Environment

grizzly, bear, yellowstone
Neal Herbert / Yellowstone National Park | Flickr

An advocacy group has petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reintroduce grizzly bears into the Selway-Bitterroot area of Idaho and Montana.

The Center for Biological Diversity said Thursday that it hopes to revive a stalled recovery plan for the animals that was finalized in 2000.

The group says having bears in the Selway-Bitterroot would help connect grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park with other populations of the animals in Montana and Idaho. It says the 16-million-acre area could support 300 to 600 bears.

TBiley / Flickr Creative Commons

Greek yogurt maker Chobani says a newly installed reverse-osmosis filtration system at its south-central Idaho plant will reduce the company's consumption of water by 20 percent.

The Times-News reports that the company is installing the new machine to help reduce complaints from its residential neighbors.

Last year, Hollister residents complained about increased truck traffic and odors coming from a local farm that recycled the company's acid whey, which is a waste product of the yogurt plant.

New research could have implications for cattle and sheep grazing in the habitat of a ground-dwelling bird that environmentalists say needs federal protection across the Rocky Mountain region.

A study published in the December issue of Wildlife Biology examines the relationship between nesting success by the greater sage grouse and the height of grass nearby.

Environmental groups including WildEarth Guardians say the study is cause for concern about livestock grazing in sage grouse habitat. Others say grazing can improve habitat for sage grouse.

An 11-year state and federal study of selenium pollution in a southeastern Idaho watershed where some 700 sheep, cattle and horses have died over the last several decades after grazing in contaminated areas has found the toxin is likely moving through groundwater.

The 36-page study on the Upper Blackfoot River Watershed released earlier this month by the U.S. Geological Survey also found that selenium levels spiked in the river during spring thaw.

Researchers say the inactive Maybe Canyon Mine is producing the most contamination.

USFWS

The future of the greater sage grouse, already uncertain, may get even murkier because Congress is considering delaying protections for the Western bird.

Congress is considering a $1.1 trillion spending bill that would keep the federal government from shutting down. A legislative rider in the bill would put the brakes on protecting the bird.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

One grizzly bear's incredible 5,000-mile journey across Montana and Idaho has scientists re-thinking what they know about the animals.

Ethyl the grizzly bear walked from Kalispell, Mont. west toward Coeur d’Alene and back east toward Missoula. She covered thousands of miles of mountainous terrain in just two years, and scientists are still trying to figure out why.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grizzly bear recovery coordinator Chris Servheen says Ethyl's story began when she was first captured in 2006 east of Kalispell, Mont.

Treasure Valley commuters navigated dense fog Friday morning, and more fog could be on the way for early Sunday.

A National Weather Service Boise forecaster just happened to climb Table Rock as the fog rolled through the eastern part of the valley. The forecaster pulled out his iPhone and captured a neat perspective on Friday morning's fog.

Source: National Weather Service Boise

Bruce Reichert / Idaho Public Television

Idaho Public Television is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act with a sweeping hour-long look at Idaho's wild places. The program Outdoor Idaho traveled to all seven of Idaho’s wilderness areas -- and two proposed wilderness areas -- to tell the story of the state's protected places.

WCN 24/7 / Flickr

Tis the season when Idahoans will be getting their Christmas trees. For some, that means a trip to the Boise or Payette National Forest; a holiday tradition in some families.

Permits to cut down Christmas trees in Idaho forests went on sale this weekend.

Lewiston, Idaho has had unusual bragging rights for the past 40 years. It's the farthest inland seaport on the West Coast -- 465 miles upriver from the Pacific Ocean.

BostonTx / Flickr

Environmental groups and the Nez Perce Tribe have filed a lawsuit to prevent dredging of the lower Snake River that enables Lewiston, Idaho, to be the most inland seaport on the West Coast.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Seattle, challenges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' approval of a $6.7 million dredging project scheduled to begin next month.

The lawsuit was filed by Earthjustice on behalf of a coalition of environmental groups.

irmiller / Flickr

Scientists say water quality in the Coeur d'Alene and Spokane river basins in northern Idaho and eastern Washington state is improving due to ongoing efforts cleaning up one of the nation's largest Superfund sites.

The United States Geological Survey in a report released Monday says concentrations of cadmium, lead and zinc decreased significantly since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began the cleanup process in the 1990s.

However, the study also found that the concentration in some streams is above what's considered toxic to aquatic organisms.

Dana Orlosky / Flickr

A decades old proposal to upgrade Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve to a national park is getting new life.

The monument's superintendent, Dan Buckley, is proposing the upgrade and says he's briefed Idaho's congressional delegation. The move would ultimately require congressional approval.

Idaho is the only state in the West without a national park entirely within its borders.

gray wolf, wolves
U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Washington fish and wildlife officers are recommending a misdemeanor charge against a farmer accused of illegally shooting a wolf last month.

Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy tells the Moscow-Pullman Daily News that he'll review the investigation report and the law before making a decision about whether to file charges. The wolf was shot southwest of Pullman on Oct. 12.

Under Washington law, a wolf can only be shot if it is in the act of attacking pets or livestock.

Bookhaven National Laboratory / Flickr Creative Commons

The company that provides most of southern Idaho with its electricity is ready to incorporate solar power into its portfolio for the first time. Idaho Power's foray into solar will be relatively small.

Currently about half of Idaho Power’s electricity comes from hydroelectric dams. A little more than a third comes from coal-burning power plants in neighboring states. There’s some natural gas, and about 7 percent comes from privately-generated, renewable sources, mostly wind. None of it, though, is solar. 

weather, roads, snow, ice
Jodie Martinson / Boise State Public Radio

The Ada County Highway District (ACHD) is defending itself from criticisms over how it cleared -- or didn't clear -- the roads after last week's snow dump. A record-setting 7.6 inches of snow fell at the Boise Airport on Thursday and Friday.

Police departments tweeted warnings to drivers to mind the conditions after helping hundreds of vehicles involved in fender-benders and spins off the road.

Now, almost a week later, many major roads in Boise, Eagle, and Meridian still have snow and ice in patches and many drivers are complaining about why it's taken so long to clear.

Mia Gant / Flickr

This week's very cold weather in the Treasure Valley hasn't caused a lot of problems when it comes to frozen pipes.

That’s despite Boise setting another record low this morning of 4 degrees, breaking the old record of 7 set back in 1985. It's the third-straight morning of record cold.

United Water Idaho's Mark Snider says the company has had 10 calls from people without water.

Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr Creative Commons

Idahoans are using more water per capita than residents of any other state according to a recent report from the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS does a detailed look at water use every fifth year.

Molly Maupin led the team that calculated the nation’s water use for 2010. It took them four years to compile all the data. They looked at all the different ways people were using water, from morning showers to cooling nuclear power plants.

Jay Breidenbach / National Weather Service

Treasure Valley residents still dealing with the aftermath of last week's record-setting snowfall now have an inversion on their hands, too.

The National Weather Service in Boise says the inversion set up Sunday. Meteorologist Bill Wojcik says it's likely to last through Saturday when winds from a new system disrupt the layering of warm air over cold. He says the inversion - the first of the season - reaches 10,000 feet into the atmosphere.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Three environmental groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to halt a wolf- and coyote-hunting derby set for early January in east-central Idaho.

WildEarth Guardians, Cascadia Wildlands and the Boulder-White Clouds Council filed the lawsuit late Thursday in federal court in Idaho against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

The groups contend the BLM violated environmental laws on Thursday by issuing Idaho for Wildlife a special use permit to hold the competitive derby on BLM land.

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