Environment

The Interior Department wants to open up a quarter-million acres at national wildlife refuges for hunting and fishing.

The move would impact 21 states. In our region, it would expand hunting at a refuge in Utah  and another in Montana. It would also open Montana’s Swan River refuge to big game hunting for the first time.

Until fairly recently, it was illegal to harvest rainwater in Colorado. Now, as in a number of other Western states, it’s seen as alternative water source in an increasingly dry landscape. But is rainwater safe?

Sybil Sharvelle, an environmental engineer at Colorado State University, is one researcher trying to answer that question.

Amanda Peacher / Mountain West New Bureau

When you hear about companies like REI or Patagonia, you might think about tents, rain jackets or hikers in puffy coats on a mountaintop. But how about politics? These outdoorsy companies are part of a new wave of business advocates fighting for public lands.

Rowdy Muir started fighting fires on the front lines when he was 27.

sage grouse, wildlife
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr Creative Commons

Currently the sage grouse is not listed under the Endangered Species Act. And a bill before Congress  would prevent that from happening anytime in the next decade.

Conservationists from around the country are opposing congressional legislation to allow a four-lane highway through a desert tortoise preserve in fast-growing southwestern Utah.

Wildfire season is ramping up across our region. There are all sorts of people involved in waiting, watching and fighting them -- people you might not expect. We’re profiling some of them in a series, Faces Behind The Fires.


Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Boise's new orange bag recycling program asks customers who live in residential buildings with fewer than eight units to sort their recyclables, after 10 years of a simpler mixed recycling service.

Twenty-eight great plains tribes are demanding two different sites in Yellowstone National Park be renamed. The request says Hayden Valley and Mount Doane are offensive because they memorialize a racist and a murderer. But with local government officials opposing the change, it seems unlikely to happen.

Black bear attacks are extremely rare, but that could be changing. Wildlife officials say with more people coming into contact with wildlife, the chances for conflict will also increase. 

Every summer, it takes a village to fight wildfires. For this upcoming season, we spoke with all kinds of people that lend a hand, from those on the frontlines, to others working a bit further back from the flames. For the Faces Behind the Fire series, Maggie Mullen talked to an archeologist with the U.S. Forest Service who helps decide what needs be preserved and what can be left to burn.


Idaho Department of Water Resources

It’s been a year of good news for the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer recharge program. The aquifer – which serves southern Idaho’s agricultural-rich Magic Valley and about 200,000 homes – is the subject of a strategic recharge project. 

Fire experts say this season could be big for wildfires in our region. Our Mountain West New Bureau takes you behind the scenes with stories about the people who protect our communities, land and wildlife during wildlfire season. 

This story is about the people who rush into the smoke not to save people or structures, but … animals.  

Over the last decade or so, states in the Mountain West region have used less and less coal to make electricity. Wind is one of the energy sources replacing it.

Colorado’s biggest wind farm is set to be completed by this fall — and it might even help keep a piece of state history intact.

Corinna Riginos

The deadliest animal in the U.S. isn’t a grizzly bear, a mountain lion or even a western diamondback rattlesnake. It’s a deer. More than 200 Americans are killed each year on our nation’s roads hitting or swerving to avoid this seemingly harmless animal. Around 30,000 or so are injured.

One group of scientists trying to reduce those numbers ended up finding a solution by chance.

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