Emily Schwing | KNKX

Emily Schwing

Boise State Public Radio

The long-range forecast for the upcoming wildfire season in the Northwest is out. And even though Oregon and Washington are in the same region, forecasts for the individual states are pretty different.

It may still be wet and muddy out there, and snow may even be on the ground in some places, but it’s also the time of year when wildland firefighters start to gear up for hot, dry weather and wildfires.

If all goes according to plan, there could soon be salmon above the Grand Coulee Dam again. That’s according to Cody Desautel, director of Natural Resources for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville. 

The FBI is recognizing Coeur D’Alene tribal member Bernie LaSarte for her efforts to combat domestic violence in the Idaho Panhandle.



What’s the best way to learn a language? Salish teachers are using music and song to introduce their Native American language to new speakers. It’s a language spoken by many tribes across the Northwest.

Every year, a conference that celebrates Salish culminates in an annual karaoke contest in Spokane. Contestants have to translate a song and perform it in front of judges.

Native speakers from across the Northwest and Canada are in Spokane this week to speak Salish and learn from those who teach it.

In the opening scenes of the documentary film United by Water, writer Sherman Alexie reads his poem ‘Powwow At The End Of The World.’

     I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall

     after an Indian woman puts her shoulder to the Grand Coulee Dam

     and topples it. I am told by many of you that I must forgive

     and so I shall …

Every year, wildlife officials keep track of how many salmon return to their spawning grounds. This year, they expect low returns of salmon in Washington state—and that could change the fishing outlook.



A bill that’s making its way through the Washington state House of Representatives would make campaign contributions more transparent. It passed the state Senate last month.

Last month, a Washington state resident was fined more than $8,000 for poaching three wolves in 2016. DNA evidence linked him to three separate kills, but other poaching cases remain unsolved. 

Museum curators in the Northwest are now working to update exhibits that focus on the region’s indigenous people. They are trying to do that in a way that both modernizes stories of indigenous people and tells them more truthfully. 

Right next door to the current Burke Museum at the University of Washington in Seattle is a much larger building under construction. When it’s complete, it will serve as the new state Museum of Natural History and Culture.

There’s all kinds of stuff found in beers these days: cucumbers, pumpkins—-and plums A small brewery in Spokane will start selling beer they’ve made from local plums.

The fruit was repurposed with help from a non-profit that aims to cut down on food waste.



British Columbia is taking the next step in a decade-long battle over native tribal rights. The province has filed paperwork to appeal a decision that granted Washington state tribal members rights to their ancestral lands in Canada.

The Washington state House Environment Committee hosted public hearings Tuesday on two bills that would restrict a class of chemicals found in everything from firefighting retardant to food wrappers.

Perflourinated (PFAS) chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems, from endocrine disruption to cancer.

The last herd of caribou found anywhere in the lower 48 states is in the Pacific Northwest. To be clear, this caribou herd is tiny.

“Today, these are the last 11 that occupy habitat in the Lower 48.”

Every winter, hundreds of bald eagles migrate through Idaho’s panhandle. They stop at Lake Coeur D’Alene to feed on kokanee salmon for a few weeks. And this year, the number of eagles are at a record high.

Tribal members are waiting for the next move from British Columbia’s provincial government in a long-running battle over sovereign rights. Last month, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge ruled against the province, siding with a Washington man in an illegal hunting case.

In Spokane, the city council and the mayor are at odds over a new city ordinance. It changes how the city funds local campaigns. The mayor vetoed the new law, but the city council hopes to override that veto Monday. 


The Supreme Court of British Columbia has upheld the claims of a Native American man from Washington state that he has the right to hunt in the province.

The long-running case concerned Rick Desautel, a member of the Colville Tribes and a descendant of the Sinixt, an indigenous group which once roamed the Northwest.

Four landowners near Moses Lake, Washington, have been fined $618,000 for illegal water use. The water was pumped from the Odessa aquifer, which has been in severe decline for more than 30 years. 




Conservation groups are offering a hefty reward for information leading to the poachers who killed two protected wolves in northeastern Washington state.

The U.S. Department of State and the Canadian government announced Thursday that formal renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty will begin in early 2018. Fish, electric rates and flood protection all figure to be part of the talks when updating the 53-year-old international treaty between the U.S. and Canada.


Paulette Jordan, a Native American politician from North Idaho, will run for governor in the Gem State in 2018. Jordan, a Democrat, announced her candidacy at her 38th birthday party in Moscow, Idaho, on Thursday. 

A group of eastern Washington tribes is joining a nationwide movement to reclaim indigenous identities and re-tell native stories. In this case, it’s all about a name change.

Washington state’s Department of Fish and Game is offering its own version of retail therapy this Black Friday: skip the mall and go fishing instead.

There’s a new plant species in Washington state, but it hasn’t been named yet. And the botanist who discovered it will auction off that opportunity this week.




October's California wine country wildfires damaged more than 30 wineries. Now, the Northwest wine industry and wine drinkers are stepping up to with their wallets to help.

Oregon and Washington will be part of a group discussing climate change initiatives with two neighboring nations. The agreement between the more than a dozen U.S. states and Mexico and Canada is the product of meetings at an international climate conference in Bonn, Germany.

An initiative that would have fined rail cars carrying uncovered coal and certain kinds of oil through the heart of Spokane failed last Tuesday. Opponents of the measure say voters were concerned about the local economy, while supporters say they were simply outspent.

Pages