Letters from the West
Posted by Rocky Barker on August 27, 2015
The Soda Fire has become the first test of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s sage grouse fire initiative. The jury won’t be in until BLM managers show they can restore the thousands of acre of sagebrush steppe habitat burned.
That’s why Neil Kornze, the Bureau of Land Management’s director, on Wednesday toured the land burned in the 279,000-acre fire with some of the team planning rehabilitation efforts. Their challenge is not only to stabilize the areas that could erode and cause flooding, but also to ward off encroaching cheatgrass and medusa-head invasive plants that threaten the sagebrush so important to sage grouse.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide next month whether to keep sage grouse listed as an endangered species or to downgrade the listing to “not warranted.” How well the BLM can stop fires and restore sagebrush habitat will be critical to that decision.
Posted by Rocky Barker on August 24, 2015
The move makes new, small-scale contracts for renewable energy less likely.
Posted by Rocky Barker on August 21, 2015
The combination of heat, dryness and gale-force wind can overpower our efforts to control wildfire. But people of goodwill are the antidote to anger and despair.
Posted by Rocky Barker on August 17, 2015
Federal agencies unveiled a national seed strategy Monday as firefighters mopped up the Soda Fire and began work to restore more than 200,000 acres of sage-grouse habitat that burned up last week.
Posted by Rocky Barker on August 14, 2015
With the fight over mountain-bike trails in the Boulder-White Clouds over, it’s time for both sides to find new divides to cross together.
Posted by Rocky Barker on August 11, 2015
Idaho Department of Lands Director Tom Schultz tried to answer Payette County residents’ questions Monday in Payette as Alta Mesa seeks to drill near Fruitland.