Here are the news headlines from last week's outdoors-related stories.
The total number of vertebrates inhabiting the planet has dropped by 52% since 1970. The conclusion from the most recent biennially-conducted Living Planet report and study by the World Wildlife Federation shows the extent to which we are experiencing a wildlife crisis on our planet. The biggest declines are in the tropics and in freshwater ecosystems.
There are now 15 wolf packs in Washington State, and the result is increasing conflicts with ranchers and conservationists. Wolf populations in the state have grown by 38 percent in just six years. Some conservationists and government officials note that the tensions are a sign of the program's success, but work remains to find a strategy that appeases both rancher's concerns and conservation priorities.
The North Fork Smith River is one of the cleanest rivers in the country. It flows from southwest Oregon into California and eventually goes through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Red Flat Nickel Corporation submitted plans to the Oregon Water Resources Department to do exploratory drilling near the headwaters of the river, but the state denied the proposal since the usage would "impair and be detrimental to public interest."
The Columbia River Treaty, which went into effect in 1964, governs water releases and power generation on the 1,200-mile river, coordinating efforts in the U.S. and Canada. The treaty is set to be renegotiated after 50 years, and it is likely to be drastically reshaped with the involvement of Native American tribes. A component in the proposal for the revised treaty would add "ecosystem function" as a management tenet alongside flood control and hydropower generation. One focus of the vision for the treaty would be to restore salmon to their native Canadian spawning grounds.
One of the more challenging issues for our dammed rivers is moving salmon from one side to the other. A new technology, called the salmon cannon, is trying to make this process easier and faster.