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The OSU Extension is again offering its “Master Naturalist Eco Region” course in Wasco County, as well as in Hood River County. Applications are due by March 15.

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In the wake of last year’s Eagle Creek Fire, a group of citizen scientists ventured out to the Columbia River Gorge with one question on their minds: How are the pikas?

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It was a good year for pikeminnow anglers in the Columbia and Snake rivers. More than 3,000 people registered for the 2018 Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program. Combined, they spent more than 23,000 angler-days catching and removing 180,271 of the salmon-eating fish, which helps protect young salmon and steelhead from predation.

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Federal, state and tribal partners have developed an agreement on how much water to spill for fish survival during operation of federal dams in the Columbia River Basin, the Bonneville Power Administration reported last week. The agreement calls for flexible spring spill operation premised on achieving improved salmon survival while also managing costs in hydropower generation, the agency said.

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State officials wrongly granted a wetland fill permit to Walmart for a proposed super-store in The Dalles, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday in a precedent-setting case. In issuing a fill permit to Walmart in 2013, the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) wrongly stated that it was “inconclusive” whether public need outweighed damage to wetlands, the court ruled.

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Bipartisan legislation to protect endangered salmon and steelhead from sea lion predation has been passed by the U.S. Senate. “For too long, predatory sea lions have been taking an unhealthy chomp out of Oregon’s salmon and steelhead stocks,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).

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A grant request to build a second deep well in Mosier, moving a heavy agricultural user out of a depleting aquifer currently being used by the town, was declined at this time. The Oregon Water Resources Commission told the grant seekers to come back with more information for reconsideration in the next funding cycle.

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The City of The Dalles has applied three times to the state for a $1 million grant to help replace the leaking, wooden, century-old Dog River pipeline, which provides half the city’s water. It has gotten closer to funding each time, and in mid-November, state staffers finally recommended the grant be funded. But then the Oregon Water Resources Commission delayed a decision on the staff recommendation until early next year.

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Following the first facilitated wolf plan stakeholder meeting in The Dalles in August, during which little consensus was reached, the committee met Oct. 9 in Salem. According to a report by Jim Akenson of the Oregon Hunter Association, the second meeting resulted in progress on reaching consensus on radio-collaring efforts, the definition of chronic depredation of livestock, and which agencies and staff could review depredations in the field.

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SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown wants to guard against a rollback of federal environmental rules by moving them into state law where the Trump administration couldn’t touch them. “As states, we can take a leadership role in preventing the erosion of core laws that protect our environment,” Brown said in remarks at an event at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry Wednesday.

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The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area will conduct prescribed burning in the eastern Gorge this fall and winter as part of an ongoing fire fuels management program that hopes to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and improve forest health. “We’re coming into a weather window – which means temperatures, humidity, and ground moisture are just right for successfully burning while still maintaining control of the fire,” said Roland Rose, a fire fuels planner with the national scenic area.

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On Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, a 50th anniversary ceremony was held at the John Day Dam powerhouse. As part of the ceremony, Kevin Moynahan, operations project manager at the dam, recapped the history of the facility.

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Steelhead retention in the Columbia River and lower John Day River closed effective Monday, Aug. 27 through the end of the year due to poor returns. The states of Oregon and Washington decided to close the retention fishery after the run size was downgraded from a preseason forecast of 182,000 to 110,000 adult summer steelhead on Monday.

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A class action lawsuit against AmeriTies alleging that odors from the plant diminished the use and value of area properties has reached a proposed settlement of $1.25 million. Almost all of The Dalles is included in the boundaries covered by the settlement, according to a map posted on the website of one of the law firms involved.

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Wheat fields burnt in the Substation Fire — 79,121 acres in Wasco and Sherman County — are now at risk of both wind and water erosion, according to soil and water conservationists with the United States Department of Agriculture personnel in The Dalles. “Both wind and water can be a problem,” said Clinton Whitten, who works on soil issues with farmers in both counties.

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Fire season is back in Oregon. Too soon, it seems, for residents still recovering from last year’s devastating Eagle Creek Fire. In the aftermath, many residents have banded together to work on helping the Gorge heal and shown how deeply the community is affected by the wellbeing of its landscape — just like Colorado, environmental journalist Heather Hansen says.

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SALEM — Oregon's Department of State Lands is looking into whether other entities, including counties or private companies, could manage certain state trust forests more cheaply than the state Department of Forestry.

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A three-part series this week first looked at the AmeriTies West tie plant operations and then at what the plant has done to address odor complaints concerning naphthalene. Today, it recaps an investigative series by the Cascadia Times that says residents in The Dalles are breathing toxic air.

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A three-part series this week first looked at the AmeriTies West tie plant operations. Today’s second installment focuses on what the plant has done address to odor complaints concerning naphthalene. Tomorrow’s story recaps an investigative series by the Cascadia Times that says residents in The Dalles are breathing toxic air.

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A three-part series this week first looks at the AmeriTies West plant operations and then at what is being done to address odor complaints concerning naphthalene. Finally, it recaps an investigative series by the Cascadia Times that says residents in The Dalles are breathing toxic air.

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The City of The Dalles Wastewater Treatment Plant has discharged effluent into the Columbia River that exceeds the plant’s limit for E. coli due to incomplete disinfection, according to a May 30 press release from the City of The Dalles.

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A peculiar war is being waged on the Columbia River as tribes seek to keep sea lions from decimating salmon runs, and the sea mammals refuse to give up the all-you-can-eat buffet. Three days a week, Bobby Begay and his two-man crew — Reggie Sergeant and Ted Walsey Jr. — from the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission board a boat at the North Bonneville dock to mount an offensive against predatory sea lions.

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PORTLAND — A U.S. appeals court on Monday affirmed an order to spill more water over Columbia and Snake river dams to help protect salmon and steelhead and aid their migration to the sea. The decision came after U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon of Oregon ruled last spring that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must spill more water through spillways rather than turbines that pose a danger to the fish.

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NEWPORT — The 700-pound sea lion blinked in the sun, sniffed the sea air and then lazily shifted to the edge of the truck bed and plopped onto the beach below. Freed from the cage that carried him to the ocean, the massive marine mammal shuffled into the surf, looked left, looked right and then began swimming north as a collective groan went up from wildlife officials who watched from the shore. After two days spent trapping and relocating the animal designated #U253, he was headed back to where he started — an Oregon river 130 miles from the Pacific Ocean that's become an all-you-can-eat fish buffet for hungry sea lions.

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RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — A new report says mistakes and mismanagement are to blame for the exposure of workers to radioactive particles at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Legislation written by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Representatives Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., to protect and enhance Oregon’s land conservation and recreation priorities on Mt. Hood is now law.

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A vocal opponent of AmeriTies West and the creosote compounds it is permitted to release said of a proposed new air quality rule, “If Cleaner Air Oregon was made for anything, it was made for the city of The Dalles.” Kristina Cronkright spoke at the Dec. 14 hearing in The Dalles on the proposed reform to air quality laws called Cleaner Air Oregon.

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PORTLAND (AP) — The Trump administration has angered environmental groups and some residents of the Columbia River Gorge by rolling back a 2015 rule on oil train safety. The Obama administration rule change required trains carrying highly explosive liquids to have electronically controlled pneumatic brakes installed by 2021 — systems intended to help prevent fiery oil train wrecks like the one that happened in the Oregon last year, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported Thursday.

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CASCADE LOCKS (AP) — Aerial photos show severe damage to some parts of the Columbia River Gorge from a large wildfire that continues to burn.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's recommendation to shrink four sprawling national monuments in the U.S. West jeopardizes protections for ancient cliff dwellings, scenic canyons and habitat for endangered fish and threatened Mojave desert tortoises. The recommendations, revealed in a leaked memo submitted to the White House, would scale back two huge Utah monuments — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante — along with Nevada's Gold Butte and Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou.

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SEATTLE — An extensive poaching ring is responsible for slaughtering more than 100 black bears, cougars, bobcats, deer and elk in southwestern Washington state and northwestern Oregon, with many of the animals hunted with dogs and then left to rot, authorities said Friday. The investigation began with Oregon State Police troopers who were looking into poaching in The Dalles.

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TROUTDALE — A fast-moving wildfire chewing through Oregon's forestland is threatening more than homes and people. It's also devouring the heart of the state's nature-loving identity.

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PENDLETON (AP) — Opening day won't be an abundant day when summer steelhead season arrives Friday on the Grande Ronde and Imnaha rivers. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced this week it's lowering the bag limit to one fish per day on both tributaries.

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UMATILLA, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has authorized the killing of two wolves from a pack in northeastern Oregon. The agency said Thursday in a statement that wolves have killed four calves from a local ranch.

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Klickitat Advocacy has organized “Love Your Columbia” on Aug. 26, giving volunteers the opportunity to pick up litter, pull invasive weeds and perform other restoration at Columbia River locations in their communities.

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In recent years wildfire seasons in the western United States have become so intense that many of us who make our home in dry, fire-prone areas are grappling with how to live with fire.

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PORTLAND — State lawmakers sent a proposed oil train safety bill back for more work Friday after growing concerns that an amendment favoring the railroad industry had watered down key provisions on public oversight and financial accountability.

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Columbia Land Trust has been awarded a $5,000 grant from The Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative, a group formed in 2013 by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Land Trust Alliance.

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SALEM (AP) — Suction dredge mining could be permanently banned from western Oregon's wild salmon habitat under a bill that has passed the Oregon House.

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SEATTLE (AP) — For the first time since 2011, the Pacific Northwest isn't showing any signs of drought.

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Young salmon and steelhead migrating from the Columbia River Basin in unusually high flows face a potentially lethal problem in spillways at dams where increased nitrogen in the water can cause tissue-damaging trauma.

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SPOKANE, Wash. — Some Northwest Indian tribes would be allowed to kill a limited number of sea lions that prey on endangered salmon in the Columbia River under a bill introduced in Congress.

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Sometimes emotional residents cited their health problems and made calls to close AmeriTies West at a meeting Tuesday to discuss air quality monitoring focused on naphthalene emissions from the tie plant.

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A meeting is set for Tuesday, March 21 to discuss the final results of air quality testing that found naphthalene remains below levels that might produce immediate health concerns, but exceeds levels for lifetime exposure.

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SALEM (AP) — Native Americans, environmentalists and a fishing guide spoke out Monday in support of two bills that aim to prevent, or at least mitigate, an ecological disaster like an oil spill into the Columbia River.

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The legal back and forth over the proposed four-mile extension of a railroad siding at Mosier continues. On March 8, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken dismissed a lawsuit filed by Union Pacific Railroad in January because the railroad failed to include three Indian treaty tribes as defendants in the case.

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President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday to begin the legal process of rolling back federal jurisdiction over small waterways, including some stock ponds and irrigation ditches. “I think this is the direction we need,” said Keith Nantz, a Maupin rancher who chairs the Political Action Committee of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.

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SALEM — Wolf OR48, a Shamrock Pack adult male, died on Feb. 26 on private land in northeast Oregon after an unintentional take by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services. The wolf died after encountering an M-44 device, a spring-activated device containing cyanide powder.