Environment

Rick Bowmer / AP Images


  Getting hatchery Snake River sockeye salmon from Idaho to the Pacific Ocean and back again is no easy task. A new hatchery that costs $14 million opened in 2013 to add another million fish each year going out of the Gem State. The first fish from the hatchery started coming back to the Sawtooth Valley this year. As of last week, only 15 sockeye had come home. We talk with Idaho Statesman special correspondent Rocky Barker about the factors making the process more challenging.

From more intense wildfires to prolonged droughts, climate change is impacting the ecology of the American West. That’s got researchers in our region looking at a new way to fight some of these impacts: drones.

Desert Research Institute

Prescribed fires have been used for centuries to help control the landscape. But the practice fell out of favor in the early 20th century. While attitudes are changing, the West still sees fire as a destructive process. A look at prescribed fires on Idaho Matters.

A recent study says the American West should be doing more prescribed burns to keep forests healthy and to help lessen the impacts of wildfires across our region. It also concluded that there needs to be a change in how we perceive the practice out here for that to happen.

A new species of tumbleweed is more vigorous and invasive than ones we've seen in the past. Its range could spread throughout the Mountain West. 

Bonneville Power/ Flickr Creative Commons

As the population booms in southwestern Idaho, federal and state agencies are proposing to raise Anderson Ranch Dam by six feet.

Public lands that used to be a part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah will lose many of their environmental protections, according to a final federal government management plan released Friday.

Kari Greer / Boise National Forest

Wildfires are still burning across the Mountain West, but far fewer than in the last few years.


Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

 

In May, we visited with water quality advocate Christopher Swain on his decision to swim the 150-mile length of the Boise River. He’s partnered with the Idaho Business for the Outdoors to be the first person to take on this challenge. It’s not the first time he’s done a swim like this, but in an effort to get folks to think about this vital waterway he dove into the water earlier this month and began his journey. We get an update from him during a stop in the city that bears the river's name.

Zoo Boise

Zoo Boise welcomed into the world a pair of baby red pandas this summer. The cubs are healthy, and growing as they should, according to Zoo Boise.

Invasive insects and diseases are killing tree species in forests across the U.S., and in turn, weakening one of the planet's natural ways to fight climate change. That's according to a new report published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Adrian Black / Flickr

Recent wildfires in the Stanley area got a little help from FirstNet. It was a higher frequency network created by Congress after 9-11 to ensure first responders have the service they need to communicate. A “Cell on Light Truck” was sent to the Stanley area fires to help multiple agencies talk to each other. Idaho Matters finds out more about FirstNet and how it helps in emergencies, like wildfires.

Idaho Department of Lands

More than 1,000 acres of trees are being cut down at Bogus Basin. The timber sales are the result of an infection of the Douglas-fir dwarf mistletoe and beetles that take advantage of the sick trees. Almost 80% of tree stands in the Bogus Basin Project area are infected with mistletoe. Sick and dead trees can be dangerous to skiers. That’s why the Idaho Department of Lands and the Boise National Forest are working together to get logging started this week near the Superior chairlift.

Federal officials have announced changes to the Endangered Species Act, which could have big impacts on wildlife and habitat throughout our region.

Pioneer Irrigation District

TVs, tires, mattresses, even a recliner — all these items, and lots and lots of trash, are dumped into canals and ditches around the Treasure Valley. Sometimes it’s grass clippings or tree limbs that are dumped, which can clog the water flow. The Treasure Valley Water Users Association says it’s a growing problem.

Roger Phillips / Idaho Department of Fish and Game

It’s been awhile since Lonesome Larry made the long journey home to Redfish Lake and found no girl sockeye salmon to mate with. That was 1992. Since then the numbers have gone up and downAs of last week, Idaho Fish and Game reported that sockeye salmon returns are lower than they’ve been in 10 years. The Boise Weekly has published a series on salmon and dam removal and Idaho Matters jumps in for a closer look.

Idaho Department of Agriculture

Zebra and quagga mussels can devastate an ecosystem and Yellowstone National Park is doing everything it can to keep them out. As the Mountain West News Bureau’s Maggie Mullen reports, that includes harnessing the power of a dog’s snout.

Zebra and quagga mussels can devastate an ecosystem, and Yellowstone National Park is doing everything it can to keep them out. Most recently, that includes harnessing the power of a dog's snout.

Elk
GoCyclones / Flickr Creative Commons

“Share the Road” is a common motto seen across Idaho, advocating for cars to share their roads with bicyclists. Eastern Idaho is dealing with a different road-sharing issue. Instead of single-speeds, these drivers are trying to avoid bigger beasts — elk, pronghorn and bison.

 

zizzybaloobah / Flickr

We all know Boise is a hot topic right now, as more people find the city and move here. But did you know Boise is hotter than it used to be temperature-wise? According to a new study by Climate Central, Boise is the 13th fastest-warming city in the U.S. Boise is 3.84 degrees hotter than it was in 1970.

Wildfires are a common part of life in our region. According to new research, they can also give scientists valuable information about the climate effects of another potential disaster: nuclear war.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

It’s no secret that wildfires are getting worse in the West. They’re threatening lives, homes and ecosystems. And they are also threatening our already-precarious watersheds. It’s all becoming a vicious cycle  — especially for the drier parts of our region.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

You’ve heard us report before on places about to be stocked with fish by Idaho Fish and Game. A few hundred trout in a river ... a few kokanee salmon in a lake ... maybe a few dozen channel catfish in a pond ... what does that add up to? Try 30 million fish a year. That’s right. Thirty million fish every single year in Idaho.

Idaho Power

Ten-year-old Lily Colson likes penguins and polar bears and she wanted to protect them from the effects of climate change. This Boise 4th grader somehow went from protecting penguins to coming up with a new way to use solar power ... without having to build more infrastructure. She calls the idea “Solar Lines.”

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Time for the Boise River Boogie. No, it’s not a dance, it’s a duathlon. And it’s a fundraiser to help keep the river in good shape. Not that long ago, slaughterhouses in Garden City made the river run red. Raw sewage was dumped directly in the river. And the habitat suffered. Over time, valley residents began to clean up the river. Over the last eight years, the Boise River Enhancement Network has been working to keep the waterway healthy.

Pages