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Natural Resource News, Information and Resources from Around the World

3 Things You Didn’t Know Trees Did For You

Without trees and forests, life on Earth as we know it would be unthinkable. Most people know that forests are home to a wealth of biodiversity, that they provide water for billions of people and regulate the climate for everyone. But did you know that they can make you smarter? Or that, scientists think, they can drive rainfall? In honor of International Day of Forests, Human Nature looks into some of the benefits of forests that you might not know about. Trees Increase Property Values Selling your house? Consider planting some greenery. In 2007, economists who analyzed home sales in Portland, Ore., found that homes with...

Culverts Court Case About Indigenous Fishing Rights

One case about replacing culverts in Washington state could end up influencing larger decisions about native rights in places like Bears Ears and Standing Rock. On April 18th, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Washington v. United States, which pits the state of Washington against the U.S. and 21 Indian tribes. The main question in the case is narrow, whether the state must quickly replace hundreds of culverts that allow the flow of water under roads but also block salmon migration. Yet the underlying issue is far broader. At stake in the case is the Supreme...

Better Way to Think About Wildland Fires

This video about wildland fires from the U.S. Forest Service explores what makes fire in the West unique, and demonstrates the importance and benefits of healthy fire to forest ecosystems. Video courtesy of the United States Forest Service Reposted by the Quinault Division of Natural Resources         Quinault Fire Protection Program

Marine Debris Tribal Initiatives

Marine debris, an increasingly important topic, has been in the news recently. Most recently we have learned about the increasing size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch1 and research findings that state the dangers that microplastics are having on some of the filter-feeding marine megafauna2. From time to time we hear encouraging stories where communities are working towards solutions at the local, national, and international level. Tribes along the coast are really seeing these effects and doing something about it. Cleaning up the mess that ends up on coastal Tribal lands is a huge effort. The Coquille Tribe has...

Nanowood Decreases Carbon Footprint

Move over, Styrofoam, nanowood is here. Scientists have designed a heat-insulating material made from wood that is both light and strong and made entirely from tiny, stripped-down wood fibers. The so-called nanowood, described in the journal Science Advances, could one day be used to make more energy-efficient buildings. It’s cheap and biodegradable, too. “Nature is producing this kind of material,” said senior author Liangbing Hu, a materials scientist and engineer at the University of Maryland in College Park. Managing heat is a major issue in the cities we build. It’s hard to keep heat indoors in the winter and...

Climate Change Tightens Grip on West Coast

Trump’s climate policies have led to criticism from California, Washington and Oregon, but change hasn’t been easier closer to home for those states. California’s exposure to climate change has been laid bare with warnings that San Francisco faces a far worse threat from rising seas than previously thought, while the agricultural heart of the state will increasingly struggle to support crops such as peaches, walnuts and apricots as temperatures climb. The findings, from two new scientific studies, come as California’s neighboring west coast states Oregon and Washington have both faltered in their legislative attempts to address climate policies and deliver a...

Oil Spill Response Plan Approved

Emergency oil spill response preparations for a major oil train spill took a big step forward this week. The Washington Department of Ecology has approved the state’s first oil spill response plan for the largest freight railroad company in the state, BNSF Railway Company. BNSF owns 1,332 miles of track in the state and delivers oil to refineries at Cherry Point and Ferndale, truck racks in Seattle and Spokane, and terminals in Anacortes and Pasco. With the approved oil spill response plan, BNSF meets Ecology’s more protective requirements. Oil Spill Response Should Be Rapid, Aggressive and Well Coordinated “This...

Forest Restoration: Getting the Prescription Right

Forest health, like human health, involves a complex set of variables. Just like medical doctors, there are many types of forest health specialists. Working together, silviculturists, fire specialists, hydrologists, biologists and timber specialists create comprehensive forest treatment and management plans. Forests face multiple health threats including disease, drought, fire and insect infestation. The way we manage our forests has short and long term impacts on a forest’s ability to respond to and resist these disturbances. This is similar to our own bodies: If we adopt healthy behaviors like getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating a balanced diet, we are...

State Bans Atlantic Salmon Farming After 2025

The net-pen salmon farming of Atlantic salmon would be phased out in Washington waters by 2025, when existing leases run out, under legislation passed with bipartisan backing Thursday in the state Senate. The legislation comes as reaction to a net collapse last August at a salmon farm off Cypress Island, where between 243,000 and 263,000 non-native Atlantic salmon were accidentally released.  The fish have turned up as far away as the Harrison River in British Columbia. Powerful Bipartisan Vote of Salmon Farming  After what sponsor Sen. Kevin Ranker, R-Orcas, described as a “powerful bipartisan vote” of 35-12, the legislation...

Investing in Clean Energy

Since 2003, in an effort to implement clean energy, Pearl Jam has mitigated their tour-related carbon dioxide output by self-imposing a voluntary ‘carbon tax,’ and allocating a portion of tour profits to organizations working on reforestation efforts and fighting climate change. But there’s still more work to be done. Multiple strategies are needed in order to effectively reduce carbon pollution. Through The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy’s policy proposal, Washington state can become a climate leader by transitioning to a clean energy economy. The policy suggests charging corporations who are major pollution offenders and reinvesting those dollars into clean energy transportation options, raising...