Environment

Mining
12:37 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Lawsuit Filed To Stop Idaho Gold Mine Exploration

A conservation group and the Nez Perce Tribe have filed a lawsuit against three federal agencies seeking to stop a central Idaho gold mine exploration project by a Canadian company.

The tribe and the Idaho Conservation League filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Idaho against the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service.

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Wildlife
2:14 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Group Sues To Protect 42 Grizzly Bears In Remote Montana Area

This grizzly lives in captivity in West Yellowstone, Mont., near the entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
Credit Nomadic Lass / Flickr Creative Commons

A conservation group is suing the federal government for failing to reclassify a small population of grizzly bears as endangered.

The estimated 42 Cabinet-Yaak grizzly bears in northwestern Montana are considered a threatened species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year issued a decision that said changing the bears' status from threatened to endangered was warranted but precluded by higher-priority species.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies says in its lawsuit filed Tuesday the population needs to be at least 100 to be considered viable.

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Wildlife
2:23 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

California-Based Petition Gets 20,000 Signatures To Protect Idaho's Ravens

Thousands of ravens could be killed in order to protect Idaho's sage grouse.
Credit Doug Brown / Flickr Creative Commons

More than 20,000 people have signed an online petition aimed at Idaho Fish and Game to stop the killing of thousands of ravens. The point of the raven population control, though, is to protect another bird close to becoming endangered: the sage grouse.

Don Kemner’s job at the Idaho Fish and Game Department is to safeguard the sage grouse.

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Environment
1:27 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

A Landslide Buried Boise In Mud 55 Years Ago, Scientists Say It Could Happen Again

This was one of the structures on Cottonwood Creek in 1959.
Credit Idaho Statesman, Boise Public Library

Since the devastating landslide hit the town of Oso, Wash. last month, people who live near hill slopes or mountainsides have been asking if something similar could happen to them. Though Boise has not seen the tragic loss of life the Oso slide brought, the city is no stranger to floods and mudslides near its foothills.

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Fish
3:08 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Federal Officials Eye Improving Fall Chinook Runs

Credit Ingrid Taylar / Flickr

Officials at the fisheries division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are working on a long-range plan that could lead to delisting fall chinook in the Snake River.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that officials for the first time are setting down precise standards that must be met for the fish to be taken off the endangered species list.

But officials say it's a long process with many hurdles.

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Hunting
11:16 am
Fri April 18, 2014

North Idaho Poachers Taking Heavy Toll On Game

Credit GoCyclones / Flickr Creative Commons

State wildlife officials in northern Idaho say poachers are killing far more game animals than wolves.

Officials tell the Lewiston Tribune that last year in northern Idaho they confirmed poaching of 30 elk, four moose, 13 mule deer and 57 whitetail deer.

Officials say a realistic detection rate is 5 percent, meaning poachers are likely killing about 600 elk, 80 moose, 260 mule deer and 1,000 whitetail.

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Boise History
6:30 am
Fri April 18, 2014

How Boise's 1959 Mudslide Led To Lasting Protections For City's Foothills

The Idaho Daily Statesman, August 21, 1959.
Credit The Idaho Statesman / The Idaho Statesman/Boise Public Library

It was August, 1959. Boise was having one of its typical hot, dry summers. A fire had just burned 9,000 acres in the nearby foothills. Then on August 20, a huge storm system dumped heavy rain on the Treasure Valley. One inch of rain fell in an hour on the burn scar. 

The water overwhelmed the hills and washed away tons of topsoil. A Forest Service video made several years after the event, tells the story.

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Water
4:05 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Endangered Salmon Migrate Via Trucks Around Cracked Dam

At Priest Rapids Dam workers practice transporting salmon in trucks. They'll have to transport hundreds of fish a day so the salmon can get past the lowered water and several dams.
Anna King Northwest News Network

The Columbia River will remain drawn down at least until June because of the cracked Wanapum Dam in southeast Washington.

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Earthquake
4:09 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Earthquake Swarm Continues To Shake Central Idaho

This intensity map from USGS shows where Monday afternoon's earthquake was felt.
Credit U.S. Geological Survey

The U.S. Geological Survey reports a 4.6-magnitude earthquake occurred Monday afternoon 14.2 miles north of Challis. Early Monday morning, a magnitude 3.0 earthquake was measured 11 miles north northwest of the town.

Mike Stickney is the director of the Earthquake Studies Office at the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. He says this swarm of earthquakes in central Idaho started on March 24. He says at least 12 have been greater than magnitude 3, and many smaller tremors have also been measured.

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Earthquake
9:15 am
Mon April 14, 2014

4.9-Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Central Idaho

A 4.9-magnitude earthquake shook central Idaho, flinging items off walls and scaring residents but otherwise producing no reported damage or injuries in the sparsely populated mountain area.

USGS geophysicist Dale Grant says the earthquake was "kind of an unusual occurrence" being the first one of its strength in the area since 2005. But he said even minor damage is unlikely because of the remote location. It struck 8 miles northwest of Challis, a town of around 1,000 less than 200 miles northeast of Boise.

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Fish and Game
5:00 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Idaho Fish And Game Celebrates 75 Years Of Modern Management

Credit Idaho Fish and Game / Screengrab

If you've watched much cable TV recently, you may have seen this spot promoting Idaho Fish and Game's 75th anniversary.

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Water
3:58 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Water Supply Rebounds Across Most of Northwest After March Storms

On this map of current snow conditions, blues and greens are good. Red, orange and yellow represent below average snowpack.
Northwest River Forecast Center

Irrigators, hydropower dam operators and tugboat captains are sitting pretty across most of the Northwest according to the latest regional water supply forecast.

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Earthquake
8:33 am
Thu April 10, 2014

4.1 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Challis, Idaho

The earthquake was recorded just outside Challis, Idaho on April 10, 2014.
Credit Google Maps

The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude 4.1 earthquake has been recorded three miles underground near Challis, Idaho.

USGS monitors recorded the quake at 6:21 a.m. Thursday. It occurred nine miles north-northwest of the town.

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Water
2:09 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Two Idaho Rivers Make Most Endangered In America List

The Lochsa River flows through Idaho's Clearwater National Forest along scenic Highway 12.
Credit Keith Ewing | Idaho Fish and Game / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's Clearwater and Lochsa rivers have made it on a list of top 10 most endangered rivers in America. The list is put out every year by American Rivers, an advocacy group that works to protect and restore rivers in the U.S.

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Megaloads
1:13 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Idaho Groups Negotiating To End Megaloads Lawsuit

This is one of the so-called megaloads that traveled through Idaho.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Idaho Rivers United and the Nez Perce Tribe are in mediation with the U.S. Forest Service to end a lawsuit concerning megaloads on U.S. Highway 12 in northern Idaho.

Kevin Lewis of Idaho Rivers United said Wednesday the groups are seeking to have the federal agency come up with specific rules concerning gigantic loads traveling on the northern Idaho route that includes a federally designated Wild and Scenic River corridor as well as tribal land.

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Wildlife
12:33 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Lawsuit Planned To Stop Incidental Trapping Of Lynx In Idaho

Credit Keith Williams / Flickr Creative Commons

Three environmental groups plan to file a federal lawsuit if Idaho doesn't address incidental trapping of federally protected Canada lynx.

The groups sent a letter Monday to Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter as well as Idaho Department of Fish Game officials. The state has 60 days to respond.

Western Watersheds Project, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Clearwater contend that Idaho is violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing recreational trapping for bobcats that has led to the capture of three lynx in the last two years.

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Transportation
6:11 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Megaloads Opponents Seek More Public Input

File photo of a megaload parked along Idaho’s Highway 12.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

The latest dispute over whether huge megaload trucks should be allowed on Northwest roads is currently in Oregon.

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Wildlife
11:02 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Yellowstone Park Fighting Online Supervolcano Rumors

Credit Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park is trying to fight online rumors that running bison seen in a YouTube video are fleeing a possible explosion of the park's supervolcano.

The video was posted on March 20, 10 days before a magnitude-4.8 earthquake hit, the strongest quake in 30 years.

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Wildlife
10:34 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Rockies Gray Wolf Numbers Steady Despite Hunting

Credit Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

A new population tally of gray wolves in the U.S. Northern Rockies shows their continued resilience despite increased hunting, trapping and government-sponsored pack removals.

State and federal agencies said Friday there were a minimum of 1,691 wolves at the end of 2013.

That's virtually unchanged from the prior year even as state wildlife agencies adopted aggressive tactics to drive down wolf numbers.

Under pressure from livestock and hunting groups, Idaho officials have used helicopters to shoot packs. Montana has eased hunting and trapping rules.

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Water
11:05 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Boise River Flow Increases Sixfold, Water Managers To Maintain Current Level

Flow in the Boise River has increased significantly in the last several days. Whitewater - absent for much of the winter - can be see in this location in east Boise.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Those managing water flow in the Boise River Basin say they plan to keep the river at its current level for the foreseeable future.

The river is been flowing at roughly 1,800 cubic feet per second at the Glenwood Street bridge in Boise.  The flow last week was around 300 cfs and then increased steadily over the weekend.

Snake River Area Office Water Operations Manager Brian Sauer says the outflow at Lucky Peak reached 1,800 cfs for the first time this season at 8 a.m. Monday.  Flood level is 7,000 cfs.

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