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Climate
Lance Koudele / Columbia Riverkeeper

Why Does Climate Change Matter to the Columbia River?

By Miles Johnson

Why does a river organization like Columbia Riverkeeper dedicate so much energy to fighting fossil fuel projects?

First, fossil fuels threaten clean water. Think oil spills, pipelines that degrade salmon streams, coal dust in the river, and aerial deposition of mercury from coal-burning power plants. But we have additional motivation to fight fossil fuel infrastructure: climate change is harming the Columbia River and our communities right now. And giant fossil fuel corporations want to build more infrastructure—pipelines, fracked gas refineries, shipping terminals—to lock our region into continued reliance on dirty energy. Together, we are taking a stand to protect clean water and our climate.

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Politics
A Buddha statue is seen at a burned home in Spring Valley, near Clearlake Oaks, northern California, on Aug. 7. Tens of thousands of firefighters battled relentless flames ripping across California on Aug. 7, as the death toll from a series of infernos that erupted last month hit 11. The raging Mendocino Complex fire comprising twin blazes in the western state's north has now ravaged more than 290,000 acres — approximately the size of sprawling Los Angeles — in less than two weeks, becoming California's largest wildfire since record-keeping began a century ago. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

Trump Admin. Takes Advantage of California Fires to Funnel More Water From Endangered Fish to Agriculture, Critics Say

The Commerce Department seemed to take its direction from President Donald Trump's Twitter account on Wednesday when it issued a directive to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to prioritize fighting wildfires over protecting endangered species when allocating California's water resources, The Huffington Post reported.

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Animals
Christina Felsing / Getty Images

Thousands of Farmed Salmon Escape Into the Wild

By Dan Nosowitz

The CBC reports that between 2,000 and 3,000 farmed salmon escaped the confines of Cooke Aquaculture's Newfoundland location, and are now somewhere in the wild.

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Animals
The bald eagle was officially listed as an endangered species in 1967. By 2007, it had recovered. Carl Chapman / CC BY 2.0

House Republicans Launch Extinction Bills to Cripple Endangered Species Act

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives announced on Thursday a series of bills aimed at profoundly gutting the Endangered Species Act, including provisions making it almost impossible for imperiled species to gain protection and giving states that often oppose endangered species protection veto power over those decisions.

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Animals
Their sensitivity to changing environmental conditions make salmon susceptible to climate change, but it's also why scientists use salmon as an indicator species to gauge the health of the ecosystem. Illustration by Delphine Lee

5 Reasons Salmon Are an Environmental Justice Solution

By Shannan Lenke Stoll

Last year, for the first time, scientists surveying Pacific Northwest salmon came up with empty nets. They weren't all empty, but some were—and that's "really different than anything we have ever seen," David Huff of the NOAA survey team told The Seattle Times. It's a bit too early to identify a particular cause of these unusual salmon surveys, but it's not too early to be concerned.

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Animals

Orca Whale 'Crewser' Presumed Dead as Population Reaches Its Lowest Point Since 1984

Following the suspected death of an orca whale nicknamed Crewser, the population of southern resident orca whales is the lowest it has been in 34 years, The Seattle Times reported Saturday.

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Food
Seeingbeauty / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Supreme Court Affirms Native American Treaty Rights to Harvest Salmon

By Terri Hansen

The Supreme Court affirmed the treaty rights of tribal nations in Washington state Monday in a case that also confirms the treaty rights of tribes throughout the West. By ruling to leave in place a lower court decision mandating that the state of Washington replace salmon blocking culverts with passable ones, the court upheld the treaty rights of tribes to have sustained access to their First Foods: salmon.

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Animals
Traces of Oxycodone were found in bay mussels like these used to monitor pollution levels in Seattle's Puget Sound. brewbooks / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Opioids Found in Seattle Mussels Could Put Salmon, Other Fish at Risk

A surprising finding from the waters of Seattle's Puget Sound reveals that the opioid epidemic devastating human communities in the U.S. could be harming marine life as well.

Every two years, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) transplants bay mussels raised in clean waters in Whidbey Island, WA to locations around Puget Sound in order to monitor pollution levels in the water. Since mussels are filter feeders, area scientists can get a good idea of what contaminants are present in the environment by examining which have built up in the mussels' tissue after two to three months of exposure.

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Politics
Salmon jumping at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. NPS / David Jacob / CC BY 2.0

Farm Bill Would Allow Mass Killing of Endangered Species With Pesticides

The newest version of the 2018 Farm Bill, set for a vote on Friday, includes an unprecedented provision allowing the widespread killing of endangered plants and animals with pesticides.

The bill launches the broadest attack on the Endangered Species Act in 45 years, eliminating the requirement that federal agencies analyze pesticides' harm to the nation's 1,800 protected species before approving them, greatly increasing the risk of extinctions.

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