Environment

Stories about the environment focused on the Pacific Northwest, with many from KNKX's Environment reporter, Bellamy Pailthorp.

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Olympic National Park is inching ahead on a plan to reduce or eliminate its population of non-native mountain goats. A draft plan released Monday for public comment includes options to relocate or kill the animals.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The failure of the legislature to pass a capital budget leaves Washington’s state forests with an increasing risk of catastrophic wildfires. 

The state department of Natural Resources says a recent survey showed it has about 2.7 million acres of forests in Washington that are in poor health.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

King County’s largest wastewater treatment facility has been operating on the edge of disaster for years and it’s ill-equipped to deal with the growing population in the region.

That’s one of the conclusions from the independent review of February’s catastrophic failure at the West Point sewage treatment plant in Seattle’s Discovery Park.

Spokane could become the next in a growing list of Northwest cities including Seattle, Portland and Bend, Oregon, to commit to a climate change agreement President Trump opted out of this spring.

Ted S. Warren / AP

Despite a lot of pressure from activists, Seattle will not be divesting from fossil fuel investments in its $2.5 billion pension fund. 

The board that oversees the pension fund for city employees met Thursday morning and faced a room full of protestors holding signs urging the city to take its money out of energy investments that pollute the air.

In the wake of a tunnel collapse at the Hanford nuclear site in May, the U.S. Department of Energy plans to take public comments at a meeting in the Tri-Cities on July 20 on how it should proceed with the clean-up.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Edmonds is well-known as the first city in the state to ban disposable plastic bags. Now it’s taking concrete steps to more aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ted S. Warren, file / AP Photo

Washingtonians are parsing the state budget passed last week by a divided legislature. It adds $1.8 billion for basic education over the next two years.  A big chunk of that comes from the closure of a so-called “extractive fuel” loophole, which is one of several new policies that many environmentally progressive groups like.   

John Zilavy

Imagine walking for three days to make a statement about a cause you care for deeply. That’s what people joining the "Walk to Protect & Restore our Salish Sea" will do this weekend. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Among the many wonders at the Ballard Locks is a fish ladder. The ladder encourages threatened salmon to swim up or downstream, to keep them safe from boats passing through the canal.

Courtesy City Of Seattle

Seattle’s Emergency Management Office is partnering with the city’s Department of Neighborhoods to make all community garden P-Patches into official gathering places during an emergency.

WATCH: How The Hanford Tunnel Failed

Jun 29, 2017
MACGREGOR CAMPBELL

This spring, a tunnel at the Hanford nuclear site in southeast Washington caved in, threatening to expose radioactive waste. Declassified blueprints reveal how the failure happened.

For the first time in more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is set to lose its federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Citing a rebound in the bear's population, the U.S. Department of Interior announced its intention Thursday to end these protections and return oversight of the animal's status to the state level.

The agency says the rule to remove the grizzly from the endangered species list will be published "in coming days" and "will take effect 30 days after publication."

One of the biggest threats to global agriculture these days is a tiny, bright red weevil.

These little crimson devils eviscerate coconut, date and oil palms, and are native to South Asia. But thanks to globalization, and the fact that these tenacious buggers can fly up to 30 miles a day — over the last three decades they've spread to more than 60 countries from the Caribbean to Southern Europe.

Washington state officials say people in Eastern Washington need to hunker down for a likely dust storm and possible wildfire conditions Tuesday night.

About 90 minutes north of Stockholm lies an ancient defensive hillfort called Broborg. Northwest scientists are digging up and studying pieces of the ancient Swedish fort and trying to figure out how the structure has lasted around 2,000 years.

Donkeys have been loyal beasts of burden for 5,000 years, yet they still don't get a lot of respect.

In the wild, burro herds are a nuisance. In captivity, they can be mistreated. But in recent years, donkey sanctuaries have sprung up across the country. The largest among them is Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, outside of San Angelo, Texas, where the air periodically erupts with the unpeaceable sounds of donkey braying.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

A new way of getting juvenile salmon out to the ocean is the latest innovation at the Ballard Locks in Seattle. The Army Corps of Engineers, which runs the facility, says the fish have safer passage with the new design. It’s one of the things they’ll be highlighting this weekend at a Fisheries Day going on Saturday.  

Some of Nevada's largest solar installation companies plan to resume doing business in the state. For the past year-and-a-half Tesla (formerly SolarCity) and Sunrun stopped seeking new customers in this sunny part of the country because the state's Public Utilities Commission chose to phase out incentives for homeowners who install rooftop solar panels.

It was time for Emily Harrington to make a choice.

Harrington is a professional climber. In 2014, she was trying to reach the top of the tallest peak in Southeast Asia, a little-known mountain called Hkakabo Razi that had been successfully climbed only once before.

Wolves mostly make the news when they are in conflict with livestock and that’s part of the reason they were once removed from the Western landscape. But a new study shows wolves play an important role, whether we like it or not.

Workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation are starting to install a thick plastic covering over a tunnel that collapsed on May 9. That tunnel holds highly radioactive waste left over from the Cold War.

As part of President Trump's executive order to review "job-killing regulations," the Environmental Protection Agency last month asked for the public's input on what to streamline or cut. It held a series of open-mic meetings and set up a website that has received more than 28,000 comments, many of which urge the agency not to roll back environmental protections.

More than 37 million pieces of plastic debris have accumulated on a remote island in the South Pacific, thousands of miles from the nearest city, according to estimates from researchers who documented the accumulating trash.

Turtles get tangled in fishing line, and hermit crabs make their homes in plastic containers. The high-tide line is demarcated by litter. Small scraps of plastic are buried inches deep into the sandy beaches.

The glaciers in Montana's Glacier National Park are rapidly disappearing.

Some have been reduced by as much as 85 percent over the past 50 years, while the average loss is 39 percent, according to a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University.

The researchers looked at historic trends for 39 glaciers, 37 of which are found in the park. The other two are on U.S. Forest Service land.

Megafires are the kind of wildland fires that grow beyond 100,000 acres. And they are a growing threat across the American West. That’s why one federal scientist in the Northwest is hitting the road with his research.

Holden Village, a retreat center at the tip of Lake Chelan that’s been mostly closed due to mine remediation work, is ready to fully re-open.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Toxic mine pollution is no longer flowing into Washington state's picturesque Lake Chelan for the first time in nearly 60 years because of a $500 million cleanup to contain contamination from the a mine, officials said this week.

Coal has long had a grip on American politics. That's why politicians worry about its fate. They tout the fossil fuel's contribution to the U.S. economy, but lately they've also been trying to find a way to clean up coal's image.

Buy a ticket in the Nenana Ice Classic and you could win nearly $300,000. All you have to do is guess when the ice covering Tanana River at the city of Nenana, Alaska will break up.

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