Energy and Environment

Environmental and energy related news

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The bi-state sage grouse, found only in Nevada and California, will not be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

All of the stakeholders involved in saving the Mono Basin sage grouse from extinction offered the same message at Tuesday's press conference in Reno on how the bird has avoided the need for federal protection:

"This collaborative partnership is a model for effective, long-term conservation," said Tony Wasley, director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Sandoval Orders Drought Forum

Apr 8, 2015
gov.nv.gov

Governor Brian Sandoval has issued an executive order to create a panel for studying and combating Nevada's severe drought. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that Sandoval announced the order Wednesday during a press conference at Washoe Lake State Park.

The order will create a Nevada Drought Forum designed to study and analyze state water use and potential areas for water savings. Sandoval's order also requires a water audit of all state-owned facilities.

http://watershedsculpture.blogspot.com/

Artists and conservationists have teamed up to make watershed sculptures beside the Truckee River. Along with their aesthetic beauty, using basket-weaving techniques to hold natural materials together, the artwork will actually restore damaged flood plains over the next few years. Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss reports.

The Sierra snowpack is now the worst it’s been in a century. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

Jeff Anderson, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, just measured 13.2 inches of water content in the snowpack up at the Mt. Rose summit. In a normal season, there would be about 90 inches of snow.

“When you look at the mountains right now," he says, "and you look at the snow that’s up there, you’re really seeing history.”

Many farmers in and around Yerington are being ordered to cut their water usage in half this growing season.  

As far as State Engineer Jason King knows, this is the first time they've ever told farmers to stop pumping groundwater.

"What we are seeing in these two particular basins, Smith and Mason Valley, are just unprecedented water declines. They're the steepest on record."

You are probably familiar with the "Keep Tahoe Blue" stickers, which have brought public awareness to the decline in clarity of Lake Tahoe's signature blue waters. 

But here's a bumper sticker you haven't seen, yet: 'Save Tahoe's Smallest Critters.' Those invertebrates, some only native to Tahoe, are undergoing a massive extinction at the lake's bottom. A group of divers recently completed a first-of-its-kind tour of the entire lake in order to assess the ecological changes there. 

The snowpack in the Sierra continues to reflect the drought conditions that have stressed Northern Nevada in recent years.

For the third year in a row, the Truckee Meadows and other nearby basins on the Eastern Sierra have only about two thirds of the normal snowpack. Or, put another way: we’ve lost a year’s worth of precipitation in this most recent drought cycle.

“The reservoir storage on the Truckee River is only about 25 percent of capacity.”

Jeff Anderson is a hydrologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Chuck Schlarb

 A battle over water is brewing on the parched earth of the Black Rock Desert. An effort to transport water from Humboldt County more than 100 miles south has residents and ranchers alarmed. 

Chuck Giordano grows alfalfa on the outskirts of the Black Rock Desert in a place appropriately known as Desert Valley. But don’t let the name fool you. When it comes to water, he’s lucky.

“We have a fairly good reserve of water underneath us because our water table, even with the drought, has hardly dropped any.”

State wildlife officials say they are concerned that climate change and urbanization might diminish the native bee population. Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss reports the Nevada Department of Agriculture is putting together guidelines to protect these important pollinators of natural plants.

Jeff Knight is the state’s entomologist. His job is primarily to keep the bad bugs out and to monitor the ones that are vital to the local environment.

Photo from www.blogs.kqed.org.

Thursday, Nevada regulators will decide on proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking." The industry is just beginning to explore for oil in the east, near Elko, using this technique. Environmental groups and some locals worry about the impacts on Nevada's scarce water resources. Reno Public Radio's Will Stone has more on that debate.

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