Energy and Environment

Environmental and energy related news

Amy Westervelt

The U.S. Forest Service is sounding the alarm about the skyrocketing cost of wildfires. The agency now spends more than half its budget dealing with fires, compared to 16 percent in 1995. This week KUNR’s news team is looking at new ways to cope with wildfires in our series, Putting Out The Fire. In the second story we look at a controversial new strategy that could help forests adapt to warming climates. 

 

J. Michael Johnson, National Park Service

Wildfires in the West are getting larger and more intense every year. Right now, 66 large fires are burning in 11 western states, consuming more than a million and a half acres. California and Nevada rank in the top 10 most wildfire-prone states in the country. This week our series Putting Out the Fire examines innovative approaches to fighting and preventing fire. In our first story, we look at some new thinking around fire, and ideas for protecting your home. 

  A major water agreement between California and Nevada is one step closer to reality more than three decades after it was first proposed. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey spoke with John Erwin of the Truckee Meadows Water Authority to explain the significance of the deal and how it will help in future droughts.

The Truckee River Operating Agreement will allow Nevada to better manage its waters, Erwin says.

Julia Ritchey

Officials at the 19th annual Lake Tahoe Summit on Monday said more federal funding is needed to preserve and restore the popular Alpine lake. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey was there and brings us this report.

It's been nearly two decades since President Bill Clinton first held a summit at Lake Tahoe and directed federal agencies to coordinate to protect the lake. 

TMWA

Residents of the Mt. Rose and Galena suburbs rely mostly on domestic wells for their water. But continued development and the drought have strapped those underground aquifers. Now, the Truckee Meadows Water Authority has a new strategy to supply these households. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey spoke with TMWA's John Enloe for more details.*

Enviro Groups Conserve Former Sierra Logging Tract

Aug 13, 2015
American River Conservancy

More than 10,000 acres of Sierra Nevada forest will become a living laboratory for scientists to study forest restoration and wildfire-reduction techniques. That’s thanks to a deal finalized last week by The Nature Conservancy, American River Conservancy and Northern Sierra Partnership to acquire the land, which connects the North Fork American River with the Granite Chief Wilderness.

In addition to restoring habitat in the forest for the endangered spotted owl, scientists plan to study the impacts of forest thinning on wildfires, water quality and drought.

University of Nevada, Reno

Seismologists say a year-long swarm of earthquakes in northwest Nevada has shown no signs of slowing down, and the potential is increasing for an even larger one. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports. 

The Nevada Seismological Lab have detected more than 5,600 earthquakes since last summer in the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge near the Oregon line. 

Ken Smith is a seismologist at the lab. He says it’s a rural area, but some ranchers and residents have felt them. 

City Officials Tout Reno's Clean Energy Potential

Aug 3, 2015
Julia Ritchey

Following today's Environment Protection Agency announcement on carbon emissions, Reno city officials say the local clean energy industry is in a good position to capitalize on these new rules. Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey explains why.

 

Mayor Hillary Schieve and two other City Council members held a short press conference on the heels of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new plan designed to combat climate change.

Amy Westervelt

 

A controversial proposal to use herbicides on invasive plants in the Tahoe Keys, in South Tahoe, is expected to win EPA any day now.

  

EPA officials say the agency is still evaluating potential water quality issues, but even critics of the Tahoe Keys plan say they've been told approval is imminent. 

Julia Ritchey

  Earlier this week, Reno Public Radio investigated the city's shrinking tree canopy, which has dwindled by as much as 20 percent over the last two years. Councilwoman Naomi Duerr, a member of the tree commission and geologist, says she wants to do something about that. She sat down with reporter Julia Ritchey to tell us how Reno can better protect its trees. 

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