Environment

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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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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Outdoors
7:23 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Banner Summer On Tap For Ocean Salmon Fishing

File photo. Fisheries managers are expecting a banner year for ocean salmon fishing.
Michael B Flickr

A federal fisheries management panel has approved what some charter captains are calling the best ocean fishing season in 20 years.

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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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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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Boise Foothills
6:45 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Tracking Dog Poop, A Sticky Problem In the Boise Foothills

Sam Roberts and his dog Sunny hike the Foothills several times a week. Roberts says he sees too much dog waste along the trail.
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

If you've hiked around Boise's foothills, you've likely come across a pile or two of dog poop. In February, there were 104 piles of waste at the Table Rock trailhead. Data show (yes, it's being tracked) those piles fluctuate from year to year, but the problem persists.

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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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Wildlife
9:44 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Got Space? Montana Needs A Home For 135 Bison

Bison weigh between 900-2,000 pounds and are up to 6.5 feet tall at their shoulder.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Montana wildlife officials say they are seeking proposals to take up to 135 disease-free bison being held under an experimental effort to establish new populations of the animals.

The small herd in the U.S. Department of Agriculture program is made up of animals captured from Yellowstone National Park and their descendants.

The bison have been held for the past several years on behalf of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks at a Bozeman-area ranch owned by philanthropist Ted Turner.

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Washington Landslide
9:08 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Dogs Most Effective Search Tool As Landslide Death Toll Mounts

Saturday’s landslide crashed down on a rural neighborhood of fisherman’s cabins, farm houses and regular homes.
Snohomish County Sheriffs Office

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 10:36 am

The official death toll from Saturday’s massive landslide near Oso, Washington rose from 14 to 16 Tuesday night.

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Wildlife
6:35 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Study: Sage Grouse Habitat Slow To Rebound After Fire

File photo of a Greater Sage-Grouse
U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service

A new study suggests creating livable habitat for the dwindling sage grouse may be trickier than originally thought.

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Wildlife
9:41 am
Mon March 24, 2014

With Idaho Wolves On The Decline, Environmental Groups To Ask For Federal Protection

Credit Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Idaho's wolf population is on the decline, heading toward 10 breeding pairs, or 150 wolves.

That's the goal set in the 2002 wolf management plan that will remain the state's official policy unless it is changed by the Legislature.

The Idaho Statesman reports that last week's legislation to establish an Idaho Wolf Control Board, along with efforts to expand and increase wolf hunting and trapping, has galvanized some national conservation groups.

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Economy
6:45 am
Mon March 24, 2014

The Number Of Idaho Fur Trappers Doubles As Pelt Prices Soar

Patrick Carney sets his traps in a gated community pond near Eagle, Idaho.
Credit Jessica Murri / For Boise State Public Radio

Just four years ago, bobcat fur sold for about $200. Now, that same bobcat pelt can be sold for almost $2,000. Higher prices come from a rise in demand for fur in Asia, and it has led to more trappers in the field here in Idaho.

Patrick Carney, president of the Idaho Trappers Association, gets calls almost daily from folks who want advice on how to get into commercial trapping.

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Columbia River
5:00 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Fish Experts Plan A Salmon Water Slide On Cracked Wanapum Dam

File photo of the fish ladder at John Day Dam on the Columbia River. The fish ladders at the Wanapum and the Rock Island dams are dry.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:24 pm

The ongoing issue with the cracked Wanapum Dam in central Washington is now creating a problem for migrating salmon.

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Environment
9:56 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Tribes Push To Restore Salmon To Upper Columbia River

A pre-conference tour of Grand Coulee Dam on Monday kicked off a conversation about restoring salmon to the Upper Columbia Basin.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 5:00 pm

Once upon a time, salmon and steelhead swam over a thousand miles upriver to the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, at the foot of the Rockies in British Columbia.

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Wildfires
3:56 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Idaho Should Have 'Normal' Wildfire Season Thanks To Recent Storms

Last Summer's Beaver Creek Fire Threatened Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey
Credit InciWeb / http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3635/

It's still at least three months away, but it looks as though Idaho’s wildfire season should be fairly normal in 2014. Ed Delgado manages predictive services at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

“We’ve got good snowpack right now and assuming it melts off fairly regularly over the next couple of months, that’s going to be good for the soils especially in the mountain areas,” Delgado says. “So that’s going to kind of prolong the wet period.”

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Water
7:57 am
Thu March 13, 2014

How One Snowstorm Can Change Idaho's Seasonal Water Outlook

Brian McInerney is a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.
Credit Julie Rose / For Boise State Public Radio

Randy Julander measures snowpack for the U.S. government’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. It’s his job to tell water users what they can expect to see flowing down their streams and irrigation canals come spring.

When Julander answered my recent phone call, he was way up in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. He was having some mixed feelings.

"Gosh, it’s clear skies and the sun is hotter than a two-dollar pistol. I’m sitting here at 8,500 feet and in shirt sleeves," Julander said.

"Does that seem like a good sign?" I asked.

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Avalanche
3:15 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Incredible Post-Avalanche Photo Shows What It Will Take To Clear Idaho's Highway 21

The Idaho Dept. of Transportation took this photo March 11, 2014. You can see an ITD employee in orange standing in the middle of the frame, on what should be the road.
Credit Credit Courtesy Idaho Department of Transportation

Underneath all that snow, ice, and tree debris is Idaho's Highway 21. Somewhere. This dramatic image from the Idaho Department of Transportation shows just how much work is ahead for road crews in clearing off a 12-mile section of the scenic road south of Stanley. That orange dot near the middle of the image is an ITD crew member.

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Water
12:22 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Latest Snowpack Map Shows Continued Improvement In Idaho's Water Supply

Click on the map to enlarge.
Credit NRCS/USDA

The latest map showing the water content of Idaho’s snowpack reveals the state continues to make up significant deficits seen early this winter.

Idaho has 21 basins where the Natural Resources Conservation Service measures snow accumulation and then assesses how the water content compares to that of a normal year. As of Thursday, all but five are at 80 percent of their average, or greater.

The Boise River basin is at 95 percent. The Payette River basin is 94. Most areas in central, northern and eastern Idaho are now above 100 percent of their normal snowpack levels.

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Water
6:54 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Columbia River Drawdown Continues To Take Pressure Off Wanapum Dam

The crack is at the bottom of the fourth spillway pier from the left in this photo.
Grant County PUD

Water behind the Wanapum Dam near Vantage, Wash., is being drawn down 26 feet to relieve pressure on the big crack in the structure.

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