Environment

Land Trust of the Treasure Valley

A group of volunteers will be out in force Saturday to give the Boise Foothills a collective hug. That’s what the YMCA and the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley are calling trail restoration in Harrison Hollow.

“Now and then it just needs some tender loving care, and that’s what we’re doing, we’re lending a hand for the land,” says Rich Jarvis with the YMCA Togetherhood program. He says maintaining trails in the Foothills is no easy task.

Enel Green Power

On September 17, the flow in the Boise River dropped from 621 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 335 cfs. The drop occurred at Barber Dam, a hydroelectric plant east of town.

The dam is operated by Enel Green Power, an international hydropower company. The company leases the plant from Ada County. According to Enel operations director Conrad St. Pierre, an electrical failure on the Idaho Power circuit occurred the morning of September 17.

Aaron Hockley / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho gets almost half of its electricity from coal-fired plants in nearby states. But where the coal is burned doesn’t change things for Kelsey Nunez. She’s the executive director of the Snake River Alliance and says Idaho’s dependence on the carbon-emitting source needs to end.

Idaho Fish and Game

Earlier this year, we brought you the story of beavers parachuting into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The story spread like wildfire, complete with pictures of the beavers, tucked inside their travel boxes, parachuting into their new homes.

It turns out there’s more to this story.

Jeremy Erickson / Flickr Creative Commons

The City of Trees wants more people to have – well – trees.

Ryan Rodgers is with the city's community forestry department, and says there are many benefits to growing more trees in Boise. Rodgers says that's why the city is providing two free programs for people who want more shade by their homes.

Rodgers says residents in the Vista Neighborhood might have received a postcard about donated trees from Idaho Power. The company is encouraging planting for heat reduction in the summer, and the city is helping get the word out.

Kara Stenberg / Flickr

Southern Idaho gardeners and farmers are seeing an increase in voles, and the destruction they can cause, this year.

Voles are four-to-five inch long mammals, often mistaken for mice, that like to eat green vegetation.

“It’s a big problem in southern Idaho,” says Ronda Hirnyck. She’s the University of Idaho Extension pesticide specialist in Boise.

Kxlly Kxsh / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Power is one step closer to replacing an aging transmission line that runs from Hagerman to Hailey. Blaine County approved a permit for the project last week. Now, the Bureau of Land Management will review it – and will pay special attention to the greater sage grouse in the area.

Screenshot MTB Project / BLM/MTB Project/International Mountain Bike Association

The Bureau of Land Management wants to get more people riding mountain bikes on 20 trail systems around the West. The agency has a new set of bike maps to show off those trails, including two in Idaho.

Justin Barrett

Last week, the federal government decided not to place three species found in Idaho on the Endangered Species List. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said they did not warrant listing because of successes made in conservation.

Along with the southern Idaho ground squirrel, the Goose Creek milkvetch and the Great Basin population of the Columbia Spotted Frog, 14 other species around the country were also turned down for listing.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The smoke blanketing Boise from the Walker Fire near Idaho City eased up Wednesday but was still bad enough for the Boise School District to cancel outdoor activities like football games and tennis matches.

Someone flying into Boise Tuesday shared the pictures above with KBSX. Much of the valley floor is invisible under a gray/brown haze. 

Boise's Table Rock was a dim outline at about 9:00 Tuesday morning. It was a little clearer around the same time Wednesday morning from outside our studios.

Daniel Gonzalez

Boise residents know there are a lot of birds that live or pass through the city. Now the city's Parks and Recreation department has published a field guide that highlights species commonly found around town.

Idaho Department of Lands

A wildfire burning 40 miles northeast of Boise is moving away from structures, but continues to pour smoke into the Treasure Valley.

The 2,500-acre Walker Fire started Saturday on private property near Grimes Creek and Mack Creek. The fire is suspected to be human caused.

Burning eight miles southwest of Idaho City in Boise County, the fire has destroyed four structures, including three cabins.

The Idaho Department of Lands says some areas are still under evacuation:

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The U.S. Forest Service this week gave American CuMo Mining Corporation the go-ahead to explore for molybdenum, copper and silver between Idaho City and Garden Valley. If CuMo finds enough of the metals, it will seek permission to build a large open pit mine.

Environmental groups have been challenging the project for years. They say the exploration process alone endangers the headwaters of the Boise River, let alone the proposed mine.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Dozens of people in boats, kayaks, and canoes will join a flotilla Saturday on the Snake River to protest four dams that advocates say are killing fish and costing taxpayers money.

Greg Stahl is with Idaho Rivers United, one of the groups putting on the flotilla. He says most people don’t know much about the four dams on the river between Lewiston, Idaho and Pasco, Washington, in part because of their remote location.

screen grab fws.gov / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wednesday released a new recovery plan for the bull trout. The agency listed it as a threatened species in the late 1990s. Bull trout live in Idaho and four other western states. The new plan divides the fish’s territory into six sections. Mike Carrier, head of Fish and Wildlife’s Idaho office says in some sections, like in Oregon and Washington, bull trout are struggling.

sage grouse, in flight, birds
Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

Congress has failed to advance a measure that would have blocked new land-use plans meant to protect a wide-ranging Western bird, the greater sage grouse.

The sage grouse provision backed by Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah had been approved in May by the House as part of a $612 billion defense policy bill.

Bishop's office said Wednesday the measure was left out of a House-Senate compromise on the defense bill.

roger wilkins / Flickr Creative Commons

Originally published on September 3, 2014.

If you’ve noticed an increase in the number of flies buzzing around you’re not imagining things. In fact, you could call this time of year “fly season” in southern Idaho.

Part of the reason you're noticing more flies is because there simply are more of them says Ian Robertson, a biology professor and insect ecologist at Boise State University.

Elizabeth Haslam / Flickr

Sunday night will offer a chance to see the last total lunar eclipse until 2018.

This eclipse is special, says Brian Jackson, an astronomer who teaches at Boise State. That’s because it will also be what’s known as a “Blood Moon.”

Rob Palmer Photography

Scientists studying the American Kestrel are asking for the public’s help to pay for new research into the bird’s decline. The hope is that people who admire America’s smallest falcon will try to save it.

Dan Dzurisin / Flickr Creative Commons

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced the much-anticipated decision on Twitter Tuesday morning, using the hashtag #WildlifeWin.

“Because of an unprecedented effort by dozens of partners  across 11 western states," says Sec. Jewell in a video, "the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the greater sage grouse does not require protection under the Endangered Species Act.”

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