Pacific Northwest

Andrew W. Sieber / Flickr

Despite one of the worst drought years on record, hydroelectric dams in the Pacific Northwest should not see their operations disrupted too much this summer.

That's what the Northwest Power and Conservation Council was told at a meeting in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, on Wednesday.

Water through the dams in the Columbia River Basin this summer is projected to be only about 71 percent of average, triggering dry year operation protocols for the dams.

This interview was originally broadcast in September, 2014

The rugged coastline of the Pacific Northwest is dotted with historic cities and sea ports. But today’s well-established metropolises belie the imagination and tenacity that it took to settle this wild and remote region.

Timber industry giant Weyerhaeuser is about to get even bigger. The Federal Way, Washington-based company announced Monday that it's buying Longview Timber in a sale valued at more than $2.6 billion.

Weyerhauser says the purchase will increase its timber holdings in the Pacific Northwest by more than 33 percent. According to Weyerhaeuser and timber industry analysts, it's the third largest timber deal in U.S. history.

Ashley Ahearn / Earthfix

Fishing nets are designed to ensnare fish. But when those nets are lost or abandoned at sea, they don’t stop catching fish.  Instead, they become ghost nets – floating death traps for the marine life that continue to get trapped in their mesh. Ghost nets are a problem internationally – but there’s an international response underway.  And some of the leaders in the movement are at work in the Pacific Northwest.

Doug Monk captains the 39-foot Bet Sea out into the waters of Puget Sound, just south of the Canadian border.  

KelleyTravel / Flickr

A new study says the nation’s aquifers are shrinking at an alarming rate The problem is not as bad in the Northwest, thanks to an abundance of rivers and streams. But even here, aquifers are shrinking.

Think of all the water in Lake Erie. Then double it. That’s how much water has drained since 1900 from aquifers in the U.S. When these underground water bodies shrink, it means less water for cities, farms and streams.