Environment

Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

About 600,000 young spring chinook salmon have died at a northern Idaho fish hatchery after an electrical problem stopped water from circulating.

The Nez Perce Tribe tells the Lewiston Tribune the fish died at the Kooskia National Fish Hatchery on Friday when an electrical circuit breaker tripped and a warning system to alert hatchery workers failed.

The salmon were a few weeks old and scheduled to be released next spring and return as adults in 2020.

Eddie Welker / Flickr

Counties in all parts of the state have declared various, weather related emergencies. As of Tuesday, 27 counties were listed as being impacted by weather conditions to the point of emergency status.

The latest counties to get disaster status are in the northern part of the state; yesterday Governor Butch Otter declared states of emergency in Latah, Benewah, Shoshone, Clearwater, Bonner, Kootenai and Boundary Counties due to fears of avalanches and flooding.

Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press

Inspection officials found a live quagga mussel on a boat on the Idaho/Nevada border. It’s the third infested boat found this year trying to enter the state.

The boat was found at the U.S. Highway 93 inspection station. It spent the last three months at Lake Havasu, which is infested with quagga and zebra mussels.

Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials have approved an Idaho wildlife conservation plan to avoid potential listings under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed off on a state plan that identified 205 Idaho species of concern. Grizzlies, salmon and sage grouse were all on the list, as well as monarch butterflies. Wildlife officials are working on taking Yellowstone grizzlies off the Endangered Species List.

ap

A conservation group has created maps identifying key landscapes in three Western states most likely to sustain native species amid climate change and is distributing money to protect private lands in those areas through use-limiting easements or outright purchases.

The Nature Conservancy says it has $6 million from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation that it's now distributing among land trusts that must come up with five times the amount in matching funds for approved easements or acquisitions.

ZapWizard / Flickr

Officials at the federal, state and local levels will begin evaluating flood damage in Cassia County in the next few weeks following one of the most brutal winters in decades.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise River will hit flood stage this week as officials try to make room in reservoirs for more rain and snowmelt.

The river will go up a little bit Monday, 250 cubic feet per second, and again Tuesday, which will bring flows to 7000 cfs. That’s considered flood stage as measured by the Glenwood Bridge gauge.

That means more sections of the Greenbelt along the river, some of which are already underwater, will be flooded. Minor flooding is expected on Eagle Island and other low spots along the river. And river bank erosion could become an issue.

Cathy / Flickr Creative Commons

As residents of a subdivision in Blaine County continue feeding elk, the county is taking them to court over the rule violations.

A herd of around 70 elk descended on the Golden Eagle Ranch development north of Hailey in December. Driven to lower elevations by the harsh winter weather, the residents of the development said the animals were eating everything from patio furniture to decorative wreaths.

After hearing about increased emergency feeding efforts on the part of Idaho Fish and Game, some residents of the subdivision started feeding the animals.

Films about nature and conservation in Idaho, the West and around the world are the focus of this year’s Les Bois Film Festival.

The Land Trust of the Treasure Valley and the film company Wild Lens are showing 20 films that highlight everything from kestrels to elk to Bogus Basin’s 75th anniversary to black footed ferrets.

Julia Rundberg is with the Land Trust. She says it’s a locally-sourced, homegrown, free-range, family-friendly, nature film festival.

Tom Jefferson

Last June we told you the story of an Idaho man trying to save a tiny porpoise species in Mexico. Today we have an update to that story, and a new film that looks at vaquitas and their plight.

Chris Pawluk / Flickr

Animal-car collisions are a real problem in Idaho. In one short section of Idaho 21 near Boise, 77 deer and elk were hit by cars in 2016. The Idaho Transportation Department will discuss the issue Wednesday and take a cue from how Banff National Park in Canada solved its wildlife mortality problem.

Chris Carlson / AP

 The northern Idaho city of Moscow is saving hundreds of thousands of gallons of water since implementing a conservation plan last year that provides rebates to customers who swap out their old toilets for more water-efficient ones.

Idaho Fish and Game

Idaho Fish and Game crews are feeding 4,000 elk in eastern Idaho this winter, after a fire burned 22,000 acres of their winter range.

The fire hit the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area in Bonneville County last year. Without grass, forbs and brush, elk and deer now have nothing to eat. Fish and Game worried they would travel to private property 13 miles away and start eating haystacks and spilling into towns.

In a story Feb. 23 about a lawsuit involving a wolf- and coyote-shooting contest in Idaho, The Associated Press reported erroneously the disposition of the suit. The judge dismissed part of the lawsuit, not the entire lawsuit, and a decision on an action the groups have against the U.S. Forest Service involving Idaho for Wildlife's predator contest is pending.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Tom Banse

An environmental group has filed an appeal seeking to stop the construction of two high-voltage transmission lines in southwestern Idaho.

Western Watersheds Project filed the appeal late last week with the U.S. Department of the Interior's Board of Land Appeals concerning the Gateway West project.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management last month issued a formal decision approving a plan by Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power to build and operate 321 miles of 500-kilovolt transmission lines on public land in Idaho's Gooding, Elmore, Owyhee, Cassia and Twin Falls counties.

wild horses, nevada, wildlife
James Marvin Phelps / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials say they plan to capture 150 wild horses starting later this month in central Idaho near Challis and remove about 50 for adoption.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management in a news release Tuesday says the capture will likely go through mid-April using a large-scale bait trap operation.

Officials say the Challis Wild Horse Herd Management Area is under a court decree to maintain wild horse numbers within appropriate management levels.

Officials say that number is up to 253 horses, but the current population is over 280 horses.

Idaho Division of Tourism / Flickr Creative Commons

In 1890, the brand new state of Idaho was granted more than four million acres of land by the federal government. Public education is the beneficiary of money generated from state land sales to individuals or companies. Idaho law limits these sales to no more than 320 acres in some cases and 160 acres in others.

Randy Watson / Flickr

More than 500 ducks and geese have died near Parma. And the Idaho Department of Fish and Game says it knows why.

Two weeks ago, someone found hundreds of dead birds on private land at Fort Boise. Fish and Game says between 500 and 600 birds were at the site. Canada geese, mallard ducks, even a red-tailed hawk died. Several of the birds were sent to the Department’s Wildlife Health Laboratory to be tested.

Idaho officials are in preliminary discussions with the U.S. Forest Service on possibly buying federal public lands.

State Forester David Groeschl of the Idaho Department of Lands told Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and other members of the Idaho Land Board on Tuesday that the state is eyeing timberland that the federal agency has previously proposed for possible sale or exchange.

Groeschl said the state is also identifying potential Forest Service lands not previously considered for sale.

Dan Brubaker Horst / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho officials have extended the deadline for farmers to dispose of spoiled or damaged onions following the collapse of many onion storage facilities in southwestern Idaho due to heavy snow.

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that the March 15 deadline has been extended to April 15.

Agriculture Director Celia Gould says the temporary rule will give onion farmers some flexibility in dealing with the massive disposal effort. She says many facilities are reporting total losses.

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