Environment

Megaload
Rick Strack / Boise State Public Radio

A 450-ton shipment of oil production equipment bound for Alberta, Canada, has covered 40 more miles to Cat Creek Summit on U.S. Highway 20.  

The megaload made the trek from Hammett to Cat Creek Summit early Monday, arriving after 3 a.m.  It is expected to resume travel after 10 p.m. Monday, weather permitting.

wolf, wildlife, yellowstone
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Organizers of a coyote and wolf hunting contest held over the weekend in Salmon, Idaho say hunters did not kill any wolves as part of the ‘derby.’ Hunters shot 21 coyotes.

The week between Christmas and New Year's is one of the best times of the year to watch grey whales migrating along the Oregon coast.

megaload, transportation
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

After a week parked in a southwestern Idaho highway pullout, a 380-foot, 450-ton load bound for Canada's disputed tar sands energy development will stay put at least another night.

Transport company Omega Morgan told the Idaho Transportation Department on Friday expected fog will prevent the megaload — a large heat exchanger for water purification equipment manufactured in Portland — from resuming its winding journey.

wolf, wildlife, yellowstone
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Update, 11:26 a.m.: The groups finished filing their suit Monday morning. You can read it here.

wolf, wildlife, yellowstone
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

A group of hunters in Salmon, Idaho is being criticized for a two-day "coyote and wolf derby" its sponsoring next week.

Idaho for Wildlife's organized hunt is December 28 and 29. The event is focused on young hunters. Sponsors have put up two $1,000 prizes for teams that kill the biggest wolf and the most coyotes. 

The contest has once again highlighted the divide between wolf hunters and wolf advocates.

There’s a new debate raging over the Northwest’s only commercial nuclear power plant. But it’s not about safety or how to dispose of nuclear waste.

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.

Elk
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.

Federal wildlife officials have delayed until next summer a decision on whether wolverines should receive more federal protections.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that the delay will be used to address questions about the impacts of climate change on wolverine habitat. Spokesman Steve Segin says the agency will decide by Aug. 4 if wolverines should be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Government scientists say the carnivorous weasels face an uncertain future as their high mountain snow field habitat dwindles because of warming temperature.

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.

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.

Yellowstone, Mammoth, hot springs
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A new study shows the chamber of hot molten rock below Yellowstone National Park is more than 2 and a-half times larger than previously estimated.

Lead author Jamie Farrell of the University of Utah said Monday the magma chamber is about 55 miles long, 18 miles wide and runs at depths from 3 to 9 miles below the earth.

That means the supervolcano below Yellowstone has the potential to erupt with the force of its largest-ever eruption 2.1 million years ago.

yellowstone, winter, bison, snowcoach
Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park is reopening for the winter.

Starting Sunday, the north, west and south entrances to the park will be open commercially guided snowmobiles and snowcoaches.

The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, dining room and gift shop will open for the season on Dec. 20 and the park's east entrance over Sylvan Pass is set to open Dec. 22.

grizzly bear, yellowstone
Xinem / Flickr Creative Commons

A panel of wildlife officials says it's time to remove federal protections for grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Spokesman Gregg Losinski said members of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of lifting protections. The committee's recommendation will now be considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Losinski says that if the federal agency concurs, it could propose a rule by mid-2014 to end protections. A final rule is possible sometime in 2015.

forest, trees, snow
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.

Wildfires, Maps
Courtesy of the Idaho Water Science Center / USGS

The Beaver Creek wildfire burned 174-square-miles in August and threatened Ketchum and Hailey. After the fire, torrential rains sent mud and rocks down burned mountainsides. Debris hit homes and covered roads.

“Some of these debris flows were 20 to 30 feet thick,” recalls Dave Evetts. He’s the assistant director for hydrologic data at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Idaho Water Science Center in Boise.

snow, tree, weather
Jim Bauer / Flickr Creative Commons

A storm that will bring snow and frigid temperatures, is on its way to Idaho. The snow will come first, blowing into into Oregon this evening and into southern Idaho later Friday night.

"We’re going to get several inches of snow in most of southeast Oregon and in southwest Idaho," says Les Colin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boise."The Treasure Valley here will get about one to two inches.”

The region’s cold snap has many dairy operators and ranchers taking extra care with their livestock. When it’s cold, cattle and other types of livestock tend to eat more to stay warm.

Sawtooth, lands, forest
The Knowles Gallery / Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers mulling the merits of taking control of millions of acres of federal land are getting mixed reviews on the plan from the public.

Proponents of a state takeover said Wednesday state management of public lands would be a critical first step to rejuvenating Idaho's logging industry and reinvigorating rural communities. Supporters also argued the state would be a better steward of the resources.

Earlier this year, the Legislature approved a resolution demanding that the federal government cede most of the public land it oversees to the state.

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