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.