Wednesday, September 28, 2016


So, it occurred to me that not everybody keeps up with environmentally-focused news and developments the way I do. Truth is, I get my info from a lot of sources. There's a lot out there! A good deal of my idle reading comes from stuff I find on Facebook, I'll admit, but some is also scholarly work, links I've come across from professional sources, or even just personal interest stuff I've kept up with for a while.

So now, I'm going to share some fun little tidbits I've come across recently, just because I think they're pretty cool, or at least worth sharing around, on the off chance anybody reads this. You may recall, it's been a while since I put up my last post like this, News & Views. Hopefully this level of posting, where I just give a few thoughts on multiple little tidbits of fun or important info, captures some audience interest.

How I'd like to imagine my audience's hunger and enthusiasm for the tidbits I'm about to present.

Ok, so here goes. First, a little podcast called RadioLab, which I've been in love with for some time now. It isn't always hard science, wandering occasionally into philosophy or speculation, but it always has some great storytelling, and I'd encourage you to check them out beyond this one 'cast.

Not just about trees!

More locally, here's some fairly recent good news. The Columbia River Basin is likely gonna get some serious funding to get cleaned up some!

The Columbia River Basin Restoration Act would be administered by the Environmental Protection Agency but adds no new authorization to regulate.  The purpose of the Act is strictly to establish a competitive grant program to help local groups voluntarily clean up, monitor, and reduce the use of toxics within the Columbia River Basin.

So this is pretty cool, because apparently the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership (with other partners) has been working on this for the better part of a decade. I've volunteered with them and attended a few of their conferences, and I can tell you they're a great organization with a solid foundation in the science of what they do. They actually just recently got a major award for a project implemented in 2015. But there's a lot more to get done, and we haven't exactly gotten our share of funding for it.

 The Columbia River basin remains one of only two major EPA designated ‘large aquatic ecosystems’ to receive zero funding for clean-up pursuant to this designation.  Since 2009, ‘large aquatic ecosystems’ including the Great Lakes and Puget Sound have received a total of over $3 billion in funding to protect and preserve their watersheds.

We could use a slice of that pie, lemme tell you. I look forward to getting my hands dirty.

Speaking of which, there's an opportunity coming up that I almost never miss, Clark County Public Utilities District's Make A Difference Day, Saturday, October 22nd. Yes, they used a pic of me at the link, from my volunteering at one of the past Make A Difference Days. They get TONS of people out, bring out some live music and other performers, set up free food for the volunteers, and make a whole fair of it. If you're local, you should go. I promise it'll feel good and you'll have fun.

Another opportunity I just heard about through the email list for a local ecology-interested meetup thing (which I can never make it to because they are mostly done before my commute is over in the evenings) is this project by Cascadia Wild to get people out surveying for wolverines on Mt. Hood. Snow shoeing. Can you see the glee on my face right now? I don't know that I'll be able to make it, but they seem to have quite a few options for training dates as well as survey dates. Keep your fingers crossed. If I make it out there, I'll tell you all about it in another post.

"You lookin' fer me, bub?"
(Image from Wikipedia, by Jonathan Othén - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

And now, to leave you with one last cool bit of imagery. Some climate scientists with the Nature Conservancy have put together a map of the anticipated routes of animal migration as birds, mammals, and amphibians all start to move to cooler climes in response to climate change. While a sad topic, worth a few subsequent essays or research endeavors into what this means for future impacts to agriculture and outdoor recreation and a million other things, it makes for an amazing image. Go read up on it, and take your time admiring the animation, because it represents so much work by some brilliant people. You can zoom in and pan around if you like. I also hope you click through the links, read some cool news, and turn on some RadioLab.