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.


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.

via Lonesome Larry Project


This interview originally aired Oct. 1, 2020.

Last winter, we introduced you to a Boise middle school student behind the “Lonesome Larry Project, a project by Topher Jones to save the sockeye salmon. His approach? Selling socks. 

In just one year, Topher has raised more than $12,000 to protect the sockeye and other threatened fish in the western United States.

Jacob W. Frank / NPS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protections Thursday for the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act in the lower 48 states.

Dan Dzurisin / Flickr Creative Commons

A couple of weeks ago, we shared an episode of a new podcast produced in partnership with Boise State Public Radio. “Grouse” looks at the prehistoric and controversial bird known as the sage grouse. 

Midas Gold

Today is the final day to submit comments for an environmental review on a controversial proposed mining project in Valley County.

Ashley Ahearn

In the final episode of Grouse, Ashley returns to a lek in Washington with biologist Michael Schroeder and finds it scorched by recent wildfire. Michael cries as he looks out over an area that was once home to one of the largest remaining pockets of sage-grouse in the state. But he says he’s not ready to retire yet — there’s more work to be done.

We’re all looking for hope right now, but what we really need is the courage to keep fighting, loving and dancing, as the sage-grouse have shown us. We may not save this bird, but that doesn’t mean we can’t cherish it and do our small part — whatever that may be — to try to keep these birds around.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Two snowboarders who triggered an avalanche in the backcountry of Colorado in March are facing criminal charges.

Marshall Simmonds

As the days get cold and temperatures dip below freezing, some people may be putting away their bikes for the winter. But before that, Boise State Public Radio's Wanna Know Idaho podcast wants to take you back to those summer bike rides, which are sometimes punctuated quite literally by a pesky foe known as the goathead.

How Did Goatheads Come To Idaho?

Oct 23, 2020
Marshall Simmonds

Back in 2016, Wanna Know Idaho listener Marshall Simmonds was out on a summer bike ride with some friends on the Boise Greenbelt. Suddenly, a bike tire popped. Then, another. Soon, Marshall and his friends found themselves walking their bikes back home with 18 popped tires, thanks to a patch of goatheads, or puncture vine, that had made its way onto the trail. 

Small Nuclear Reactors Would Provide Carbon-Free Energy, But Would They Be Safe?

Oct 22, 2020
Oregon State University

Many of the remaining coal-fired power plants in the United States are getting ready for retirement. They’re old, costly to build and in dwindling demand, as the domestic market for coal has declined.

But a Portland-based company has a plan to repurpose closed coal plants—large sources of carbon dioxide emissions when they were operating—to generate carbon-free energy in the form of nuclear power.

Ashley Ahearn

In 2015 the Obama Administration hammered out a deal with leaders and land managers across the west that avoided listing the sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

It was a grand compromise that protected key sage-grouse habitat while allowing for continued access to sagebrush country for a diverse set of stakeholders — from ranchers to oil and gas to recreational users. There were pats on the back and photo ops with folks in cowboy hats next to folks in Patagonia.

And yet sage-grouse populations are still declining. Compromise may make us humans feel good, but does the sage-grouse have time for it?

Rocky Barker / Idaho Statesman


William Perry Pendley came to Idaho last week. While he was visiting the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, he told reporters that he has never been the Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management. He said his title has always been Deputy Director of Policy and Programs.