photo: Taimi Dunn Gorman © 2020

As wildfire smoke endangers health indoors and out, questions arise about government response

September 21, 2020
Mara Kardas-Nelson / InvestigateWest
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photo: Ann Potter © 2020

Toxic tansy ragwort is having a boom year

September 14, 2020
Alex Meacham

Pernicious, invasive and even sometimes deadly for livestock, tansy ragwort has enjoyed a booming bloom this summer in Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan counties and across the rest of western Washington and Oregon.

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photo: Port of Vancouver © 2020

Proposed Roberts Bank terminal will add cargo capacity — but at what cost to Salish Sea

August 25, 2020
Kimberly Cauvel

A lesser-known yet major Canadian infrastructure project could bring major changes to shipping traffic in waters shared by British Columbia and Washington. If constructed, Roberts Bank Terminal 2, would enable Canada to move another 2.4 million shipping containers per year through its southernmost terminal about 1 mile from the Washington state border.

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photo: Tony Angell © 2020

More scrutiny sought on proposed logging around North Fork near Glacier

June 26, 2020
Alex Meacham

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed logging about 5,700 acres near the North Fork of the Nooksack River around Glacier, Canyon and Wells creeks. Called the North Fork Nooksack Vegetation Management Project, the proposal focuses on the timber harvest part of the Forest Service’s multiuse mandate. That puts it at odds with the priorities of some conservation groups, and it is being met with requests for further evaluation.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2020

Solidarity rally, Cornwall landfill, Cherry Point occupy local officials during the week ending June 12

June 11, 2020
Mike Sato

City officials praised organizers and participants of Bellingham’s Peaceful Solidarity Rally on June 6 at Maritime Heritage Park, in one of several local government meetings last week.

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photo: Islands Oil Spill Association © 2020

New oil spill response base in Friday Harbor will address present — and growing — threat

June 5, 2020
Genevieve Iverson

A new response base to be built on San Juan Island will amp up the Islands Oil Spill Association’s prevention capabilities — all the more vital because local small-spill threats are not likely to get response from elsewhere.

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photo: Island Adventures © 2020

Whale watch industry sits dockside during COVID-19 pandemic

May 16, 2020
Kimberly Cauvel

Like much else in the time of COVID-19, searches for black-and-white orcas, speckled grays and humpbacks were interrupted in early March. Dozens of whale watching boats, from Vancouver Island to San Juan Island, from Everett to Edmonds, bob in place dockside.

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Plastic bags, clean water: local legislators vote on wide-ranging issues in 2020

March 18, 2020
Mike Sato

Here’s how 40th and 42nd Legislative District officials voted on selected bills that were passed and sent to the governor for signing or veto by June 11, according to Washington Votes.

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Water concerns spark funding request for groundwater studies for San Juans, Guemes

January 21, 2020
Louise Dustrude

Concerns of island residents about water supply sustainability motivated requests by 40th District Sen. Liz Lovelett for state funds for groundwater studies. As of adjournment of the 2020 state legislative session on March 12, Lovelett’s office reported that funding for groundwater studies on Guemes Island and in San Juan County were approved and included in the capital budget.

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San Juan Islands’ fresh-water supply sustainability is in question

January 7, 2020
Mike Sato

Back in the ’70s, the Lopez Island water witch and other old-timers would rattle a newcomer’s cage by telling him the water feeding wells in the San Juan Islands came from a large undersea aquifer reaching to Mount Baker. The water witch and the old timers are gone, and the specter of climate crisis is here. No one jokes about fresh water in the islands coming from Mount Baker. Instead, talk is in earnest and concerns the question of sustaining the islands’ supply of fresh water.

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photo: Amy Nelson © 2019

Whatcom plans as climate crisis threatens shorelines, homes, livelihoods

January 7, 2020
Kimberly Cauvel

The worst impacts of climate change in Whatcom County are yet to come, scientists say. Researchers say that while some changes may seem to be emerging slowly, swift action is needed to curb and prepare for them.Residents are already seeing impacts on the waterfront, air quality and fisheries they treasure.

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Grassroots groups work to save habitat, keep streams cool for Nooksack salmon

January 7, 2020
Kimberly Cauvel

As local streams get less water from lower snowpacks and grow warmer during hotter summers, some local grassroots organizations are working to reverse or soften the damage to habitat and the fish that rely on colder water.

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