Environment

 

Tribes in the Mountain West reached resolutions in two long standing environmental disputes this week. The victories for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and the Navajo Nation could signal a shift toward accountability for corporate polluters operating on tribal lands.

Ada Soil and Water Conservation District

 

Pollinators, like bees and butterflies, are on the decline in the Treasure Valley. But a new project this spring is designed to bring those insects, and some beautiful flowers, into hundreds of backyards.

screenshot / Idaho Public Television

 

Last month, Idaho Public Television debuted perhaps its most ambitious episode of Outdoor Idaho ever. In it producers trek alongside a dozen different mountain climbers, some still in elementary school, who have taken on the challene of scaling a mountain of a least 12,000 feet.

Farmers are facing a problem of feeding an ever-growing human population with shrinking supplies of land and water.

At least, that's the argument Utah-based Grōv Technologies is making. The company developed the Olympus Tower Farm, which it describes as the “world’s largest, most advanced indoor vertical farming system for year-round fresh animal feed.”

It's been a tough year for gas and oil prices, but solar power has seen steady growth during this pandemic year. 

This week, the northern spotted owl and the monarch butterfly were denied protections under the Endangered Species Act, even though both animals qualify.

The Sony Handycam, of all things, foretold what may soon be a massive mine on public lands in Nevada.

In the early 1990s, the camcorder became the first product to use lithium-ion batteries commercially. Since then, the technology has been used to power our laptops, smartphones, and now electric vehicles and homes.

Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho is rich with geothermal activity. The state boasts dozens of natural hot springs for soaking, some close to city centers and others a hike away. But when Wanna Know Idaho listener Ted Eisele moved to Idaho in 1980, it wasn’t the natural hot springs that caught his attention about geothermal. What really blew him away was the fact that Idaho’s state buildings — like the Capitol and the state Supreme Court — were heated using geothermal systems. 

 

Ted had a lot of questions:

 

In this latest episode of Wanna Know Idaho we talk with John Chatburn, the administrator of Governor Little’s Office of Energy and Mineral Resources and Dr. Travis McLing, a research scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory to answer Ted’s questions, and so much more. 

Here's what they had to say: 

What Gem State curiosity should we look into next? That's up to YOU. Submit what you want to know below and you could be featured in an upcoming episode.

Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

 

Idaho is rich with geothermal activity. But when Wanna Know Idaho podcast listener Ted Eisele moved to Idaho in 1980, it wasn’t the natural hot springs that caught his attention about geothermal. What really blew him away was the fact that Idaho’s state buildings, like the Capitol and the state Supreme Court, were heated using geothermal. 

 

Ted had a lot of questions for Wanna Know Idaho:

  

In this latest episode, Wanna Know Idaho talks with John Chatburn, the administrator of Governor Little’s Office of Energy and Mineral Resources and Dr. Travis McLing, a research scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory to answer Ted’s questions, and so much more. 

 

Have a question about Idaho's culture, history or the people that call it home? Submit a question here

sagebrush, sage grouse
Bureau of Land Management

President-elect Joe Biden has begun to announce his cabinet choices, including former Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen as Secretary of Treasury. But he has yet to announce his choice to lead both the Interior and Agriculture Departments, or the EPA. Each of these positions can carry a lot of influence in Idaho when it comes to the environment and slowing the effects of global climate change within our borders. 

David A Mitchell / Flickr Creative Commons

America’s bird population is in decline. Some studies show that as much as 30% of the population across species has been lost. So, what is to blame for this shocking loss of birds?

New research from universities, including Boise State University, is painting a more complete picture of what is causing the decline. Two of the factors — light pollution and noise pollution — are human-caused.

DEQ.IDAHO.GOV

This interview originally aired on Sept. 1, 2020.

The Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer is a critical drinking water source for southern and eastern Idaho. More than 300,000 Idahoans rely on the natural underground storage to provide clean, safe water every day. But due to a combination of farming and agricultural practices in the Magic Valley, the water source is in danger of contamination. 

Idaho Fish and Game, Deer, hunting, hunt
Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Sales of hunting and fishing licenses are up dramatically across the country due to the pandemic and Idaho is no exception.

The Interior Department is facing criticism for putting up barriers to conservation projects nationwide funded through the new Great American Outdoors Act.

Ed Cannady / Idaho Salmon Partnership

This interview originally aired on Sept. 3, 2020.

North of Ketchum and south of Stanley is a large alpine lake full of cobalt blue water. The beauty of Pettit Lake is stunning, but under the water lies a long and deep struggle for the survival of Snake River sockeye salmon.

Back in 2018, the U.S. Geological Survey and several Western states formed the Corridor Mapping Team, a first-of-its-kind collaboration among state and federal wildlife biologists to map ungulate migrations.

Last week, the team published its first volume of maps, which document more than 40 big-game migration routes in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

Preacher Fire, Wildfires, Blaine County
Blaine County Sheriff's Facebook Page

 

This year was historic for wildfires. Smoke from western states was detected across the United States and as far as Europe. As climate change continues to worsen our fire seasons, it’s critical to understand how this smoke impacts our health and how to best protect ourselves from this smoke. 

1963 North Cascades Study Team investigation / National Park Service

This interview originally aired Aug. 18, 2020.

Back in 1966, a mining company had a plan to develop an open-pit mine in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington state. Endangering the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area, local and national conservationists got to work. 

via Heidi Ware Carlisle

The Idaho bird watching community is close. That’s why last year, when a rare bird made a stop at one bird enthusiast’s house, dozens of their birding friends stopped by to check it out.

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