Energy and Environment

Environmental and energy related news

National Park Service

Nevada's warming weather means reptiles like rattlesnakes will be out during the daytime hours - and when that's the case, they can pose dangerous threats to residents.

Ninety percent of rattlesnake bites can be avoided if the animal is left alone. That's according to Chris Healy from the Nevada Department of Wildlife. He says many snake bites result from people approaching, rather than avoiding the snake.

With historically high temperatures, low humidity, and dry, dry land, Northern Nevada is facing what could be a devastating fire season. For our ongoing series on the drought and all its ripple effects, Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss ventured out to Washoe Valley where local firefighters have been preparing for what this summer may bring.  

Greg Jackson is an operator for the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, and he’s hiking through the woods to a half-dead, towering pine tree that his crew will cut down for practice. 

University of Nevada, Reno

Out on the range, the drought means a lot of things—not having enough water to quench the thirst of your cattle or not having enough feed growing where you need it most.

And then there’s the danger of a wildfire.

All of these problems are leading many ranchers to ship their animals east. Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss spoke to Bryan Masini to learn more. He owns ranches outside Yerington and Elko. 

  

Alexa Ard

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority is asking customers to voluntarily cut their water usage by ten percent. To figure out how to actually do that, we reached out to local experts who offered these tips:

Tip #1: Monitor and adjust your irrigation system

People use four times more water in the summer to irrigate their lawns. Here's Master Gardener Wendy Hanson-Mazet from the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension with a tip on how to cut back on that amount.

Tip #2: Use mulch

This time last year, Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss visited Rick Lattin in Fallon where they toured his farm and talked about Lattin’s growing concern for his crops, especially the alfalfa.

Now, with yet another harvest threatened by the ongoing drought, Michelle checked up on Lattin to find out how he and other farmers in that community are holding up.

www.fws.gov

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."

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