Upper Dry Creek easement allows for conservation, restoration, research

Tim Breuer doesn’t ask the question unless he knows the answer will be “yes.” Sometimes, it takes awhile to get there. In the case of the most recent easement agreements between the city of Boise, Idaho, the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley and Grossman Company Properties, it took 20 years. “The first time I walked on [Upper Dry Creek] with the...

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How oil drilling is threatening Utah’s red rock recreation sites

A different kind of spire is jutting into the iconic red rock vistas of Moab, Utah. It is the scaffolding of drilling rigs, and it heralds a new chapter in Moab’s long history of energy extraction. Moab may have been comfortable with the uranium industry that put it on the map in another century. But having an oil patch in the midst of this area’s popular...

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Land acquisition for Headwaters forest passes halfway mark

Using government grants and private donations, the N.C. Forest Service and its partners have now acquired more than half of the land necessary for a new 8,000-acre state forest in Transylvania County. The Forest Service was able to purchase another 1,018 acres in the East Fork of the French Broad River from former U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor in 2014, bringing the total...

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Land trust adds to wildlife corridor in Jackson County, NC

Located less than 2 miles from Panthertown Valley in Jackson County, a new conservation easement will provide a critical wildlife corridor, connecting three other easements. The 48-acre Black Bear Trail property, now held by the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, becomes part of a continuous natural area of more than 1,000 acres, including habitat ranging from forest to...

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Wild buffalo now roam east of the Mississippi for the first time since the 1830s

When David Crites walked out of his apartment last month, he was greeted by a line of six or so bison standing shoulder to shoulder in the front yard. He sidled over to his truck, staring at the huge animals, slipped into the front seat, then closed the door and turned on the ignition. As the pickup slowly made its way down the driveway, the bison lumbered alongside. “It...

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Pope Francis Expected To Instruct One Billion Catholics To Act On Climate Change

At the end of 2015, the nations of the world will meet in Paris and attempt to hammer out a global deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And Pope Francis hopes that the world’s Catholics, as well as other major religions, will be a big part of serious climate action. This includes a series of steps next year. Francis is expected to tell the planet’s 1.2 billion Catholics...

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View of Smokies shows air quality improving in East Tennessee

Don Barger can tell from his commute to work that air quality in East Tennessee has improved in recent years. Barger, the southern regional director for the National Parks Conservation Association, said the views of the Great Smoky Mountains on his way to work from Norris to Knoxville are evidence enough without the need to consult any data. “We’ve got our...

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Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front is place of surprises

In his book “This House of Sky,” Ivan Doig described them as a “steel-blue army of mountains, drawn in battalions of peaks and reefs and gorges and crags as far along the entire rim of the earth as could be seen.” “Summit after summit bladed up thousands of feet as if charging into the air to strike first at storm and lightning, valleys and...

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Think Like a Deer: Award-Winning Video Aims to Reduce Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions

Collisions between vehicles and wildlife are a big problem on U.S. roads. Each year, on average, 1-2 million collisions with large animals, especially mule deer and white-tailed deer, end in 200 fatalities, 26,000 injuries, and costs exceeding $1 billion. About a third of the collisions reported on rural roads are wildlife-related, and two-lane highways with speed limits...

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EPA Just Saved Utilities a Lot of Money With Weak Coal Ash Regulation

When power plants burn coal, they’re left with a coal ash residue containing arsenic, mercury, lead, and selenium. Until today, there were no federal standards for utilities to dispose of it. Utilities produce more than 100 million tons of the stuff annually, and what’s not recycled into concrete is spread across the country in 1,400 dry and wet ponds. The problem,...

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America’s Second-Biggest Form Of Waste Is About To Be Federally Regulated For The First Time

The EPA has confirmed that on Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 it will release its first-ever regulations on the second-largest form of waste generation in the United States: coal ash. When it is is finalized, the rule is expected to include requirements on how coal ash should be disposed, how existing coal ash pits should be cleaned up, whether coal ash should be designated as a...

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What One Wolf’s Extraordinary Journey Means for the Future of Wildlife in America

On Feb. 5, 2014, the world’s most famous wolf woke up somewhere along the Oregon-California border, very likely in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, a landscape of Alpine forests and grassland valleys. For the better part of a year he had been making his home in this place where the Cascade, Klamath, and Siskiyou mountains converge. It was cold that day, in the...

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WNC’s National Forests at crossroads

On Oct. 21, 2014 the U.S. Forest Service unveiled draft management area boundaries that put 692,700 acres — about 69 percent — of Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest in management areas that make “timber production, for the purposeful growing and harvesting of crops of trees to be cut into logs” the “primary or secondary use of the land.” Today, the Nantahala-Pisgah is one...

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Take a Walk on a Leaky Uintah Basin Oil Well With a Whistleblowing Oil and Gas CEO

Three separate and very interesting things have happened over the past few months, and what makes them even more interesting is the timing, and the fact that they all happened within such a short period. Sequentially speaking, the second and most recent thing that happened, is that a midwife in the highly conservative oil patch community of Vernal, Utah in the Uintah...

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House Republicans Voted Against the Environment More Than 500 Times in the Past Four Years

The House of Representatives will end its legislative session this week having recorded at least 234 votes against the environment in two years. According to a December 1, 2014 count by the minority staff on the Energy and Commerce committee, the House floor held 551 anti-environment votes over the four years since Republicans took control—including votes on bills and...

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We have the technology to make invisible pollution visible

Out of sight, out of mind. This certainly applies to methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. That’s because methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas and the primary constituent of natural gas, is invisible to the naked eye. And it’s one reason methane emissions, while a significant threat to our environment, don’t get the attention they should from policymakers or...

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NC’s ongoing coal ash regulatory disaster shows urgency of EPA action

It’s been 10 months since a pipe broke beneath a coal ash waste pit at a shuttered Duke Energy power plant in North Carolina, sending 39,000 tons of toxic waste into the Dan River, a drinking water source for downstream communities in Virginia and North Carolina. One might think that 10 months would have been enough time for the company and North Carolina state...

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