Environment

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Voters to decide fate of state's climate act

The debate over how Washington reduces greenhouse gasses is headed for a showdown in November. To supporters, The Climate Commitment Act (CCA) is a "gold standard" environmental... — Updated 3/18/2024

 

State proposes pesticide ban despite current research

Neonicotinoid pesticides are known for their harmful effects on the nervous systems of insects and a proposal in the state Legislature calls for banning them for household use. “About ⅓ of our agricultural sector needs pol... — Updated 2/24/2024

 

Mt. Baker Ski Area looks to more sustainable future

Skiers and snowboarders return to a more sustainable Mt. Baker Ski Area, with millions spent to upgrade power sources to reach a future goal of using renewables. More than a foot... — Updated 2/12/2024

 

Legislation would impose fines for untreated sewage discharge

A proposal to fine counties and cities when untreated sewage is released into Puget Sound is part of an effort to save dwindling salmon runs. The bill, proposed by Rep. J.T.... — Updated 2/7/2024

 

Demand for affordable homes near transit hubs faces hurdles, critics say

Washington cities could soon be required to block off zones near public transit for multifamily housing, if new regulations are approved by the state Legislature. Some regulation... — Updated 1/22/2024

 

Wolverines designated a threatened species by Fish and Wildlife Service

High in the mountains above the Methow Valley lives a small population of rare wolverines, one of the most elusive mammals in North America. The North Cascades are one of the few... — Updated 1/14/2024

 

Valley snow levels are low for this time of year

When it comes to our sense of the weather, a lot of it may actually be linked to perception. "It's funny how your memory is different from the data," Methow Trails Executive... — Updated 1/14/2024

 

WSDA seeks assistance in halting Japanese Beetle spread

The Washington States Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is asking for help from Yakima County residents in stopping the spread of Japanese Beetles. Residents that live in Grandview,... — Updated 12/28/2023

 

Whatcom industrial site owners fined nearly $1M for dangerous waste violations

The Washington Department of Ecology issued a $900,000 fine to Treoil Industrial site's owners in Whatcom County on Tuesday, Dec. 5, for non-compliance with the state's dangerous wa... — Updated 12/7/2023

 

Snow geese population a problem for Skagit farmers

In late autumn on the cusp of cool winter days, snow comes early to Washington when thousands of aloft avians, snow geese, land here in a flurry of white feathers. "We call it a sno... — Updated 11/30/2023

 

Western Washington provides a prime habitat for mushrooms

Joining a mushroom club can provide the right education for those interested. Mushroom clubs can be found throughout western Washington as the region's climate provides a prime habi... — Updated 11/30/2023

 

Grizzly restoration plan elicits strong opinions

The idea of restoring grizzly bears to the North Cascades brings up strong emotions, which were evident among speakers at a packed house in the Winthrop Barn on Friday night (Nov.... — Updated 11/16/2023

 

Whiteman Cove Restoration to Begin in 2024

Restoration of salmon habitat at Whiteman Cove is set to begin in 2024, following a $6.9 million appropriation in the state capital budget. The project, led by the Washington... — Updated 11/9/2023

 

1 million planted: StreamTeam celebrates environmental milestone

Clear but chilly weather provided a perfect environment for hundreds of trees and shrubs to be planted in the ground on Bells Mountain, Saturday. Volunteers swarmed the hillside to... — Updated 11/2/2023

 

Tribes import bison to reservation

The Colville Tribes announced Monday it had released nearly two dozen buffalo onto the open range on the reservation "to live in the wild" and that they planned to release all 30... — Updated 10/4/2023

 
 By Staff    Environment

Clam season likely but numbers down

OLYMPIA - On the up side, it appears likely there will be razor clam digging on the peninsula starting Sept. 29 through Oct. 2. On the down side, the number of clams has plummeted... — Updated 9/21/2023

 

Wildfire spared endangered pygmy rabbit population

The Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit population, nestled in recovery sites near Quincy, was spared from the Baird Springs Fire. The Pacific Northwest native endangered species resides... — Updated 9/21/2023

 

Blue Lake Fire spreads north of Hwy 20 in 'slopover' of strategic burnout

In its first week, the Blue Lake Fire grew slowly - it was just 290 acres after burning for eight days - but it has nearly doubled in size since Friday, after strategic firing... — Updated 8/31/2023

 

Scientists monitor juvenile European green crab populations in Drayton Harbor

Scientists are keeping a close eye on Drayton Harbor waters after discovering a sizable population of juvenile European green crabs, indicating growth of the highly invasive... — Updated 8/17/2023

 

Drought emergency officially declared for Methow, Okanogan watersheds by DOE

The Methow watershed is officially under a drought emergency. Okanogan County is one of 12 counties across the state hit with a drought declaration by the Washington Department of... — Updated 8/2/2023

 

Combating toxicity in trail culture

Over the last several years, my family and I have been section hiking the Washington portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. The PCT is a 2,653-mile trail that starts on the Mexico... — Updated 8/2/2023

 
 By Ken Stern    Environment

Skagit County drought worsens

The drought conditions for Skagit County? Not good. The U.S. Drought Monitor’s website’s weekly report lists almost the entire county in drought by area, 97.5%. Greater La Conner is in a small coastal slice of moderate dro... — Updated 7/20/2023

 

DNR leadership preps for worsening wildfires in Washington

With wildfire season already underway in Western Washington, the state's Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said firefighters are better equipped to handle more intense... — Updated 7/20/2023

 

Experts warn: 'Leave seal pups alone'

As the local harbor seal population enters its annual pupping season, experts urge beachgoers to steer clear of baby seals – even if they appear abandoned. Mother seals give b... — Updated 7/20/2023

 

Floating ban coming to South Fork Nooksack Riverv

Floating down the South Fork Nooksack River will soon be off-limits for the summer. Whatcom County Council approved the ban by a 4-2 margin, with one council member absent, after a... — Updated 7/13/2023

 

Forest Health Collaborative marks decade of restoration efforts

Two dozen members of the North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative celebrated the group's 10th anniversary in May, hailing its effectiveness in accelerating... — Updated 7/6/2023

 

Wildfire in east Skamania County prompts 'Go Now' evacuation orders, closes part of Highway 14

A wildfire burning near Underwood, Washington, across the Columbia River from Hood River, Oregon, in rural Skamania County, has closed part of state Route 14 (Highway 14) and... — Updated 7/6/2023

 

First Japanese beetles of the year detected in Grandview

GRANDVIEW - The Washington State Department of Agricultures (WSDA) has detected their first Japanese Beetle for 2023. The beetle was detected in a trap near the Grandview High... — Updated 6/29/2023

 

Public Weighs in on Burley Lagoon Geoduck Farming

Update: The Key Peninsula Land Use Advisory Council voted 5-2 to recommend approving shoreline permits to expand the geoduck farm with several conditions May 30. The Gig Harbor... — Updated 6/15/2023

 
 By Ian Haupt    Environment

Citizen scientists monitor Birch Bay, Drayton Harbor for red tide

A group of Blaine residents who routinely monitor the toxin levels in Birch Bay and Drayton Harbor took samples last month that indicated shellfish poisoning in local waters. Every... — Updated 6/1/2023

 

WDFW proposes 'downlisting' state's gray wolf protections

Gray wolves in Washington, now listed as an endangered species under state law, would be reclassified as a sensitive species based on a recommendation by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The public is invited... — Updated 5/26/2023

 

Cause, timeline undetermined after 'catastrophic' slide on road to Mount St. Helens

A massive landslide on Sunday night took out a section of the upper portion of state Route 504, also known as Spirit Lake Highway. As of Tuesday morning, only one thing was... — Updated 5/19/2023

 

No concrete plans to transport Tokitae, despite hopes

No concrete plans exist to transport Tokitae, the Southern Resident orca currently housed at the Miami Seaquarium, back to Washington waters, federal agencies said this week. In... — Updated 5/4/2023

 

Legislature passes multiple environmental bills in time for Earth Day

Legislators celebrated Earth Day with the passage of environmental bills in the final hours of the legislative session. The package creates new laws that regulate the use of foam blocks for docks, govern production of hydrogen to... — Updated 4/26/2023

 
 By Renee Diaz    Environment

Bills push for improving salmon habitat, removing barriers

Starting at the Olympia Ballroom in the state capital's historic district, students from across Washington carried inflatable orcas and salmon and marched through the streets of Oly... — Updated 3/8/2023

 

Blaine without a hornet buzz this year as trapping ends

Washington state scientists are wrapping up their search for the northern giant hornet this year without detections in Blaine or statewide, but are asking the public to remain... — Updated 12/15/2022

 
 By Cal Bratt    Environment

70 flood-prone properties tabbed for federal aid

WHATCOM - A total of about 70 flood-prone properties have been identified by the county as eligible to be either bought out or have buildings raised with public money. It's... — Updated 12/8/2022

 

Three controversial battery energy storage facilities proposed in Skagit

As demand on the electric grid continues to rise and state mandates on clean energy use inch closer, utility providers are scrambling to find alternative storage options for clean e... — Updated 12/1/2022

 

One year into the Methow climate plan

Switching to energy-saving appliances for heating and cooling. Building a water bank to preserve water for local agriculture. Adding charging stations for electric vehicles.... — Updated 11/17/2022

 

WDFW records cougar attacks on wolves; four confirmed since 2013

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recently reported evidence that cougars are killing wolves in Washington. By using radio collar data, WDFW staff were able to... — Updated 11/17/2022

 

DNR cancels leases for last 2 net-pen salmon farms in Puget Sound

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has canceled the two remaining finfish net-pen aquaculture leases in Puget Sound, officials announced Monday night. The tw... — Updated 11/17/2022

 

WDFW acquires shrub-steppe lands in Rendezvous area

Mule deer and other wildlife will benefit from an additional 220 acres of protected shrub-steppe in the Rendezvous area recently purchased by the Washington Department of Fish and... — Updated 11/11/2022

 

Old Cedars golf course reopens as Gordy Jolma Family Natural Area

What was once the Cedars at Salmon Creek Golf Course officially reopened on Nov. 2 as the Gordy Jolma Family Natural Area. The remnants of sand traps were the only clear signs that... — Updated 11/11/2022

 

Willapa Bay green crab war enters new phase

OCEAN PARK - They can crawl, but they can't hide. The war on an invasive crab wreaking havoc on Willapa Bay has entered a new phase, with scientists implementing an innovative inter... — Updated 10/27/2022

 

What's the Deal With: Bellingham's plum shortage?

If you were looking forward to a bountiful plum harvest in Bellingham this fall, you aren't alone if your gathering efforts seem fruitless. Local plum trees might produce less... — Updated 10/13/2022

 

Volunteers tackling growing amount of roadside litter

Conner Smith added another piece of litter to his already packed trash bag. "It hurts my soul to see people take advantage of a place so pristine," he said while pausing his work al... — Updated 10/5/2022

 

A 'desperate' year for bears in search of sustenance

Hungry bears have been unusually persistent and destructive in seeking food near homes in the Methow Valley this year, in some cases repeatedly breaking through electric fences to... — Updated 9/29/2022

 

Aleutian Isle fishing vessel recovered after 39 days

The Aleutian Isle fishing vessel has been removed from the waters off San Juan Island after 39 days, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Thursday night. Efforts to recover the vessel,... — Updated 9/23/2022

 

Wildfires close trails, bring smoke to valley

The Methow Valley Ranger District has closed additional trails from the Harts Pass area north to the Canadian border and west to the Ross Lake National Recreation Area because of... — Updated 9/15/2022

 

Whidbey Island waters dyed red for shellfish health

The waters around Whidbey Island will be dyed red Monday, Sept. 12, to allow the state Department of Health (DOH) to study wastewater movement in the region. DOH will be working in the waters beginning Friday and will remain until... — Updated 9/8/2022

 

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