rivers

Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington / FLICKR Creative Commons

A federal magistrate judge has sided with environmental groups over stream conditions for threatened fish in Oregon. The dispute involves more than a dozen watersheds, including the Willamette, Rogue and middle Columbia.

Ken Balcomb / Center for Whale Research

It’s been a one-two punch of low snowpack last winter and not enough rain this spring for many Northwest rivers. Warm temperatures and low river flows are causing problems for salmon making the return migration.

King County / http://www.kingcounty.gov/

Seattle-area officials say they're improving their plan to clean up the Duwamish and Green River watershed.

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced plans Monday that they say will boost cleanup efforts.

The strategy calls for coordinating the work of governments, non-profits, and businesses already involved in the cleanup.

Constantine says bringing all the players together will improve the chances that the cleanup will work, permanently.

Ashley Ahearn / EarthFix

This week the Elwha River – on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula – will flow freely once again. Two dams blocked the river for more than 100 years.

But thanks to the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, the lower dam is completely gone and the last 30 feet of the upper dam should be blown up Tuesday.

Our EarthFix reporter, Ashley Ahearn, headed out to the Elwha and reports that the river is returning to life.

Jessica Robinson

A river basin cleanup in north Idaho is showing just how difficult it is to remove long-term pollution from Northwest waterways. This month, the EPA is running tests on layers of muck from the bottom of the Coeur d'Alene River. It’s downstream from a federal superfund site.

Study: Aquifers Draining Quickly, Less In Northwest

May 21, 2013
Amelia Templeton / EarthFix

A new study says the nation’s aquifers are shrinking at an alarming rate The problem is not as bad in the Northwest, thanks to an abundance of rivers and streams. But even here, aquifers are shrinking. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Controversial Dredge Mining Ban Advances in Oregon Senate

Apr 18, 2013
Amelia Templeton / EarthFix

A bill that restricts motorized mining in salmon and trout streams advanced in the Oregon Senate Wednesday evening. Amelia Templeton from our EarthFix team reports.

American Rivers has named three Northwest streams among the most endangered in the United States this year. Two are remote creeks in Southwest Oregon. The conservation group says exploration for nickel could harm the creeks. Amelia Templeton reports.

Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Environmentalists, farmers and irrigators could play a bigger role in creating long term management policies for Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead. The government has asked two university programs in Oregon and Washington to act as mediators over the next six months, talking with more than 200 organizations, states and tribes in order to find a better way of managing fish.

NOAA Asks for Input From NW Salmon Stakeholders

Dec 12, 2012
Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Environmentalists in the Northwest are being offered an expanded role in shaping the long-term recovery plan for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin.

Earthfix reporter Aaron Kunz has more.

Working for Idaho's Extinct Coho Salmon

Dec 7, 2012
Photo by Aaron Kunz

The Northwest’s declining salmon runs have spurred marathon legal battles and inspired billions in spending to save the iconic species.

But Idaho’s coho salmon were never listed as endangered before they went extinct in 1987. Very few people noticed when the fish were gone. But the Nez Perce Indian tribe noticed. And thanks to its extraordinary efforts, coho are once again returning by the thousands to Idaho waters.

Earthfix reporter Aaron Kunz explains.

Mining Gold In The Northwest Causes Conflict

Sep 20, 2012
Photo by Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

A recreational gold miner in Idaho now has the exclusive right to mine for gold on a stretch of the Salmon River. But the lease process approved by the Idaho Land Board this week raised some questions about the process he will use to get the gold. Aaron Kunz with EarthFix explains.

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 Aaron Kunz / Northwest News Network

Farming is the single biggest reason rivers are failing to meet standards set by the Clean Water Act. EarthFix Reporter Aaron Kunz visited Idaho’s Pahsimeroi Valley for our series with Investigate West on this environmental law’s 40th anniversary. It turns out the problem isn’t so much what cattle ranchers and alfalfa growers are putting into the water – it’s what they’re taking out.

Willamette Pollution Riles Environmentalists

Aug 9, 2012
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.

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.

It's a question all of us face sooner or later: whether to spend a good chunk of money to protect against a catastrophe that has a very low chance of occurring. A workshop that just wrapped up in Corvallis considered that dilemma in the context of Northwest dams and a magnitude 9 earthquake. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

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.

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.

Gold mining with small dredges is popular in the rural Northwest. Today, the 9th circuit court ruled that the Forest Service has to strengthen its regulation of this kind of mining in salmon streams. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports.

Doling out water in the arid western United States is tough to do. There’s not much to be had, and everyone wants a fair share. What’s 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.