Environment

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A woman who killed a grizzly bear after she believed it posed a threat to her North Idaho family is worried she may be in trouble for killing a federally protected species.

The Spokesman-Review reports Barbara Casey shot the 2-year-old male grizzly Tuesday after it appeared in the backyard of her Moyie Springs home in Boundary County.

Rocky Barker / Idaho Statesman

Firefighters across Idaho braced for tough conditions Friday with strong winds predicted along with temperatures around 100 degrees and dry lightning in the evening.

Fire managers say they've had some success putting in containment lines on the 340-square-mile Soda Fire in the southwest part of the state straddling the Oregon border. But containment is only 11 percent.

More than 400 firefighters are assigned to the blaze that's also drawn about a dozen aircraft.

Timelapsed / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho State University and NASA are collaborating on research that may help scientists find life on other planets and improve radar to land rovers more safely on Mars.

The Idaho State Journal reports two teams are researching lava flows at the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve using rocks that ISU Geosciences assistant professor Shannon Kobs-Nawotniak says are very similar to those found on Mars.

Alan Krakauer / Flickr

Idaho Fish and Game says it will allow hunters to shoot sage grouse next month, despite a multi-state effort to boost the bird’s numbers.

Washington DNR

Lawmakers from Idaho and Oregon say they are renewing efforts to change the way the country pays to fight catastrophic wildfires, arguing that agencies should be using natural disaster dollars rather than money set aside for fire prevention.

Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch of Idaho and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon announced Wednesday that they are getting ready to pitch bipartisan legislation to Congress this fall.

Scott Urban / The Idaho Statesman

A wildfire in southwestern Idaho, fanned by shifting winds and numerous storm cells, grew twelve times in size over a 24-hour span to 123 square miles by early Wednesday.

The fire about 40 miles southwest of Boise closed U.S. Highway 95 that connects Marsing, Idaho, with Jordan Valley, Ore.

Some 200 firefighters backed by about a dozen aircraft as well as fire engines and bulldozers are attacking the blaze in grassland and sagebrush.

There are no reports of injuries or structures lost in the sparsely populated area. The fire is 20 percent contained.

Bureau of Land Management

Firefighters are trying to stop a 10-square-mile wildfire burning through primary sage grouse habitat in a remote part of southwest Idaho.

Nearly 200 firefighters backed by 10 aircraft, 17 fire engines and six bulldozers on Tuesday worked to contain the fast-moving fire that started Monday morning.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Carrie Bilbao says the area contains grasslands and sage brush with scattered ranches.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

When a person loses their sight, everyday tasks become a challenge. Walking across the street, reading a book - even hobbies can seem nearly impossible.  But one Idaho man is working to introduce visually impaired individuals to a whole new world of sound. He’s teaching the blind how to identify birds, using only their calls.

Steve Bouffard has his eyes closed and he’s listening intently on the edge of Veterans Memorial Park. He quickly identifies a song sparrow, using only the sound of its call.

Stephen Mellentine / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama’s new EPA rule seeking drastic reductions in carbon emissions could create more room in the industry for cleaner forms of energy. One of those is geothermal. In eastern Oregon and parts of Idaho, a new study by the US Geological Survey (USGS) will look closer at this potential source, and its connection to the drought-stricken West.

Boise State Public Radio

If you could help reduce water pollution right in your laundry room, would you? As you unpack your fleece jacket when autumn rolls in, there’s new information that might make you reconsider how - and how often - you wash it.

The U.S. Forest Service has notified a conservation group that Idaho officials will not use a hired hunter to kill wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness this winter.

Earthjustice in a statement says it received the notification Wednesday from the federal agency as required by the settlement of a federal lawsuit.

The letter from Forest Service officials to Earthjustice says the Idaho Department of Fish and Game notified the federal agency of its decision on Friday.

TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

Conservationists in Idaho continue to celebrate the designation of nearly 300,000 acres of wilderness area in the central part of the state. The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to approve a bill that would designate large sections of the region as federally protected.

The vote was the second on the proposal in eight days.  The House passed the bill last week and President Obama is expected to sign it into law.

Boise National Forest

A dozen aircraft and more than 130 firefighters are working to contain three central Idaho wildfires sparked by lightning before they become so large they'll be impossible to put out until the end of the fire season.

Boise National Forest officials on Wednesday say a 20-acre fire about 3 miles from Idaho City is the most concerning because it's in heavy timber and about a mile from a phone tower.

Spokesman David Seesholtz says a 66-acre fire near Pilot Peak is less worrisome because it's moved to the top of a ridge.

Idaho's so-called "ag-gag" law, which outlawed undercover investigations of farming operations, is no more. A judge in the federal District Court for Idaho decided Monday that it was unconstitutional, citing First Amendment protections for free speech.

But what about the handful of other states with similar laws on the books?

Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

A new wilderness in Idaho is one step away.

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a bill protecting 275,000 acres in central Idaho.

The U.S. House or Representatives passed similar legislation last week meaning it now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

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Officials with Idaho State University are distancing themselves from one of their accountants who is being criticized for posting photos of large animals she's killed while hunting in South Africa.

In a statement, the university told The Associated Press Tuesday that Sabrina Corgatelli's personal choices are not representative of the school.

Corgatelli has posted photos of trophy kills —which include a giraffe, a kuda, an impala, a wildebeest and a warthog. Her postings have drawn outrage from commenters on her Facebook and Instagram pages.

TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

The push to protect almost 300,000 acres in central Idaho has picked up steam the last few weeks. A bill that would designate the Boulder-White Clouds mountains a wilderness area is in front of the U.S. Senate this week, and if it passes, will be on President Obama’s desk next.

IcaWise / Flickr Creative Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release updated air quality standards for the Treasure Valley in the next two months.

The Idaho Statesman reports the Treasure Valley includes Boise, and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality regional air quality monitoring coordinator Mike Toole says ground-level ozone pollution in the area typically hits below the current standard of 75 parts per billion.

That standard is expected to decrease, but officials are unsure by how much.

Dan Dzurisin / Flickr Creative Commons

WildEarth Guardians accuses the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho of removing nearly 4 million acres from a previous plan to protect sage grouse habitat, and not being transparent about it. The environmental and wildlife advocacy group wants to see the threatened bird listed under the Endangered Species Act.

A conservation easement has been signed on an east-central Idaho ranch that's been a top priority for state and federal authorities for years because it contains prime spawning streams for threatened salmon and steelhead.

The agreement between the Bonneville Power Administration and ranch owner Karl Tyler signed last week protects 10 miles of the meandering Lemhi River and half a dozen tributaries.

Lorraine Bodi of Bonneville Power says the agency paid several million dollars for the easement.

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