Environment

Idaho Fish and Game

Idaho Fish and Game crews are feeding 4,000 elk in eastern Idaho this winter, after a fire burned 22,000 acres of their winter range.

The fire hit the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area in Bonneville County last year. Without grass, forbs and brush, elk and deer now have nothing to eat. Fish and Game worried they would travel to private property 13 miles away and start eating haystacks and spilling into towns.

In a story Feb. 23 about a lawsuit involving a wolf- and coyote-shooting contest in Idaho, The Associated Press reported erroneously the disposition of the suit. The judge dismissed part of the lawsuit, not the entire lawsuit, and a decision on an action the groups have against the U.S. Forest Service involving Idaho for Wildlife's predator contest is pending.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Tom Banse

An environmental group has filed an appeal seeking to stop the construction of two high-voltage transmission lines in southwestern Idaho.

Western Watersheds Project filed the appeal late last week with the U.S. Department of the Interior's Board of Land Appeals concerning the Gateway West project.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management last month issued a formal decision approving a plan by Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power to build and operate 321 miles of 500-kilovolt transmission lines on public land in Idaho's Gooding, Elmore, Owyhee, Cassia and Twin Falls counties.

wild horses, nevada, wildlife
James Marvin Phelps / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials say they plan to capture 150 wild horses starting later this month in central Idaho near Challis and remove about 50 for adoption.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management in a news release Tuesday says the capture will likely go through mid-April using a large-scale bait trap operation.

Officials say the Challis Wild Horse Herd Management Area is under a court decree to maintain wild horse numbers within appropriate management levels.

Officials say that number is up to 253 horses, but the current population is over 280 horses.

Idaho Division of Tourism / Flickr Creative Commons

In 1890, the brand new state of Idaho was granted more than four million acres of land by the federal government. Public education is the beneficiary of money generated from state land sales to individuals or companies. Idaho law limits these sales to no more than 320 acres in some cases and 160 acres in others.

Randy Watson / Flickr

More than 500 ducks and geese have died near Parma. And the Idaho Department of Fish and Game says it knows why.

Two weeks ago, someone found hundreds of dead birds on private land at Fort Boise. Fish and Game says between 500 and 600 birds were at the site. Canada geese, mallard ducks, even a red-tailed hawk died. Several of the birds were sent to the Department’s Wildlife Health Laboratory to be tested.

Idaho officials are in preliminary discussions with the U.S. Forest Service on possibly buying federal public lands.

State Forester David Groeschl of the Idaho Department of Lands told Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and other members of the Idaho Land Board on Tuesday that the state is eyeing timberland that the federal agency has previously proposed for possible sale or exchange.

Groeschl said the state is also identifying potential Forest Service lands not previously considered for sale.

Dan Brubaker Horst / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho officials have extended the deadline for farmers to dispose of spoiled or damaged onions following the collapse of many onion storage facilities in southwestern Idaho due to heavy snow.

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that the March 15 deadline has been extended to April 15.

Agriculture Director Celia Gould says the temporary rule will give onion farmers some flexibility in dealing with the massive disposal effort. She says many facilities are reporting total losses.

Bureau of Reclamation / WaterArchives.org | Flickr Creative Commons

The recent threat of catastrophic flooding at the Oroville Dam in Northern California has abated for the moment, but the incident dredged up old memories of Idaho's own dam catastrophe.

In June of 1976, the earthen Teton Dam in eastern Idaho failed, killing 11 people and causing $2 billion in damage. It cost $100 million to construct, but the government ended up paying over thrice that in damage claims linked to the failure.

Flooding is continuing to affect communities in southern and eastern Idaho as warm weather melts significant snowpack in lower elevations.

More than a third of Idaho's 44 counties have declared disaster areas, including Bingham and Caribou. Temperatures cooled on Friday and through the weekend, offering some respite from the runoff, but many communities are already dealing with significant flooding and ice jams.

Bear Lake County officials have also considered signing a disaster declaration due to some flooded basements and fields.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Elk and deer continue to struggle this winter and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is adding 27 more feeding sites for the animals.

That brings the number of feed sites around the Southeast Region to 89.

There are 16 elk sites feeding 2,780 animals. There are 71 deer sites, feeding 8,731 of the animals. And two pronghorn sites are getting feed to 215 animals. The sites are in 12 Idaho counties.

John Milner / Flickr Creative Commons

The Sun Valley Resort has shut down Bald Mountain for fear of extreme avalanche danger.

While the resort has received some 50 inches of snow in just the last few days, warmer temperatures plus winds and freezing rain are making for a dangerous mix. With temperatures above 40 degrees, the situation on the mountainside is touch and go.

Once it's deemed safe, Bald Mountain will be reopened.

Penn State / Flickr Creative Commons

Testing is set to resume at a federally-managed nuclear waste treatment plant west of Idaho Falls.

Tests at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit will begin next week after a nine-month pause, The Post Register reported.

The first 10-day test will examine the effectiveness of a grinder that breaks down solid radioactive waste. The component clogged during previous tests.

Paul Moody / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho has so much snow that water is already being released from some reservoirs for flood control and Idaho Power has halted most of its cloud-seeding operations.

"It's just an amazing year," said Ron Abramovich, a water supply specialist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service. "I don't think anybody is talking about shortages this year."

Boise River, snow, weather
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The National Weather Service considers the snow season running from October to May; so far this year, Boise has seen 37.6 inches – significant, but not close to an all-time record.

Pages