Environment

Wildfires
1:12 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Cooler Temperatures Help Firefighters, Whiskey Complex Now 50 Percent Contained

A firefighter uses a drip torch along the South Fork Payette River Road.
Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

This story was updated at 9:45 a.m. July 22, 2014.

The Whiskey Complex wildfires burning on the Boise National Forest are now 50 percent contained. Forest officials say the fires have burned a combined 9,640 acres since lightning sparked the blazes on July 13.

Cooler temperatures and cloud cover helped firefighters Monday. No new fires sparked within the Boise National Forest after Monday's thunderstorms. Still, more afternoon thunderstorms are predicted for this afternoon.

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Wildfires
9:59 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Dry Conditions, Hot Weather Make Fighting Idaho's Whiskey Complex Wildfire A Challenge

Firefighters work to clear brush on the Boise National Forest as smoke from the Whiskey Complex hangs in the air.
Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

Fire officials working to contain and control the Whiskey Complex wildfires burning near Garden Valley, Idaho say conditions on the ground are more like late August, not mid July. "This demonstrates how the very dry vegetation challenges the suppression efforts," spokesperson Dave Olson writes.

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Weather
1:40 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Is It Hot Enough In Idaho? Keep Cool And Save Money With These 9 Tips

The life-giving sun can sometimes be too much to take in an Idaho summer. We have ways you can cool your home down.
Credit photonut-mi / Flickr

The last few days have been scorchers, and the National Weather Service says the heat will continue at least into next week. Everyone is looking for ways to stay cool.

One spot that should always provide respite is your home. Idaho Power has these tips on how to keep your house cool, while saving a little money on air conditioning.

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Water
7:02 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Farmers Urge EPA To 'Ditch' Proposed Clean Water Act Revisions

Angela Bailey farms decorative trees and shrubs near Gresham, Oregon.

Water is a common and often contentious issue in the West. But now, farmers across the country are also riled up because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to revise the 1972 Clean Water Act.

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Environment
10:47 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Updated 'Shade Rule' Aims To Protect Idaho Fish Habitat

Credit Oregon Department of Forestry / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho has long restricted cutting down trees along stream banks as a way to keep water cool for trout and a salmon. On July 1, an updated version of the so-called shade rule goes into effect.   

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Wildfires
10:03 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Surges Of Rain, Snow Keep Western Wildfires At Bay

Scenes like this have been rare in Idaho and other Western states this year, as the U.S. wildfire season is off to a slow start.
Credit Douglas Forest Protective Association

The number of acres burned by wildfires across the U.S. so far this year is less than half the 10 year average.

Figures from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise show 865,030 acres have burned this year throughout the country. That’s just 44 percent of the 10-year average. The 25,096 fires are 70 percent of the average.

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Wildlife Recovery
5:11 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Federal Judge Sets 2018 Deadline For Lynx Recovery Plan

Credit Nathan Rupert / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge says the government has until 2018 to come up with a long-delayed recovery plan for imperiled Canada lynx in the Lower 48 states.

Wildlife advocates had asked the court to force faster action for the snow-loving big cats, which were added to the threatened species list in 2000.

But U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy says in a Wednesday order that a January 2018 deadline proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reasonable.

Molloy also ordered the agency to submit semi-annual progress reports.

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Environment
10:29 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Idaho Officials To Spend $400,000 Fighting Beetle Infestation

Credit Rob Cruickshank / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has set up 3,000 traps in southwest Idaho and budgeted $400,000 to fight a Japanese beetle infestation.

Agency spokesman Lloyd Knight says the department is also treating areas with insecticides to prevent the beetles from multiplying.

The beetles attack more than 300 different ornamental and agricultural plants, as well as flowers and fruit.

The larvae are also destructive, feeding on grass roots and damaging lawns, golf courses and parks.

Japanese beetles started multiplying in the Boise area in 2011.

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Documentary
9:55 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Meet Idaho's 'Bluebird Man' Who Helped The Species Make A Comeback

Al Larson and one of the nest boxes on his Bluebird Trail.
Credit Matthew Podolsky

For the last 35 years, Al Larson has been helping bluebirds thrive in Idaho. He loves bluebirds. He’s known around birding circles as Idaho’s “bluebird man.” “That’s what they call me. I haven’t sprouted wings yet,” Larson chuckles.

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Climate Change
3:11 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Boise Is Getting Hotter Thanks To Urbanization, Climate Change

This photo of Boise was taken in 2010, today's skyline looks a bit different.
Credit Seth Lemmons / Flickr Creative Commons

Boise is getting hotter faster than almost any other city in the nation according to an Associated Press report, but the Northwest as a region isn't warming as quickly as other parts of the country.

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Wildfires
10:21 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Central Idaho Wildfire Is Contained At 80 Acres

This post was updated at 2:05 p.m. on June 6.

Firefighters in central Idaho have contained an 80-acre wildfire burning about 10 miles south of Stanley and expect to have it controlled on Sunday.

Gold Fire spokeswoman Julie Thomas says crews succeeded in getting a line around the fire Friday morning despite flames moving into downed lodgepole pine.

She says three hotshot crews along with six engines and two water tenders are working within the perimeter of the fire to make sure it's out.

U.S. Forest Service Road 210 remains closed.

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Environment
9:50 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Feds To Spend $38 Million On North Idaho River Cleanup

The Coeur d'Alene River Basin is one of the country's largest Superfund sites.
Credit Threefatcats / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials plan to spend $38 million in northern Idaho's Coeur d'Alene River Basin this summer cleaning up toxic pollution left from a century worth of mining in the region.

The Environmental Protection Agency tells the Coeur d'Alene Press that up to 125 residential and commercial properties will be cleaned up.

Agency spokesman Ed Moreen says that more than 17 miles of paved roads in eight upper basin communities will be repaired or replaced.

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Environment
7:04 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Landslide Tragedy Prompts Board To 'Take Stock' Of Logging Rules Around Unstable Slopes

The Washington Forest Practices Board heard presentations on the Oso landslide and landslide risk more generally from geologists and Oso survivors Monday.

Washington state Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark repeated Monday that "It's still too early to tell" if there is a connection between logging and this spring's deadly landslide near Oso, Washington.

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Fish
9:56 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon Make A Comeback

Credit Pacific Northwest National Lab / Flickr Creative Commons

The Snake River's fall chinook salmon are making a comeback.

There were just 78 wild chinook salmon counted at the Lower Granite Dam in 1990. Last year, more than 20,000 of the wild salmon were counted, and 75,846 wild and hatchery-born fall chinook total.

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Wildlife
9:50 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Lone Caribou Herd In Lower 48 Keeps Federal Protection

A Woodland Caribou from the Southern Selkirk Mountains population.

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 6:29 pm

Officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday, a small herd of mountain caribou found in the Northwest will retain federal protection, but it will be as a threatened species rather than endangered.

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Fish
2:24 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Scientists: Non-native Yellowstone Trout Decline

Scientists say a voracious species of trout that entered Yellowstone Lake and decimated its native trout population appears to be in decline following efforts to kill off the invading fish.

Non-native lake trout were first found 20 years ago in the 132-square mile lake in the center of Yellowstone National Park. Crews have since caught and removed more than a million of the fish in hopes that cutthroat trout populations would rebound.

On Tuesday, scientists from the park and Trout Unlimited said those efforts are finally showing progress.

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Wildlife
1:29 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

10 Entities In 6 States Apply To Get Yellowstone Bison

Credit Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Ten entities have submitted proposals to take bison from Yellowstone National Park that came through an experimental program to establish new herds of the animals.

Applicants include wildlife agencies in Utah and Minnesota, three American Indian tribes and private conservation groups in Montana, Nebraska, New York and Colorado.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks released details of the proposals on Monday. Spokesman Ron Aasheim said the agency hopes to relocate the roughly 135 bison by the end of November.

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Air Quality
11:01 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Report: Idaho's Air Quality Is Below Average

Ada County, home to Boise, got a D on the report.
Credit Thomas Hawk / Flickr Creative Commons

An American Lung Associate report finds Idaho still has work to do when it comes to good air quality. The “State of the Air 2014” report shows Ada County has seen an increase in year-round particle pollution compared to last year’s report.

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Wildlife
9:43 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Feds Spend $236 Million To Help Landowners Protect Sage Grouse

Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government has paid $236 million to landowners in 11 states to preserve sage grouse habitat amid a debate over whether the bird should be listed as an endangered species — potentially hindering energy development and ranching.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported Wednesday the money paid for conservation efforts on nearly 6,000 square miles, mostly in the West.

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Mining
9:28 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Why One Western Congressman Says It's Time To Update The 1872 Mining Law

An old western gold mine.
Credit Michallaurence / Flickr Creative Commons

Chris Cora stands on what used to be a mountaintop in the Umpqua Basin of southern Oregon. Now, it’s essentially a landfill. “Filled with waste rock and tailings," Cora says. "There’s actually zinc ore in here. Well, it’s concentrated zinc, which is really bad for the environment.”

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