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Kayaker Busts Polluter
A Washington County fruit grower has been fined for dumping wastewater in the Tualatin River, because a kayaker caught it on video. The Department of Environmental Quality has issued the Decker Farms with a $8,400 fine for the incident. As some of you may recall, two decades ago agricultural interests, led by the Farm Bureau, tried to greatly limit the public’s access to and use of our state’s waterways. At the time, many opined that the farmers’ goal was to prevent such discoveries as this. The Oregonian reports on the current situation: http://www.oregonlive.com/washingtoncounty/index.ssf/2015/04/kayakers_video_results_in_8400.html#incart_river

Plastics’ “Non-hazardous” Status Under Fire
Plastics have long been treated as being relatively benign, having little more restriction than grass clippings or food scraps in terms of disposal. At last, with some 150 million tons of the stuff “disappearing” into the environment each year, scientists are beginning to question this non-hazardous ranking. Indeed, the evidence has been mounting for decades that plastics, including microscopic bits, are harming organisems, ecosystems and food webs. The BBC has coverage on one group sounding the alarm: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-32384763

How Has the Earth Changed Since You Got Here?
BBC Earth has a unique, interactive graphic which charts and displays data on how a number of the planet’s aspects have changed in your lifetime. For instance, the human population has increased by over 4.7 billion since I arrived on the scene. How about you? http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141016-your-life-on-earth

Fish Wars Return to the Elwha River
It hasn’t been long since the Elwha River, on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, had its dams removed, giving salmon and steelhead access to spawning grounds blocked for nearly a century. Now the fish are returning, but new conflicts have arisen among conservationists, anglers, and the Elwha’s native peoples. Al Jazeera America has a well-researched and thoughtful piece on the river’s history, and the new fish wars: http://america.aljazeera.com/multimedia/2015/4/return-of-the-fish-wars-hatchery-pits-environmentalists-against-tribe.html