Environment

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

It’s been almost a year since Boise began sending hard-to-recycle plastics to a facility in Salt Lake. The plastics that can go in the orange bags are numbered 4, 5, 6 and 7. Once they’re collected from homes around Boise, they’re trucked to Utah and converted to diesel fuel.

 

Sun Valley Institute

The Sun Valley Institute and Warm Springs Consulting are partnering to present a Resiliance Workshop in Hailey to discuss ways to grow Idaho sustainably and to prepare for a future that includes the effects of climate change. We discuss the issues with Amber Beig of Warm Springs Consulting and former Blaine County commissioner Larry Schoen.

Acting Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt said Wednesday that his agency wants to remove the gray wolf from the Endangered Species List. 

CREATIVE COMMONS ZERO - CC0

A bacterial infection that infects Canada geese called "new duck disease" has turned up in the Mountain West.

IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME / Idaho Statesman

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.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

More water will start flowing through the Boise River this week as officials work to keep the risk of flooding as low as possible.

Matt Corsi / Courtesy Idaho Fish and Game

Starting March 1, the Idaho Fish and Game is offering a bounty for anglers who hook walleye, also known as yellow pikes. The invasive fish is persistent in lakes across the Mountain West.

 

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

After a mild January, February brought record snowfall to central Idaho.

Tiny Stanley, Idaho, deep in the heart of the Sawtooth Mountains, was cut off from the world this week. All roads leading to the town of fewer than 100 residents were blocked by avalanches or snow drifts Wednesday, February 27.

Kari Greer / Boise National Forest

Legislation to mandate the use of cutting edge technology in fighting wildfires passed the House Wednesday and is now headed to the president’s desk.

 

Amanda Peacher / Mountain West News Bureau

Cattle ranchers got a break this week. Their grazing fees on public lands just dropped to the lowest amount allowed under federal law. The average savings per rancher will be just $32 a year, but the decision is still controversial.


Researchers studying wild black bears have found that eating human food could have a deep impact on the animals’ bodies.

Ecologists tracked 30 wild black bears around Durango, Colorado over a few summers and winters. They also tested their hair and blood.

They found that bears that foraged more on human food hibernated for shorter periods of time.

National Parks and public lands in the West are having trouble with cactus poachers. But some park rangers are fighting back by micro-chipping their cacti.

THE NATURE CONSERVANCY

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a 54-year-old congressional act that helps federal, state and local governments to purchase land for preservation and public use. Questions were raised as it was allowed to expire this past October, but last week, it was permanently renewed and we look at how the LWCF helps conserve Idaho lands.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Twin Falls has a recycling problem. According to the Twin Falls Times-News, the City Council has decided not to raise a cap on the cost of recycling – which means some recycled materials will get sent to the dump.

 

CREDIT USDA NRCS

The Gem State is seeing some staggering snowfall this season. Idaho Matters checks in with NRCS water supply specialist Ron Abramovich about what this snowpack means for the state's water supply.

AP Images

Caribou used to be found in the wilds of old growth forests in the Idaho panhandle. The population would often cross state lines into Washington. Now, there are zero caribou roaming free in the lower 48.

 

Julie Falk / Flickr

January was unusually mild, but February has served as a reminder that the calendar still says it’s winter. The spate of cold and snow is providing a two-fold benefit.

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.

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