Stories from the EarthFix team at OPB, KUOW, KCTS 9, Northwest Public Radio and Idaho Public Television.EarthFix is an innovative partnership of the largest public media institutions in the Pacific Northwest established to expand environmental news coverage in the region. With journalists based in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, EarthFix creates media across multiple platforms, helping citizens examine environmental issues unfolding in their own backyards and to explore how local actions intersect with national issues. All content copyright EarthFix and its stations.
A controversial logging project is moving forward near a popular entrance to the Eagle Cap Wilderness. It’s igniting a debate over what constitutes forest thinning for wildfire prevention and forest health. Critics see it as exploitation of a loophole — and perhaps the start of a trend in increased logging in the name of forest health across the West.
More and more people are using publicly owned lands for recreation. Public agencies are struggling to keep up with the demand for rangers, trail maintenance – even the need to restock toilet paper in outhouses. The problem could get worse under President Trump’s hiring freeze. Reporting for EarthFix, Eilís (eye-LEASH) O’Neill headed to [Western Washington’s] Middle Fork Valley to find out more…
Hunters, fishermen and environmental activists. It’s not often these group are mentioned in the same breath. But recently they’re finding themselves standing shoulder to shoulder over the issue of public lands.
Sportsmen and women consider hunting and fishing in these wild places to be their right. And they’re nervous that calls to sell off or transfer public lands are gaining traction. Now, they’re crossing political lines to protect what they love.
Jes Burns of EarthFix reports.
Seattle residents were horrified when King County dumped millions of gallons of raw sewage into Puget Sound. Officials blamed it on a malfunction at a waste treatment plant. But raw sewage dumps aren’t as rare as we’d like to think. Even when no disasters happen, cities with combined sewers for their stormwater and sewage have to dump untreated wastewater into rivers, lakes and bays during heavy rainstorms.
A decade ago bats in the Northeast started dying by the millions. The culprit was a disease that for years, stayed largely confined to the eastern U.S. and Canada.
But in 2016, the disease suddenly and mysteriously appeared in the Pacific Northwest.
Ever since researchers have been racing to find out what bats here are in for.
As you motor down the highway, you could be driving over dozens of underground passages -- called culverts. Those are metal pipes or concrete boxes that carry streams beneath the roadbed. In the Northwest, thousands of these culverts are poorly designed and maintained -- blocking the way for endangered salmon. That’s why Native American tribes have sued Washington State.
Reporting for EarthFix, Eilis (eye-LEASH) O’Neill headed out to look at some culverts…
Grizzly bears have been stirring up debate for decades in North-Central Washington communities. Most people love them or hate them -- they argue the bears are a necessary part of the ecosystem or a threat to their way of life. The public is getting a new chance to share their opinions at open houses throughout Washington. EarthFix reporter Courtney Flatt has more about the controversy
California condors once filled the skies from Baja to British Columbia. The giant scavenging bird had a wingspan of 10 feet.
But with European settlement, the population crashed. Condors were victims of poisoning that targeted large predators like wolves.
Now, the greatest known killer of these highly endangered birds is a different kind of poisoning – it comes from ingesting lead bullet fragments in dead animals.
For our EarthFix series about birds and lead hunting ammunition, Jes Burns reports that an effort to reintroduce the condor in the Pacific Northwest would place them right in harm’s way.
For decades, environmental laws have protected North America’s trumpeter swan from sport hunting, but every year swans in the Pacific Northwest fall victim to one of hunting’s toxic legacies.
For now, a small group of scientists and volunteers may be their only chance of survival.
Reporting for our EarthFix team, Ken Christensen has the final story in our series on the effects of lead ammunition on wildlife. .
Every year, wheat dies, and wheat farmers have to till the soil and plant new seeds. That causes erosion, which is hard on the land, hard on the water, and hard on farmers. That’s why researchers in Mount Vernon, Washington, are trying to develop a grain that’s like wheat--but keeps growing back.
Occasionally a big idea comes along that promises revolutionize the world – think about things like self-driving cars.
For biologists – especially those who work with fish – the big idea involves something called “environmental DNA.” The technology could revolutionize how we protect native animals and ensure invasive species don’t take hold.
Jes Burns of EarthFix reports.
Tens of thousands of birders all over North and Central America are participating right now in the Christmas Bird Count.
This annual survey in the last weeks of December and first week of January documents what birds are where and how many of them there are.
The count’s been running for over one hundred years.
It’s given scientists loads of data about how birds’ ranges and populations are changing.
Reporting for EarthFix, Eilís [(eye-LEASH)] O’Neill headed out with some birders north of Everett, Washington…
Salmon need cool, shady streams to thrive. Oregon was once at the forefront in protecting these waters, but these days, the state lags far behind Washington and California.
Now, Oregon is updating how its rivers and streams are protected.
Jes Burns of EarthFix partnered with Liam Moriarty of Jefferson Public Radio to find out if these new rules will cool down Oregon’s streams enough to help its salmon make a comeback.
Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered a sound coming from one of the deepest spots in the ocean. They believe it’s the song of a Minke whale, but it’s not like any they’ve identified before.
A one hour podcast special that explores the U.S. military's environmental legacy in the Pacific Northwest - from making thousands of planes and ships on the rivers to chopping down forests to building the nuclear bomb that would bring Japan to its knees. What was the environmental cost of winning WWII and how are we balancing military preparedness and environmental concerns today?
Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is known as one of the quietest, most remote places in the United States. But that is changing.
The Navy is ramping up troops and training in the Northwest - and the Olympic Peninsula is the epicenter of those activities.
Ashley Ahearn brings us the next installment in our EarthFix series on the military’s relationship with the environment
This month [December 7th] will mark the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It’s what drew the United States into World War II. During that war, President Roosevelt called on America to be the “Arsenal of Democracy.”
In Seattle, people did their part by building B-17 bombers.
Thousands of these ‘Flying Fortresses’ blackened the skies over Europe. And thousands of young men risked their lives in these planes..
The B17 changed history - but it also changed Seattle. EarthFix reporter Ashley Ahearn has the story -- It’s the first in our series on the military’s environmental legacy in the Pacific Northwest.
After the Great Depression, the Northwest’s faltering timber industry got its second wind. The comeback started with World War II.
The war effort created a huge demand for lumber. It also spurred advancements in technology, setting the region up for one of the largest timber harvests in U-S history.
As part of our EarthFix series exploring at the impact of the military on the environment of the Northwest, Jes Burns looks at the connections between World War II and the development of the most iconic symbol of modern logging - the chainsaw.
If you were to guess who is responsible for looking out for wildlife, you probably wouldn’t think of the army. Well, it turns out, more than 400 threatened or endangered species live on U.S. military land -- almost four times more than in our national parks. So how do we protect animals in dangerous places? EarthFix reporter Katie Campbell has the next story in our series on the relationship between the military and the environment.
The Northwest timber industry has changed dramatically over the past few decades. In the wake of environmental regulations and lawsuits, logging has declined on federal lands. Automation has reduced the number of jobs in the mills and forests. And the economy and trade deals haven't always been favorable.
But Donald Trump’s election win has communities in the Northwest Timber Belt cheering, and hoping better times are ahead.
Jes Burns of EarthFix takes us to Oregon’s Douglas County, where Trump won with 64-percent of the vote.