Alex Brown

Alex Brown

Alex Brown covers environmental issues for Stateline, reporting from Washington state. Prior to joining Pew, Brown wrote for The Chronicle in Lewis County, Washington state. He’s won awards for investigative reporting and feature writing from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association. In 2017, Brown thru-hiked the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, which traverses mountain ranges from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. He previously was a congressional correspondent for National Journal, where he covered energy and environment, technology and campaigns. Brown graduated from Union University and is a native of Michigan.

Firefighter using drip torch during firing operation west of Rainy Lake, Friday, July 28.

Towns could save themselves from wildfire — if they knew about this money

By: - September 4, 2023

PACKWOOD, Washington — Last year, Don Pratt fled from his home as a wildfire swept down the mountainside here in Washington’s Cascade Range. “Heading out, I thought it was the last time I was going to see the house,” he said. As residents evacuated and smoke engulfed the small mountain community, fire crews with bulldozers […]

Western states’ budgets, industries rely on federal lands. So does wildlife.

By: - July 16, 2023

Across the West, a vast swath of federal land has been staked out by oil and gas drillers, miners, cattle grazers, loggers, renewable energy developers and outdoor recreationists. Soon, the federal agency that oversees those lands will allow them to be leased for a new purpose — conservation. Earlier this year, the Bureau of Land […]

‘This is the existential crisis’: A push for climate change education

By: - July 1, 2023

When wildfires and smoke swept through Oregon in 2020, Lyra Johnson’s family made plans to evacuate their home near Portland. Johnson, then 14, was told she might have to quickly learn to drive — despite not having a license — in order to get her grandmother to safety. Thankfully, the danger passed before Johnson was […]

State wildlife agencies focus on ‘hook and bullet’ work. Some see a new path.

By: - June 11, 2023

SEATTLE — The Cascade red fox, which lives high in the mountains of Washington state, is struggling to survive. State wildlife managers want to send researchers into the field to find out why. They’re also aiming to vaccinate pygmy rabbits against a deadly virus, restore habitat to support the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly and establish new […]

‘We’re going to need so many seedlings’ for reforestation push

By: - May 27, 2023

During the next few years, state tree nurseries across the country will build new greenhouses, expand irrigation systems, upgrade seeding equipment and bring on staff. They’re hoping to turn millions of new federal dollars into millions of new seedlings — part of a collaborative effort to reforest landscapes threatened by climate change. “We’re going to […]

With fire departments struggling for volunteers, states respond to the alarm

By: - April 29, 2023

When firefighters show up to a blaze or medical emergency across much of the United States, they most likely are volunteers. It’s also likely the department is understaffed, struggling to replace old equipment and facing uncertainty about its next generation of firefighters. “So much of our country relies on the volunteer fire service,” said Kimberly […]

Climate change forcing cities to reconsider their tree mix

By: - December 31, 2022

Cities need to plant more trees. But not just any trees. As communities prepare for a massive influx of federal funding to support urban forestry, their leaders say the tree canopy that grows to maturity 50 years from now will need to be painted with a different palette than the one that exists today. “You […]

For tribes, reforesting means reconnection to history, culture

By: - October 30, 2022

FLATHEAD INDIAN RESERVATION, Mont. ⁠— In western Montana’s Mission Mountains, whitebark pine trees have been hit hard by blister rust, an invasive disease. The trees, which grow slowly and live at high elevations, help shade snowpack and prevent it from melting. Their seeds are an important protein source for grizzly bears and many other animals. […]

Water shortages threaten development throughout the West

By: - June 6, 2022

As the Western United States endures an ongoing megadrought that has spanned more than two decades, an increasing number of cities, towns and water districts are being forced to say no to new growth. There’s just not enough water to go around. Last month, the California Coastal Commission urged San Luis Obispo County to stop […]

Private lands are the next battlegrounds in state conservation policy

By: - April 30, 2022

Since last year, staff members at the Land Trust of Virginia have fielded phone call after phone call from landowners seeking to set aside their property for conservation. “We’re getting calls like crazy,” said Sally Price, executive director of the nonprofit, which works with private landowners to preserve farms and natural landscapes. “We’re doubling our […]

States to federal government: Don’t tell us how to spend COVID money

By: - February 26, 2022

State and local leaders from both parties are at odds with the Biden administration over how billions of dollars in new infrastructure money should be spent. Republican governors are upset over a federal memo seeking to limit dollars for highway expansions. Western states and some progressive cities don’t like the feds’ plan for how to […]