This mine threatens America’s largest wild salmon run

July 4 marks the peak of the largest, most valuable wild salmon run left in America. The sockeye salmon migration into Bristol Bay, Alaska, can exceed 40 million fish. As they charge into the Kvichak and Nushagak rivers and fan out across myriad tributaries, the sockeye and four other species of Pacific salmon are pursued… » Read More

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The end of the ‘panda of the sea’

There is a word, sad and resonant, for the last member of a dying species. The word is endling. Martha, who perished at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914, was the endling for the passenger pigeon — the final representative of a bird once so prolific its flocks blackened the sky. The Tasmanian tiger’s endling, Benjamin,… » Read More

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Q&A: How Pretty Prairie, Kansas, dealt with its drinking problem

Elizabeth Royte, a contributing editor at FERN, writes about the long history of nitrate contamination in the water of Pretty Prairie, Kansas, a farming community just west of Wichita, in the latest issue of Harper’s Magazine. One of the things she explores is why residents didn’t demand that the town fix the problem, even though they’ve… » Read More

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A slow-motion catastrophe threatens 350-year-old farms

On the lower eastern shore of Maryland, the stately Almodington plantation overlooks the Manokin River as it drains into the Chesapeake Bay. First surveyed in 1663, the expansive farm sits a few miles from Princess Anne, a town named for the daughter of King George II. For 350 years, this region’s rich, sandy soils and… » Read More

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$40 million later, a pioneering plan to boost wild fish stocks shows little success

Back in 1983, it seemed like a good idea. Local populations of California white seabass, prized by recreational and commercial fishermen for its mild, flaky white flesh, were declining. While a fishery management plan didn’t exist back then, sport fishermen had noticed a decline in their catches and asked officials for help. State lawmakers then… » Read More

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Was your seafood caught with slave labor? New tool tries to help retailers.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, known best for its red, yellow, and green sustainable seafood-rating scheme, is unveiling its first Seafood Slavery Risk Tool today. It’s a database designed to help corporate seafood buyers assess the risk of forced labor, human trafficking, and hazardous child labor in the seafood they purchase. The tool’s release… » Read More

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The simple river-cleaning tactics that big farms ignore

Ione Cleverley wasn’t eager to break up with her tenant, who had been farming 88 acres of her central Iowa land for more than a decade. He was affable and hardworking, but after harvesting his corn and soybeans, the farmer left her fields unplanted. Cleverley had learned that each spring, as the soil warmed and… » Read More

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Do you care if your fish dinner was raised humanely? Animal advocates say you should.

At some point or another, we’ve all cringed at the videos: lame cows struggling to stand; egg-laying hens squeezed into small, stacked cages; hogs confined to gestation crates, unable to walk or turn. More on this story Read more of our reporting on oceans and freshwater Over the last decade, animal advocates have made great… » Read More

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