News

River and Sky: A fish biologist’s perspective of counting salmon from the air

Idaho News
By Carli Baum; East Idaho News SALMON RIVER — On a chilly morning, I’m awake and alert as I can be. I’m strapped into a helicopter seat, flight helmet on, doors off, safety checks done, GPS in one hand, radio in the other and a data sheet secured to my thigh. The excitement grows as the rotor blades pick up momentum and start humming loudly. We lift off from the ground and begin our trip into the backcountry. As I look over the wilderness mountains, my heart is pounding, I feel like a fish out of water and think, “How did I end up here? I’m a fish biologist!” As fisheries biologists, we are used to walking along a streambed looking down to see what fish we can find. However,…
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ASDWA resource provides definition of ‘disadvantaged community’ by state under SDWA

National News
Water Finance and Management ASDWA has announced the launch of its new Environmental Justice webpage. The webpage includes ASDWA’s environmental justice strategy, developed by ASDWA’s members and staff and will guide the association’s work in the future, as well as a variety of resources related to environmental justice and drinking water. Most notably, ASDWA staff worked with members to include a table that provides the text definition of a disadvantaged community for each state, along with the link to where that definition can be found (Intended Use Plans, regulations, statute, or policy). Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, states are responsible for defining what constitutes a disadvantaged community. States use these definitions to make determinations and help prioritize the funds for drinking water infrastructure that are distributed to communities and water…
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PRESS RELEASE: BLM conservation easement enhances outdoor recreation, helps protect wildlife habitat and water quality

Idaho News
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – The Bureau of Land Management has purchased a conservation easement that enhances public access to outdoor recreation opportunities and helps protect important mule deer habitat and water quality in the South Fork of the Snake River corridor. The BLM purchased the 154-acre conservation easement on the Alan Lynn Davis property from the Teton Regional Land Trust using monies from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  The Alan Lynn Davis property is located on the north side of the South Fork of the Snake River in Jefferson County near Ririe, Idaho. The property is within the BLM’s Snake River Area of Critical Environmental Concern and Special Recreation Management Area. BLM-managed public lands are adjacent to the property on the east and west sides. The BLM’s acquisition…
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Idaho DEQ to answer questions on cyanobacteria

Idaho News, Research
BoiseDev After toxins were found in Lake Cascade last month, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is holding an event for the public to learn more about cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins, and water quality monitoring at Lake Cascade. Representatives from a host of agencies, including DEQ, Idaho Fish and Game, Central District Health, and Cascade Medical Center will be on hand to answer questions about health effects and water quality. The open house is scheduled for Wednesday, July 13 at the American Legion Hall at 105 E Mill St in Cascade from noon to 6:45 p.m. While toxins were present in Lake Cascade in June, levels didn’t meet the threshold for a health advisory. Exposure to cyanotxins can cause skin irritation and an upset stomach. The toxins can be particularly harmful to…
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Yellowstone flooding reveals forecast flaws as climate warms

National News
By Matthew Brown and Amy Beth Hanson; Associated Press A house sits in Rock Creek after floodwaters washed away a road and a bridge in Red Lodge, Mont., on June 15, 2022. As cleanup from historic floods at Yellowstone National Park grinds on, climate experts and meteorologists say the gap between the destruction in the area and what was forecast underscores a troublesome trend tied to climate change: Modeling programs used to predict storms aren't keeping up with increasingly extreme weather. (AP Photo/David Goldman) BILLINGS, Montana (AP) — The Yellowstone National Park area’s weather forecast the morning of June 12 seemed fairly tame: warmer temperatures and rain showers would accelerate mountain snow melt and could produce “minor flooding.” A National Weather Service bulletin recommended moving livestock from low-lying areas but…
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Heading to Lake Cascade this weekend for water fun? You may need to change your plans

Idaho News
By Rachel Roberts; Idaho Statesman Photo by Idaho DEQ. Harmful algae blooms can have negative impacts on humans, pets and environments Harmful algal blooms are blooms of species of algae that can have negative impacts on humans, marine and freshwater environments, and coastal economies. Public health officials are asking the public to steer clear of Lake Cascade this weekend. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare cited possible cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms in the lake, according to a tweet from the department. Samples are being tested but won’t be available until Monday. “Until then, we recommend people and animals stay out of the water,” the tweet said. Among the largest bodies of water in the state, Lake Cascade is a popular summer recreation area because of its opportunities for fishing,…
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Idaho fire officials say cool, wet spring could produce a more normal fire season

Idaho News
By Clark Corbin; Idaho Capital Sun Firefighters respond to the Moonstruck Fire, which was contained in early September 2021 near Lake Lowell in Canyon County. (Courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management) Thanks to a cool, wet spring, the wildfire outlook for July across most of Idaho looks more normal than last year, officials told the Idaho State Board of Land Commissioners on Tuesday. Although the news is good in the short term, the risk will increase later in the summer, officials cautioned. “Looking at July, at least for Idaho, we are expecting near normal fire potential. It may even be on the lower end of normal because of the wet spring and cool spring we have had that has continued well into June,” said Jim Wallman, a meteorologist with…
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EPA to Issue PFAS Drinking Water Health Advisories Wednesday

Research
Bloomberg Law The EPA will issue four PFAS health advisories for drinking water on Wednesday, the agency’s top water official said. The agency will also propose a new lead and copper rule by the end of 2023, said Radhika Fox, assistant administrator for the Office of Water, speaking Monday at the American Water Works Association annual conference in San Antonio. The PFAS advisories will be based on the best available science regarding the safe lifetime exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances for “a range of populations,” Fox said. Fox said the advisories will include monitoring protocols for PFOA and PFOS—two of the most commonly studied PFAS—in drinking water. The EPA’s current health advisory for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, issued in 2016, is 70 parts per trillion. An earlier…
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EPA moves to give states, tribes more power to protect water rights

National News
By Michael Phillis & Suman Naishadham; Associated Press ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Biden administration on Thursday proposed undoing a Trump-era rule that limited the power of states and Native American tribes to block energy projects like natural gas pipelines based on their potential to pollute rivers and streams. The Clean Water Act allows states and tribes to review what effect pipelines, dams and some other federally regulated projects might have on water quality within their borders. The Trump administration sought to streamline fossil fuel development and made it harder for local officials to block projects. The Biden administration’s proposed rule would shift power back to states, tribes and territories. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement that the agency’s draft regulation would empower local entities to…
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OPINION: Everyone can help keep pollution out of Payette Lake

Idaho News
The Star-News We are on the cusp of another robust summer season on Big Payette Lake. The Big Payette Lake Water Quality Council wants you to know that we have reintroduced Lake*A*Syst. This is a five-part packet on how to help prevent pollutants and contaminants from entering the lake. This pertains to homeowners, landscapers, builders/contractors and other activity that can impact the water quality from the shoreline. You can find these informative packets at https://bigpayettelake.org. The up-to-date information is divided into the following: Preventing Contamination of Drinking Water, Lawn and Garden, Roads and Driveways, Landscape and Construction and Stormwater Runoff. The website also has a Resource Guide for further access to more specific information. Now is the time to educate yourself on best practices to ensure Payette Lake’s beautiful waters.…
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