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Top 5 <em>EarthFix</em> Environmental Stories of 2016

December 27, 2016

“We have soooooooooooo many to choose from” and “Maybe we need to make this a top ten list, just sayin’…” are just two of the reactions that editors had when we discussed compiling the top five environmental stories of 2016. We produced stories featuring animated chickens, stop-motion invasive fish, free-range preschoolers and migrating pelicans. We looked at how old whaling ships are helping scientists study climate change. We had stories that took us across the globe and some that happened right here in our backyard. After going ten rounds, we eventually settled on these five stories. Take a look and leave a comment letting us know your favorite story and what you'd like to see more of.

Battle Ready: The Military’s Environmental Legacy in the Northwest

Seventy-five years ago, America was drawn into World War II and the Pacific Northwest answered the call with lumber, hydroelectricity, even a secret plutonium factory to arm atomic bombs. This interactive digital documentary explores the hidden history of the military, the Northwest and the environment.

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Searching for the Mystery Sharks of Seattle

Sixgill sharks can reach lengths of 16 feet — as long as a pickup truck and as wide as a couch. They typically roam the deep ocean, spending their lives in darkness thousands of feet below the surface. Encountering them in shallow water is extremely rare.

But back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, divers began regularly encountering sixgills in Puget Sound.

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Tracking Down America’s Electronic Waste

High above the Pacific Ocean in a plane headed for Hong Kong, most of the passengers are fast asleep.

But not Jim Puckett. His eyes are fixed on the glowing screen of his laptop. Little orange markers dot a satellite image. He squints at the pixelated terrain trying to make out telltale signs.

He’s searching for America’s electronic waste.

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Wildlife Neglected: How Oregon Lost Track of Species It’s Supposed to Protect

For wildlife in Oregon, the best way to stay alive is to make sure someone wants to kill you.

If the state can make money selling a fishing license or a hunting tag for an animal, it goes to great lengths to keep populations healthy.

For the Western pond turtle, a candidate for the endangered list, the state’s longest-running survey amounts to one man with some homemade gear in the back of his truck.

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How Tree Moss Could Revolutionize What We Know About Air Pollution

Forest Service lichenologist Sarah Jovan hardly has to walk half a block from her office in downtown Portland to find the type of shaggy, green moss she used to discover the city’s hidden hot spots of toxic air pollution.

“I mean, it’s just everywhere,” she says. “You can see it on all these trees here, across the street. For a sample you’d need probably a couple handfuls.”

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