Energy and Environment

WINDS Of Change: Next Generation Of Weather Intelligence

Sep 30, 2015
Esther Ciammachilli

A team of scientists and business leaders from the Desert Research Institute in Reno is trying to change the way businesses make decisions that may be impacted by extreme weather. Reno Public Radio’s Esther Ciammachilli has more.

On a rainbow-colored map of the Las Vegas Strip, scientist Andrew Joros explains the focus of the new WINDS platform, which stands for Weather Intelligence and Numerical Decision Support

“Let’s say I want a time series of any kind of meteorological variable over the MGM. You can pull it up like this.”

A Dozen Reno Parks Now Pesticide Free

Sep 24, 2015
Julia Ritchey

A dozen parks in Reno are now pesticide free. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

The two-year pilot program will study best methods and cost effective ways to maintain the city's parks without using herbicides and pesticides.

City Council approved the change this week. Councilwoman Naomi Duerr says they decided to pursue the project after hearing from concerned residents. 

The state's drought summit wrapped up Wednesday after three days of in-depth presentations from every type of water stakeholder in Nevada. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details.

There was a lot of talk in Carson City this week about how to better manage, save, share, and measure our water. 

Manufacturers Push Nevada To Oppose New Smog Rules

Sep 22, 2015

The EPA is announcing updates to smog regulations October 1st, and manufacturers are making one last push against the new rules with an ad campaign running in various Western states. While opponents of the rules are concerned about costs, the EPA says health savings will outweigh them.

Ad: “We import a lot from China: Electronics, toys, and … air pollution?”

Feds: Sage Grouse Does Not Need Endangered Listing

Sep 22, 2015
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  The U.S. Interior Department says the greater sage grouse does not need federal protections across its 11-state Western range, which includes Nevada. Many say the agency has struck a balance in protecting the bird without hindering economic development, but not all Nevada officials agree. Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey reports.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell says an unprecedented conservation effort protecting more than 67 million acres of land will greatly reduce threats to the greater sage-grouse and its breeding habitats. 

Short On Water, Farmer Tries Desert Ducks

Sep 16, 2015
Julia Ritchey

For the first time in state history, Nevada water officials are preparing to restrict groundwater pumping for the Smith and Mason valleys. Farmers and ranchers there are already operating on thin margins because of the drought. Our reporter Julia Ritchey visited the agricultural community of Yerington to see how one farmer is coping.

"We'll start here; it's as a good as anywhere. You'll be able to see, like mine,  I have fields that have nothing growing just basically weeds because of no water... It’s basically fallowed because you can’t irrigate it."

2015 Sierra Snow Pack Was Lowest In 500 Years

Sep 16, 2015
NOAA/MODIS

We all know snowfall in the Sierras has been light in recent years, but new research reveals that 2015 marked a 500-year-low for snowpack in the region.

Water Conservation Dips In August

Sep 8, 2015
Julia Ritchey

  Water conservation dipped last month, according to new numbers from the Truckee Meadows Water Authority. As Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports, the reduction fell just shy of their goal.

Residents reduced their water usage by nine percent last month. That's a little short of the utility's voluntary reduction target of 10 percent — and the first month since May that customers didn't exceed TMWA’s goal.

Bill Hauck is a senior hydrologist at the authority. He says even after the hot, dry months are over, users should continue to cut back.

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. 

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