Environment

Environment
9:10 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Interactive Map Pinpoints Idaho, U.S. Wind Turbines

A screenshot of the USGS map known as windFarm.
Credit usgs.gov

If you’ve driven across southern Idaho in the past few years, you’ve no doubt seen a lot of wind turbines. But have you ever wondered how many there are? Now you can count them and get stats on each one with a new interactive map.

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Wildlife
9:37 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Idaho Wildlife Managers Kill 23 Wolves Near Montana Border

Credit Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Idaho wildlife officials have killed 23 wolves in northern Idaho in an effort to boost the number of elk in the region.

The Idaho Fish and Game announced Friday afternoon that the animals were killed by USDA Wildlife Service agents using a helicopter in the Lolo elk zone near the Montana border. It's the sixth time the agency has taken action to kill wolves in the Lolo zone in the past four years, bringing the total number of wolves killed there to 48.

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Avalanche
9:33 am
Sat March 1, 2014

Urban Avalanche Levels Montana Home, One Person Killed

An avalanche in Missoula, Montana buried three people, all were rescued alive.
Credit William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Updated March 4, 2014 at 9:45 a.m.

A woman who was rescued about three hours after her Missoula home was destroyed by an avalanche has died.

About 100 neighbors converged Friday to help find 68-year-old Michel Colville, her husband and an 8-year-old boy after they were buried by the avalanche in a residential area of the western Montana city.

Police say Colville died Sunday night at St. Patrick Hospital. Her husband, Fred Allendorf, remains hospitalized in serious condition.

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Wildlife
1:42 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Study: Yellowstone Bison Exposed To Disease Can Be Safely Transferred

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Government and independent scientists say a seven-year study of disease in Yellowstone National Park's wild bison shows non-infected animals can be safely removed and used to start new herds.

The results bolster arguments that an animal driven to the brink of extinction last century could be restored to parts of its once-vast territory without transmitting a disease to cattle.

Efforts to relocate or provide new habitat for the park's surplus bison have stalled recently in the face of livestock industry opposition.

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Avalanches
10:17 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Headed To The Backcountry? First Check This Interactive Avalanche Map

The Sawtooth Avalanche Center captured this photo on Feb. 21, 2014 at Soldier Mountain in southern Idaho.
Credit Mark Westerdoll / Sawtooth Avalanche Center

Winter and early spring in the West means it's avalanche season. Several avalanche warnings have recently been in effect for parts of south central Idaho. And at least 17 people have died this season, including a Bellevue, Idaho man.

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Public Land
10:00 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Wildfire Rehab Closes Some Public Areas In Southern Idaho

The Elk Complex burned through thousands of acres in August 2013.
Credit Ashley Smith / Times-News

The Bureau of Land Management has closed about 54,000 acres northeast of Mountain Home in southern Idaho to all entry until April 30 in an effort to rehabilitate areas scorched by two wildfires.

The agency tells the Idaho Statesman that the area will also be closed year-round to motorized use for up to three years.

Officials say the closures are needed to protect key sage grouse habitat and crucial winter habitat for mule deer and elk.

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Wildfires
5:41 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Obama Backs Northwest Senators' Plan To Fund Firefighting Like Disaster Aid

The Beaver Creek Fire near Sun Valley, Idaho, covered more than 100,000 acres in 2013.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 8:22 am

Fighting wildfires would be funded more like hurricane and flood response under a proposal out of the Northwest that won President Obama's endorsement.

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Gardening
4:15 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Author To Offer Tips On Creating Sustainable Gardens In A Dry Climate

Credit Toby Hemenway

Home gardeners are often frustrated by Idaho’s dry climate. Finding the plants best suited for your garden is not always easy. Toby Hemenway is an author who teaches and writes about permaculture and sustainable gardens and he’s coming to Boise.

“Rather than try to learn permaculture from a theoretical point of view, or try to understand it all, it’s a lot easier to just get involved in one aspect of it,” Hemenway says.

He says water conservation is an easy, gateway into learning permaculture.

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Boulder-White Clouds
11:23 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Blaine County Pushes Plan For Boulder-White Clouds Monument

Blaine County commissioners in central Idaho plan to finalize a resolution supporting a central Idaho national monument by Tuesday.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports that commissioners set that date so Commission Chair Larry Schoen can hand deliver the resolution backing a Boulder-White Clouds National Monument in person when he visits Washington, D.C., for a conference in early March.

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Recreation
10:27 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Mud In Boise's Foothills Means Damage, Frustration For City Officials

David Gordon manages 150 miles of trails for the City of Boise.
Credit Jessica Murri / For Boise State Public Radio

Almost every day since the end of January, the Boise Foothills Trail Conditions Facebook page has warned hikers of the same thing: trails are muddy. Those conditions have forced would-be hikers to find recreation alternatives.

Pine Irwin is part of a group that uses Boise parks and the Greenbelt instead of hiking in the foothills.  Irwin and her dogs joined others in Veterans Memorial Park Sunday morning because, she says, using the foothills right now is not an option.

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Avalanche
2:20 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Blaine County Identifies Snowmobiler Killed In Idaho Avalanche

This map shows current avalanche conditions in southern Idaho, western Montana and northern Utah.
Credit Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center

An avalanche in the Sawtooth National Forest killed one man and injured a woman Sunday afternoon at a popular snowmobile site in the Smiley Creek area north of Ketchum. The avalanche west of Galena Summit buried four snowmobilers early in the afternoon.

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office says 64-year-old George Gilbert Martin Jr. of Bellevue, Idaho died on the scene.

Sawtooth Avalanche Center director Simon Trautman says the four snowmobilers were in a meadow which they thought was safe.

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Environment
10:16 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Environmentalists Urge Idaho Lawmakers To Scrap Otter's Dam Proposal

An historic view of Idaho's Arrowrock Dam from 1915.
Credit WaterArchives / Flickr Creative Commons

Environmentalists are worried about new and expanded dams on southwestern Idaho rivers after lawmakers voted to inject millions into studying water storage projects pushed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

Idaho Rivers United Thursday formally opposed what could be $1.3 billion in dams on the Boise and Weiser rivers.

A day earlier, the House voted unanimously to spend $3.5 million to complete initial studies.

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Weather
10:04 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Flooding, Mudslides Possible Across Southern Idaho

A map of precipitation totals forecast for southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon. After a relatively dry day Thursday, more rain is expected Thursday night and Friday.
Credit National Weather Service

What a difference a week makes.

Last week, concern was mounting over how little precipitation had fallen in southern Idaho this winter. Now, forecasters say areas in southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon could see several days of flooding.

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Environment
6:30 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

What To Do If You're Caught In An Avalanche

The recent heavy snow in the region means the risk of avalanche is higher.
Scientif38 Wikimedia

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:44 pm

As snow continues to pound the region's ski resorts, plenty of skiers  are expected to hit the slopes. But with the increased snowpack comes the risk of avalanches.

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Weather
6:24 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Snow On The Mountains Comes With Heightened Avalanche Risk

A skier is nearly caught in an avalanche in central Oregon.
Kevin Grove

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 5:46 pm

The Baker County Sheriff in eastern Oregon says two cross-country skiers died Tuesday in an avalanche in the southern Wallowa Mountains. Two others were seriously injured. 

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Wildlife
11:08 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Yellowstone Plans To Slaughter Up To 600 Bison

A group of bull bison gather near Soda Butte Creek in Yellowstone National Park.
Credit Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park administrators say they plan to ship as many as 600 bison to slaughter this winter if harsh conditions inside the park spur a large migration of the animals into Montana.

The Billings Gazette reports only 60 or 70 bison have crossed the park's northern boundary at last count this winter.

A state-federal agreement signed in 2000 requires the bison population to be kept at roughly 3,000 animals. There were about 4,600 as of June 2013.

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Environment
8:37 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Risk Of Falling Trees Shutters Northwest Camping Areas

U.S. Forest Service

Forest managers in north Idaho and western Washington will be closing some popular camping areas this year. They say nearby trees are infected with root rot and post a threat to campers.

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Avalanche
10:27 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Avalanche Warning Issued For Sun Valley Region

The National Weather Service has issued an avalanche warning for central Idaho's Sun Valley region.

The Sawtooth Avalanche Center says the area got between one and a half to three feet of new snow, and that combined with strong winds have created a high avalanche danger. The warning includes the mountains around Fairfield, Galena Summit and Stanley.

Wildlife
8:20 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Montana Ranchers Learn Ways To Live With Wolves

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 10:05 am

Gray wolves are a controversial and polarizing animal in much of the American West. Wolves have slowly come back from extinction, forcing people to learn how to coexist with the cunning predator. One farmer is teaching his cattle to huddle together as bison do when threatened — there is safety in numbers.

Wildlife
5:35 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Panel Finds Feds Didn't Use Best Science In Wolf Plan

US Fish

A new independent review finds the federal government used uncertain science when it proposed taking the gray wolf off the endangered species list across the Lower 48.

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