Environment

Recreation
5:30 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Explore The Owyhee Canyonlands With New Trail Guide From Idaho Author

A view from the "Between the Creeks" hike in the Owyhee Canyonlands.
Credit Steve Stuebner

The Owyhee Canyonlands cover more than 5 million acres of rugged landscape in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon.

Few hikers and campers venture into this desert wilderness because there aren't many trail signs or information.

Steve Stuebner teamed up with photographer Mark Lisk to create a guidebook for the Canyonlands. Their new book, The Owyhee Canyonlands: An Outdoor Adventure Guide, details 55 hiking and biking trails.

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Poaching
10:07 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Idaho Wildlife Advocate Pleads Guilty To Poaching

Credit GoCyclones / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho director for the wildlife advocacy group Greater Yellowstone Coalition has pleaded guilty to poaching two elk.

The Idaho State Journal reports Marv Hoyt is currently on vacation and will retire from his post at the end of the year. Hoyt pleaded guilty last month to misdemeanor charges of unlawful taking of game and wasteful destruction of wildlife. Prosecutors said Hoyt only had one elk tag but that he killed three cow elk during a November hunting trip in Caribou County.

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Wildlife
10:11 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Wildlife Managers Hire Hunter To Kill Two Central Idaho Wolf Packs

State wildlife officials have hired a hunter to eliminate two wolf packs in a federal wilderness area in central Idaho because officials say they are eating too many elk calves.

Fish and Game Bureau Chief Jeff Gould tells the Idaho Statesman that hunters are having a difficult time getting into the Frank Church-River of No Return wilderness, so the agency hired hunter-trapper Gus Thoreson of Salmon to kill the wolves in the Golden and Monumental packs.

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Environment
6:57 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Government Fleets Soon To Include More Fully-Electric Cars

Commuter Steve Marsh (left) of Kent, Wash. was honored Monday as the first in the nation to log 100,000 miles on an all-electric Nissan Leaf.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Just like consumers who postponed buying new cars during the recent recession, government agencies also put off vehicle replacements. But now procurement officers are getting busy again.

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Federal Land
9:52 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Two Idaho Counties Challenge Forest Travel Plan

The Clearwater Forest covers 1.8 million acres in northern Idaho.
Credit U.S. Forest Service, Northern Region / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal lawsuit filed by two Idaho counties is challenging the legality of a national forest travel plan that closed off about 200 miles of trails to motorized vehicles.

The lawsuit was filed Monday by Idaho and Clearwater counties against the Clearwater National Forest.

The counties contend the forest failed to adequately coordinate with local leaders while drafting the plan and didn't consider the economic impact it could have on local communities.

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Transportation
12:54 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Megaload Pulls Out Of Northeast Oregon Port Despite Protesters

Cathy Sampson-Kruse is a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation. Police arrested her after she laid down in front of the so-called megaload bound for Canada.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 2:25 pm

A massive load of oil equipment is on its way to Canada, along a winding route that began near Hermiston, in northeast Oregon. 

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Energy
3:34 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Idaho Power Gets OK For Wyoming Coal Plant Project

Idaho Power Co. can spend tens of millions to clean up its Wyoming coal-fired power plant and expect ratepayers to cover the project's cost, but regulators want quarterly updates on whether these emission-control investments continue to make sense as federal environmental rules change.

Announced Monday by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, the decision aims to ensure Idaho's biggest utility isn't locked into the estimated $130 million project if alternatives to coal emerge as better for ratepayers.

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Transportation
9:10 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Map: Proposed Megaload Route Will Wind Across Southern Idaho's Backroads

This is a similar over-sized shipment that traveled through Idaho earlier in 2013.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Giant pieces of equipment headed for Canada's oil sands are expected to travel through southern Idaho once the oversized gear makes its way across Oregon.

Omega Morgan, a trucking company hired, was forced to choose a new route for moving its so-called 'megaloads' through Idaho after a judge blocked plans to ship the loads over U.S. Highway 12.

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Insects
9:40 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Spread Of Invasive Stink Bugs Alarms Farmers, Scientists

Invasive stink bug on an olive branch in the Willamette Valley.
Credit Vaughn Walton / Oregon State University

A malodorous invasive bug has gone from a worry to a certifiable nuisance for some Northwest farmers and gardeners. The name of this insect is a mouthful: the brown marmorated stink bug.

Researchers say the population really seems to have taken off this year. With the approach of winter, these stink bugs are leaving the fields and may just crawl into your home.

"A little bit like sweaty socks"

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Wildlife
6:00 am
Mon November 4, 2013

How A Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel Study Could Help Protect The Environment

The squirrels play a big part in the environment. They’re food for all types of predators, from hawks to snakes to badgers. They help regulate the soil as they dig their burrows. And they act as a warning system for the rest of the environment.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Southern Idaho ground squirrels are found only in the Gem State and are a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act. In May, we told you about a project to give some of these squirrels a new home near Horseshoe Bend to study ways to boost their numbers. Now, scientists know a bit more about this squirrel.

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Wildlife
10:08 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Idaho Releases Plan To Keep Sage Grouse Off The Endangered Species List

The greater sage grouse weights between 2 and 5 pounds and has an average lifespan of 1.5 years. They live at high elevations and can't survive without sagebrush.
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr Creative Commons

After a two year wait, Idaho has released its proposed plan to manage the greater sage grouse. The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service have been working on the plan with help from Idaho’s Fish and Game Department and the governor’s office.

If the plan is approved the sage grouse will stay off the endangered species list. Jessica Gardetto with the BLM says if the bird is listed land use becomes complicated.

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Weather
4:44 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Not Your Imagination: Fall Colors Have Been Especially Good This Year

The shadow of the St. Johns bridge is cast across North Portland.
Tess Freeman Oregon Public Broadcasting

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 5:22 pm

It's not your imagination: Fall colors have been spectacular in the Northwest this year. But if you want to catch a glimpse, you'd better hurry.

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Transportation
8:12 am
Fri October 25, 2013

GE Subsidiary Drops Megaload Battle

Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A General Electric Co. subsidiary has given up its legal fight to haul the second of two huge loads of water purification equipment through the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest and will find another way to get the equipment to the Canadian oil fields.

The Lewiston Tribune reports Resources Conservation Company International filed documents Thursday saying it was dropping its emergency motion to stay an injunction that prevented it from using the U.S. Highway 12 route.

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Environment
5:27 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Putting The Spa in Spawn: Tribe Creates Refuge For Exhausted Fish

Joe Blodgett (right), with the Yakama Nation's steelhead rehabilitation center, lifts a fish out a tub where they're fed highly nutritious pellets.
Anna King Northwest News Network

The Yakama Nation’s steelhead reconditioning program is like a retreat spa for fish. And it's changing the circle of life for the species.

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Light Pollution
10:43 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Why "Dark Sky" Ordinances Are Taking Hold In Northwest Cities

Light pollution over Seattle.
Credit Hiimniko / Flickr Creative Commons

Even though we have had clear skies this week, chances are you can't see the Milky Way at night because the glare from city lights washes out all but the brightest stars where most people live.

A smattering of Northwest cities and counties are taking action by passing new rules for outdoor lighting. It's not all about the stars. And some people take a dim view of light regulation.

Once you're aware of obnoxious lighting, you'll "know it when you see it," says David Ginther. He's the senior planner for the City of Tumwater, Wash.

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Environment
4:22 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Is Living With Extreme Wildfires The New Normal?

A house destroyed by a wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz. Experts say increasing expansion into wildfire-prone areas has created new challenges for firefighters unequipped to protect houses and structures.
Andy Tobin AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 3:02 pm

It has been a deadly year for the people who fight wildfires. In total, 32 people have lost their lives fighting fires in 2013; the highest number in nearly 20 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Just one incident accounts for most of those deaths, the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona. In June, the blaze blasted through a firefighting crew known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots; 19 of the 20 men died.

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Environment
9:30 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Conservation Plan Aims To Restore Idaho's Big Wood River

The Big Wood River flowing near Ketchum, Idaho.
Credit GHarness / Flickr Creative Commons

Trout Unlimited and the Wood River Land Trust have announced a plan to restore the Big Wood River in central Idaho.

The partnership announced last week and called the Big Wood River Home Rivers Initiative is described as a long-term effort to reconnect tributaries, promote fish passage and maintain stream flows.

Scott Boettger of the Wood River Land Trust says summer wildfires followed by mudslides combined with low flows and increased water temperatures are timely reminders of the challenges the Big Wood faces.

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Water
9:18 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Tests On Idaho River Reveal Challenge Of Cleaning Up Waterways

Technicians contracted by the EPA are gather core samples of the Coeur d'Alene River bed.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A river basin cleanup in north Idaho is showing just how difficult it is to remove long-term pollution from Northwest waterways. This month, the EPA is running tests on layers of muck from the bottom of the Coeur d'Alene River. It’s downstream from a federal superfund site.

A technician lowers a 7-foot tube into the riverbed, like a straw into a piece of bread.

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Megaloads
9:23 am
Thu September 12, 2013

28 Nez Perce Tribal Members Charged For Megaload Protest

The first "megaload" transported by Hillsboro-based Omega Morgan, pictured here outside of Lewiston, Idaho.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Twenty-eight members of the Nez Perce tribe, including eight members of the tribe's executive committee, are charged with public nuisance infractions for protests last month seeking to stop a "megaload" from traveling through the reservation.

The Lewiston Tribune reports the charges were filed Wednesday.

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Environment
4:28 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Ouch! Yellow Jackets Having A 'Banner Year' In Northwest

Wikimedia

Still smarting from a wasp sting this summer? Well, you're not alone. It's been a "banner year" for yellow jackets in the Northwest by many accounts.

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