Energy and Environment

Examining Fire Resilience In The American West

Apr 16, 2019
Smoke and burned trees from a wildfire
Photo by Joanne Francis on Unsplash

The ecosystems of the American West are under threat from climate change. Analysis by the Bureau of Land Management says areas like the Great Basin are particularly susceptible, with invasive species, increasing temperatures and years of extreme drought, putting the country’s largest desert at risk. 

Bree Zender

The 35-day government shutdown in late December and January halted federal wildfire preparations throughout the country. For the Sierra Nevada, KUNR found that there were key burn opportunities that were missed in that period. In some areas, prescribed burn opportunities won’t happen until later in the spring, because there’s simply too much snow. 

Introducing Science Distilled, A New KUNR Podcast

Apr 10, 2019
Jana Sayson

Science Distilled is a podcast based on the lecture series of the same name, where we break down concepts from cutting edge science and research and learn how they apply to the world around us. The podcast is hosted by KUNR's Paul Boger and Michelle Matus. 

Bree Zender

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently declared a state of emergency and called on the National Guard to speed up forest management ahead of the upcoming wildfire season.

In the Sierra Nevada, federal forest management officials are behind on prescribed fire treatments due to the 35-day partial federal government shutdown, which was followed by a historic snowfall. 

Watch & Listen: Relocating Nevada's Bighorn Sheep

Mar 19, 2019
men running toward helicopter in flight
Kathleen Masterson

Nevada’s bighorn sheep are under threat from disease. To grow the population, biologists have been relocating sheep to new habitat. The bighorn are captured with a net gun, then airlifted by helicopter, medically evaluated, and then driven to their new mountain home. KUNR’s Kathleen Masterson recently attended a relocation in Northern Nevada and she talked about her reporting experience with Bree Zender.

Relocating Bighorn Sheep To Grow Herds And Fight Disease

Mar 19, 2019
two bighorn sheep dangle from helicoptor
Kathleen Masterson

Nevada’s state animal has been afflicted by disease for more than a century. The die-offs began when European settlers brought over domestic sheep that carried a bacteria that causes pneumonia in wild sheep. But in recent decades, Nevada’s bighorn population has been slowly rebounding, thanks in large part to efforts by conservationists. Much of the success comes from relocating healthy animals to good habitat to start a new herd. 

A man stands in front of a very large mound of snow.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

The Tahoe region is reporting staggering snowfall totals for the month of February. Truckee received 121 inches while Tahoe City came in at 134 inches. 

Bree Zender

Hundreds of researchers agree that climate change is going to alter the way we will live in the coming decades. Every few years, the U.S. Global Change Research Program releases a National Climate Assessment, a comprehensive look into how the country's climate has changed, and what could be ahead.

Kathleen Masterson / KUNR

Across the globe, more and more people are buying electric cars. That has spurred the need for lithium, which is used to make the car batteries. Financial analysts project that demand will double between 2015 and 2025.

All this has driven the Canadian-owned company Lithium Nevada to go after a massive deposit in Northern Nevada. 

Bree Zender

After the first couple of storms of the winter season, much of the Eastern Sierra is at or above the historic median snow totals for this time of year, but areas in the Tahoe and Truckee Basins are trailing behind. KUNR's Bree Zender has more.

Cardboard boxes crammed together for trash disposal.
Jon Moore / Unsplash

The average Nevadan produces nearly 8 pounds of garbage per person every day. That's nearly twice the national average, according to a new report form the American Society of Civil Engineers, or ASCE. 

ALERTWildfire Is Installing More Cameras In Nevada

Dec 4, 2018
An aerial shot of the Camp Fire in Paradise, California.
NASA

A recent climate change report finds wildfires will only grow more destructive and longer lasting. In fact wildfires could burn up to six times more forest area annually by 2050 in parts of the U.S. Even before this climate report, UNR's Graham Kent has been working on expanding the footprint of his Alert Wildfire System to tackle this rapidly growing problem.

Washoe Lands Bill To Expand Reno, Sparks Draws Concerns

Nov 30, 2018
Pyramid Lake
Ken Lund / Flickr

Washoe County has proposed a public lands bill that could open up 180,000 acres of federal land north of Reno and Sparks for private sale. The goal is to free up land for developing affordable housing and create a source of revenue for the county.

Courtesy Kirk Peterson / Friends of Nevada Wilderness

Washoe County drafted a resolution that would remove more than 350,000 acres from wilderness study areas. If passed, then the approximate 550 square miles would revert to Bureau of Land Management open space. That would open up the land for various potential activities, such as mining and energy transmission. 

Some environmental groups are concerned that key habitat and archeological sites would be put at risk. KUNR's Kathleen Masterson reports. 

Michelle Billman

When farmers first purchase water rights, they typically reserve them for a certain time of the year based on historical predictions of when the most water will flow, but the runoff is frequently coming earlier because of climate change. 

Lou Manna

1 Million Cups is seeking to strengthen Nevada's startup community by giving entrepreneurs a chance to share their ideas. Our contributor Kaleb Roedel of the Northern Nevada Business View Reports.

Paul Boger

2017 was the hottest year on record for most of Northern Nevada. And while the warmer weather has created complications across the region, nowhere may be as impacted as Lake Tahoe. The delicate ecosystem of the continent’s largest alpine lake has been under assault for decades from invasive species, algae growth and decreasing clarity. But area leaders are now concerned that wildfires may pose an even greater threat to the lake.

Bree Zender

When you think of the sources behind carbon dioxide emissions, you might think of cars and factories. But in the rural mountains of the Eastern Sierra, University of Nevada, Reno researchers are finding that much of the CO2 emissions come from an unlikely place: dried up meadows. KUNR's Bree Zender reports. 

A worker stands on the side of the road above Emerald Bay holding machinery.
Caltrans

Environmental damage caused by an engineering company has delayed a multimillion-dollar project in the Emerald Bay area. It has also prompted an investigation by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, or TRPA. Our contributor Kaleb Roedel of the Northern Nevada Business View has the details.

 

 

KUNR Goes to Fly Geyser

May 2, 2018
image of fly geyser
Joey Lovato

The infamous Fly Geyser, situated on the private land north of Gerlach, has been closed to the public for nearly two decades. But now, the land's new owners – the Burning Man Project – are opening the geyser for public viewing. Reporters Joey Lovato and Bree Zender got a rare chance to check out the Geyser. Take a virtual road trip to see the landmark that has been popular for nature photographers but rarely seen by the public.

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