Energy and Environment

U.S. Forest Service, Carson Ranger District

The Eastern Sierras saw a wet winter this year, leaving grasses and other fire fuels on the ground. Now foresters are looking at sheep to help solve this issue.

Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick sat down with Anna Belle Monti, fuels forester for the U.S. Forest Service to learn more.

NG: Can you just tell me a little bit about what a fuels forester does?

Ken Lund / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

With Governor Sandoval’s reluctant approval, the EPA can now propose adding the Anaconda Copper Mine site to its National Priority List. The move would open up federal funding to help in cleanup efforts. But there’s ongoing concern that it could create a negative stigma for area farmers. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports.

David Peri, along with his wife Pam, are the owners of Peri and Sons Farms.

“Our big thing that we moved down here to do is fresh market onions,” says Peri. “We’re one of the larger grower/packer/shippers in the country.”

Rita Ayers, BLM Nevada

Three Nevada prisons are helping out the threatened greater sage-grouse bird through a new collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management.

Stanley Locus rakes soil inside a yard at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, where he's been for about a year.

He's part of a new program using inmates to restore sage-grouse habitat, which has been under threat from invasive grasses and wildfires. But before a couple of weeks ago, he had never even heard of the sage-grouse, just sagebrush.

Eric Norris / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority will not ask its customers in the region to cut back on water this summer.

Last year, TMWA customers were asked to cut back 10 percent on their water use amid concerns over the lingering drought. Overall, residents responded well, cutting back by double that amount.

This year, however, strengthened by a wet winter and extra reserves, TMWA's board is easing off.

Andy Gebhardt is with TMWA.

GavIn Treadgold, Flickr, (CC by SA-2.0)

The quaint brick buildings that define Reno's early architectural era pose a significant risk in the event of a big earthquake, which scientists warn could happen sooner than later. 

There are an estimated 1,400 un-reinforced masonry buildings in the Reno-Carson area. That's a type of construction used in the old days with bricks or stone but without any rebar.

According to research geologist Craig DePolo, that's a problem.

"In the United States, we've had during strong earthquakes about 30-40 percent of these buildings have partial to total collapse."

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

April showers could produce more fuel for wildfires this summer.

Spring is in full bloom in Northern Nevada, and that has some meteorologists concerned, like Gina McGuire of the Great Basin Coordination Center.

"The main caveat this year is going to be the spring growth with the wet conditions we've seen, a lot of precipitation in the winter and spring, and most likely a wet April and cool April ahead for most of Nevada and most of the great Basin."

Noah Glick

Northern Nevada had an average year for its snowpack, and sometimes being average isn't a bad thing.

Researchers measured 42.1 inches of liquid water on Mt. Rose Friday, which is above median for the end of the season.

"You know, the take home message is that this was a great year compared to the last four," said Jeff Anderson, a hydrologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. "Fortunately, we didn't dig the hole any deeper for the drought."

Anderson added that last week's surprise spring snowstorm offered a helpful boost, especially out east.

Daniel Sancho / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The Nevada Department of Agriculture is offering a grant to help stimulate specialty crops in the state. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick has that story.

Specialty crops are plants used for human consumption that are not animal- or grain-based: things like fruits, nuts and herbs. The Nevada Department of Agriculture is offering $250,000 to promote this industry.

Ashley Jeppson is with the department, and she says the purpose of the grant is to enhance human food production.

Noah Glick

The Stillwater Hybrid Plant in Fallon, owned and operated by Enel Green Power, officially unveiled its solar thermal energy capability Tuesday, making it the first power plant in the world to combine that type of energy with geothermal and solar panels. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick was there.

Dignitaries including Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi spoke at the ribbon cutting.

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