Underwater Video: Starfish Die-offs Hit Hood Canal

Seattle diver Laura James heard reports that starfish weren’t faring well in Washington’s Hood Canal, so she decided to check in on them. Watch a video of the sick and dying starfish she found underwater. Full Story »

Field Notes: Crawling Through A Cormorant Colony

Nearly 30,000 cormorants are nesting on the other side of these black tunnel walls.

by Cassandra Profita

In a stinky, sweltering above-ground tunnel built out of wood and black landscaping fabric, I heard the most amazing sounds. They were coming from thousands of birds nesting inches away from me.

Video: Black Bear Captured In Northeast Portland

A black bear spotted running through a Northeast Portland neighborhood early Wednesday morning was tranquilized and captured.

by Cassandra Profita

A 125-pound black bear was spotted running through a Northeast Portland neighborhood early Wednesday morning. Officials captured the bear and plan to release it back into the wild within 24 hours.

Oregon Senators Ask Transportation Safety Board To Evaluate Emergency Order On Oil Trains

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden, left, and Jeff Merkley met with local officials in Portland to discuss oil train safety earlier this year. Now they're calling for a new fund devoted to it.

by Tony Schick

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley are calling on the National Transportation Safety Board to review the sufficiency of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s latest emergency order on oil trains.

Northwest States Tread Lightly With Oil Train Route Disclosures

Railroads are being required by the federal government to share some information with states about their shipments of oil from North Dakota's Bakken fields. But they don't want the states to disclose that information to the public.

by Tony Schick

The Northwest’s two main freight rail operators are complying with a federal requirement to inform states about the North Dakota crude oil they’re hauling — but they want the states to keep the public from finding out by signing for non-disclosure agreements.

Oregon Delays Decision On Morrow Pacific Coal Export Dock

Tribes say they have fishing sites in the area where coal export terminal developer Ambre Energy wants to build a dock. The state of Oregon has delayed its decision on a permit for the dock until August.

by Cassandra Profita

The Oregon Department of State Lands has delayed until August its permitting decision on a controversial coal export dock on the Columbia River. The decision was expected by May 31.

Curry County Residents Ask Oregon Lawmakers For Tougher Pesticide Rules

John and Barbara Burns. Burns says he felt symptoms similar to a sinus infection he attributes to herbicide exposure.

by Tony Schick

Curry County residents community tell lawmakers the rules protecting them from aerial herbicide spraing were inadequate — and the same goes for the state’s response after the spray occurred were both inadequate.

Kitzhaber To Feds: Pick Up The Pace On Oil Train Safety

As Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber ramps up efforts to improve oil train safety, he's asking the U.S. Department of Transportation for help at the federal level.

by Cassandra Profita

After the oil train derailment in Lynchburg, Virginia, last week, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation with a list of requests for improving oil train safety.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road For Northwest Bike Shares

A docking station for Washington, D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare with lots of bikes available.

by Ryan Haas

Northwest cities are rapidly rolling toward launching bike share schemes. Experts say that specializing these programs to each city’s needs is crucial to their long-term viability.

A Film Festival For Water Lovers

One film in the Stories of Our Watersheds film festival will feature sustainable farming practices. The festival, May 7, in Portland, will show short films about water restoration projects throughout the Northwest.

by Courtney Flatt

Water restoration projects throughout the Northwest will make their big screen debut next week in Portland. The Stories of Our Watersheds film festival will feature 14 short films.

Kitzhaber: ‘It Is Time Once And For All To Say No To Coal Exports’

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber

by Cassandra Profita

In a speech to the Oregon League of Conservation Voters last weekend, Gov. John Kitzhaber voiced clear opposition to coal export projects in the Northwest. Now, what is he going to do about it?

Biggest Challenge Facing Oregon Pesticide Investigators? Public Records Law

A view of one of the sites involved in an October aerial herbicide application in southwest Oregon, released with investigation notes as part of a public records request.

by Tony Schick

The Oregon Department of Agriculture investigates pesticide use in the state of Oregon. Its program manager says its biggest enforcement challenge is Oregon’s public records law, followed by communication with other agencies and with the public.

A New Western Outlaw: The Bee Rustler

A close up view of a GRub honey beehive.

by Ryan Haas

Beehive thefts are on the rise in California, possibly as a result of declining bee populations and their increased value as pollinators. The phenomena of bee rustling doesn’t appear to have spread to the Northwest. Not yet, at least.

Popular Wristbands Could Record Chemical Exposure

In an OSU experiment, rubber wristbands absorbed almost 50 chemical compounds, including pesticides, caffeine and pollution.

by Ryan Haas

Oregon State University scientists have found that silicone bracelets could be a useful tool for monitoring human exposure to chemicals. An initial study revealed subjects wearing the bracelets for 30 days were exposed to everything from pesticides to fire retardants.

Funding Provided by:

Calif. Company Wants Geothermal Energy To Help Power Cars

by Ryan Haas

A California company says it's developed the technology to pull high-grade lithium from water used to extract geothermal energy. The lithium is the same kind used in the batteries of electric cars.

Climate Plays Critical Role In Water Discussion

by Aaron Kunz

Climate will play a critical part in the fresh water supply in the Northwest. Hotter temperatures will likely mean less summer rainfall and more wildfires. And it could mean gradual changes to the plant and animal life in the years to come.

Port Of Portland: We’ll Pass On Crude Oil By Rail … For Now

by Cassandra Profita

Have you been wondering about the Port of Portland's position on oil by rail? If so, you're not alone. The port responded to inquiries today, saying it might consider the idea one day – but not today.

A Coal Shipping Terminal Strikes Out In A Major League City

by David Steves

While the Northwest's debate over whether to build coal export terminals seems to be at a standstill, the discussion in California's San Francisco Bay led to a decision to reject such a port project.

Study: More Coal, More Oil Means More Trains

by Courtney Flatt

Train traffic will dramatically increase in the Pacific Northwest, if proposed coal export terminals and crude oil terminals are built, according to a report from the Western Organization of Resource Councils.

Is Fukushima Radiation Causing Pacific Starfish Die-offs?

by Katie Campbell

Scientists point to evidence as to why they do not consider radiation a leading culprit for the mysterious syndrome that’s killing sea stars along the west coast of North America.

Urban Goat Herd Gets A New, Temporary Home

by Toni Tabora-Roberts

A beloved urban goat herd in Portland has found a temporary new home in the city.

Moving More Deer

by Courtney Flatt

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to relocate more of the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer.

Climate Data Sonification

by Toni Tabora-Roberts

Cellist and University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford and geology professor Scott St. George came up with an interesting idea: put climate data to music.

Wild Fish Group Announces Plan To Sue Over Hatchery Fish In Puget Sound

by Ashley Ahearn

A wild fish advocacy group goes to court to halt the release of hatchery steelhead in Washington rivers -- the latest such legal action to assert environmental laws to stop fish hatchery programs in the Northwest.

How Do You Squeeze Gardens Into Cityscapes? Think Vertical

by Sarah Strunin

In dense, concrete-locked urban areas like Seattle space for gardening is hard to come by. After all, this is a city where land is so valuable that people spend an average of $346 per square foot on their homes.

How To Cook A Geoduck

by Toni Tabora-Roberts

Geoduck clams from Puget Sound are a prized delicacy in China. But many diners in the Northwest have never tried them. Perhaps one of these recipes will whet an appetite for the clams, which go for $100 a pound in China.

Share your experiences as part of EarthFix's Public Insight Network.

© 2014 KUOW