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.