Environment

Efforts to reduce water use by farmers, homeowners and cities have worked, according to state water managers who say wise water use has delayed a controversial plan to divert up to 72 billion gallons of water from the Bear River in northern Utah for municipal and agricultural use. 

Uranium
oilinuganda.org

State regulators have denied a Salt Lake City-based nuclear waste processing company an exemption to bury thousands of tons of depleted uranium munitions at its site.

The Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board on Thursday voted unanimously to reject the military ordnance after EnergySolutions had petitioned the Department of Environmental Quality for an exemption to Utah's provisional prohibition on burying the radioactive munitions.

Pando: the world's largest single organism.
phys.org

A new study finds a Utah aspen grove considered the world's largest living organism is continuing to decline despite new fencing designed to keep out mule deer whose appetites are blamed its deterioration.

Two Utah State University professors found that some fencing constructed in 2013 is keeping the deer from eating the trees, but additional barriers put up in 2014 don't seem to have protected the colony known as Pando.

An environmental analysis of the Lake Powell Pipeline has resumed. The Utah Division of Water Resources learned last week that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, will not provide all of the permits needed to construct the pipeline, but will continue to oversee environmental assessments.

Ashley Rohde

The Utah Society for Environmental Education honored five young people from around the state this week for their outstanding work on environmental and social causes.  

Wolves Helping Aspen Return To Northern Yellowstone

Sep 10, 2018
Pixabay

Aspen trees are on the rebound in and around Yellowstone National Park, and a new report says predators deserve the credit.

Luke Painter, a wildlife ecologist at Oregon State University and the study's lead author, says the trees were in decline for decades largely because concentrated elk populations were eating new tree shoots. 

Montana wildlife.
Wilderness.org

The head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is stepping down after a 16-month tenure in which he proposed broad changes to rules governing protections for thousands of plant and animal species.

Spokesman Gavin Shire said Thursday that Greg Sheehan will step down next week to return to his family and home in Utah.

Bighorn in Zion National Park
wildlife.org

Zion National Park visitors are being asked to alert wildlife biologists if they encounter bighorn sheep coughing a lot.

Excessive coughing is a symptom of pneumonia and park officials and the state Division of Wildlife Resources said Tuesday that a bacterium commonly associated with pneumonia was found July 20 in a bighorn sheep ewe.

Bear River Celebration: 'We All Live Downstream'

Jun 21, 2018
Bear River Celebration and Free Fishing Day: First-time anglers and volunteers gather around Skylar Pond and learn about stewardship over the watershed.
Jackson Wilde

On June 9, dozens of families gathered with their children at Willow Park West in Logan for the 17th annual Bear River Celebration.

Utah Lake experiences toxic algae bloom.
utahlakecommission.org

For a third straight year, Utah officials are warning residents that a toxic algae bloom has made parts of Utah Lake near Provo unsafe for recreation. 

State and county agencies said Tuesday that recent tests on water samples showed high levels of toxin-producing cyanobacteria in the waters of Provo Bay. Other parts of the lake are not affected by the algal bloom and considered safe for recreation.

Utah Desert
wildaboututah.org

National weather and wildfire experts say the American Southwest is one of the regions hardest hit by drought as many areas have received just a fraction of their normal precipitation while temperatures have climbed.

Climatologist Brian Fuchs with National Drought Mitigation Center painted a grim picture Wednesday as he used a series of maps to depict the dryness that has consumed the Four Corners region — where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet.

Salt Lake City, UT
fedoraproject.org

A group of Utah teenagers convinced state lawmakers to adopt a resolution that recognizes the consequences of climate change and encourages the reduction of emissions.

Seven of the students met with Republican Gov. Gary Herbert on Wednesday for a ceremonial signing of the resolution.

Island cities proposed for Utah Lake
utahlakecommission.org

An ambitious proposal to build an island city on Utah Lake to help stymie toxic algae blooms that plague the water got a boost from Utah lawmakers this year, but not everyone thinks it's a good idea.

Developer Lake Restorations Inc. has proposed funding multiple conservation and restoration efforts on the lake by building islands in the lake that people could live on.

Prairie dogs to blame for E. Coli outbreak in Bryce Canyon National Park
en.wikipedia.org

Utah authorities are investigating reports of drinking water contaminated by E. coli linked to prairie dogs at Bryce Canyon National Park, but say tests so far show it's clean.

The sheriff near the iconic park that saw 2.5 million visitors last year said Tuesday county leaders are alarmed about contamination reports linked to feces from nearby prairie dogs.

Residents living in the southern Utah community of Cedar City watched as flames fueled a fire and filled the air with smoke beginning in June 2017. The Brian Head fire damaged more than 72,000 acres of Dixie National Forest and Bureau of Land Management land.

Suit Claims BLM Broke Law With Oil And Gas Leases

May 2, 2018
News Service

Conservation groups say the U.S. Bureau of Land Management broke the law when it approved eight large oil and gas lease sales in Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Wyoming, and filed suite earlier this week in federal court.

Bear in the wilderness
Pixabay

Up to a third of the nation's wildlife species are at increased risk of extinction, according to a new report. In "Reversing America's Wildlife Crisis," National Wildlife Federation research shows more than 150 species are already extinct, and 500 more haven't been sighted in decades. 

Man cleaning trash out of the Jordan River.
westsidemedia.org

A device called a "trash boom" is being installed on the Jordan River to help skim off massive amounts of flowing garbage and debris.

The device unveiled on Monday is meant to prevent the garbage from reaching open waters, sensitive wetlands and bird habitat of the Great Salt Lake. The lake provides critical migratory habitat for thousands of waterfowl. But it's also a terminal lake, meaning it is a collection point for most of the runoff from surrounding mountains.

Utah Watershed Restoration Initiative

Life’s good right now if you’re a juniper tree. The climate has been drier and warmer. Fire happens only once in a while. This has caused junipers and pinyon pines to start growing out into sagebrush steppe. But more pinyon and juniper cover means the sagebrush is being choked out, causing sage grouse to leave.

National Parks Service

Even back in 2013 it was controversial, when Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources helicoptered 35 mountain goats, from the Tusher Mountains to the LaSal Mountains above Moab.

Pixabay

Winter arrived late in Utah, and resorts have struggled to make and keep enough snow to attract skiers and snowboarders and the money they bring to the state. 

Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance organization has released a statewide video focusing on a chaining plan, a practice the alliance describes as destructive, within Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. 

Ken Miracle/U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Interior Department is expected to announce its decision soon on the fate of the sage grouse conservation plan, which spans Utah and 10 other western states.

Times have changed. The majority of Americans now live in urban environments, and the current generation is defined by technology. This has left some public land agencies fighting to stay relevant.

Bingham Junction's new park in Midvale, Utah.
midvalecity.org

U.S. census figures show a suburban Salt Lake City area formerly known for smoking smelters that contaminated the ground has become one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in the state.

The former Superfund site is home to sparkling apartments, entertainment options and offices — just two years after federal regulators removed the site from its list of toxic areas. The site, now called Bingham Junction, had been contaminated with arsenic and lead. But those days are gone.

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