Environment and Planning

Environment and Planning

epa.gov / US Environmental Protection Agency

  

The Environmental Protection Agency set new clean-air standards four years ago for wood stove and hydronic heater manufacturers.

These manufacturers were told that by 2020 they would have to sell off older models of stoves and heaters that did not meet the new standards that limit fine particulate matter. Now, under the Trump administration, the EPA is proposing a two-year delay to that sell-by deadline.

ANNA KING / NORTHWEST NEWS NETWORK

new proposal from the Trump administration could dramatically change the way the government cleans up radioactive tank waste at t

A bald eagle looks for its next meal along the Skagit River. Eagles converge there in great numbers every winter.
Jason Ransom / NPS 2017

From mid-December to February, hundreds upon hundreds of bald eagles flock to the Skagit River in northwest Washington to feast on spawning salmon. It's one of the biggest seasonal concentrations of eagles in the Pacific Northwest, but this eagle watching hot spot is being affected by changing cycles of nature.

One of the six fishers is released on Wednesday December 5, 2018, at the North Cascades Visitor Center in Newhalem.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

An elusive carnivore in the weasel family is roaming free in Washington’s North Cascades for the first time in at least 70 years.

Federal and state wildlife biologists on Wednesday released six fishers captured and relocated from Alberta. One by one, the six furry fishers sprinted out of their wooden boxes into the mossy forest of the Ross Lake National Recreation Area near Newhalem. 

ODFW, 2017

An online map of wolf sightings from the public includes unconfirmed reports of wandering wolves from the Idaho border to the Pacific beaches, not to mention inside major cities such as Seattle and Tacoma.

The Oregon and Washington state wildlife departments welcome more eyes on the woods to monitor the spread of wolves, even though a good number of the citizen sightings are probably mistaken.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Injured, sick or orphaned seals, seabirds and turtles could get a second chance in a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center if the Oregon Coast Aquarium succeeds with a capital campaign it just launched.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

It's been more than a century since sea otters were hunted to near extinction along the U.S. West Coast. The cute animals were successfully reintroduced along the Washington, British Columbia and California coasts, but an attempt to bring them back to Oregon in the early 1970s failed.

Now a new nonprofit has formed to try again.

Scott Benson / NOAA Fisheries

The Oregon crab industry is putting up money to launch a new research study on where whales swim and feed along the Pacific Coast. The study stems from growing concern West Coast-wide about whales getting tangled in fishing gear.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Nothing is simple when it comes to federal lands management. But in order to thin fire-prone forests — and to break legal and ideological gridlock — national forests in the Pacific Northwest are supporting collaborations with formerly adversarial interests.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

A US District Court Judge in Spokane Thursday gave the green light to a controversial forest restoration project on Washington’s Colville National Forest.

In 2016, Montana-based Alliance for the Wild Rockies filed a lawsuit against the US Forest Service. They said the agency violated three federal laws by allowing Collville-based Vaagen Brothers Timber Company to take on a restoration project from start to finish, or, as it’s called, “A to Z.”  

The project required a lengthy, federal environmental analysis. Vaagen Brothers hired a third-party company to help.

Olympic National Park video

The eye-catching scenes of mountain goats flying through the air under helicopters, riding in refrigerated trucks and taking ferries to new homes are done for the year. Roundups and relocations of non-native Olympic National Park goats will resume next year.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Wildlife biologists have relocated the first two dozen of hundreds of non-native mountain goats slated for removal from Olympic National Park. The logistically-challenging capture and transfer of the woolly wild animals to the northern Cascade Range has been periodically slowed by weather this week.

WDFW

Washington state government marksmen now have clearance to go out this weekend to shoot a wolf from a pack that has been preying on cattle in the Colville National Forest. A judge on Friday declined to extend a temporary stay on the killing won by several environmental groups last week.

Emily Schwing / Northwest News Network

In 2013, the U.S. Forest Service was looking for someone to reduce wildfire risk and rehabilitate a stand of overgrown trees on the Colville National Forest in northeastern Washington.

Colville-based Vaagen Brothers Lumber submitted the one and only proposal to take on the ‘A to Z’ project. It’s called A to Z because what the company accepted responsibility for was everything – from start to finish. That includes a lengthy and federally required environmental analysis, public comment and the actual work.

OSU

There’s a set of massive whale bones resting on the bottom of the bay in Newport, Oregon. Scientists from Oregon State University put them there with a plan for a future display on shore. But they’re having trouble finding the money to retrieve the rare blue whale skeleton from beneath the waves.


Aerial photograph of adult female Southern Resident killer whale J16 with her calf (J50) in 2015, when the calf was in its first year of life.
John Durban (NOAA Fisheries), Holly Fearnbach (SR3) and Lance Barrett-Lennard (Vancouver Aquarium), taken by an unmanned hexacopter during research authorized under NMFS permit #16163

An emaciated orca from the Pacific Northwest’s critically-endangered resident killer whale population could get a pole injection of medicine under the latest prefered option of an emergency response team. 

Katy Foster / NOAA Fisheries

An emaciated, 4-year-old Pacific Northwest orca is drawing alarm.

NOAA Fisheries spokesman Michael Milstein said feeding live Chinook salmon to the female orca, possibly laced with medication, is being considered.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

In a clash of protected species, Pacific Northwest members of Congress are coming down in favor of salmon. The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to vote Thursday morning to make it easier to kill sea lions who feast on Columbia and Willamette River salmon and steelhead.

Finetooth / tinyurl.com/gpy4fgq

Nearly 100 public water systems around Oregon—including the state’s largest—will be required to begin testing for harmful contaminants from algae blooms under new rules unveiled by the Oregon Health Authority.

Sheila Sund / tinyurl.com/ybq8vphd

After 10 days, the Oregon Health Authority has lifted an algae advisory for people swimming and boating in Detroit Lake.

Health officials have also made it harder to lift such advisories in the future.

Joan Lopez / ECHO

The call is going out again to the operators and pilots of big ships to slow down in the shared border waters between Washington and British Columbia. The idea is to reduce underwater noise that could bother endangered killer whales.

Sheila Sund / tinyurl.com/ybq8vphd

A drinking water advisory in Salem has been extended for another two weeks.

U.S. Fish & WIldlife Service

As boat inspections in the Northwest ramp up for summer, an inspection at the Washington-Idaho border near Spokane last week turned up highly invasive zebra mussels.

Ingrid Barrentine / Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Since 2008, wildlife biologists in Washington state have worked to reintroduce the fisher, a locally-extinct forest weasel. They are not shouting from the tree tops about success, but say things are looking positive. Fishers were previously reintroduced in the southern Oregon Cascades.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Coastal erosion is chewing away at one of the Northwest's most popular recreation areas. It's threatening the main campground and other amenities at Cape Disappointment State Park, which has the second most camper visits in the Washington State Park system.

Google Earth

Aptly nicknamed Washaway Beach, in Pacific County, Washington, has long suffered from the most extreme coastal erosion along the whole U.S. West Coast. Now a relatively low cost defense is raising hopes among property owners and nearby cranberry growers.

Photos courtesy of Icicle-Peshastin Irrigation District.

Outside of Leavenworth, Washington, crews have been working on a dam in trouble. 

Chief Petty Officer John Matuska / U.S. Coast Guard

Specially trained rescuers have managed to free a whale that was tangled in fishing gear off the Washington coast. But they say the prognosis for the young gray whale is "guarded."

Ferry County Sheriff's Office - tinyurl.com/y89upps6

It’s a record year for flooding in northeastern Washington as spring runoff makes its way into the region’s rivers.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Tribes across the West are trying to restore their forests and grasslands to the way they were before white settlers arrived. Their goal is to return traditional foods like roots, huckleberries and big game.

But it’s a complex job.

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