Environment

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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Wildlife
1:25 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Mountain Lion Killed In Garden City

Fish and Game veterinarian Dr. Mark Drew (left) and Fish and Game conservation officer Bill London with the lion killed in the Riverside Subdivision on February 6.
Credit Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Idaho Fish and Game officers and Garden City police tracked down and killed a mountain lion in Garden City Thursday.  The animal was shot along the Boise River Greenbelt in the Riverside subdivision around 5:30 p.m.

An eyewitness says the cougar was under his front porch. It ran from that location and the chase began.  Police, conservation officers and a houndsman tracked the animal through backyards and common areas in the subdivision.  They say they were hoping to tree the animal, tranquilize it and then move it to another location.

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Weather
11:41 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Highway 21, Idaho's 'Avalanche Alley' Closes Due To Slide Danger

Here's a look at Idaho 21 between I-84 and Robie Creek Road Friday morning from the ITD webcam.
Credit Idaho Transportation Department

“Avalanche Alley” will close at 6:00 p.m. Friday as a safety precaution. That’s the 12-mile stretch of Idaho 21 between Grandjean Junction and Banner Summit.  

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) reports the area received eight inches of snow Friday morning and more snowfall is expected Friday night and Saturday.

The area averages more than 250 inches of snow which brings 45-50 slides each year. About 90 percent of avalanches that affect Idaho highways happen on "Avalanche Alley."

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Weather
5:45 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

In The Northwest, A Light Dusting To Some, A Whole Lot Of Snow To Others

Snow in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

The Northwest is finally getting a dose of the icy cold weather we've been hearing about this winter from the rest of the country.

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Water
4:29 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Scientists Help Western States Prepare For Drought As New Norm

Frank Gehrke, chief of snow surveys in California, looks at wind speed, snow depth and moisture data collected at a survey site in Yosemite National Park.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 8:23 pm

At a 10,000-foot summit in Yosemite National Park, Frank Gehrke clicks into his cross-country skis and pushes off down a small embankment onto a meadow of crusty snow. He's California's chief of snow surveys, one of the most influential jobs in a state where snow and the water that comes from it are big currency. He's on his monthly visit to one of a dozen snowpack-measuring stations scattered across the high country of the Sierra Nevada.

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Endangered Species Act
11:10 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Republican Congressmen Propose Changes To 40-Year-Old Endangered Species Act

The gray wolf was listed in 1978 and the process of de-listing the predator started in 2003. By 2012, the management of the gray wolf was back under states' control.
Credit U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Republicans in Congress say a 40-year-old law meant to protect animals and plants from extinction has become bogged down by litigation and needs to be updated.

A group of 13 GOP lawmakers released a report Tuesday detailing their proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act, one of the nation's cornerstone environmental laws.

Proponents credit the act with staving off extinction for hundreds of species — from the bald eagle and American alligator to the gray whale. President Richard Nixon signed it into law in December 1973.

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Wildlife
8:00 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Study: Climate Change Means More Raptors Are Wintering In Idaho

The American Kestrel was one of six raptors whose winter range is changing. The others are golden eagles, Northern harriers, prairie falcons, red-tailed hawks, and rough-legged hawks.
Credit Neil Paprocki

People in Idaho are seeing more raptors because golden eagles and red-tailed hawks aren't flying as far south for winter. That's according to a new study from Boise State University. The study authors say the change in migration habits means fewer of the birds of prey are being spotted in southern states.

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