Environment

Washington State Department of Transportation / Flickr Creative Commons

One five-year-old and one six-year-old ram were killed near Challis Thursday. In a press release, Idaho Fish and Game officials say they attempted to first capture the animals with darts, but ended up euthanizing them after those attempts failed.

Domestic sheep carry diseases that can be devastating for wild bighorn herds. A 2010 state policy outlined the practice of removing animals that have come into contact with livestock. Samples from both the sheep and the rams have been sent to a lab for testing.

Idaho Fish and Game

Record snowfall in southern Idaho has communities on edge as reservoirs and rivers fill with water. Flooding is also threatening an endangered species of fish.

The threatened fish hatchery sits along the Boise River near Eagle Island State Park, which is above flood stage due to snow and rain. Idaho Fish and Game officials say rising waters could reach electrical pumps used to keep the salmon alive.

Tiberiu Corbu / Flickr

Spring might be here, but gray skies and rain are making it feel more like winter. The storms passing over much of the state are bringing lots of precipitation – and high winds – but things should be drying up soon.

Before nine this morning, over an inch of rain had already come down at the Boise Airport where the National Weather Service has their office. But along with rain – and even a dusting of snow, this storm is packing a powerful breeze.

“The winds here at the airport were about 20 to 30 mph,” National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Wojcik said.

Amelia Templeton / OPB

A group of western politicians, industry leaders and other stakeholders convened at Boise State Tuesday. The Andrus Center for Public Policy hosted the day-long conference, which included remarks from Congressman Mike Simpson, Montana Governor Steve Bullock and a few Idaho county commissioners.

NMID

Water will start flowing through Boise’s irrigation canals starting next Monday. The Treasure Valley’s largest irrigation district says they expect to have plenty of water this season.

For 112 years, the Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District has been providing irrigation water to the Treasure Valley. Next week’s launch of the irrigation season will be the 113th consecutive year for the District.

Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

About 600,000 young spring chinook salmon have died at a northern Idaho fish hatchery after an electrical problem stopped water from circulating.

The Nez Perce Tribe tells the Lewiston Tribune the fish died at the Kooskia National Fish Hatchery on Friday when an electrical circuit breaker tripped and a warning system to alert hatchery workers failed.

The salmon were a few weeks old and scheduled to be released next spring and return as adults in 2020.

Eddie Welker / Flickr

Counties in all parts of the state have declared various, weather related emergencies. As of Tuesday, 27 counties were listed as being impacted by weather conditions to the point of emergency status.

The latest counties to get disaster status are in the northern part of the state; yesterday Governor Butch Otter declared states of emergency in Latah, Benewah, Shoshone, Clearwater, Bonner, Kootenai and Boundary Counties due to fears of avalanches and flooding.

Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press

Inspection officials found a live quagga mussel on a boat on the Idaho/Nevada border. It’s the third infested boat found this year trying to enter the state.

The boat was found at the U.S. Highway 93 inspection station. It spent the last three months at Lake Havasu, which is infested with quagga and zebra mussels.

Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials have approved an Idaho wildlife conservation plan to avoid potential listings under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed off on a state plan that identified 205 Idaho species of concern. Grizzlies, salmon and sage grouse were all on the list, as well as monarch butterflies. Wildlife officials are working on taking Yellowstone grizzlies off the Endangered Species List.

ap

A conservation group has created maps identifying key landscapes in three Western states most likely to sustain native species amid climate change and is distributing money to protect private lands in those areas through use-limiting easements or outright purchases.

The Nature Conservancy says it has $6 million from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation that it's now distributing among land trusts that must come up with five times the amount in matching funds for approved easements or acquisitions.

ZapWizard / Flickr

Officials at the federal, state and local levels will begin evaluating flood damage in Cassia County in the next few weeks following one of the most brutal winters in decades.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise River will hit flood stage this week as officials try to make room in reservoirs for more rain and snowmelt.

The river will go up a little bit Monday, 250 cubic feet per second, and again Tuesday, which will bring flows to 7000 cfs. That’s considered flood stage as measured by the Glenwood Bridge gauge.

That means more sections of the Greenbelt along the river, some of which are already underwater, will be flooded. Minor flooding is expected on Eagle Island and other low spots along the river. And river bank erosion could become an issue.

Cathy / Flickr Creative Commons

As residents of a subdivision in Blaine County continue feeding elk, the county is taking them to court over the rule violations.

A herd of around 70 elk descended on the Golden Eagle Ranch development north of Hailey in December. Driven to lower elevations by the harsh winter weather, the residents of the development said the animals were eating everything from patio furniture to decorative wreaths.

After hearing about increased emergency feeding efforts on the part of Idaho Fish and Game, some residents of the subdivision started feeding the animals.

Films about nature and conservation in Idaho, the West and around the world are the focus of this year’s Les Bois Film Festival.

The Land Trust of the Treasure Valley and the film company Wild Lens are showing 20 films that highlight everything from kestrels to elk to Bogus Basin’s 75th anniversary to black footed ferrets.

Julia Rundberg is with the Land Trust. She says it’s a locally-sourced, homegrown, free-range, family-friendly, nature film festival.

Tom Jefferson

Last June we told you the story of an Idaho man trying to save a tiny porpoise species in Mexico. Today we have an update to that story, and a new film that looks at vaquitas and their plight.

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