Environment

Wilderness
1:48 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Ketchum City Council Backs Boulder-White Clouds Monument

Credit TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

The Ketchum City Council has approved a resolution supporting a proposal to designate a national monument in central Idaho.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports the council voted 3-0 earlier this week to back a plan to create a national monument in the Boulder-White Clouds. One member abstained from the vote.

The Idaho Conservation League, Wilderness Society and others want the Obama administration to create a 591,905-acre national monument in the Boulder-White Clouds using the Antiquities Act.

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Wolves
1:11 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Montana Approves Rules For Landowners Shooting Wolves

Credit U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Montana wildlife commissioners have initially approved a proposal allowing landowners to kill up to 100 gray wolves annually if the predators pose a perceived threat.

Thursday's action significantly expands the circumstances under which wolves can be killed without a hunting license. In the past, that was largely limited to instances in which wolves attacked livestock.

Under the new rule, shooting wolves would be permitted whenever they pose a potential threat to human safety, livestock or domestic dogs. State lawmakers last year passed a law requiring the expansion.

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Wildfires
1:49 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Exploding Targets Banned in Idaho, Mont., Dakotas

The U.S. Forest Service has banned exploding targets in northern Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and portions of South Dakota due to wildfire and public safety concerns.

Northern Region Forester Faye Krueger announced Tuesday the regional closure that immediately prohibits exploding targets on national forest lands.

Some target shooters use the exploding targets because they contain chemical components that mix when struck by a bullet and create a fireball.

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Wildlife
1:07 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Wolf Kills Sheep Herding Dog In Boise Foothills

USDA wildlife officials say Teson, a Border Collie belonging to rancher Frank Shirts, was killed by wolves in the Boise foothills May 8.
Credit Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission

A Boise-area sheep rancher says a wolf killed his border collie in the Boise foothills earlier this month. Rancher Frank Shirts says a wolf killed one of his herding dogs on May 8 in the upper Hulls Gulch area of the foothills.

It's the first wolf-related problem Shirts' herd has encountered since 2010. 

"I thought people would like to know," Shirts said. 

Todd Grimm, the Idaho director of USDA Wildlife Services, confirmed the dog was killed by a wolf. He says trauma and bite marks support that conclusion.

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Wildfires
9:36 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Studies: Wildfires Worse Due To Global Warming

A man watches the Beaver Creek Fire burn in 2013 in Idaho's Wood River Valley.
Credit Ashley Smith / Times-News

Scientists say the devastating wildfires scorching Southern California offer a glimpse of a warmer and more fiery future.

In the past three months, at least three different studies and reports have warned that wildfires are getting bigger, that man-made climate change is to blame, and it's only going to get worse with more fires starting earlier in the year.

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Wildlife
2:59 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Federal Wildlife Officials Mull Repeal Of Grizzly Protections

Credit Nomadic Lass / Flickr Creative Commons

The head of Montana's wildlife agency says federal officials will seek to lift federal protections from some threatened grizzly bears in the Northern Rockies in the next two years.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks director Jeff Hagener said Thursday he expects the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose rules that could remove two populations of grizzlies from the Endangered Species list.

He says one could lift protections for bears in and around Yellowstone Park in 2015. The other would be for grizzlies in the Northern Continental Divide by 2016.

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Environment
10:00 am
Wed May 14, 2014

How Pavement Is Being Used To Cleanup An Idaho Superfund Site

This street in Wallace, Idaho, was repaved last fall as part of the Superfund cleanup in the Coeur d'Alene Basin.
Credit EPA

The nice weather we've been having means work on the ground is resuming at one of the largest Superfund sites in the nation.

The EPA is trying to clear decades of mine pollution from Idaho's Coeur d'Alene River Basin and the upper reaches of the Spokane River. But this summer, managers are using an environmental remedy you might not expect: pavement.

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Environment
9:50 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Feds To Spend $38 Million On North Idaho River Cleanup

The Coeur d'Alene River Basin is one of the country's largest Superfund sites.
Credit Threefatcats / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials plan to spend $38 million in northern Idaho's Coeur d'Alene River Basin this summer cleaning up toxic pollution left from a century worth of mining in the region.

The Environmental Protection Agency tells the Coeur d'Alene Press that up to 125 residential and commercial properties will be cleaned up.

Agency spokesman Ed Moreen says that more than 17 miles of paved roads in eight upper basin communities will be repaired or replaced.

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Agriculture
11:42 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Idaho Milk Processing Company To Pay $170,000 Fine

Credit Michael_McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons

A south-central Idaho milk processing company has agreed to pay a $170,000 fine for dumping wastewater with acidity levels high enough to damage Jerome's wastewater treatment plant.

The Times-News reports that the Environmental Protection Agency announced the agreement with Idaho Milk Products in a statement on Monday.

The agency says the company between March 2009 and July 2012 exceeded its acidity limit 138 times.

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Environment
7:04 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Landslide Tragedy Prompts Board To 'Take Stock' Of Logging Rules Around Unstable Slopes

The Washington Forest Practices Board heard presentations on the Oso landslide and landslide risk more generally from geologists and Oso survivors Monday.

Washington state Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark repeated Monday that "It's still too early to tell" if there is a connection between logging and this spring's deadly landslide near Oso, Washington.

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Fish
9:56 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon Make A Comeback

Credit Pacific Northwest National Lab / Flickr Creative Commons

The Snake River's fall chinook salmon are making a comeback.

There were just 78 wild chinook salmon counted at the Lower Granite Dam in 1990. Last year, more than 20,000 of the wild salmon were counted, and 75,846 wild and hatchery-born fall chinook total.

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Water
4:25 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Slow Snow Melt Means Record Low River Flow Through Boise

In early April, the Boise River in Boise was flowing at about three times its current rate.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Flow in the Boise River set a record low this week. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, flow Thursday at the Glenwood bridge on Boise’s west side was the lowest ever recorded on May 8. 

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Wildlife
9:38 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Wild Male Turkey Makes Downtown Boise Home

Male turkeys normally weigh between 16 and 24 pounds.
Credit Steve Voght / Flickr Creative Commons

State wildlife biologists aren't sure where a wild male turkey came from, but there's no denying it has decided to call downtown Boise home.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game spokesman Steve Liebenthal says the agency has been getting reports this week about the bird that has been making appearances in various locations.

Liebenthal says it's turkey mating season so the turkey might have traveled to the frenetic downtown Boise area in search of a mate.

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Wildlife
9:50 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Lone Caribou Herd In Lower 48 Keeps Federal Protection

A Woodland Caribou from the Southern Selkirk Mountains population.

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 6:29 pm

Officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday, a small herd of mountain caribou found in the Northwest will retain federal protection, but it will be as a threatened species rather than endangered.

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Fish
2:24 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Scientists: Non-native Yellowstone Trout Decline

Scientists say a voracious species of trout that entered Yellowstone Lake and decimated its native trout population appears to be in decline following efforts to kill off the invading fish.

Non-native lake trout were first found 20 years ago in the 132-square mile lake in the center of Yellowstone National Park. Crews have since caught and removed more than a million of the fish in hopes that cutthroat trout populations would rebound.

On Tuesday, scientists from the park and Trout Unlimited said those efforts are finally showing progress.

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Wildlife
1:29 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

10 Entities In 6 States Apply To Get Yellowstone Bison

Credit Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Ten entities have submitted proposals to take bison from Yellowstone National Park that came through an experimental program to establish new herds of the animals.

Applicants include wildlife agencies in Utah and Minnesota, three American Indian tribes and private conservation groups in Montana, Nebraska, New York and Colorado.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks released details of the proposals on Monday. Spokesman Ron Aasheim said the agency hopes to relocate the roughly 135 bison by the end of November.

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Air Quality
11:01 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Report: Idaho's Air Quality Is Below Average

Ada County, home to Boise, got a D on the report.
Credit Thomas Hawk / Flickr Creative Commons

An American Lung Associate report finds Idaho still has work to do when it comes to good air quality. The “State of the Air 2014” report shows Ada County has seen an increase in year-round particle pollution compared to last year’s report.

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Wildlife
9:43 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Feds Spend $236 Million To Help Landowners Protect Sage Grouse

Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government has paid $236 million to landowners in 11 states to preserve sage grouse habitat amid a debate over whether the bird should be listed as an endangered species — potentially hindering energy development and ranching.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported Wednesday the money paid for conservation efforts on nearly 6,000 square miles, mostly in the West.

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Environment
11:52 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Forest Service Closes 170 Square Mile Area Burned In Central Idaho Wildfire

The Beaver Creek Fire burned in the Wood River Valley in 2013.
Credit Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

The U.S. Forest Service says most of the area within a 170-square-mile wildfire that burned in central Idaho last summer will remain closed this year due to safety concerns.

The agency announced Monday that areas that burned in the Beaver Creek Fire near the resort area of Ketchum have been severely eroded.

The order closing the area applies to all human use, including mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, motorcycling and mushroom gathering.

The agency says the highest concerns include eroded trails and roads, and damaged bridges and culverts.

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Mining
9:28 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Why One Western Congressman Says It's Time To Update The 1872 Mining Law

An old western gold mine.
Credit Michallaurence / Flickr Creative Commons

Chris Cora stands on what used to be a mountaintop in the Umpqua Basin of southern Oregon. Now, it’s essentially a landfill. “Filled with waste rock and tailings," Cora says. "There’s actually zinc ore in here. Well, it’s concentrated zinc, which is really bad for the environment.”

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