Environment | mxzg360.com

MARCH POINT — Hands flat against the trunk of the tree, neck craned skyward, volunteer Rachel VanBoven counted how many nests she could see in the branches of a large maple on March Point.

As climate change and continued development threaten natural resources throughout the state, it will be increasingly important for public lands managers and private property owners to collaborate on how to keep forests healthy.

A nonprofit group spearheaded by the owner of a local fishing charter is challenging the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s management of salmon under the landmark federal District Court’s Boldt decision, but the state agency has countered that the group has no legal standing.

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The state Department of Ecology released Thursday a draft report that details the problem of fecal coliform bacteria in sloughs that flow into Padilla Bay and that lists possible solutions.

MARBLEMOUNT — At Skagit County’s little-known Pressentin Park in Marblemount the landscape is awash in fall colors and the fast-moving Skagit River has turned a rain-fed brown to match.

ANACORTES — At a spot on the beach where the Guemes Channel Trail begins and state ferries are seen coming and going, a concrete structure with a metal grate protrudes from the shoreline.

Between the announcements of two new Southern Resident orca calves in the Salish Sea during September, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife released a document examining options for licensing commercial whale-watching companies.

After a four-month hiatus and slow restart to adjust to COVID-19 safety protocols, volunteer forage fish surveys along Skagit County beaches are back in full swing.

A second new calf was born into the J Pod in the past week or so, according to the Center for Whale Research.

Members of the Bellingham chapter of the climate activism group The Sunrise Movement led a rally Friday in downtown Mount Vernon, calling for government action on climate change.

In an ongoing effort to help the region’s salmon populations, the state Recreation and Conservation Office announced Thursday an $18 million grant package for projects to protect and restore fish habitat.

After hearing a recap of how rising water in Turner and Nookachamps creeks impacts residents in and around Clear Lake, the Skagit County Board of Commissioners passed an emergency declaration Tuesday in support of drainage work.

When the COVID-19 pandemic kept the Skagit County Marine Resources Committee from holding its annual Fidalgo Bay Day, the committee adjusted.

The state Department of Ecology is accepting comments on a draft permit that would allow Cooke Aquaculture to raise steelhead trout in four net pens in Puget Sound, including one near Hope Island in Skagit County.

The bat-killing disease white-nose syndrome is edging closer to Skagit County, with infected bats recently found in neighboring Snohomish and Chelan counties, according to state and federal wildlife agencies.

The shadows of several dozen small fish caught the eye of Bo Rains as he leaned over the rails Friday of a newly minted bridge on his property near Hamilton, peering into Carey’s Creek.

SAN JUAN ISLAND — Researchers and whale enthusiasts are celebrating a new orca calf, which brings with it hope for the region's dwindling population of Southern Resident orcas.

ANACORTES — The Port of Anacortes, the state Department of Ecology and their partners are beginning the next phase of the cleanup of Quiet Cove, a former bulk fuel terminal and storage facility.

MOUNT VERNON — The removal of a culvert at Bonnie Rae Park in Mount Vernon is expected to improve habitat for fish, including coho salmon and cutthroat trout.

Salmon habitat projects planned for Barnaby Reach near Rockport and Hansen Creek near Sedro-Woolley have been awarded funding aimed at restoring chinook that can help save the endangered Southern Resident orcas.

Warning signs were placed this week at Pass Lake in Deception Pass State Park after water sampling showed the presence of blue-green algae.

With Anacortes area beaches closed Wednesday, most recreational shellfish harvesting beaches in Skagit County are now closed due to the presence of a marine biotoxin that can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning if consumed.

Efforts to understand what affects the health of bull kelp in the Salish Sea continue, with the recent publication of a recovery plan, the launch of annual kayak surveys and plans by the Samish Indian Nation to expand its research.

Though the number of calls about seal pups on area beaches has been relatively low, those who monitor the pups are reminding those visiting beaches to give them their space.

Seven years after a Western Solar crew climbed onto the Anacortes Middle School roof to install dark blue, shimmery panels that can harness the energy of the sun, the Skagit Community Solar Program that sponsored the installation recently came to a close.

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — Cascade River Road opened to all vehicles to its end at Cascade Pass Trailhead on Thursday, the North Cascades National Park Service announced.