Environment

Wide open spaces, like much of Wyoming, are known to be strongholds for pollinators like butterflies. They often contain critical habitat and food resources, far away from the disturbance of human civilization. But it turns out even those areas are under threat.

 

This interview originally aired Jan. 21, 2021. 

Lake Coeur d’Alene is one of the most beautiful natural lakes in the northwest. The North Idaho body of water is home to flora and fauna and is an important place in the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s culture. It’s also home to many vacation homes and folks from around the world visit the lake each year to enjoy its recreational opportunities. 

A conservation group in San Juan County is suing the Bureau of Land Management over tens of thousands of acres of public land it leased to oil and gas developers in 2018.

The land lies between Bears Ears and Hovenweep national monuments. The lawsuit claims drilling there could cause irreparable damage to cultural sites.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland met with tribal leaders as well as Utah state leaders Wednesday in San Juan County to talk about Bears Ears National Monument. They toured the monument together Thursday morning.

Heat waves induced by climate change will threaten future agricultural crops at a faster rate than gradual global warming, according to a new study published in the Journal of the European Economic Association. Steve Miller, a UC Boulder assistant professor of environmental studies, was a lead researcher in the study.

PhotoTrippingAmerica / Shutterstock

New research published in the journal Nature Climate Change finds that snow is melting earlier – often in the winter. That’s a bad sign for the Mountain West. 


Flickr Creative Commons


In January, we told you about a new project designed to bring back declining pollinators to the Treasure Valley. The idea is to bring bees and butterflied to your yard, while learning about everything from bees to conservation. 

Gold Feather Gardens / via Facebook

 

As warmer weather arrives in Idaho, you may be getting your gardening gloves on. But for less experienced green thumbs, you may be frustrated and less than happy with what springs up in your garden. Maybe you started a garden for the first time last year as a pandemic hobby but aren’t sure if it’s worth the effort this year. 

Madelyn Beck / Mountain West News Bureau

Spring bird migration is underway and will continue in the Mountain West for the next few months. 


The pandemic prompted a ton of people who were stuck at home to explore the world of gardening for the first time, and an upcoming webinar series aims to cultivate even more budding backyard growers.

Madelyn Beck / Mountain West News Bureau

Parts of the Mountain West are still seeing snow and frost and sleet – but there's one sure sign that spring is actually here: the songs of migrating birds. 

bgwashburn / Flickr

A devastating disease sometimes referred to as “rabbit Ebola” has been detected for the first time in Idaho, with state officials warning domestic rabbit owners to take precautions.


Madelyn Beck / Mountain West News Bureau

A new study shows that listening to nature could have significant health benefits.  


ISDA

You can find Blue Heart Springs near Box Canyon on the Snake River between Hagerman and Buhl. It’s a hidden oasis and you can’t get there in a car — you have to boat or kayak in. Blue Heart lives up to its name: It’s shaped like a heart and the water is a breathtakingly clear blue. But that color, and the spring itself, are now under threat from an invasive plant.


Gains in air quality had been hailed as a silver lining amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But according to new data out this week, those improvements in the U.S. were negated by last summer's wildfire smoke.

Madelyn Beck / Mountain West New Bureau

The wind and solar industries made historic gains last year. Both reached new highs in energy production and capacity in 2020.


Idaho State Department of Agriculture

No bigger than a grain of rice, zebra mussels are deadly intruders that traveled from the Ukraine to Idaho, threatening to poison the state’s water supply. But the state Ag Department tracked down these tiny, invasive creatures before they could target Idaho’s waterways.

 

  

Yet another study is showing an alarming decline in butterflies across the warming American West.

CDFW-Wildlife Investigations Lab

A salmonella outbreak is killing songbirds around the West, and it continues to spread.


Dangerous conditions in the backcountry this winter highlight a potential cause that scientists continue to study: the connection between avalanches and the climate crisis.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center counts at least 33 avalanche deaths across the country so far this season. That number eclipses the 23 fatalities for the entire winter the year before – and several years prior.

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