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WSU Extension

Renewable Energy from Wind

Nine Canyon Wind Project near Kennewick Photos by Zach Mazur

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The WSU Energy Program has a leadership role in the Washington Wind Working Group, a coordinated effort to plan for large wind systems in Washington state. This participation is integral in determining the industry’s future.

One of the program’s specific tasks is in the development of detailed wind maps for the region. This effort, known as The Northwestern U.S. Wind Mapping Project, updates data and mapping methods to accurately reflect the … » More …

Fall 2010

Recruiting rural health care providers

On the quirky comedy Northern Exposure, an isolated Alaskan town enticed a New York City doctor to become the community’s physician. While the city doc’s angst and the eccentric residents—including a moose from WSU—drew laughs, the show highlighted a real challenge faced by many small towns and rural areas: recruiting and retaining doctors and nurses.

“There’s a shortage of all health care providers: physicians, nurses, all of the technical programs,” says Gary Smith, a senior project associate with the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) of eastern Washington. “The demand will increase even more when the economy turns around and people want to retire.”

AHEC, … » More …

Fall 2010

The kinder, gentler orchard

The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 initiated the gradual phasing out of organophosphate pesticides. By 2012, the major chemical defense against wormy apples will no longer be available. But not to worry, thanks to a continuous refinement of Integrated Pest Management and collaboration amongst growers, industry fieldmen, and WSU researchers.

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Winter 2009

Stormwater central

There’s nothing mundane about the new parking lot at the WSU research and extension center in Puyallup. It is a state-of-the-art polluted water collection system. The 70-some parking spots are specially designed to drain the water from each space into separate collection cells.

The project, which broke ground last summer, is an early step in the station’s efforts to become a leader in Low Impact Development techniques, providing guidance for the rapidly developing community along the Puyallup River Valley. In this case, the station will look at how to capture and clean stormwater runoff so that it doesn’t contaminate waterways, damaging … » More …

Summer 2003

Emerald winters, brown summers

How dry it is! Understanding the summer climate west of the Cascades baffles lots of residents. The “emerald green” attitude extends to believing that summer months wrap themselves in rain and mist just as winter does. However, our “modified Mediterranean” climate makes water planning as important in Seattle as it is in Spokane.

Summer of 2002 brought only 4.6 inches of rain at Sea-Tac (May 1 through November 1). September and October, usually good planting months, totaled only 1.08 inches combined. Another way to get perspective on this summer rainfall total-just imagine you’ve planted hybrid rhododendrons in April. They require about an inch per week, … » More …

Summer 2004

Gardening on the Palouse

The area known to practically every Washingtonian as “the Palouse” is one of six large grassland communities in North America. The Palouse stretches from just south of Spokane to the Snake River valley, near Moscow and Pullman. Today, it is a fertile farmland, covered in wheat and other grain crops. But prior to the 1870s and the arrival of “new-world” settlers, these rolling hills were blanketed in perennial bunchgrasses and forbs, which had dominated the landscape for five million years. Those native plants are now found only in tiny pockets around old cemeteries, along creeks, and in other unplowable places.

Some gardeners in the area … » More …

Fall 2009

Master Gardeners

"Cultivating plants, people, and communities since 1973" is how the Master Gardeners explain themselves. The concept has worked well. Washington, where it all started, now has over 3,000 volunteer Master Gardeners, who in exchange for training in turn give their knowledge and expertise to others in their communities. These communities have now spread across the United States and Canada. » More ...