Environment

Jody Bourgeois, a University of Washington researcher who specializes in liquefaction, surveys the Snohomish River delta, where land is prone to turn to liquid in a major earthquake. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

2. Built on pudding: Can modern quake engineering prevail?

At least 30,000 people in Snohomish County live on saturated soils and sediment that will behave like shaken liquid when a big earthquake hits.

Jody Bourgeois, a University of Washington researcher who specializes in liquefaction, surveys the Snohomish River delta, where land is prone to turn to liquid in a major earthquake. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Our Fault: The earthquake hazard beneath us. Map of major geologic faults of the Puget Sound region. No caption necessary. 20210502

1. Buried danger: A slumbering geologic fault beneath us

An earthquake along the southern Whidbey Island fault reshaped the land some 2,700 years ago. Another big one is expected, and it could be devastating.

Our Fault: The earthquake hazard beneath us. Map of major geologic faults of the Puget Sound region. No caption necessary. 20210502

Students lead charge as Langley council takes climate action

The Whidbey Island city has declared a climate emergency and has pledged to involve United Student Leaders.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY. Map shows epicenters for earthquakes greater than 3.0 magnitude between 1969 and 2021. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210509
NO CAPTION NECESSARY. Map shows epicenters for earthquakes greater than 3.0 magnitude between 1969 and 2021. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210509
The Cold Springs Fire in Omak. (Okanogan County Fire District 6)

Officials hope to douse Western blazes fast, avoid megafires

2020 was one of worst years on record, with 10 million acres scorched and 18,000 structures destroyed.

The Cold Springs Fire in Omak. (Okanogan County Fire District 6)
A log shows the depth of creosote penetration while Department of Natural Resources crews remove ropes from logs removed from Elger Bay, via helicopter, on Monday, May 10, 2021 in Camano Island, Washington. The logs were then shipped to a landfill. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Goodbye, creosote: Cleanup underway at Elger Bay salt marsh

The toxic wood preservative was once ubiquitous in Washington. On Camano, it threatens salmon.

A log shows the depth of creosote penetration while Department of Natural Resources crews remove ropes from logs removed from Elger Bay, via helicopter, on Monday, May 10, 2021 in Camano Island, Washington. The logs were then shipped to a landfill. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
An architectural model of the planned development of 3,080 waterfront condos at Point Wells near Woodway. (Blue Square Real Estate)

Council affirms ruling against Point Wells condo project

The decision is another setback in BSRE’s 10-year quest to build 3,000 waterfront homes near Woodway.

An architectural model of the planned development of 3,080 waterfront condos at Point Wells near Woodway. (Blue Square Real Estate)
WSDOT Environmental Manager Rob Woeck stands next to an Edgecomb Creek outlet that runs underneath the Burlington Northern railroad on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 in Arlington, Wa. This overgrown outlet is the only way for spawning salmon to get to the revitalized spawning grounds of Edgecomb Creek. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

House passes cap-and-trade with a link for a gas tax hike

As wrangling over climate change policy continues, a major transportation package is pronounced dead.

WSDOT Environmental Manager Rob Woeck stands next to an Edgecomb Creek outlet that runs underneath the Burlington Northern railroad on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 in Arlington, Wa. This overgrown outlet is the only way for spawning salmon to get to the revitalized spawning grounds of Edgecomb Creek. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Lenz composting facility borders. (Google Earth)

Odors are a concern if Stanwood composting operation expands

Air regulators drew up a draft permit that would allow Lenz Enterprises to double in size. Residents can weigh in.

The Lenz composting facility borders. (Google Earth)
Signs from the Department of Ecology warning about contamination in the creek that runs through Powder Mill Gulch on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

State order targets Boeing Everett plant’s polluted history

Records show a dispute over cleanup requirements for chemically tainted water. The company denies there’s a disagreement.

Signs from the Department of Ecology warning about contamination in the creek that runs through Powder Mill Gulch on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Coho salmon fry from the Stillaguamish Tribe Salmon Hatchery at Harvey Creek on Friday, March 26, 2021 in Arlington, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A tall task: Finding common ground in region’s floodplains

Tribes, farmers, cities and other groups make some headway in the Stillaguamish River Basin.

Coho salmon fry from the Stillaguamish Tribe Salmon Hatchery at Harvey Creek on Friday, March 26, 2021 in Arlington, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Valley View neighborhood of Everett abuts the Wood Creek drainage, which city officials are proposing to sell for possible partial development. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20200528

Everett, environmental group to study Wood Creek future uses

The 92.5-acre property near Valley View had been proposed as surplus before neighbors rallied.

The Valley View neighborhood of Everett abuts the Wood Creek drainage, which city officials are proposing to sell for possible partial development. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20200528
Absorbents placed to contain oil in the stormwater pond outside Achilles USA, July 2018. (Washington State Department of Ecology)

Everett manufacturer settles oil spill fines for $222,000

Six geese, a snake and blue herons were covered in oil at a retention pond outside Achilles USA.

Absorbents placed to contain oil in the stormwater pond outside Achilles USA, July 2018. (Washington State Department of Ecology)
Tom Campbell, who as a legislative staffer, helped write the original 1990 Growth Management Act, stands in the  eco-friendly subdivision called Clearwater Commons on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 in Bothell, Washington. House Bill 1099, which would update Washingtonճ Growth Management Act, moves to the Senate after House approval. Campbell wants Snohomish County to move ahead with climate-friendly regulations, in parallel if not ahead of updated state law. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Bill would add climate-change factors to state planning law

Backers say HB 1099 would limit sprawl and cut greenhouse gases. Critics fear it would hurt housing options.

Tom Campbell, who as a legislative staffer, helped write the original 1990 Growth Management Act, stands in the  eco-friendly subdivision called Clearwater Commons on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 in Bothell, Washington. House Bill 1099, which would update Washingtonճ Growth Management Act, moves to the Senate after House approval. Campbell wants Snohomish County to move ahead with climate-friendly regulations, in parallel if not ahead of updated state law. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Farmer Frog volunteer Amy Drackert helps load potatoes into cars on Friday, March 5, 2021 in Woodinville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

County wants non-profit food distributor to find a new home

Farmer Frog is operating on unleased land and could cause environmental harm, the county alleges.

Farmer Frog volunteer Amy Drackert helps load potatoes into cars on Friday, March 5, 2021 in Woodinville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mark Mulligan / The Herald
Sunset Falls cascades down past the existing fish ladder along the Skykomish River east of Index, February 4, 2014.
Photo taken 20140214

New hatchery on Skykomish to end practice of importing fish

A plan to capture fish from Sunset Falls near Index and release them in the river is open for public comment.

Mark Mulligan / The Herald
Sunset Falls cascades down past the existing fish ladder along the Skykomish River east of Index, February 4, 2014.
Photo taken 20140214
A barge worker hauls in an oil boom before heading off with the remains of the Mukilteo Ferry Dock ramp and pier on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 in Mukilteo, Washington. With the new dock in operation, all that is left is to tear down the old ticket building. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Old Mukilteo ferry dock afloat on the barge of ‘Lincoln Logs’

The haul included 213 wood pilings, 15 concrete pilings, 47 steel pilings and a “Speed Limit 15” sign.

A barge worker hauls in an oil boom before heading off with the remains of the Mukilteo Ferry Dock ramp and pier on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 in Mukilteo, Washington. With the new dock in operation, all that is left is to tear down the old ticket building. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Go East Corp. Landfill next The Point subdivision in Silver Lake on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

From landfill to houses — after 11-year battle with neighbors

Nearly 100 houses will be built around a former construction-waste landfill east of Silver Lake.

Go East Corp. Landfill next The Point subdivision in Silver Lake on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dirt is moved during the deconstruction of a seawall on Friday, Jan. 29, 2020 in Langley, Wa. Shoreline restoration underway north of Langley involves removal of an old barge and bulkheads. Sea level rise makes such habitat improvements all the more important to endangered salmon and their prey. The project is a partnership between Seahorse Siesta property owners and the Northwest Straits Foundation. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Small fish, big barriers: A county confronts climate change

Island County has 196 miles of shoreline to protect as sea levels rise. And erosion is only one of the challenges.

Dirt is moved during the deconstruction of a seawall on Friday, Jan. 29, 2020 in Langley, Wa. Shoreline restoration underway north of Langley involves removal of an old barge and bulkheads. Sea level rise makes such habitat improvements all the more important to endangered salmon and their prey. The project is a partnership between Seahorse Siesta property owners and the Northwest Straits Foundation. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Marianne Edain, seen with her dog Takilna, is a longtime activist and, with her husband Steve Erickson, founded the Whidbey Environmental Action Network (WEAN). They are restoration ecologists by trade. Shot at home on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021 in Clinton, Washington. Edain, 73, has been fighting local environmental battles since 1977. “Back then, we thought (about climate change) in terms of generations,” she said. “Ten to 15 years ago, we were thinking in terms of decades. Now it’s in our face.”
 (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Climate change fears motivate scientist, longtime activist

They are well into their 70s and are speaking up for environmental protection in Island County.

Marianne Edain, seen with her dog Takilna, is a longtime activist and, with her husband Steve Erickson, founded the Whidbey Environmental Action Network (WEAN). They are restoration ecologists by trade. Shot at home on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021 in Clinton, Washington. Edain, 73, has been fighting local environmental battles since 1977. “Back then, we thought (about climate change) in terms of generations,” she said. “Ten to 15 years ago, we were thinking in terms of decades. Now it’s in our face.”
 (Andy Bronson / The Herald)