Environment

Water
2:17 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

South Idaho Farmers Told To Brace For Water Shutdown

A farmer walks his droughted field in eastern Idaho.
Credit Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Growers of sugar beets and potatoes in eight counties along southern Idaho's Snake River could be in jeopardy after a fish hatchery's complaint it isn't getting its fair share of water.

Idaho Department of Water Resources' director Gary Spackman signed an order Wednesday telling 2,300 water-right holders they'll have to shut down irrigation if they can't reach a compromise with Rangen Inc, a Hagerman-based fish farm.

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Wildlife
6:18 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Idaho Fish And Game Pulls Pro Hunter From Wilderness After Killing 9 Wolves

Credit Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Idaho wildlife managers called off a professional wolf hunter who has been killing predators inside a federal wilderness area.

Department of Fish and Wildlife Monday said it was halting the hunt after nine wolves were killed.

It had planned to keep hunter Gus Thoreson of Salmon in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness this winter as it sought reduce wolves and bolster low elk populations there.

Wolf advocates initially lost their bid for a court order to force Thoreson to quit hunting wolves from his base on U.S. Forest Service territory.

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Public Lands
9:54 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Central Idaho Commissioners Support Boulder-White Clouds Monument Idea

Credit TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

Blaine County commissioners in central Idaho have agreed to draft a resolution describing what they'd like to see in a presidential proclamation designating a Boulder-White Clouds National Monument.

Commissioners say they want to take additional comments from the public before drafting the resolution.

The Boulder-White Clouds is a 500,000 acre roadless area in east-central Idaho. Parts of those lands have been considered before for either monument or protected wilderness status.

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Salmon
4:33 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

New Plan To Protect Salmon Doesn’t Consider Breaching Dams

Credit Pacific Northwest National Lab / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government's management plan for protecting salmon and steelhead killed by federal dams in the Columbia River basin differs little from its earlier version and continues to rely heavily on habitat improvement. 

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Environment
5:55 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Researchers Detect and 'Count' Fish From Just A Glass Of Water

Study co-author Kevan Yamahara collects a water sample at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Jesse Port Center for Ocean Solutions

It's not something we often think about, but as we go about daily life, we're constantly shedding little flakes of skin. So are animals and fish.

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Wildfires
11:44 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Sen. Crapo Says Changing Wildfire Fighting Budget Formula Is ‘Critical’ Issue

The costs of fighting wildfires in the U.S. often exceed allotted budgets. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) says the federal government needs to overhaul its funding system.
Credit Boise National Forest

Republican Sen. Mike Crapo says he expects wildfire funding legislation he introduced just before Christmas to get bipartisan support in Washington.

Crapo and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, introduced the legislation on December 19. If approved, it would bolster funding for the U.S. Forest Service.

At issue is the agency’s firefighting budget, which is regularly exhausted before a wildfire season ends. Funds from other parts of the agency’s budget are then used to cover additional costs. That money often comes from fire prevention budgets, which can make future fires worse.

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Wildlife
8:59 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Idaho's New Elk Management Plan Could Be Adopted This Week

Idaho is on the verge of adopting its first new plan to manage elk since 1999.
Credit GoCyclones / Flickr Creative Commons

Hunters and other interested parties have one more chance to comment on Idaho's proposed new elk management plan.

The state has spent the last several years working on a plan to replace the current version, which went into effect in 1999. Fish and Game's deer and elk program coordinator, Toby Boudreau, says the 15-year-old plan is now obsolete.

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Wildlife
10:27 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Yellowstone Says Disease Preventing "Biobullets" For Bison Won't Work

Yellowstone National Park's Lamar Valley is a popular place to spot herds of bison.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Yellowstone National Park administrators say shooting wild bison with vaccine-laced "biobullets" to prevent the spread of an animal disease would be too ineffective to justify the expense.

Tuesday's announcement means a program that has led to the periodic capture and slaughter of thousands of migrating bison will continue.

For more than a decade, wildlife officials have weighed shooting Yellowstone bison with absorbable, vaccine-laced bullets to prevent the spread of the disease brucellosis to livestock. The concept was supported by cattle ranchers.

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Weather
10:06 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Avalanche Warning Issued For Sun Valley

Credit AlistarHoward / Flickr Creative Commons

Officials with the National Weather Service have issued an avalanche warning for central Idaho's Sun Valley region, warning that both natural and human-triggered avalanches are likely.

The Times-News reports the warning will remain in effect until further notice for the Sawtooth, western Smoky and Soldier Mountains as well as for alpine terrain near Galena Summit.

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Environment
3:35 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

It's Not Magic On The Mountain, It's A Rain-Making Machine

A ground-based cloud-seeding tower at Alpine Meadows ski area near California's Lake Tahoe. It spits out silver iodide particles that are the right size and shape to help precipitation form.
Lauren Sommer KQED

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 5:36 pm

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Water
4:29 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Gov. Otter Asks Idaho Lawmakers For $15 Million Down Payment On Dams, Water Study

This is an historic image of the Arrowrock Dam on the Boise River. It was constructed between 1911-1915.
Credit WaterArchives / Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter aims to build billions of dollars in new or expanded Idaho dams, to capture more water in his state's drought-stricken southern desert for crops, cities and flushing endangered salmon to the sea.

He's asking lawmakers to give him $15 million down payment for, among other things, studying whether a new era of dam building make sense, given somebody will have to pay for it.

One project he's pushing, a new Weiser River dam, could be used for everything from flood control to electricity.

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Wildlife
3:52 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Conservation Groups Sue Over Idaho Wolf Kill Plan

Credit Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Some conservation groups are suing federal and state officials over Idaho's plan to track and kill wolves from two packs in central Idaho.

The lawsuit, filed by Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project and Wilderness Watch on Monday, asks the judge to stop the extermination immediately to give the case time to work through the courts.

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Wildlife
12:34 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

West Nile Virus Kills 2 Dozen Bald Eagles In Utah

Credit PenWaggener / Flickr Creative Commons

State wildlife officials say West Nile Virus appears to the mystery illness that's caused more than two dozen bald eagles to die in Utah this month.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says results of laboratory tests on some of the first birds found indicate they died from West Nile.

Officials say 27 bald eagles have died since Dec. 1, and six others are being treated at a wildlife rehabilitation center.

DWR says in a statement that it believes the eagles ate grebes that were infected with the virus.

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Megaloads
4:11 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Megaload Shipment On The Move Again In Idaho

Omega Morgan's megaload parked near Marsing earlier this month.
Credit 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.

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Wolves
12:28 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

No Wolves Killed During Controversial Idaho Hunt

Credit 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.

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Wildlife
3:58 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

How To Spot A Whale On The Northwest Coast

Larry and Marie Hinton keep an eye out for whales at Boiler Bay State Park near Depoe Bay, Oregon.
Chris Lehman Northwest News Network

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.

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Megaloads
3:46 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Fog Halts Megaload In Idaho

his is a similar over-sized shipment that traveled through Idaho earlier in 2013.
Credit 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.

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Wildlife
10:26 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Conservationist Groups Sue To Stop Controversial Wolf Hunting Contest

This photo was taken in Yellowstone National Park's Lamar Valley.
Credit Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

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

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Wildlife
10:49 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Idaho Wolf Hunting Contest Highlights Ongoing Divide Between Hunters And Advocates

The image of this grey wolf was captured near Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park.
Credit 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.

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Energy
5:51 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Numbers Debate Rages Over Northwest Nuclear Plant

The Columbia Generating Station in southeast Washington is battling for public opinion.
Energy Northwest

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 5:02 pm

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.

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