Environment

Flickr Creative Commons, Jo Zimny Photos

The near-freezing night temperatures of the last week in Boise make it hard to remember that just a month ago, the city was close to triple digits. Is winter early this year, or is this quick transition actually pretty normal?

 

Molly Wampler/ Boise State Public Radio

75 acres of land were donated to the City of Boise in hopes of preserving wildlife habitats. A Boise couple donated the land near Polecat Gulch Reserve, making it the largest land donation to the city since 2003.

Tom Mangelsen / AP Images

For women who like to recreate in Mountain West states like Idaho, it's long been said that you should avoid camping while on your period. The idea was that this would attract wild amimals. But is there truth to this idea? Or is it more myth than fact? In this story, we learn this notion originated from an incident at Glacier National Park over 50 years ago. Maggie Mulles of the Mountain West News Bureau explains how this myth took on a life of its own. 

Reservoirs can get messy after a big wildfire. The issue isn’t the fire itself, it’s what happens after. 

So far this year, the Wyoming Department of Health has issued algae bloom advisories for 16 lakes and reservoirs across the state, a spike that mirrors the record number potentially toxic blooms across the country in 2019, as counted by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.

Heath Druzin / Boise State Public Radio

In late 2018, researchers in Yellowstone National Park made a grim discovery: The first golden eagle in the park ever fitted with a tracking transmitter was dead.

Our region is leading the way on training helicopter pilots to fight fires at night.  There are costs and hazards involved but the move could also help firefighters get the most threatening blazes under control more quickly.

Science

A study published this week in the journal Science found that the bird population in the U.S. and Canada has fallen by nearly 30%, or 3 billion birds, over the past 48 years.

 

Roger Phillips / Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Idaho Fish and Game is shutting down steelhead fishing early this fall on the Clearwater and Snake rivers at the end of this month, which outfitters say will hurt.

For the second time this year, kids around the world are striking from school to demand action around climate change. And it’s happening just before world leaders gather at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City. There were only a handful of strikes in our region last time but this time there are several dozen.

Much of the Mountain West saw record breaking snowfall last year which was great news for the mountain resort industry. This year's snowfall may be less intense. 

Mia Goodwin

The University of Idaho now ranks 6th in the country for its clean energy use. 

 


SEMARNAT/VAQUITACPR

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. Since the film went to Sundance it's been sold to National Geographic Documentary Films. The film is coming to the Flicks September 13 and Poldosky joins Idaho Matters for an update on the adorable sea creatures.

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.

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