Energy and Environment | KUNR

Energy and Environment

Amy Westervelt

 

Nationally, climate change remains a highly politicized issue, with senators and some presidential candidates still arguing about whether the science is valid. But at the local level, adapting to climate change is more about pragmatism than politics. 

 

After four years of severe drought and diminished snow pack, this winter’s El Nino storms are a welcome sight. They’re also a potential hazard. 

Courtesy Avaaz

      

Reactions to the global climate agreement reached in Paris last week have been mixed. Some applaud the move to reduce emissions and cap warming temperatures while others criticize the agreement’s lack of binding commitments. On the heels of that summit, we take a look at the intersection between those global discussions and what's happening right here in our region.

A Local Take On The Paris Climate Talks

Dec 15, 2015

  

Climate change has been the focus of international attention all month as world leaders convened for the UN global climate summit in Paris. To get a read on what people in our region think, our reporters talked to some Reno-Tahoe locals and a University of Nevada, Reno researcher for their takes.

Alexa Ard

The Centers for Disease Control is giving Nevada nearly $940,000 to increase adult immunizations across the state.

The money will go to the state's Division of Public Health, which plans to launch a two-year program that will include collaborating with pharmacies, community health centers and local doctors.

Money will also go toward the nonprofit Immunize Nevada to increase educational outreach. Spokeswoman Lynette Bellin says a lot of adults simply don't know that they need to maintain their vaccines after childhood.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

  Gov. Brian Sandoval says he and the U.S. Interior Secretary have resolved some significant issues that have lingered since the sage grouse was spared from the Endangered Species List. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

Sandoval met for more than an hour on Friday with Sally Jewell to hammer out some disagreements between state and federal officials about how to protect the bird's habitat.

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority is asking for input on its water resource plan, as the agency looks to how best manage the region's critical water supply. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey has the details.

Every five years, TMWA looks into its crystal ball to review and revise its twenty-year water resource plan. 

John Erwin is director of natural resources at the authority. He says when the snowpack is as low as it was last year, that can make things especially tough.

ThisIsReno, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District

State officials are working to keep horses off roadways in Pleasant Valley, south of Reno.

Earlier this month, a driver was injured and two horses were killed after colliding at the intersection of old 395 and Rawhide Drive. 

"Feral horses have been coming down there fairly recently quite a bit," said Flint Wright with the state department of agriculture. " They're crossing the road there because they're looking for access to feed and water on the opposite side."

Alexa Ard

Doctors in Nevada must often rely on phone calls and faxes to get patient records, a spotty process that can take days. With help from a federal grant, the state's mental health system will soon be able to share that kind of information electronically among multiple providers. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has more.

Julia Ritchey

  A petition to ban the controversial practice of coyote hunting contests in Nevada failed again before the state’s Board of Wildlife Commissioners on Friday. Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey was there and has more.

The commission voted 5-2 to deny the petition after nearly three hours of emotional testimony from both sides of the issue.

Chris Vega / ThisisReno.com

After some heated back and forth, a local developer with properties near Virginia Lake is once again offering the City of Reno a hefty donation to help clean up that water, which has been plagued with issues for decades. Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss takes us through the play-by-play of what's been happening. 

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe

Mt. Rose ski area is armed with a slew of snow-makers, and as long as Mother Nature cooperates with cold, dry conditions, the resort will open this week. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details.

With advertising that reads El Nino Is Coming...Get Your Season Pass Today the Mount Rose ski area is banking on a better winter, finally. 

Courtesy of Firelizard5, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

  A scathing federal report released Friday found that the Bureau of Land Management knowingly sold thousands of wild horses for slaughter. Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey reports.

The BLM, which is charged with protecting wild horses actually sold more than 1,700 of them to a Colorado rancher who illegally sent them to slaughterhouses in Mexico.

That’s according to a new report.

Over the course of four years, from 2008-2012, the rancher, Tom Davis, purchased loads of horses for $10 each and resold them for meat.  

Subway.com

Earlier this month we ran a feature on antibiotics in meat and how they’re linked to superbugs in humans. Now, Reno Public Radio’s Amy Westervelt reports that the major restaurant chain Subway will actually be eliminating all antibiotics from its menu.

Nevada has more large nail salons than any other state, but new research has found a troubling health issue lurking at them. 

A study published this week in the journal Environmental International found high levels of the chemical Diphenyl phosphate, or DPHP, in women who had just painted their nails. DPHP is created when the body metabolizes Triphenyl phosphate (TPHP), a common component of flame retardants. 

  Coyote hunting competitions are a regular occurrence in many parts of rural Nevada, but the controversial practice has animal rights activists renewing efforts to ban them. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

A flyer for a coyote derby in Austin, Nevada, this weekend advertises prizes and awards for hunters grouped into two- and three-person teams.

Phil Marshall is one of the organizers of the event. He says there are two benefits; the first is driving economic activity to a remote part of the state.

The Nature Conservancy

Independence Lake is just north of Truckee but is perhaps one of the last hidden gems of the Sierra. It’s pristine, quiet, and it serves as Reno’s last resort water supply—all reasons why more than twenty agencies are partnering to preserve it. For our series Beyond Tahoe: Exploring Our Waterways, KUNR News Director Michelle Bliss heads to this small, relatively unknown, lake to learn more.

In order to set foot on the rocky, seemingly untouched shore of Independence Lake, it’s recommended that you have 4-wheel drive. 

Michelle Bliss

The CDC has been sounding the alarm about the link between antibiotics in meat and antibiotic resistance in humans, but a new report finds that antibiotic-free options are still relatively scarce. Reno Public Radio’s Amy Westervelt talked to one Nevada rancher in Fallon who's made the switch.

"See how there's so much less fiber in this year's cow pie?"

Julia Ritchey

After four years of drought, the state wants to restrict the amount of groundwater being pumped for agriculture in the Smith and Mason valleys.  Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey reports.

Farmers have already voluntarily cut back on their use of these supplemental wells, which they've relied more heavily on due to lack of surface water from the parched Walker River.

But Jason King, the state engineer, says it isn't enough in these dry conditions.

US Forest Service / U.S. Department of Agriculture

Last week, Congress set aside emergency disaster aid for fighting wildfires, but it's only a temporary fix.

In August, the U.S. Forest Service released an alarming statistic: For the first time in history, more than half the agency’s annual budget is going to fight wildfires, compared to 16 percent in 1995. Tom Blush, with the U.S. Forest Service, explains.

“The fires are sucking our funding from just about everything else we do. ”

Amy Westervelt

Donner Lake in Truckee holds some of the largest lake trout in California, but Reno Public Radio’s Amy Westervelt reports that Donner fish might not make for the healthiest meal.

Truckee residents take pride in having their own lake. At only 1.3 square miles compared to Tahoe’s nearly 200, Donner may be small, but the clear, cold lake, ringed by mountains is no less popular for swimming, paddleboarding, and fishing. It also boasts one of just a few sandy stretches in the area.

Pages