Environment

A new study includes an interactive map that shows how your home will be affected by climate change in the next 50 years. No surprise —Idaho and the Mountain West will get hotter.

 

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Governor Brad Little signed legislation Wednesday that provides a major step forward in ending a years-long dispute over water.

A recent report from NOAA’s National Centers for Environment Information shows there were 14 severe weather events across the country last year costing a total of $89.4 billion. Five of those affected the Mountain West region.

During the partial shutdown, the National Park Service said it was using visitor entrance fees for basic operational costs. That's now changed following a congressional hearing last week by Democratic lawmakers criticizing the use of visitor fees for daily operations. Traditionally, these fees are used for more long-term or major maintenance projects.

Senators from across the country and on both sides of the aisle have introduced a bill to tackle a problematic illness of deer, elk and moose.

It's called chronic wasting disease. Like so-called "mad cow," it’s a prion disease, meaning that it is not caused by viruses or bacteria, but instead by aberrant proteins in the nervous system.

In Need Of Water, An Idaho Town Turns To Its Neighbors

Feb 8, 2019
Boise River, Flooding
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

When CS Beef Packers — a partnership between agribusiness giant J.R. Simplot Company and Caviness Beef Packers, a Texas-based company — opened a 700-job, state-of-the-art cattle-processing facility near Kuna, Idaho, in 2017, officials boasted of boosting the local economy.

Natural Resources Conservation Service

The Natural Resources Conservation Service measures mountain snowpack. Last week, we reported on below-normal levels in the Boise Basin. That was right before the agency's hydrologists went up to Mores Creek Summit near Idaho City to gather data, and right before snow storms came to the region.

 


Oregon Couple Committed To Preserving The Golden Eagles

Feb 7, 2019
Joe Atkinson

Cordi and Joe Atkinson have been caring for birds of prey for nearly four decades. From hunting with falcons to rehabilitating injured eagles, the Atkinsons have become the faces of predatory bird preservation. The Atkinsons join Idaho Matters to discuss their work and the role the birds play in the Idaho ecosystem.

CREDIT MELINDA LOWE / MONARCH BUTTERFLIES OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FACEBOOK PAGE.

Researchers have been concerned about dwindling bee populations for decades, now scientists are worried about massive reductions in monarch butterfly populations. We find out why Idaho's official state insect is in trouble and how scientists are working to preserve the butterfly.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

A public meeting on the CuMo Mine, a potential mining project near the Boise River headwaters, was supposed to happen in January. But because of the federal government shutdown, the Forest Service cancelled it.

 


Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Imagine a swarm of big, black birds flying overhead at dusk. No, it’s not a scene from a Hitchcock film. This is Nampa, Idaho — a small community that’s become the winter home for tens of thousands of crows. They are noisy and messy, and Nampa residents are pushing back.

 

Jim Urquhart / AP Photo

Groups including the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club say the 65 grizzlies that died in 2018 didn’t need to. They sent a letter to state officials urging them to act. 

 


A collection of outdoor trade groups announced they’re forming a collaboration to step up action on climate change.

Chris Steinkamp is the director of one of the trade groups, Snowsports Industries America, which represents snow sports suppliers. He says until recently, brands were hesitant to get involved on such a politically polarized issue -- until, that is, climate change started visibly edging into the reality of their businesses.

Zoo Boise / via Facebook

When you search "zoo poo" on the internet, one of the first things that comes up is a link to the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. You quickly learn that the facility sells composted animal waste to people in the Pacific Northwest, and at least one person says it makes amazing garden fertilzer.

A group of Western lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that would give states control of oil and gas projects on federal lands.

The surface temperature at a major reservoir in Colorado has risen 5 degrees over a 35 year period. That's according to a new study from researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Mountain Humane Animal Shelter / via Facebook

The Mountain Humane Animal Shelter was the first no-kill shelter in the state. They can add another superlative to their credentials: Their new facility will be run mostly with solar energy.

Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

The Environmental Protection Agency is responding to criticism that the agency is lax in enforcing regulations like the  Clean Water Act.

 


Photo by Alejandro Robles

The vaquita is a small species of porpoise that lives exclusively in the Gulf of California. The mammal is on the brink of extinction due to irresponsible fishing methods. Boise filmmaker Matthew Podolsky has partnered with Leonardo DiCaprio to produce a documentary chronicling the plight of the vaquita.

madidifilm.com

The Bolivian government is planning massive hydro-electric dam projects on rivers that provide life for thousands of indigenous people in the Amazon Basin. Area filmmaker Hayley Stuart traveled the rivers in a kayak to document the lives that would be affected. Stuart joins Idaho Matters to discuss making "Still River, Silent Jungle."

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The Idaho Environmental Forum is a nonprofit, non-partisan educational organization that encourages productive discourse on environmental issues facing the Gem State. Next week, the IEF will meet to outline their legislative goals for 2019. Idaho Matters discusses the issues that will surface in the upcoming legislative session and how they may impact Idaho's landscape and resources.

As the partial government shutdown stretches toward a third week, both the public and public employees alike are feeling the pain. But there’s another casualty: public information.

Thomas VanSelus / Flickr

Winter is when the federal government starts spending dollars to prepare for the wildfire season, but the ongoing shutdown has put some of this preparation in limbo.

Talayeh Saghatchian / Flickr

The Treasure Valley community of Nampa is again under siege by the birds. Thousands have descended on the town for the third year in a row.

A new study shows US greenhouse gas emissions are going up. The natural gas boom is partially to blame. It’s a big industry in our region.

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