Energy and Environment | KUNR

Energy and Environment

Climate Change Could Cause Reduction Of Female Plants

Aug 3, 2016
Kevin Hultine

A new review study explains how climate change will skew the sex ratios of plants. From the Arizona Science Desk, Melissa Sevigny explains.

Julia Ritchey

The boat launch at Sand Harbor on Lake Tahoe will close for the season beginning this Friday.

Nevada State Parks says for the fourth year in a row, low water conditions are prompting the closure.

Motorized boats can still launch at Lake Forest, Obexers and Tahoe Keys Marina launch areas.

The Cave Rock boat launch is closed for a renovation project that is expected to take one to two months.   

BLM Nevada

We'll continue to update this story as it develops. For updates on the fire, be sure to check the InciWeb website.  

11:14 am Friday update:

Pyramid Lake is now open for recreation. Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Spokesman Scott Carey says that major firefighting operations have ceased at the lake, making the lake safe to re-open.

Marcus Lavergne/Reno Public Radio

Business leaders in the state who want their voices heard more easily by the Public Utilities Commission have formed an Energy Efficiency Business Coalition. Reno Public Radio’s Marcus Lavergne has more:

The state’s EEBC would be an offshoot of the original organization formed in Colorado in 2007. Some of their goals are spreading information on energy efficiency to businesses around the state and influencing policy making.

Tom Polikalas is one of the Nevada branch's founders. 

Why So Many Casinos Are Leaving NV Energy

Jul 20, 2016
Peppermill Reno

The Peppermill Resort in south Reno is the latest casino trying to cut the chord with NV Energy.

The hotel-casino filed its exit application with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission earlier this month, hoping to leave the utility by next spring.

That makes it the fourth casino to do so, after Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts and the Sands Corporation. Switch data center also tried to leave, but was denied by the PUC.

Astronomers Discover 100 New Planets

Jul 20, 2016
W. Stenzel - NASA

A team of astronomers has confirmed the existence of 100 planets outside of our solar system. The original discovery came via NASA’s K2 space telescope. From the Arizona Science Desk, Sara Hammond reports on this discovery made by the University of Arizona.

Staffan Vilcans, Flickr, CC by SA-2.0

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske has certified the signatures on three petitions submitted for the November ballot, two of which will put the debate over renewable energy to voters.  

The first petition, called the Energy Choice Initiative, garnered 77,000 signatures, 20,000 more than needed. That proposal seeks to amend the state constitution to open up the state's electricity market and give consumers more choices besides NV Energy.  

Amy Westervelt

The Placer County Planning Commission voted last week to reject the Martis Valley West development in Tahoe.

The controversial project would bring 760 new million-dollar homes to the Brockway ridge, between Kings Beach and Northstar.

Like many local residents, Peggy Nicklaus of Carnelian Bay was concerned about this project and others.

University of Nevada, Reno

The Hot Pot fire has burned nearly two hundred square miles of rural land near Battle Mountain. One tool area fire crews have been using is a new live-stream remote camera system.

Marcus Lavergne

Several agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, have banned off-roading for vehicles in western Nevada because of high fire danger. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Billman reports.

The ban is a response to the ongoing drought and tinder-dry vegetation. Charles Moore is chief of the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District. He says under the rule, vehicles are only allowed on existing paved, gravel, and dirt roads, not anywhere else.

ThisisReno.com

A protest against fracking ended with an arrest on Tuesday as dozens of protesters stormed through the Siena Hotel in Reno looking to interrupt a Bureau of Land Management sale of oil and gas. Our contributor from ThisisReno Bob Conrad reports.

Protestors chanted while holding signs saying "Keep it in the ground" and "Frack free NV." There were even performance artists, clad in black bodysuits, who staged a "die-in" in the entryway of the hotel. 

Dana Nollsch/ThisisReno.com

The Truckee River impacts us all. That was the message a coalition of organizations presented at an open house this week to gather community input about the future of the river. Our contributor Bob Conrad of ThisisReno was there and has this story.

Nevada Land Trust Executive Director Alicia Reban says the open house was the first opportunity to see what the One Truckee River group has been working on for the past year.

Michelle Billman

For the first time a comprehensive management plan is being proposed for the Truckee River. This week, that plan will be revealed to the public. Reno Public Radio contributor Ky Plaskon has the story.

Along the Truckee River there are more than 130 groups and government agencies. Each one has its own way of managing things like people and pollution. Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful Executive Director Christi Cakiroglu has seen the result of this inconsistent management.

Elliott Brown, CC SA By 2.0

In the battle for hearts and minds over Nevada’s now defunct net-metering program, two new reports conclude the program actually benefits all utility users. But that won’t be enough to settle the issue.

Ever since the state’s Public Utilities Commission put an end to lower rates for rooftop solar users at the beginning of this year, solar advocates and NV Energy have been waging messaging wars.

U.S. Forest Service, Carson Ranger District

The Eastern Sierras saw a wet winter this year, leaving grasses and other fire fuels on the ground. Now foresters are looking at sheep to help solve this issue.

Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick sat down with Anna Belle Monti, fuels forester for the U.S. Forest Service to learn more.

NG: Can you just tell me a little bit about what a fuels forester does?

Ken Lund / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

With Governor Sandoval’s reluctant approval, the EPA can now propose adding the Anaconda Copper Mine site to its National Priority List. The move would open up federal funding to help in cleanup efforts. But there’s ongoing concern that it could create a negative stigma for area farmers. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports.

David Peri, along with his wife Pam, are the owners of Peri and Sons Farms.

“Our big thing that we moved down here to do is fresh market onions,” says Peri. “We’re one of the larger grower/packer/shippers in the country.”

Rita Ayers, BLM Nevada

Three Nevada prisons are helping out the threatened greater sage-grouse bird through a new collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management.

Stanley Locus rakes soil inside a yard at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, where he's been for about a year.

He's part of a new program using inmates to restore sage-grouse habitat, which has been under threat from invasive grasses and wildfires. But before a couple of weeks ago, he had never even heard of the sage-grouse, just sagebrush.

Eric Norris / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority will not ask its customers in the region to cut back on water this summer.

Last year, TMWA customers were asked to cut back 10 percent on their water use amid concerns over the lingering drought. Overall, residents responded well, cutting back by double that amount.

This year, however, strengthened by a wet winter and extra reserves, TMWA's board is easing off.

Andy Gebhardt is with TMWA.

GavIn Treadgold, Flickr, (CC by SA-2.0)

The quaint brick buildings that define Reno's early architectural era pose a significant risk in the event of a big earthquake, which scientists warn could happen sooner than later. 

There are an estimated 1,400 un-reinforced masonry buildings in the Reno-Carson area. That's a type of construction used in the old days with bricks or stone but without any rebar.

According to research geologist Craig DePolo, that's a problem.

"In the United States, we've had during strong earthquakes about 30-40 percent of these buildings have partial to total collapse."

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