Environment

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.   

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.

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.

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.

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.

Downtown Boise
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.

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.

Coeur d'Alene River, water, Idaho
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.

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.

Chinook Salmon, fish
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.

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.

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.

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.

Boise, Air Quality
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.

sage grouse, wildlife
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.

idaho gold mine
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.”

Hydropower dams built without fish ladders have blocked migratory fish from the upper reaches of the Columbia and Snake Rivers for decades.

historic photo, Cottonwood creek
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.

Earth Day 2014 is Tuesday, and celebrations are planned across our nation and around the world, including here at Boise State. Forty-four years after it was first launched, this annual event continues to evolve, attract new participants and raise awareness about environmental issues. What many may not realize is that Earth Day also played a major role in the birth of the modern environmental movement.  

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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