Environment

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.

avalanche_storm.jpg

The Utah Avalanche Center is expecting dangerous avalanche conditions in the mountains of northern and central Utah Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We are just kind of waiting for the storm to develop. It does look like it is going to be pretty productive,” said Toby Weed, employee for the Utah Avalanche Center. “We have issued an avalanche watch and we are going to up that to an avalanche warning tomorrow, we think.”

Prairie dogs inhabiting southern Utah.  The supreme court won't hear a suit over prairie dog protections.
humanesociety.org

The U.S. Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from Utah property owners challenging endangered-species protections for prairie dogs, but the plaintiffs say the case has nevertheless made a mark as the Trump administration moves to loosen the contested rules.

Lawyers for the Cedar City residents say their lawsuit was a key driver of the new federal plan that would make it easier to remove or kill prairie dogs that they said were overrunning their town.

Dense fog in Utah was responsible for canceling dozens of flights in Salt Lake City, and impairing drivers by reducing visiblity to less than a quarter-mile.
en.wikipedia.org

A dense fog blanketing the Salt Lake City area has forced the cancellation of dozens of flights into and out of the airport.

Airport officials say 30 outbound and 25 inbound flights were canceled on Sunday after the heavy fog settled over a wide swath of northern Utah. Nearly two dozen more flights were diverted to other states, including airports in Las Vegas, Idaho and Colorado.

Authorities are telling fliers to check with their airlines as several Monday flights have also been canceled.

Colorado River, a key water source in the western united states, is expected to flow at only half of it's average volume.
americanrivers.org

The first forecast of the year for Colorado River water supplies is a bleak one.

The river that serves as a key source of water for seven states including California, Colorado, Utah and Nevada is expected to flow at only about 54 percent of its average volume during the key runoff period from April to July.

The National Weather Service's Colorado Basin River Forecast Center in Salt Lake City released a report Wednesday showing December snow totals as low as 20 percent of average in some areas.

Over 100 Years Of Bird Counting

Dec 28, 2017
jber.jb.mil

The 118th Annual Christmas Bird Count, organized by the Audubon Society, is in full swing. The event dates back to Christmas Day 1900 and has been held in Cache Valley since 1955. 

Thorsten Becker / Wikimedia

In the Namib Desert of southern Africa, strange circles dot the landscape as regularly as polka-dots on a dress. The bare spots are ringed by lush grass. These structures are known as fairy circles.  The fairy circles repeat for miles – and how they came to be is hotly debated. Scientists are divided regarding their origin:  animal or vegetable?

http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also known as FERC, formally accepted the state’s application for the Lake Powell Pipeline. This notice affirms that the proposed 140-mile pipeline, which would draw water from the Colorado River to serve southwestern Utah communities is ready for environmental analysis and public comment. 

Utah City Leaders Commit To Improve Air Quality

Dec 19, 2017
Sierra Club

Park City leaders committed to be a net-zero community more than a year ago. Now other cities in Utah are committing to do the same.

When Park City announced it would become a 100 percent renewable energy municipality by 2022, the Sierra Club helped get the word out and build support within the community.

imgrum.org

When pollution settles over Utah's valleys in the wintertime, sometimes creating the dirtiest air in the country, some residents don breathing masks to protect themselves.

Experts say they aren't necessarily a cure-all. The masks usually aren't tight-fitting enough to protect a person's lungs and they don't have filters fine enough to stop the tiny particulate matter that is harmful.

gousoe.uen.org

A dirty layer of winter air is hovering over many northern Utah cities as an inversion sets in that is expected to last for days, if not weeks.

National Weather Service meteorologist Pete Wilensky said Friday that a high-pressure system over much of the U.S. West is leading to the murky winter air that causes problems for people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

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