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Snippets of environmental news content from EarthFix and other trusted places. Curated by Toni Tabora-Roberts.
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This is not a doom and gloom story; it’s more of a cautionary tale. We do not live in a precipitation limited environment by any means. The shifts in precipitation will be expressed in streamflow, but we’re fortunate. We have water. But we might have to change our decisions in how we use that water, especially the timing.
Oregon State University Researcher Eric Sproles has just released a climate study that says rising temperatures will reduce the peak snowpack in the Cascades slopes east of Eugene, Ore. by more than fifty percent.

An upside to unused oil rigs in ocean waters? Fish use them as habitat. Via Inhabitat:

Fishermen and conservationists have been lobbying the government to soften up on existing policies. In recent years, when a rig was no longer in use, the government required that all of the equipment be removed. According to FuelFix, less than 10 percent of about 800 non-producing oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have ended up in the program since 2010, while more than 200 have been removed each year. Now, a new policy will give states more flexibility to review and designate dead rigs as artificial reefs, allowing them to stay in place.

Microplastics are becoming a pollutant that’s threatening waterways across the country. In a Columbus Dispatch article about how it’s affecting Ohio waters, Jeffrey Reutter, the director of Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie said

Have you ever washed your hands with hand soap that feels a little bit gritty? Those are microplastics.

Microplastics are becoming a pollutant that’s threatening waterways across the country. In a Columbus Dispatch article about how it’s affecting Ohio waters, Jeffrey Reutter, the director of Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie said

Have you ever washed your hands with hand soap that feels a little bit gritty? Those are microplastics.

8-year-old Solana Henderson, a Pine Lake resident and expert crayfish trapper, handles her latest catch as mom Renee looks on. Credit: Ashley Ahearn.

Gumbo and jambalaya may not be at the top of Northwest menus. But if the invasive red swamp crayfish has its way, that could change. The Red Swamp Crayfish – also known as “crawfish” or “crawdad” – is native to the Southeastern U.S. and the Gulf Coast. But over the past decade this crimson-clawed invasive has moved in on some Northwestern lakes and rivers, and it could be impacting native species of trout and bass.

Ground zero of the invasion? Pine Lake. It’s a small body of water 40-feet deep, about 20 miles east of Seattle. The shores are lined with nice homes. Yellow labs patrol well-maintained yards and docks. Bass and trout fishermen share the water with laughing kids on paddleboards.

But the ecosystem balance of this lake is shifting, says Julian Olden, a freshwater ecologist with the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. Invasive red swamp crayfish now outnumbers the hometown species, known as signal crayfish.

Read the rest of the story at EarthFix.

This is part of Orion Magazine’s first installment in their new series, Reimagining Infrastructure. Read the article this audio slideshow accompanied, Water Works.

Also, check out our series that we did last year for the 40th birthday of the Clean Water Act, Clean Water: The Next Act.

Yay us! Check out our Society for Professional Journalists’ Northwest Excellence in Journalism award-winning stories.