Natural Resources & Energy

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US Fish and Wildlife Service-Mountain Prairie Region

After less than 20 years on the list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing the removal of a flowering plant from the list of threatened species. The pink and white Colorado butterfly plant grows up to three feet tall and along waterways in southeast Wyoming and Colorado’s Front Range but urban encroachment nearly wiped it out.

Kamila Kudelska


A new permanent exhibition at the Draper Natural History Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West focuses on golden eagle research but it also looks at how golden eagles have been and still are significant to the Plains Indian people.

Maggie Mullen

Over the next few weeks, we're going to take you on a tour of some of our favorite public lands.  

Most people visit Curt Gowdy State Park in Southeastern Wyoming for the world-class mountain biking, reservoirs filled with rainbow trout, and hikes through steep granite formations.

But entomologist Christy Bell comes for the bees.

Gavin Bade

The Trump administration has confirmed a proposed bailout to the coal and nuclear industries. A memo from the Department of Energy was leaked recently outlining the plan. It would force utilities to buy electricity and capacity from retiring coal and nuclear plants to keep them alive for two years. University of Richmond Law Professor Joel Eisen, who has written extensively on matters on administrative law, energy, and the electric grid, helps make sense of what the draft memo means.

Kamila Kudelska

When museums have special exhibitions, what visitors don't know is that it takes years for the exhibit to evolve from a concept to the moment you are standing in front of that famous work of art. The Whitney Western Art Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West just opened its new exhibit featuring the famous Western American artist, Albert Bierstadt. But the process behind securing loans is not so easy.

6:30 a.m. is one of the best times to watch wildlife in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley.

Everything smells like sage. It’s really cold and there are a bunch of retirees staring through hire-powered telescopes at a lush, verdant hill.

When is the last time you’ve had a clear view of the Milky Way? Chances are you’re among the 99 percent of Americans who can’t see all that much of the night sky from where you live.

As part of our series touring some of our favourite public lands, Amanda Peacher takes us to the first U.S. International Dark Sky Reserve in Central Idaho. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may seem like an unlikely champion for an illegal substance, but the Kentucky Republican just added the legalization of marijuana’s non-psychoactive cousin, hemp, to the Senate farm bill. The industrial hemp business is increasingly seen as an economic savior and substitute for vulnerable industries like mining, especially in Colorado, the first state in the nation to make hemp legal at the state level.

A new study published in Science magazine found that many of the world’s trout species are facing extinction due to climate change, overfishing and pollution.

A federal watchdog group said the U.S. Interior Department didn’t give an adequate reason for cancelling a study on the health impacts of coal mining last year.

Public Domain/Kevin Casper

Scientists think there may be as much as twice the amount of magma below Yellowstone's supervolcano than what they once believed. This was discovered using a new way to estimate just how much magma is below the earth's surface. 

In another shuffle of department leadership, the Bureau of Land Management has a new Deputy Director of Operations. The agency, along with the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, still await Senate-confirmed directors. 

Map of the wildfire's current spread as of 6/12 at 4:40 pm.
Incident Information System; U.S. Forest Service; Medicine Bow National Forest

The Badger Creek Fire in southern Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest just north of the Colorado border has spread to over 2300 acres since Sunday. The wildfire has two heads and is moving both north and east causing several communities to evacuate and Highway 230 to close. Also, Highway 10 is closed from Woods Landing to the Colorado state line. It has grown primarily due to wind.

Jon Sullivan, PD Photo

An anonymous donor plans to give a historic acre of land surrounded by Grand Teton National Park to the park.

Courtesy of Ken Lund, Flickr Creative Commons

Last month, Yellowstone National Park experienced the busiest May on record with close to 450,000 visits to the park. With visitation trends only going up, the park is trying to understand what decisions will have to be made in the future.

Public Domain / Jean Beaufort

The House did not pass its version of a farm bill last month, but the Senate may have a better shot this week when they consider the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

Screenshot of the leaked DOE memo obtained by Bloomberg last week
Gavin Bade

The Trump administration is planning to keep coal and nuclear-fueled power plants alive, according to a 41-page memo acquired by Bloomberg News. The plan would enable the federal government to buy electricity from coal and nuclear plants that were planning to retire. If the bailout becomes a reality, it will be the first of its kind.

Public lands facilities around the nation are cutting budgets and staff. But in the Mountain West region, cutbacks at Montana's National Bison Refuge are prompting accusations of a political vendetta by regional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managers. 

Peter Kienzler, Wyoming Natural Diversity Database

In mid-May, field technicians with the Wyoming Natural Diversity database went up to the Fort Laramie Historical Site for a week-long survey, looking for white-nose syndrome (WNS) for the first year. They were looking for any species of bat that showed signs of the fungal disease, but ended up evaluating little brown bats.

National Digital Library of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

At a recent public hearing in Lander to decide whether to allow grizzly bear hunting, the Northern Arapaho elder society released a statement calling such hunting an act of genocide against the species. Elders Crawford White Sr. and Nelson White Sr. stated that, as a sovereign nation, they should have been consulted in the decision as required by law.

National Museum of Wildlife Art/James Prosek

A new exhibit at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson highlights the artwork of painter and nature writer, James Prosek, one of three people in the show exploring the meaning of animal migration.

AMY MARTIN

A woman was attacked by a bull bison in Yellowstone National Park this week, in what is the fourth wildlife-caused injury reported there in just a little over a month.

A lot of people may not have heard of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or that it’s in jeopardy.

NPS photo by Neal Herbert

The Trump administration is forcing the head of Yellowstone National Park out of his job. Dan Wenk said the National Park Service will replace him with a new superintendent this August.

Environmental Protection Agency leader Scott Pruitt made a quiet visit to Boise Tuesday, to sign a new agreement between his agency and the state of Idaho.

 


NOAA

In the last three days, two people have been seriously injured by an elk. There have been three reported wildlife encounters in Yellowstone National Park this year.

The fossil skeleton of a carnivorous dinosaur recently found in Wyoming was just auctioned off in Paris. Paleontologists are worried the sale is part of a trend that will keep specimens from our region out of the hands of scientists.

Joe Riis

The Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee (GYCC) is holding a public one-day wildlife migration symposium Wednesday.

Wildfire season is ramping up in the region. Fire teams are now working to quash one outside Durango, Colorado, and Utah recently stopped another. That state is now doing prescribed burns to reduce the chance of a bigger blaze.

Bat house shelter on grounds of Fort Laramie National Historic Site, WY, where colony of little brown bats included a bat with the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, May 2018
Ian Abernethy / Wyoming Natural Diversity Database

Wildlife researchers have confirmed a bat in Fort Laramie has fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. The fungal disease has killed millions of bats in parts of the U.S. and Canada since 2006.

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