Extreme Weather, The Un-Dammed, Willamette Waters, Immigrant Farmers, and Hoodwinked Puffins

Poor, neglected Nooze! It's been over a week since we've posted anything new, largely because we've been working on some big grant proposals here at IJNR. Sometimes the need to find moola takes precedent over blogging! (That's not a subtle hint to give us money, but if you want to read it as one, we'd be happy to have your donation. Just sayin'.) Meanwhile, there's so much Nooze to be read, heard, and seen. And not only that, this is our 100th blog post!  In light of that, here's a healthy dose of Nooze for you today:

First, from Sam Eaton with PRI's The World, a look at Arctic temperatures and the crazy weather all over the world:

As Arctic Warms, Scientists Explore Links to Extreme Weather

David Robinson knows just about everything there is to know about climate change. But starting a borrowed chainsaw is another thing altogether.

“Ahh, this doesn’t look good,” Robinson sighs as he struggles with the cord, “this isn’t going to start.”

Robinson finally does get it started, and he and his son set to carving up a giant oak tree that fell in his son’s yard during Hurricane Sandy. He says chainsaws are one of the most common sounds around this part of New Jersey these days.

“I grew up in New Jersey, and my over fifty years in this state, nothing had come close to this in terms of tree damage,” he says.

But Robinson says things could have been much worse, despite the scores of deaths across the region and a price tag running into the tens of billions of dollars. If Sandy’s winds had been just twenty miles per hour stronger, he says, parts of New Jersey would’ve been without power for months... Read more.

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Next, one of our now-regular installations: The EarthFix Podcast! Brought to you by the good folks at Oregon Public Broadcasting. The week they're talking about turkey, and they take listeners on a wild ride on the newly un-dammed White Salmon River in Washington.

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Next, from Camilla Mortensen with the Eugene Weekly, two stories about water:

Whither Willamette?

It flows through the city; it flows past parks, gravel pits and buildings, but unless it’s rising up in a winter flood or we happen to glance down while driving over the I-5 bridge, the Willamette River rarely seems to flow through our minds. Eugene is a river city; the Coast Fork Willamette and the Middle Fork come together to the south and the McKenzie River, the source of Eugene’s drinking water, has its confluence with the Willamette to the north. The river goes through the heart of town, carrying our waste, our stormwater and sometimes ourselves — in fishing boats and on inner tubes. It winds its way northward past Corvallis and to Portland where it joins the Columbia and spills out to sea. The river, literally and figuratively, defines us, but the majority of us never think very much about it at all... Read more.

Water Violations

Earlier this year Travis Williams of Willamette Riverkeeper was floating down the river near Halsey —  13 river miles south of Corvallis’ drinking water intake — when he noticed a murky, smelly patch in the river. Williams discovered the murky patch was the mixing zone for two pulp mills, Cascade Pacific Pulp and Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products. Williams and attorney Doug Quirke of the Oregon Clean Water Action Project (OCWAP) think that the dark effluent is in violation of the mills’ permit to pollute... Read more.


From Jennifer Langston, editor of Sightline, the next installment of a series about farmers in the Northwest:

What Do Immigrant Farmers Need?

Today, it’s almost impossible to imagine the Pike Place Market without stall after stall of flowers: tulips in spring, dahlias in summer, dried bouquets in winter. But three decades ago, that future was not assured. It drew only a few dozen farmers selling produce there on busy Saturdays.

Around that time, Seattle had become a destination for a growing number of Hmong refugees, who had provided intelligence and combat support to the US during the Vietnam War. Many had been farmers in the highlands of Southeast Asia. After American troops pulled out, Communist reprisals forced a mass exodus of Hmong families to refugee camps... Read more.


And finally, Michelle Nijhuis writes for Slate Magazine about how to hoodwink puffins:

Stephen Kress puffin project: Decoys and music lure birds back to Maine

First things first: Puffins are adorable. You don’t have to be an animal lover to be charmed by their clownish faces, their waddling walk, and their chubby-dumpling bodies. Their fluffy chicks make even hardened cynics coo. (Really. They’re irresistible.)  

Every summer on the Maine coast, tourists pile into ferry boats to tour the small, rocky islands where Atlantic puffins nest. As they ogle the birds through binoculars, they hear that puffins are not only cute but also tough: Though wobbly on land, puffins can dive down 200 feet underwater, and they swim so expertly that people once believed them to be a cross between a bird and a fish. Adult puffins return to their home islands every summer to breed and carefully tend a single chick, often pairing with the same mate year after year. Never underestimate a puffin... Read more.