Forest Service begins rehab work on Trinity Ridge fire

The U.S. Forest Service will spend $4.5 million to prevent erosion, protect bull trout habitat and preserve roads after the 147,000-acre Trinity Ridge Fire that burned through the Boise National Forest.

This is work that will be done while the fire is still burning, a funding opportunity that ends when the snow extinguishes the blaze. Experts predict the fire will be contained Oct. 15.

Influential Fish and Game director Conley dies

Jerry Conley the longest serving director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, died Oct. 5 after a long fight with brain cancer.

Conley, 71, led the department from 1980 to 1996, a tumultuous time that included the killing of two conservation officers, a standoff with the Nez Perce tribe over treaty fishing and the beginning of funding for non-game species. Conley organized Citizens Against Poaching, the Idaho Wildlife Congress and other programs to get the public involved in fish and wildlife management.

Resiliency Principle may become dominant guide for conservation choices

For decades environmentalists have been guided in their work by what became known as the “precautionary principle.” This decision-making guide was first put forward in environmental terms by pioneering naturalist and biologist Aldo Leopold in his landmark essay “Round River.”

His focus was the complexity of the environment.

“If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering,” Leopold wrote.

Wyden poised to become player in salmon and dam debate

Ron Wyden sat next to Sen. Mark Hatfield at what would become a pivotal hearing on the future of salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake rivers.

It was 1990 and the two men were sitting in a federal building in Portland that is long gone. Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, was a Congressman then.

Hunters shoot attacking grizzly but it escapes in eastern Idaho

Five eastern Idaho hunters went into the woods Saturday to retrieve an elk shot with an arrow loaded for bear.
They five large caliber pistols and a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with BBB pellets. So it is no surprise when a grizzly bear, likely protecting what was now his elk attacked they were ready.

They shot 12 times as the grizzly charged, the last with the 12 gauge at 12 feet, Idaho Fish and Game officials said. That was enough to convince the bear to end his charge and leave.

A small blood trail showed that the bruin had been hit with at least one of the shots.

BLM recommends Gateway West high power line go near Kuna

The Bureau of Land Management has finally released its preferred alternative for the 1,150-mile Gateway West transmission line that is planned to run from Glenrock Wyoming to Murphy.

This is the transmission project proposed by Rocky Mountain Power and Idaho Power than ran into an electrical storm of protest from southern Idaho counties because about half of the proposed route across southern Idaho was on private land. Farmers, especially in Cassia County, balked.

Idaho's dry conditions are expected to continue into winter

Dry conditions that began this summer are expected to continue into the fall and perhaps the winter, federal and state climatologists said Wednesday.

The lack of a clear sign of El Niño conditions -- warming sea surface temperatures off the coast of Peru -- leaves the scientists with more uncertainty about conditions this winter and next year, said John Abatzoglou, of the University of Idaho. But other signs, including long term trends, suggest the dry spell may last longer in the Northwest.

“Things are hinting toward sub-par precipitation,” Abatzoglou said.

New study shows that Nez Perce hatchery produces salmon as productive as wild fish

For years biologists have clashed over the role that hatcheries should play in restoring salmon.

Tribal biologists have followed the lead of Indian fisherman pushing supplementation of wild stocks of salmon with hatchery stocks. Previous research and genetic experiments have suggested releasing hatchery stock into the wild weakens the genetics of the wild stocks and reduces the overall productivity of the surviving fish.

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Scientists, officials talk in Boise about adapting to rapid climate change

Oregon health authorities are working with counties to prepare for the added burdens they will face due to climate change.

Andrea Hamberg of the Oregon Health Authority outlined the state program at the third annual Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference at the Boise Centre on the Grove Tuesday. Hundreds of scientists and policymakers examined the latest science on the impacts of rapid climate change caused in part by the growing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning and other human activities.

High court's roadless forest ruling closes book on era that ended a decade ago

The U.S. Supreme Court closed the book Monday on an era in American conservation history that had all but ended more than a decade ago.

The court rejected an appeal challenging the 2001 Clinton roadless rule that stopped logging and road building on 58 million acres of national forests. There are still a couple of legal cases hanging but the rule, which said keep roadless forests essentially as they are, has passed through the legal gantlet.

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