Daybreak 2


Environmentally Sound - Local Environment News in our Community and Beyond!  Topics Include Oil Spills, Wild Fire, Clean Water, Air Quality and More! Listen on KMAS every Tuesday during 8:40AM, Thursday during 6:50AM and Saturday 6:06AM. Environmentally Sound brought to you by the following Sponsors:


jeanneR112415 Jeanne Rehwaldt from the WSU Master Gardeners came by Daybreak Tuesday morning to talk about how to prepare your plants and gardens for winter.  She talked about what to do with container plants, half-hardy plants, berries and more.  Jeanne also talked about the Master Gardener Winter Workshops which get underway on January 9th.  The cost for these every-other-week workshops are now just 5.00.  It will be at Memorial Hall and go from 9a-12p.


Photo: Jeanne Rehwaldt in the KMAS studio

USDA Announces $350 Million Available to Help Protect & Restore Grasslands, Wetlands, & Working Lands

bank stablize NRCSAgricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week the availability of $350 million to help landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the nation.

“Restoring, enhancing and protecting working agricultural lands and critical wetlands is extremely beneficial to landowners, as well as the people of Washington State,” said NRCS State Conservationist Roylene Rides at the Door. “The benefits include keeping important agricultural lands as working lands, as well as protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat and water quality,” said Rides at the Door.

ACEP's agricultural land easements not only protect the long-term viability of the nation's food supply by preventing conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses, they also support environmental quality, wildlife habitat, historic preservation and protection of open spaces.  Native American tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs are eligible to partner with NRCS to purchase conservation easements. 

Wetland reserve easements allow landowners to successfully restore, enhance and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands, reduce damage from flooding, recharge groundwater and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts.

In the south Puget Sound area, ACEP funds are being used to protect open agricultural spaces used by the threatened and endangered species like the Mazama pocket gopher and the streaked horned lark. In the northern Puget Sound region, ACEP Agricultural Land Easement funds are being used to protect agricultural lands that border streams and rivers containing threatened and endangered runs of salmon and steelhead. These ALE easements will have resource management system plans that will have required practices to address habitat needs for these fish species.

In Fiscal Year 2014 and FY 2015, NRCS invested more than $600 million in ACEP funding to help landowners engage in voluntary conservation to provide long-term protection of an estimated 250,000 acres of farmland, grassland, and wetlands through more than 750 new easements.

Funding is provided through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). The program was created by the 2014 Farm Bill to protect critical water resources and wildlife habitat, and encourage private landowners to maintain land for farming and ranching. Through the voluntary sale of an easement, landowners limit future development to protect these key resources.

To learn about ACEP and other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit or your local USDA Service Center.

November 23, 2015 - USDA news release

Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS - Through the use of conifer trees, NRCS and local landowners were able to stablize the bank of a stream on the Abrahmson farm.

Washington Shaping New Rules To Guide Oil Transport

coaltrains8OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - State regulators are working on new rules that will guide the transportation of crude oil across Washington state.

The Department of Ecology is developing a rule that will require facilities to give the state advance weekly notice about crude oil shipments they receive. Pipelines would be required to provide biannual notice.

The agency is also figuring out what type of information the state will disclose to emergency responders, local and tribal governments and the public. And it's also establishing requirements for railroad operators that haul crude oil to have oil-spill response and drill plans.

The rules are part of an oil safety transportation measure state lawmakers passed earlier this year.

The department plans to seek public input before finalizing requirements.

As many as 19 mile-long trains carrying crude oil roll through the state each week.

November 23, 2015

State Regulators Fine Shell Oil For Toxic Release

puget sound refinery skyTUMWATER, Wash. (AP) - Washington state regulators have fined Shell Oil Products $77,000 after an investigation found that it failed to control a toxic release.

The Department of Labor and Industries said Friday that they began investigating Shell's Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes after learning that the refinery's main flare released contaminates into the environment.

The release prompted complaints about the odor by people living nearby.

A refinery flare is designed to burn off waste gases and vapors not used in production. It also helps to prevent fires. But the flare must be decontaminate and shut down periodically for maintenance.

Inspectors found that Shell had skipped critical decontamination steps while shutting down the main flare.

The uncontrolled release exposed workers to toxic substances.

Shell spokesman Ray Fisher says they don't agree with allegations and are evaluating their legal options. He says they threat health and safety with the utmost seriousness will cooperate with the state. Fisher says they're taking corrective actions and recently completed maintenance work on the flare system safely and without odor complaints.

November 20, 2015

Small Amount Of Hanford Radiation Spread By Storm

Hanford 618 10 Burial GroundsRICHLAND, Wash. (AP) - Hanford workers are searching for radioactive contamination after a Tuesday windstorm spread some radioactive particles from a waste burial ground.

The Tri-City Herald ( ) says some waste trenches north of Richland had been dug up to retrieve radioactive material buried near Route 4, a main road across Hanford.

The closest contamination to the public road was on a speck of sand found about 40 feet off the highway. That's according to Peter Bengtson, spokesman for Washington Closure Hanford. He says several other specks were found, but they were closer to the burial ground.

Bengston says the radiation levels do not pose a risk to the public or the workers cleaning it up.

Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons and now contains the nation's largest collection of nuclear waste.

November 20, 2015/IMAGE - An excavator carefully piks up a drum overpack at the 618-10 Burial Grounds (2012)

Information from: Tri-City Herald,