Cascadia Times

Investigative journalism from the Cascadia Bioregion

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©2008 Cascadia Times



Remembering Celilo: Two Elders recall life, fishing and loss at Celilo Falls:



Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Part 1



Can collapsing wildlife withstand America's biggest fishery?

Wildlife Declines in the Galapagos of the North

North Pacific Council: Swirling in a sea of conflicts

Alaska Pollock: Feeding fish stick nation

Creating a monopoly in the crab business

Slaves of the fur seal harvest

Here comes the Steller science

The Last Voyage of the Arctic Rose

25 Years: The saga of the Steller sea lion

Six ways the North Pacific Council damages the Bering Sea

The crash of the northern fur seal


The successful grassroots campaign to protect the fragile Northwestern Hawaiian Islands


Spring 2004

Hanford’s Endless Assault on the Columbia River 

Hanford in the long run

Tracking uranium from tank 102


Fall 2003

Part 1: The CATS
Who Run
the Fishhouse

Imagine the CEO of Weyerhaeuser appointed to run the national forests. As part of the deal, he gets to keep his old job. Federal law wouldn't allow it, of course. It's a simple conflict of interest. But when it comes to the folks who regulate ocean fishing, conflicts of interest are not only permissible, they're a regular part of the game. Full story.

Western Pacific Fishery Management Council pushes plan to quash historic coral reserve. Hawai`i-based federal agency puts corals, spiny lobster and rare monk seal at risk so a few can profit. Full story.

They took millions of lobsters, and monk seal pups starved to death. Graphic (large file).

Science Friction. Industry resists Pew Commission’s call for change. Full story.

Marine mammals killed by Pacific fisheries. Graphic (large file).

How to speak “fisheries.” Full story.



Part 2: The Rockfish Files

Documents show the Pacific Fishery Management Council ignored scientific advice as it let the bottom dwellers crash. Full story.

These stocks are down. Hundreds of tons of imperiled rockfish are killed and wasted as bycatch each year in West Coast fisheries. Graphic (large file).

Private ownership of a public resource? The IFQ debate. Full story.


Part 3: Essential Coral Gardens

North Pacific council rejects plan to protect coral and sponge, though the plan meant
little reduction in commercial fishing. Full story.

Protecting our Undersea Yellowstones. Scientists find marine reserves build bigger fish and produce more young. Full story.

From Baja to Bering. Exploring coral and sponge secrets along the West Coast and Alaska. Graphic (large file).



Net effects: A conservation map of the North Pacific. Graphic (very large file).


Fixing our Failed Fisheries.

What you can do for the Pacific Ocean.


More information:

North Pacific Ocean Conservation Directory.



Poachers R Us

Wespac's machine pillages the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Overfishing of lobster pushes Hawaiian monk
seals toward extinction. Who's accountable?

A followup to Cascadia Times' investigation
of the plundering of the Pacific Ocean.
By Cascadia Times editor Paul Koberstein,
published Dec. 31, 2003 in the
Honolulu Weekly
Go here for the story

Shopping for Scientists

Wespac's conflict-of-interest machine makes an
end run around the Endangered Species Act.
Also in the Honolulu Weekly.
Full story

Photo above: Wespac Executive Director Kitty Simonds feeds U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans, center, and NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher, right, with some marlin provided by the Hawai`i Longliners Association, at an event last summer. Wespac and the longliners have been unhappy with NOAA scientists whose rulings under the Endangered Speices Act helped shut down swordfishing. They have asked Lautenbacher in the future to assign different scientists who are more friendly to the longliners' postion. Wespac photo

Who are the Hawai`i Longliner Association's favorite scientists? Read two memos obtained by Cascadia Times:

Vice Admiral James Lyons

Wespac Council Member and HLA President Sean Martin



BC Forests Under Siege

A journey to the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Situated just at the far edge of western markets, money and politics, the Great Bear Rainforest lives on as it has for 10,000 years. Nowhere else in the Earth's temperate zones can you find such a large, biologically rich, intact rainforest. Yet civilization can't stand still forever even in this remote wilderness along British Columbia's Pacific Coast, where a deal made two years ago to save it is almost in tatters. All the pieces are in place for the eventual destruction of another of nature's wonders: Roads are going in, trees are falling and an antagonistic right-wing government is in power. Even so, in a race against time, a spirited cadre of Canadians believe they can still save the Great Bear. After all, they've done it once before.


George Bush of the North. Full story.



The Big Dry

Cows plus drought equals misery for Rivers in the West

For rivers in the West, 2002 has been a year of epic drought in 11 western states. All summer long, rivers have been running at record lows. While media attention has focused on drought, news reports have missed one key fact: The millions of cows that run through the West's publicly owned deserts, mountains, canyons, plateaus and valleys have made the effects of drought much worse.

In this issue of Cascadia Times, we investigate the impacts of livestock production on the entire web of water-dependent life under the cow's hoof. It's the face of the trout, the spikedace, the loach minnow, the jaguar, the wolf, the salmon. It's water for nature and people. It's a river.

Top 10 western rivers trampled by the livestock industry

Click the links below for profiles of 10 rivers damaged by livestock production:

1. Bear River -- Utah, Wyoming, Idaho
2. Salmon River -- Idaho
3. Gila River -- New Mexico, Arizona
4. John Day River -- Oregon
5. Owyhee River -- Oregon, Nevada, Idaho
6. Sweetwater River -- Wyoming
7. Big Hole River -- Montana UPDATED
8. Little Humboldt River -- Nevada
9. Yampa River -- Colorado
10. Kern River -- California

Buyout or Bailout

Greens say it's time to end public land ranching in the West. But how? GO TO STORY

A Killing in the Klamath

Last year, in the midst of drought, irrigators in the Klamath River basin protested fiercely as the federal Bureau of Reclamation diverted water away from their fields to protect fish. This year, with conditions even drier, the Bureau decided to redirect the water toward the farmers. Now as many as 30,000 salmon are dead. GO TO STORY


Links to organizations that work to protect rivers and lands in the west.



Idaho's Sore Thumb

A 7-part investigation of pollution, politics and the media in the Northern Idaho panhandle

Spring 2002

Welcome to Northern Idaho, home to one of the biggest Superfund disasters ever.

Toxic heavy metals -- mainly lead -- from Northern Idaho are a serious and growing problem in the Columbia River Basin. A newspaper chain's threats and smears divide people in Idaho and Washington as they weigh plans to clean up the poisonous mess. A mom goes to jail claiming mining industry retaliation. Toxic rail cargoes from long ago still haunt a small rural community amid charges of EPA-Union Pacific coverup. Leading doctors say Northern Idaho children continue to get lead poisoning -- no matter what Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne says. Idaho officials are mad at the EPA, yet every year their state delivers 400 tons of heavy metals -- lead, zinc and cadmium -- into the Columbia above Grand Coulee Dam, where it poisons sediments and fish.


One Earth, Two Choices: Our Energy Future

A Stampede of new gas-fired power plants threatens Cascadia's communities, consumers, economy and clean air -- not to mention the global climate. Winter 2002

Scarred Paradise: A Montana Tragedy

Who will help the dying people of Libby?

By Jane Fritz

MAY 2001 Gayla Benefield still remembers the nightmares she had of endless lines of lifeless, gray-faced men with fear in their eyes. It was 1982, and she was caring for her sick mother, Margaret Vatland, who for years had been in and out of the hospital with what doctors called pneumonia. The dreams eventually led Benefield to doubt their diagnoses and question them: "Is it the dust that killed Dad?"

Last Stand for a Broken Wilderness

by Robin Klein

JANUARY 2001 -- In the coming decade, decisions will be made in British Columbia that will determine its fate. The decisions could heal some of the province's broken wilderness, and possibly even foster grizzly re-habitation of the North Cascades in Washington. Or they could ravage, U.S.-style, southern B.C.’s wilderness forever.

Dry Run

The biggest salmon runs since the 1930s await a rude welcome the Columbia

JANUARY 2001 -- In the Columbia Basin, 2001 was supposed to be the year of the salmon. Everything, for once, had lined up in the fish’s favor. A couple years of good ocean conditions, and before that healthy river flows, produced a run of spring Chinook this year that could exceed 360,000.

Out of the Earth, Into Our Lungs

NOVEMBER 2000 -- On January 22, a $1 billion lawsuit against several Idaho mining companies goes to trial in Boise. The suit, filed by the Coeur d' Alene Tribal Council and the U.S. Justice Department, claims that the companies dumped hundreds of millions of tons of hazardous wastes in the Coeur d' Alene River basin in Idaho's Panhandle over the last century, and now should clean it up.


One by one, trophy hunters are rubbing out British Columbia's grizzlies

SEPTEMBER 2000 -- Hunters from Canada, the U.S. and Europe are paying upwards of $10,000 for the opportunity to kill grizzly bears. They hunt grizzlies for the trophy, never for the meat.

Draining California Dry

Explosive Growth in the South
is Straining Rivers in the North

JULY 2000 -- The three most important things to know about a piece of real estate, as they say, are location, location and location. That may be true most places, but not in Southern California, where the burning question has to do with water. As in, Where can I get some?

Poison in Salmon Country

Emergency Action ordered to remove cyanide from Idaho lake

MAY 2000 -- Federal officials say they will issue an emergency order forcing a gold mining company to remove a lake of cyanide that is contaminating salmon habitat in Idaho, Cascadia Times has learned. The lake is perched on a bench almost directly above the Yankee Fork of Idaho's famous Salmon River, at the edge of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

End of the Oil Age

As the world's oil supplies run down, drillers turn to increasingly sensitive lands for new supplies

MARCH 2000 -- The important question is not how long the world's remaining oil deposits will last, but rather how long people will continue to tolerate oil's Faustian bargain of environmental problems.


The Future is Now for Snake River Salmon

The possibility of dam breaching is exhilarating to some, and threatening to many.

JANUARY 2000 -- The very fact that drawdowns and breaching are a daily subject of discussion for those concerned with rivers, fish and the use of water in the Pacific Northwest, is in itself remarkable for what it represents in a change in thinking.


For the entire timber industry, breaking the nation's air quality laws was standard operating procedure. Willamette Industries is just the latest brought to justice.

NOVEMBER 1999 -- After 20 years of violating the Clean Air Act, the EPA is bringing Willamette Industries to justice. WI's smokestacks have illegally spewed an often invisible cloud of airborne chemicals, some of which may cause cancer and birth defects, incommunities in the Northwest and Southeast U.S., according to documents obtained from the EPA by Cascadia Times through the Freedom of Information Act.

Redwood Ghosts

Why the battle for Headwaters Forest is far from over

Snow, rare on California's North Coast, has fallen on Headwaters Grove overnight. In the morning, as we begin our trudge down a logging road past cut-over land, it crunches under our boots and frosts the boughs of spindly second-growth redwoods. We are eight miles from Humboldt Bay, and the air smells of the sea.

Our Undersea Yellowstones

Should Wilderness Protection Stop at Land's End?

Wilderness, according to the authors of the 1964 Wilderness Act, is "an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man..." The law, curiously, does not mention the words marine, ocean or sea. But should wilderness should stop at land’s end? The national network of parks and wilderness protects creatures of the forest, but what about denizens of the deep?

Cascadia Times   25-6 Northwest 23rd Place   No. 406   Portland   OR   97210
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