Northwest wheat growers opened their annual meeting today facing a tough economic market. But at the Oregon-Idaho Grains Conference, the real worry is about a year from now when the Columbia locks system will close for maintenance.
(photo: Volunteers and Coast Guard crewmembers in Asotria, Oregon load hundreds of weakened seabirds for transport to a wildlife rehab center in northern California.)
ASTORIA, OR - It’s like an oil spill, but without the oil. That’s how wildlife rescue people are describing an unusual red tide along the Northwest coast. The algal bloom is causing hundreds upon hundreds of dead or dying seabirds to wash up on coastal beaches. Today, the deluge of distress shows signs of tapering off.
(Photo: Small woodland owner Ken Falk hopes to sell carbon offsets tied to these trees in Monroe, Oregon.)
MONROE, OR - Some airlines are starting to do it. Some Northwest ski resorts, too. They’re inviting people like you to pay a little bit extra to offset the global warming pollution resulting from an activity such as a trip. A carbon offset is a bit like an indulgence... a polluter pays someone else to remove an equivalent amount of global warming gases from the atmosphere. In our region, private timberland owners, farmers, and some tribal governments are dreaming dollar signs.
(Photo: Forester David Cobb checks the status of a tiny white pine seedling that the Forest Service planted last June on a hillside above Priest Lake in north Idaho.)
COEUR D'ALENE, ID - A lot of small towns in Idaho date back to the 1800s, when loggers were drawn to the area by huge white pines. It’s a tree that towered over all the others and was so common that it became Idaho’s state tree. But 100 years ago, the Great Fire of 1910 burned three million acres of timber and marked the decline of the white pine. Now the US Forest Service is trying to help the tree regain its former prominence.
PORTLAND, OR - A pristine piece of the Southern Oregon landscape is closer to winning federal protection. The Devil's Staircase is a rugged forested place in the southern-most edge of the Coast Range, east of Reedsport. From time to time, timber companies have identified it as a possible site for logging. But its terrain is so steep, and hard to navigate, that its old-growth trees have remained intact.