Natural Resources Conservation Service

Phil Morrisey / National Resources Conservation Service

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) relies on data from mountain measuring tools known as SNOTEL sites to forecast how much water Idaho will have each year. This information helps farmers determine which crops to grow (a drier year means they may choose less water-intensive crops) and gives water managers data to plan for flood control. Recreationists use the data to figure out the wildest rivers to ride in the summer.

Bogus Basin's Plan To Keep The Mountain White

Dec 18, 2015
Jessica Murri

It’s a cold morning at Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area without a single cloud in the sky, but that doesn’t keep snow from piling up on the slopes. That’s thanks to a brand new SMI Super Polecat snow gun, blowing thousands of gallons of water into the freezing air.

“Since November First, we have used 800,000 gallons of water through the snowguns . . . so that’s enough to cover one acre of ground with a foot of snow,” says Director of Mountain Operations at Bogus Basin, Nate Shake.

USDA/NRCS / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week, the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a 21st century upgrade to a system that’s been stuck in the analog world. The Conservation Client Gateway is a new website that lets farmers and ranchers apply for programs under things like the Farm Bill. Before, a farmer would have to drive to their nearest USDA office – which, in rural Idaho – could be a time and fuel-consuming task.