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Ecotrope's 11 Greatest Hits of 2011

Willamette Week couched their top stories of 2011 under the headline: “We know what you’re reading.” That’s true here, too. Ecotrope tracks every click you make on the site. To close out the year, here are 11 posts that got the most clicks in 2011:

How Environmentalists Are Reshaping A West Coast Fishery

This story ran on, which probably explains its top spot in Ecotrope’s greatest hits list. It’s part of my ongoing coverage of the West Coast groundfish fleet’s transition into catch shares – a management scheme that lets fishermen trade ownership shares of fish. The Nature Conservancy is using its ownership of a dozen groundfish permits to influence the way other boats fish.


Wolverines in Oregon: The Rumors Are True

I had no idea how widespread the rumors of wolverines were until a trail camera confirmed their presence in Wallowa County. Wham! The post got 1,000 Facebook shares. Lucky for me, Oregon Field Guide had done a show about searching for evidence of the elusive wolverines that made a great backgrounder. Thanks to all the readers who shared their own sightings of wolverines. That was my favorite part!


Managing Salmon: It’s Complicated – And Controversial


This was another NPR share that followed President Obama’s joke about salmon management in his state of the Union Speech. The joke – meant to underscore the excessive complexity of government – was a stand-out moment in the speech, and it gave me an excuse to delve into the intricacies of managing salmon in the Klamath River Basin. Remember former Vice President Dick Cheney’s famous intervention in the region and the massive salmon die-off that followed?


New Species Of Underwater Mushroom Found Growing In The Rogue

This was a great scoop by EarthFix reporter Amelia Templeton, who wrote it up as a guest post from her station in Medford. She proceeded to go out hunting for the newly discovered mushroom and made an awesome video story about the experience. Mycologists in southern Oregon are still on the lookout for other places where these mushrooms are growing. If you find one, get in touch with Darlene Southworth at


Breathtaking Video Of A “Mumuration”

This is one you have to see to believe. A flock of starlings flies in unison in astonishing swirls over the heads of several paddlers, who recorded the phenomenon. Thanks to Ecotrope volunteer Megan Fulton for finding it via Good Magazine and passing it along for me to share.

Bill Opens 30 Northwest Ski Areas To Year-Round Fun

What would you do at a ski resort without snow? Go zip-lining? Mountain biking? Play a round of Frisbee golf? Oregon Field Guide Producer Ed Jahn nudged me to look into an under-reported bill that opens ski resorts on public land to year-round recreation. You seemed to like the idea, and the next steps could yield some interesting stories for 2012.

Condit Dam Removal: Pics And 5 Things To Know


The list wouldn’t be complete without a post about dam removal. I was surprised to see how popular this post was, given the levity of my headline. (I suspect the popularity had something to do with NPR Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep Tweeting it to his legions of followers.) Nonetheless, the post includes some great shots of the dam before, during and after Pacific Power lit 700 pounds of dynamite under it.


About Ecotrope

You guys are so awesome. I guess it makes sense that one of the most popular posts is the one explaining who the heck I am and why the site exists. Way to do your homework!

Video: Tsunami sweeps Brookings boats to sea

Remember when the Japanese tsunami was all anyone was talking about? That’s when this video landed in my inbox, courtesy of OPB’s web editor Michael Clapp. It was right about the time everyone was realizing that Brookings Harbor had borne the brunt of the tsunami’s impacts on the Oregon Coast. Thanks for sharing, Michael!

An Easy Way To Compost Thanksgiving Food Scraps

Ifanyi Bell

I got to follow Portland’s food waste on a tour with the Dill Pickle Club not long after the city’s curbside food scrap composting program went into effect Oct. 31. Who knew rotting food would be so popular? The tour answered a lot of my lingering questions about how the whole process works.  Maybe that’s why it got so much play. Don’t miss my coworker Ifanyi Bell’s video from the tour, which I posted a couple days later.


Bald Eagles Decimate Tern And Cormorant Colonies

Bird Research Northwest

Oregon Field Guide Producer Vince Patton wrote this piece – lucky No. 11 in the hit parade – about some surprising evidence that bald eagles are on the upswing in the Columbia River estuary. They’ve were caught on camera stealing eggs from cormorant nests, and not a single baby tern survived the spring. I think this post was so popular because Vince seized on the story before it was widely reported and added a lot of his own insight from stories he’s done on all three birds for Oregon Field Guide.


That’s a wrap! Any other posts you would add to the list? Thanks for your input this year. Please continue sending me your thoughts, story ideas and critiques. I hope to see your clicks and comments back here in 2012!

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