environment | KUNR

environment

News Brief 

New research published in the journal Ecology is the first to use GPS-tracking data to look into the effects of wildfire smoke on bird migrations. But researchers say the study was a lucky accident.

"It was really a stroke of luck, a lot of things had to happen, all at the right time, in order for us to see this," said Cory Overton, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and lead author of the paper.

A black bear eating berries off of a bush in the wilderness.
Courtesy of Nevada Department of Wildlife

Biologists and veterinarians in California and Nevada are investigating a puzzling disease that has been causing bears to experience encephalitis, a sometimes fatal inflammation of the brain.

A grove of pinyon-juniper trees with a mountain range in the background.
Wikimedia Commons

Pinyon-juniper woodlands stretch across much of the high desert in the American West. While quiet on the outside, this forest is at the heart of contentious debate between environmentalists, tribes and the federal government.

While these woodlands cover millions of desert acres, they are still among the least studied forest types in North America, according to the National Park Service.

Dry and cracked soil covering a large span of sparingly bushed landscape.
Famartin

Nevada had its driest year on record in 2020, according to the National Center for Environmental Information, and recent trends point to it continuing to get drier. Currently, all of Nevada is in drought, with over 72% of the state’s land experiencing “extreme drought conditions,” according to Drought.gov. Desert Research Institute Assistant Research Professor and Climatologist Dan McEvoy says our conditions in the summer months are dependent on the precipitation our area gets in the winter.

An image of a treeline next to a lake.
Birgit F / Creative Commons, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Wednesday, Mar. 24, 2021.

Two-thirds of Americans think the federal government should be doing more to reduce the impacts of climate change, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.


Graph of annual average temperatures in Reno since first Earth Day in 1970.
Climate Central

April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day back in 1970. Much has changed since then, from climate science to renewable energy. Dr. Kristen Averyt is Nevada's State Climate Policy Coordinator, and she spoke with KUNR to talk about how things have evolved over 50 years.

Imagine something like a velociraptor, but faster and stronger, and with feathers.


Federal lands are much better at reducing habitat loss and protecting endangered species than private lands, according to a new study out this week by researchers at Tufts University and the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife.

The U.S. Forest Service is rethinking how it employs firefighters.

The Bureau of Land Management is now taking public comments on newly-published information about its sage grouse management plans. The agency posted these draft supplemental environmental impact statements to the Federal Register on Friday, Feb. 21.

An image of a person working in waterways in Idaho.
U.S. Geological Survey

Earlier this month, the Trump administration released its budget proposal for next year. It included significant cuts to the U.S. Geological Survey, but that agency’s director told the Mountain West News Bureau that’s not going to happen.

Ten years ago, when Colorado College first conducted the Conservation in the West Poll, 48 percent of respondents said yes, climate change is a problem requiring action. This year, that number is up to 59 percent.

A new degree program in Colorado aims to train business leaders for the fast-growing outdoor recreation industry in the Mountain West.

As part of its budget plan, the Trump administration proposes spending $150 million for a new uranium reserve. That could help struggling uranium mining companies in the Mountain West. But the idea has its critics.

 


Updated 2:24 p.m. MST 2/6/2020

In the face of ongoing litigation from tribes and conservation groups, the Trump administration has finalized plans to expand drilling, mining and grazing across southern Utah — including within the former bounds of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. 

New legislation introduced in the U.S. House Thursday would make it easier for conservation groups to remove cattle and sheep from federal lands. 

The Trump administration has spent the past month announcing sweeping changes that could benefit ranchers on public lands, including a proposal to overhaul grazing regulations for the first time in 25 years. 

What has sharp teeth, big, recurved claws, and is almost as long as a school bus?

Mix gelatin, sand and cyanobacteria and what do you get? A solid building material with a low carbon footprint.

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