central Washington. As correspondent Anna King reports, this restoration has been in the works for decades.

The contaminated area is made up of an old Air Force airport, a county airport and some adjacent lands. Dumpsites there are loaded with chemicals like PCBs, lead and petroleum. The EPA has started testing and designing a treatment system to remove trichloroethylene from the groundwater at the superfund site.

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Pygmy Rabbit Breeding
6:51 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Pygmy Rabbits Successful Breeding A Step Forward

Pygmy rabbits are the smallest rabbits in North America.
Photo courtesy Oregon Zoo

It’s been a decade-long struggle for Washington’s 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.

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Ocean Floor Ecology
6:28 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Deep-Sea Stowaways Get A Leg Up From Scientists

Scientists working more than a mile underwater off the Washington coast have learned that the bottom of the ocean is surprisingly vulnerable to human disturbance. Even from scientists. KUOW's John Ryan reports from Seattle.

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Hatchery Fish
6:46 am
Thu June 7, 2012

NW Tribes Working on Hatchery Reform Using Genetics

There is a growing concern that hatcheries could cause our Northwest fish to lose their wild streak -- and ability to survive. A laboratory in Idaho hopes to change that. Earthfix reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

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Pesticide Testing
6:39 am
Thu June 7, 2012

Lane County Residents Try DIY Pesticide Testing

A group of Lane County residents has formed an unusual partnership to test streams for chemicals. The residents are worried that herbicides sprayed onto clear-cut forests are drifting into nearby waters. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports.

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Energy Plan
6:58 am
Wed June 6, 2012

How Important Are State Energy Plans?

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.

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Elwha River Recovery
6:28 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Spring Brings New Life To Washington's Recovering Elwha River

On the Olympic Peninsula the largest dam removal project in history is well underway. The Elwha River flows from the Olympic Mountains down to the Strait of Juan de Fuca near the mouth of Puget Sound. Ashley Ahearn reports that as the two dams come out, new life is coming into the Elwha River.

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Sandhill Crane Recovery
6:24 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Sandhill Cranes Make A Noisy Comeback In The Cascades

A pair of Sandhill Cranes nesting near Howard Prairie Lake, in the Cascades.
Photo by Amelia Templeton Earthfix

Hunters once killed nearly all the greater sandhill cranes in Oregon and Washington. But the local crane population has made a comeback. In June, in the mountain lakes of the Cascades, you might hear a pair defending its nest. Amelia Templeton reports.

Most sandhill crane chicks hatch in May. If you get too close to a nest, mom and dad will throw back their heads and beat their wings. This pair is nesting near Howard Prairie Lake, in the Cascades. The adults are grey, with red caps. And they’re about the size and weight of a sixth grader.

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