Environment

Water is a common and often contentious issue in the West. But now, farmers across the country are also riled up because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to revise the 1972 Clean Water Act.

Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge has blocked a logging project in the Kootenai National Forest over concerns that roads built for the project may harm a threatened population of grizzly bears.

In approving the 36,600-acre Pilgrim project, the U.S. Forest Service called for installing gates on some of the planned roads that would allow future access.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen ruled Monday the forest's management plan requires officials to permanently close the roads once the logging project is completed, or else close other roads in the area.

Lefteris Katsourmits / Flickr Creative Commons

Five environmental groups have filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Idaho over incidental trapping of federally protected Canada lynx.

The groups filed suit Monday in Idaho federal court. They contend the state is violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing recreational trapping that inadvertently ensnares lynx.

Oregon Department of Forestry / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho has long restricted cutting down trees along stream banks as a way to keep water cool for trout and a salmon. On July 1, an updated version of the so-called shade rule goes into effect.   

Douglas Forest Protective Association

The number of acres burned by wildfires across the U.S. so far this year is less than half the 10 year average.

Figures from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise show 865,030 acres have burned this year throughout the country. That’s just 44 percent of the 10-year average. The 25,096 fires are 70 percent of the average.

Nathan Rupert / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge says the government has until 2018 to come up with a long-delayed recovery plan for imperiled Canada lynx in the Lower 48 states.

Wildlife advocates had asked the court to force faster action for the snow-loving big cats, which were added to the threatened species list in 2000.

But U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy says in a Wednesday order that a January 2018 deadline proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reasonable.

Molloy also ordered the agency to submit semi-annual progress reports.

Jeff Myers / Flickr

More than 75 scientists are appealing to President Barack Obama to create a policy for preserving old-growth forest.

The U.S. and Canadian scientists sent a letter to the president Wednesday urging the U.S. Forest Service to draw up plans to conserve ecosystems distinguished by old trees, accumulations of dead woody material and diversity of plant life. Most are found in the Pacific Northwest or Southeast Alaska.

Idaho is starting the process of taking over wastewater permitting from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, under a law that quietly cleared the Idaho Legislature earlier this year.

Rob Cruickshank / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has set up 3,000 traps in southwest Idaho and budgeted $400,000 to fight a Japanese beetle infestation.

Agency spokesman Lloyd Knight says the department is also treating areas with insecticides to prevent the beetles from multiplying.

The beetles attack more than 300 different ornamental and agricultural plants, as well as flowers and fruit.

The larvae are also destructive, feeding on grass roots and damaging lawns, golf courses and parks.

Japanese beetles started multiplying in the Boise area in 2011.

Twitter

The city of Boise likes to tout its livability to people looking to move in. It turns out, some of the same amenities that attract humans, might also make Boise look pretty attractive to a moose.  

Matthew Podolsky

For the last 35 years, Al Larson has been helping bluebirds thrive in Idaho. He loves bluebirds. He’s known around birding circles as Idaho’s “bluebird man.” “That’s what they call me. I haven’t sprouted wings yet,” Larson chuckles.

Boise Fire Department

This post was updated at 4:19 p.m. on June 10.

Idaho Fish and Game officials have tranquilized a moose that wandered into the city Tuesday. The moose apparently started its day at east Boise's Warm Springs Golf Course, but ended up closer to downtown on the Greenbelt behind Parkcenter Boulevard.

KTVB.com originally reported the moose is a male, but it turns out to be a female.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is boosting the amount of water flowing in the Snake River in an effort to help native fish between Palisades Reservoir and Shoshone Falls.

Michael Beus with the Bureau of Reclamation in Heyburn, Idaho told The Times-News that the faster, deeper flow will give native cutthroat trout an advantage over invasive rainbow trout.

The bureau has been increasing flows every year since 2004.

BNSF Railway said Friday it will comply with Saturday's federal deadline to provide states with information about the frequency and routes of oil trains from North Dakota and Montana.

Downtown Boise
Seth Lemmons / Flickr Creative Commons

Boise is getting hotter faster than almost any other city in the nation according to an Associated Press report, but the Northwest as a region isn't warming as quickly as other parts of the country.

This post was updated at 2:05 p.m. on June 6.

Firefighters in central Idaho have contained an 80-acre wildfire burning about 10 miles south of Stanley and expect to have it controlled on Sunday.

Gold Fire spokeswoman Julie Thomas says crews succeeded in getting a line around the fire Friday morning despite flames moving into downed lodgepole pine.

She says three hotshot crews along with six engines and two water tenders are working within the perimeter of the fire to make sure it's out.

U.S. Forest Service Road 210 remains closed.

Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Seismographs have picked up a swarm of earthquakes in the northwestern corner of Yellowstone National Park, including dozens early Tuesday.

The University of Utah Seismograph Station reported five small earthquakes including those with magnitudes of 3.4, 2.7 and 3.2 in a 20-minute period starting at 3:33 a.m. in an area 16 to 18 miles south of Gardiner.

Arbyreed / Flickr Creative Commons

The Obama Administration announced Monday that Idaho will have to cut its carbon pollutants by a third over the next 15 years.

The new standard is part of national initiative aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants as high as 40 percent in some states from their 2005 level.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Idaho's power sector emitted 1 million metric tons of carbon in 2012 and produced 4 million megawatt hours of energy. This means that the state's emission rate was about 340 pounds per megawatt hours.

Kim Keating / U.S. Geological Survey

State wildlife biologists have started trapping grizzly bears in southeastern Idaho as part of a scientific study and are advising visitors to heed orange warning signs at major access points.

Gregg Losinski of Idaho Fish and Game in a news release on Tuesday says the trapping has started and will run through Aug. 26.

Losinski says the trapping will take place within the Island Park Caldera and the Centennial Mountains of Idaho.

A plan to poison 3,500 ravens in Idaho won’t proceed this year as state wildlife managers had hoped. The idea is to stop the ravens from eating the eggs of the imperilled sage grouse.

Pages