Environment

wolf, wildlife, yellowstone
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Organizers of a disputed predator derby aimed at killing wolves in central Idaho are asking for a five-year permit to hold the contest.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports in a story on Thursday that the group called Idaho for Wildlife applied with the Bureau of Land Management for a special recreation permit.

The hunt went ahead last year after a U.S. District Court ruled against an environmental group that filed a lawsuit to stop the event.

Chinook Salmon, fish
Pacific Northwest National Lab / Flickr Creative Commons

Hundreds of adult chinook salmon needed to create future generations have been killed after rainstorms sent sediment into a fish trap on the South Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho.

Officials tell the Idaho Statesman that the loss means significantly fewer adult chinook salmon will return to the South Fork Salmon in 2018.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says the rain event on Aug. 6 caused sediment to flow into holding ponds and suffocate the fish.

Three young ospreys and a parent are flying free along the Columbia River today after surviving close calls with litter.

Overall, climate change is predicted to hurt agriculture around the world. It could even threaten corn production in the Corn Belt.

But in North Dakota conditions are now better for raising corn, and that's a big benefit for farmers.

When I was growing up in Wolford, N.D., up near the Canadian border, wheat was king. It had been the dominant crop since the prairie was first plowed in the late 1800s. So it was kind of strange to go back this summer and find Larry Slaubaugh, a local farmer, filling his 18-wheeler with corn from a huge steel grain bin.

The wolverine is not going on the threatened species list after all. Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced federal protected status for the fierce and rare carnivore is unwarranted at this time.

Roy Anderson / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Federal wildlife officials are withdrawing proposed protections for the snow-loving wolverine — a reversal that highlights lingering uncertainties over what a warming climate means for some temperature-sensitive species.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said that while climate change is a reality, predictions about its localized impacts remain "ambiguous."

Ashe says that makes it impossible to determine whether wolverines are in danger of extinction.

The Associated Press obtained the decision ahead of Tuesday's formal announcement.

Yellowstone National Park, Bison, Lamar Valley
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Yellowstone National Park administrators are recommending the removal of roughly 900 bison next winter through hunting, shipments to slaughter and for research purposes.

The proposal represents about 19 percent of the park's wild bison.

Officials say removing the animals will relieve population pressures that periodically push large numbers of migrating bison into Montana during harsh winters.

Wildlife advocates say a better approach would be allowing bison into areas outside the park where they are now barred.

Inciweb

A 7,000 acre fire burning north of Boise near the town of Sweet, Idaho made a significant run after sparking Saturday afternoon. The Timber Butte Fire is burning in Gem and Boise counties.  

The Idaho Department of Lands is managing the fire, and is scheduled to hand over command to a Type 2 incident management team. Three outbuildings have burned in the fire. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.  Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio

Big Cougar Fire
Idaho Department of Lands

This story was updated at 9:45 a.m. Aug. 11, 2014

The Big Cougar fire burning in northern Idaho has charred 65,000 acres and is 50 percent contained.

The Idaho Department of Lands reports nine structures have now been destroyed by the fire that is burning south of Lewiston. An additional 200 structures are still considered threatened.

Lightning sparked the fire August 2. Mandatory and voluntary evacuations are still in effect for some residents in the area. Click here to find the latest.

Jim Pasco / Yellowstone National Park

Rangers have not been able to spot the unmanned drone that crashed and sank in a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park last weekend. A tourist flew a drone into the hot spring despite a park ban on drones.

Park spokesman Al Nash says rangers are considering using a helicopter to see if they can spot it from the air.

Even if they find it, Nash tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that it's not known if the drone can be removed from the Grand Prismatic Spring.

Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre

A dam break at a central British Columbia mine could threaten salmon fisheries in the Pacific Northwest.

Mount Polley is an open-pit copper and gold mine roughly 400 miles north of Seattle. A dam holding back water and silt leftover from the mining process broke Monday. It released enough material to fill more than 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Government regulators have not yet determined its content. But documents show it could contain sulfur, arsenic and mercury.

Rick Strack / Boise State Public Radio

A slow-moving weather system in south-central Idaho that the National Weather Service is calling a 100-year storm dumped nearly 3 inches of rain on Twin Falls and caused widespread flooding.

Twin Falls City Manager Travis Rothweiler tells The Times-News that the city's drainage system on Wednesday became overwhelmed, causing flooded streets, homes and businesses.

Rothweiler says sewage backed up into seven homes in the city, and that state and federal agencies have been notified.

map courtesy of the Boise National Forest

A road used by recreationists in the Boise National Forest is closed due to flooding.  A Boise National Forest spokesman says the Middle Fork Boise River road is closed above Arrowrock Reservoir.

Thanks to early morning flash flooding, 15 miles of road from the junction of Slide Gulch and the Middle Fork Boise River Road are closed.

Forest officials say they’re working with the Atlanta Highway District to repair the road, but it could be closed for several days.

Boise National Forest

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the U.S. Forest Service will soon have to tap into programs designed to prevent wildfires so that it can meet the expenses of fighting blazes this summer.

Vilsack says about $400 million to $500 million in forestry projects will have to be put on hold in what has become a routine exercise.

He predicted that the money set aside strictly for firefighting will run out by the end of August.

Some 30 large fires are working their way through federal and state forests in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Authorities in central Idaho are testing a bat for rabies after it bit a 6-year-old girl.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports the bite occurred Friday while the girl played in her grandmother's yard.

Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey says the grandmother captured the bat and took the girl for treatment at an area hospital.Ramsey says the girl received antibiotics but he's not sure if rabies shots have been started.

He tells the newspaper that medical officials usually wait until they test the animal that made the bite to see if it has rabies.

Courtesy Idaho Power

This, folks, is a 470-pound sturgeon that was recently reeled in, tagged, and released by Idaho Power. The 10-foot-long female was caught in Hells Canyon on the Snake River. Did we mention this fish is 75 years old? That means she was born in 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was President.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Wildfires in the West are getting bigger, hotter and more costly. A new report from a national science advocacy group says climate change is one major reason wildfires are getting worse. And short-sighted development policies are a big reason they’re costing more.

In recent years, the number of homes and businesses built in wildfire-prone areas has skyrocketed. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, across 13 Western states there are more than 1.2 million homes -- with a combined value of about $190 billion -- that are at high or very high risk of wildfires.

Tom Kelly / Flickr

Forecasters with the National Weather Service say storms will move into southern and central Idaho this afternoon. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain and flash flooding.

The system is a surge of monsoonal moisture approaching Idaho from the south. NWS Meteorologist Les Colin says an inch of rain could fall in some areas.

Seven small lightning-caused wildfires are burning on the Boise National Forest after Wednesday night's storm. Forest officials say all the fires are small, at less than 5 acres each, and no structures are threatened.

Firefighters already have lines built around most of the new starts.

The largest fire is called the Crooked Fire, burning southeast of Kirkham.

Fire officials say more lightning-caused fires could be detected over the next few days.

Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio

Gray Wolf
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

Idaho Fish and Game officials say they're suspending a plan to use a hired hunter to kill wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness until at least November of 2015.

Idaho's Wildlife Bureau Chief Jeff Gould made the declaration in a document filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week.

The Fish and Game Department and the U.S. Forest Service are being sued by Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project and other environmental groups over the plan to have a hired hunter kill wolves in the protected wilderness area.

Pages