Environment

A box for the Ridwell recycling program at the reporter’s home in Bothell, Washington on April 30, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

In goal to reduce garbage to ‘nothing,’ Everett recyclers try Ridwell

Residents can recycle chip bags, plastic clamshells and more. For a fee, the Seattle service takes items that “fall through the cracks.”

A box for the Ridwell recycling program at the reporter’s home in Bothell, Washington on April 30, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Biologist Kyle Legare measures a salmon on a PUD smolt trap near Sportsman Park in Sultan, Washington on May 6, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Low Chinook runs endanger prime fishing rivers in Snohomish County

Even in pristine salmon habitat like the Sultan, Chinook numbers are down. Warm water and extreme weather are potential factors.

Biologist Kyle Legare measures a salmon on a PUD smolt trap near Sportsman Park in Sultan, Washington on May 6, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Neighbors stand in Lisa Jansson’s yard to get a view of the wall of processed wood remains, or “hog fuel,” building up along the property’s border with DTG on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

After complaints, county shuts down DTG’s Maltby recycling facility

For months, neighbors have reported constant noise and pollution at the facility. By July 15, DTG must stop accepting material there.

Neighbors stand in Lisa Jansson’s yard to get a view of the wall of processed wood remains, or “hog fuel,” building up along the property’s border with DTG on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Snohomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
A truck dumps sheet rock onto the floor at Airport Road Recycling & Transfer Station on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Mountlake Terrace transfer station closed for most of May

Public Works asked customers to use other county facilities, while staff repaired floors at the southwest station.

A truck dumps sheet rock onto the floor at Airport Road Recycling & Transfer Station on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mountain goats graze in the alpine of the Buckhorn Wilderness in the Olympic Mountains in July 2017. (Caleb Hutton / The Herald)

Almost all mountain goats died after airlift from Olympics to Cascades

Federal authorities moved hundreds of goats to the North Cascades. Tracking showed most died within five years. Now, tribes are trying to save the population.

Mountain goats graze in the alpine of the Buckhorn Wilderness in the Olympic Mountains in July 2017. (Caleb Hutton / The Herald)
Shannon & Wilson used a hand auger to sample for PFAS from a Big Gulch Creek drainage basin last year. The sampling found elevated levels of the forever chemicals in soil and surface water at the south end of the county’s Paine Field property. (Shannon & Wilson)

‘Not a finish line’: For water providers, new PFAS rule is first step

Eight county water systems have some PFAS, though the state deems them safe. Many smaller systems still lack protection.

Shannon & Wilson used a hand auger to sample for PFAS from a Big Gulch Creek drainage basin last year. The sampling found elevated levels of the forever chemicals in soil and surface water at the south end of the county’s Paine Field property. (Shannon & Wilson)
FILE - In this May 26, 2020, file photo, a grizzly bear roams an exhibit at the Woodland Park Zoo, closed for nearly three months because of the coronavirus outbreak in Seattle. Grizzly bears once roamed the rugged landscape of the North Cascades in Washington state but few have been sighted in recent decades. The federal government is scrapping plans to reintroduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades ecosystem. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Grizzlies to return to North Cascades, feds confirm in controversial plan

Under a final plan announced Thursday, officials will release three to seven bears per year. They anticipate 200 in a century.

FILE - In this May 26, 2020, file photo, a grizzly bear roams an exhibit at the Woodland Park Zoo, closed for nearly three months because of the coronavirus outbreak in Seattle. Grizzly bears once roamed the rugged landscape of the North Cascades in Washington state but few have been sighted in recent decades. The federal government is scrapping plans to reintroduce grizzly bears to the North Cascades ecosystem. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Executive Director of Pilchuck Audubon Brian Zinke, left, Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Washington Trina Bayard, center, and Rep. Rick Larsen look up at a bird while walking in the Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary on Wednesday, April 24, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Larsen’s new migratory birds law means $6.5M per year in avian aid

North American birds have declined by the billions. This week, local birders saw new funding as a “a turning point for birds.”

Executive Director of Pilchuck Audubon Brian Zinke, left, Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Washington Trina Bayard, center, and Rep. Rick Larsen look up at a bird while walking in the Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary on Wednesday, April 24, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Hawthorne Elementary students Kayden Smith, left, John Handall and Jace Debolt use their golden shovels to help plant a tree at Wiggums Hollow Park  in celebration of Washington’s Arbor Day on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Snohomish County to hold post-Earth Day recycling event in Monroe

Locals can bring hard-to-recycle items to Evergreen State Fair Park. Accepted items include Styrofoam, electronics and tires.

Hawthorne Elementary students Kayden Smith, left, John Handall and Jace Debolt use their golden shovels to help plant a tree at Wiggums Hollow Park  in celebration of Washington’s Arbor Day on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snow is visible along the top of Mount Pilchuck from bank of the Snohomish River on Wednesday, May 10, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Washington issues statewide drought declaration, including Snohomish County

Drought is declared when there is less than 75% of normal water supply and “there is the risk of undue hardship.”

Snow is visible along the top of Mount Pilchuck from bank of the Snohomish River on Wednesday, May 10, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A pig and her piglets munch on some leftover food from the Darrington School District’s cafeteria at the Guerzan homestead on Friday, March 15, 2024, in Darrington, Washington. Eileen Guerzan, a special education teacher with the district, frequently brings home food scraps from the cafeteria to feed to her pigs, chickens and goats. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

‘A slopportunity’: Darrington school calls in pigs to reduce food waste

Washingtonians waste over 1 million tons of food every year. Darrington found a win-win way to divert scraps from landfills.

A pig and her piglets munch on some leftover food from the Darrington School District’s cafeteria at the Guerzan homestead on Friday, March 15, 2024, in Darrington, Washington. Eileen Guerzan, a special education teacher with the district, frequently brings home food scraps from the cafeteria to feed to her pigs, chickens and goats. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Foamy brown water, emanating a smell similar to sewage, runs along the property line of Lisa Jansson’s home after spilling off from the DTG Enterprises property on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Snohomish, Washington. Jansson said the water in the small stream had been flowing clean and clear only a few weeks earlier. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Neighbors of Maltby recycling facility assert polluted runoff, noise

For years, the DTG facility has operated without proper permits. Residents feel a heavy burden as “watchdogs” holding the company accountable.

Foamy brown water, emanating a smell similar to sewage, runs along the property line of Lisa Jansson’s home after spilling off from the DTG Enterprises property on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Snohomish, Washington. Jansson said the water in the small stream had been flowing clean and clear only a few weeks earlier. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
People look out onto Mountain Loop Mine from the second floor hallway of Fairmount Elementary on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Judge orders mining company to stop work next to Everett school

Despite demands to cease work next door to Fairmount Elementary, the company reportedly continued operations at its site.

People look out onto Mountain Loop Mine from the second floor hallway of Fairmount Elementary on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
People fill up various water jug and containers at the artesian well on 164th Street on Monday, April 2, 2018 in Lynnwood, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Washington will move to tougher limits on ‘forever chemicals’ in water

The federal EPA finalized the rules Wednesday. The state established a program targeting the hazardous chemicals in drinking water in 2021.

People fill up various water jug and containers at the artesian well on 164th Street on Monday, April 2, 2018 in Lynnwood, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Russ Dalton poses for a photo at the Rockport State Park on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Rockport, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Last man to see a grizzly in Cascades says return ‘would be wonderful’

It was news to Paul Paquet that he recorded the last confirmed sighting of a North Cascades grizzly. Still, some fear an imminent restoration effort.

Russ Dalton poses for a photo at the Rockport State Park on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Rockport, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Gordon Mawson, 5, left and Lenora Mawson, 7, right, look for ocean creatures during the Starlight Beach Walk on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024 near the Olympic Beach Visitor Station in Edmonds, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

WSU hosting spring trainings on marine conservation, sustainability

Classes start this month for the WSU Snohomish County Beach Watchers, Beach Naturalists and Sustainable Community Stewards.

Gordon Mawson, 5, left and Lenora Mawson, 7, right, look for ocean creatures during the Starlight Beach Walk on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024 near the Olympic Beach Visitor Station in Edmonds, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
The view of Mountain Loop Mine out the window of a second floor classroom at Fairmount Elementary on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

County: Everett mining yard violated order to halt work next to school

At least 10 reports accused OMA Construction of violating a stop-work order next to Fairmount Elementary. A judge will hear the case.

The view of Mountain Loop Mine out the window of a second floor classroom at Fairmount Elementary on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Late winter snowpack is seen on Whitehorse Mountain on Friday, March 15, 2024, near Darrington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Weekend warmth melts almost 20 inches of snowpack in Snohomish County

Up north, there was 125 inches of snow around Mount Baker last week. This week, there is 95 inches, sparking avalanche concerns.

Late winter snowpack is seen on Whitehorse Mountain on Friday, March 15, 2024, near Darrington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
University of Washington geomorphologist David Montgomery studied the Oso landslide. He was at his office in Johnson Hall on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Seattle, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

What geologists learned from Oso, and what they wish they knew in 2014

Too often with natural hazards, it takes a tragedy, geologists said. Now the state allocates millions to mapping landslides.

University of Washington geomorphologist David Montgomery studied the Oso landslide. He was at his office in Johnson Hall on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Seattle, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Rachel Haight from the Whale Sighting Network looks for gray and orca whales on Monday, March 18, 2024 at Hidden Beach in Greenbank, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

With early arrival of ‘sounders,’ gray whale watchers chase a mystery

Gray whales returned to the Salish Sea in January. Their timing is known only to them, but whale watchers can inform research on the population.

Rachel Haight from the Whale Sighting Network looks for gray and orca whales on Monday, March 18, 2024 at Hidden Beach in Greenbank, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)