Environment

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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Recreation
5:30 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Explore The Owyhee Canyonlands With New Trail Guide From Idaho Author

A view from the "Between the Creeks" hike in the Owyhee Canyonlands.
Credit Steve Stuebner

The Owyhee Canyonlands cover more than 5 million acres of rugged landscape in southern Idaho and eastern Oregon.

Few hikers and campers venture into this desert wilderness because there aren't many trail signs or information.

Steve Stuebner teamed up with photographer Mark Lisk to create a guidebook for the Canyonlands. Their new book, The Owyhee Canyonlands: An Outdoor Adventure Guide, details 55 hiking and biking trails.

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Poaching
10:07 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Idaho Wildlife Advocate Pleads Guilty To Poaching

Credit GoCyclones / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho director for the wildlife advocacy group Greater Yellowstone Coalition has pleaded guilty to poaching two elk.

The Idaho State Journal reports Marv Hoyt is currently on vacation and will retire from his post at the end of the year. Hoyt pleaded guilty last month to misdemeanor charges of unlawful taking of game and wasteful destruction of wildlife. Prosecutors said Hoyt only had one elk tag but that he killed three cow elk during a November hunting trip in Caribou County.

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Wildlife
4:15 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Decision On Wolverine Protections Delayed

Federal wildlife officials have delayed until next summer a decision on whether wolverines should receive more federal protections.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that the delay will be used to address questions about the impacts of climate change on wolverine habitat. Spokesman Steve Segin says the agency will decide by Aug. 4 if wolverines should be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Government scientists say the carnivorous weasels face an uncertain future as their high mountain snow field habitat dwindles because of warming temperature.

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Wildlife
10:11 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Wildlife Managers Hire Hunter To Kill Two Central Idaho Wolf Packs

State wildlife officials have hired a hunter to eliminate two wolf packs in a federal wilderness area in central Idaho because officials say they are eating too many elk calves.

Fish and Game Bureau Chief Jeff Gould tells the Idaho Statesman that hunters are having a difficult time getting into the Frank Church-River of No Return wilderness, so the agency hired hunter-trapper Gus Thoreson of Salmon to kill the wolves in the Golden and Monumental packs.

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Environment
6:57 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Government Fleets Soon To Include More Fully-Electric Cars

Commuter Steve Marsh (left) of Kent, Wash. was honored Monday as the first in the nation to log 100,000 miles on an all-electric Nissan Leaf.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Just like consumers who postponed buying new cars during the recent recession, government agencies also put off vehicle replacements. But now procurement officers are getting busy again.

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Environment
5:04 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Study: Yellowstone 'Supervolcano' Much Bigger Than Thought

Mammoth Hot Springs is a key tourist attraction in the park.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A new study shows the chamber of hot molten rock below Yellowstone National Park is more than 2 and a-half times larger than previously estimated.

Lead author Jamie Farrell of the University of Utah said Monday the magma chamber is about 55 miles long, 18 miles wide and runs at depths from 3 to 9 miles below the earth.

That means the supervolcano below Yellowstone has the potential to erupt with the force of its largest-ever eruption 2.1 million years ago.

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Yellowstone
9:35 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Yellowstone National Park Opens Its Gates For Winter Tourists

Park snowcoaches take visitors through Yellowstone during the winter months.
Credit Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park is reopening for the winter.

Starting Sunday, the north, west and south entrances to the park will be open commercially guided snowmobiles and snowcoaches.

The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, dining room and gift shop will open for the season on Dec. 20 and the park's east entrance over Sylvan Pass is set to open Dec. 22.

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Wildlife
4:35 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Some Wildlife Experts Say Its Time To Delist Grizzlies

Credit Xinem / Flickr Creative Commons

A panel of wildlife officials says it's time to remove federal protections for grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.

Spokesman Gregg Losinski said members of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of lifting protections. The committee's recommendation will now be considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Losinski says that if the federal agency concurs, it could propose a rule by mid-2014 to end protections. A final rule is possible sometime in 2015.

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Federal Land
9:52 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Two Idaho Counties Challenge Forest Travel Plan

The Clearwater Forest covers 1.8 million acres in northern Idaho.
Credit U.S. Forest Service, Northern Region / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal lawsuit filed by two Idaho counties is challenging the legality of a national forest travel plan that closed off about 200 miles of trails to motorized vehicles.

The lawsuit was filed Monday by Idaho and Clearwater counties against the Clearwater National Forest.

The counties contend the forest failed to adequately coordinate with local leaders while drafting the plan and didn't consider the economic impact it could have on local communities.

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Wildfires
8:16 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Scientists Use Computer Models To Help Blaine County Residents After Beaver Creek Fire

This Google Earth map shows where six precipitation gauges will be placed this spring.
Credit Courtesy of the Idaho Water Science Center / USGS

The Beaver Creek wildfire burned 174-square-miles in August and threatened Ketchum and Hailey. After the fire, torrential rains sent mud and rocks down burned mountainsides. Debris hit homes and covered roads.

“Some of these debris flows were 20 to 30 feet thick,” recalls Dave Evetts. He’s the assistant director for hydrologic data at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Idaho Water Science Center in Boise.

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Weather
12:38 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Brrr! Storm Will Bring Snow, Bitter Cold To Southern Idaho

The Treasure Valley could see a couple inches of snow on the ground.
Credit Jim Bauer / Flickr Creative Commons

A storm that will bring snow and frigid temperatures, is on its way to Idaho. The snow will come first, blowing into into Oregon this evening and into southern Idaho later Friday night.

"We’re going to get several inches of snow in most of southeast Oregon and in southwest Idaho," says Les Colin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boise."The Treasure Valley here will get about one to two inches.”

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Weather
8:58 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Cold Weather Challenges Ranchers, Dairies

Len McIrvin checks on his Herford cattle in the cold weather in southcentral Washington outside of Patterson.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:36 am

The region’s cold snap has many dairy operators and ranchers taking extra care with their livestock. When it’s cold, cattle and other types of livestock tend to eat more to stay warm.

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Federal Land
1:55 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Should Idaho Control Federal Land? Idea Gets Mixed Reviews

A view of Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains in the Sawtooth National Forest.
Credit The Knowles Gallery / Flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers mulling the merits of taking control of millions of acres of federal land are getting mixed reviews on the plan from the public.

Proponents of a state takeover said Wednesday state management of public lands would be a critical first step to rejuvenating Idaho's logging industry and reinvigorating rural communities. Supporters also argued the state would be a better steward of the resources.

Earlier this year, the Legislature approved a resolution demanding that the federal government cede most of the public land it oversees to the state.

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Weather
10:51 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Rocky Mountain Power Says Service Fully Restored In SE Idaho

Update, 4:26 p.m.: Rocky Mountain Power says service has been restored to all customers affected by the precautionary outage in southeastern Idaho.

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Environment
10:23 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Idaho Fish Farm Settles Pollution Case With EPA

The farm raises Tilapia and American Bullfrogs.
Credit MHaze / Flickr Creative Commons

A Twin Falls fish and frog farm has agreed to pay a $25,000 fine as part to settle a case over illegal discharging of phosphorus into the Snake River.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement Tuesday with McCollum Enterprises, Limited Partnership, which operates the Canyon Springs Fish Farm.

Regulators accused the company of more than 550 violations of its discharge permit between June 2008 and March 2012.

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Energy
3:34 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Idaho Power Gets OK For Wyoming Coal Plant Project

Idaho Power Co. can spend tens of millions to clean up its Wyoming coal-fired power plant and expect ratepayers to cover the project's cost, but regulators want quarterly updates on whether these emission-control investments continue to make sense as federal environmental rules change.

Announced Monday by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, the decision aims to ensure Idaho's biggest utility isn't locked into the estimated $130 million project if alternatives to coal emerge as better for ratepayers.

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Weather
1:59 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Get Ready To Bundle Up, Cold Snap On Its Way To Southern Idaho

A cold front is on its way to Idaho.
Credit National Weather Service

Enjoy the warm weather while you can.  A cold snap is on its way to southern Idaho. It’s bringing snow to the mountains and cold temperatures across the state.

Valerie Mills is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boise. “We will not be above freezing after tonight for the rest of the week,” says Mill. “Get ready for cold!”

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