environment

Sage and wildflowers bloom along a section of rangeland in Northern Nevada.
Paul Boger / KUNR Public Radio

As fire season begins to ramp up across the American West, firefighters in Nevada will have more money this year to battle those blazes. That's due, in part, to new legislation passed by lawmakers during the 2019 session, but that's one of the many environmentally-related bills to come out of the legislature. KUNR's Paul Boger spoke with Daniel Rothberg with the Nevada Independent to break it all down.

two firefighters hold hose in front of blaze
Unsplash

Firefighters work in high-stress, high-stakes environments, constantly making choices in the face of cascading uncertainty. They’re putting their lives on the line and taking into consideration everything that’s in the path of a blaze, including people, property, animals, and even environmental resources, like water.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Nonprofit Beautifies Reno's Riverwalk

Nov 22, 2017
Frankie Wenson

Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful is an environmental non-profit, and its members recently planted 10,000 flower bulbs in downtown Reno. Our student contributor Frankie Wenson visited the crews and had this audio postcard. 

More than 80 people came out early on a chilly, Saturday morning to beautify the city’s Riverwalk. I talked to program manager Matthew Salazar, volunteer Jeff Bidwell and director Lindsay Panton on why they came. 

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