The law that governs today’s hardrock mines on public lands in the West is nearly 150 years old. New legislation this week from House Democrats would enact significant reforms. 

Idaho Fish and Game video screen grab

Idaho Fish and Game biologists are catching and tagging female sage grouse to see how they are doing after the 2018 Grassy Ridge Fire that occured 15 miles northwest of St. Anthony.

snake river alliance/facebook

The partial meltdown of Three Mile Island's Reactor #2 in 1979 rocked a nation that became lulled by the quiet safety of nuclear energy. The incident caused Idahoans to question the safety of operations at Idaho National Laboratory and as a result, the Snake River Alliance was developed. For 40 years, the organization has served as Idaho's nuclear watchdog and clean energy advocates.

Hecla Mining

Idaho’s Surface Mining Act was amended by a bill passed during this year’s legislative session. The Idaho Department of Lands, or IDL, will hold public meetings this summer where the public can provide their comment on the details of how those rules will be implemented.



In a mostly symbolic move, the U.S. House voted Thursday to stop the Trump administration from exiting the Paris Climate Agreement. Meanwhile, many cities and states in the Mountain West are continuing to warm faster than the national average.

Serengeti Preservation Foundation / Facebook

Between 2006 and 2014, illegal poaching in Tanzania had reduced elephant populations from 137,000 to 44,000. It took the efforts of conservation organizations to bring global attention to the outrage - organizations like the Serengeti Conservation Foundation. Meyasi Meshilieck is the executive director of the Foundation and he will be in Boise discussing efforts to preserve the flora and fauna of the Serengeti and Tanzania in the face of human development and global climate change. He joins Idaho Matters to discuss conservation; the event is sponsored by the Earth Island Institute's Serengeti Watch, it will take place at the Capital Center Event Center this evening.

Kajsa Van de Riet / IDEQ

Tundra swans are dying along the Coeur d’Alene River floodplain. But this isn't a new problem.

Brian Pearson / Idaho Fish and Game

Equipped with kneepads and trowels, three dozen volunteers helped replant native seedlings near Lucky Peak in March. Turns out Idaho Fish and Game relies on hundreds of volunteers for their habitat restoration program.

Wildfire season is around the corner in the Mountain West. Prescribed burns are just one way to reduce wildfire risk. That's because, in the right setting, they reduce built-up dry fuel in a controlled environment.

Plenty of studies have shown how bark beetle infestations have decimated evergreen trees throughout the Rocky Mountain region, but research scientists wanted to figure out how this tree die-off was affecting actual forest animals. Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service found that some species suffered, while others benefited.

Mesa Burn Closed To Commercial Morel Pickers

Apr 29, 2019
Monica Gokey / Boise State Public Radio

Every summer, commercial mushroom pickers scour the previous summer's fire maps to find the most promising ground for morel picking. But in one of Idaho’s biggest burns, the forest will be closed to commercial picking.

There’s a fungus wiping out a special kind of toad that lives in the Rocky Mountains, but scientists may have a solution: a probiotic skin soak.

The boreal toad is a tough little animal, with a lifespan longer than a decade, about half of which is spent buried underneath a thick layer of snow high up in the mountains.

“They’re really impressive little guys,” says Tim Korpeta, a graduate student in biology at the University of Colorado Boulder who has recently embodied another title: toad-bather.

More and more Americans are living in places where the air is dangerous to breath. That's because of smog or smoke from wildfires. A new study says climate change is the culprit.

Dinosaur National Monument is known for its fossils and footprints. But now it could become known for its stargazing.

Roger Tabor / USFWS

Idaho and Oregon have worked out a deal to keep operating the Hells Canyon Complex on the Snake River.


Payette National Forest

Hikers, campers and outdoor enthusiasts have a new way to find out if forest officials will be burning the landscape near their getaways.

No new oil and gas leases. No more shrinking monuments. Free entrance to national parks.

Boise State University

Justin Hayes takes over as the executive director of the Idaho Conservation League on May 1. He joins Idaho Matters to talk about the future of conservation and preservation of the Gem State and the upcoming 2019 Environmental Conference called "Energy, Salmon, Agriculture, and Community: Can We Come Together?"

Wyoming is leading the trend on protecting wildlife migration routes across the region, but the state's latest move to add two more migration routes is being held up by a letter from a coalition of industries, including oil and gas, mining and livestock interests. Jim Magagna is with the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.

Boise River, Flooding
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise River is on the rise once again.


The first golden eagle in Yellowstone National Park to wear a tracking device is dead from lead poisoning. 

TOOELE – From behind the wheel of a gray Jeep Wrangler, Rob Hammer scans a high-desert landscape in search of an elusive American icon.


This segment originally aired on March 4, 2019.

Freelance journalist Rocky Barker has been tracking the dwindling numbers of the Selkirk caribou and he joins Idaho Matters to illustrate the effects of encroachment and climate change on the iconic steer of the Northwest.


This segment originally aired on January 23, 2019.

The Snake River Seed Cooperative encourages regional growers to produce organic, non-GMO seed for both farmers and backyard gardeners. We meet Snake River Seed Cooperative founder and director Casey O'Leary and learn why this program can lead to healthier communities and wealthier growers.

water, boise river
Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise river will be rising in the next few days as water managers react to recent spring rains.