USDA and USGS researchers found about one of every five acres of rangelands in 17 western states, as well as portions of Louisiana and Florida, has some degree of degradation of at least one factor (soil and site stability, hydrologic integrity, and biotic integrity).
Mountain West (CO ID MT NV UT WY)
"A roundup of wild horses began Monday in northwestern Colorado over the objections of animal advocacy groups."
"The need for rare-earth minerals like neodymium could define the relationship between the United States and China and elevate Idaho into a critical role in the nation’s industrial future."
"Across the northern Rocky Mountains, bighorn sheep are dying by the hundreds from pneumonia and alarmed wildlife officials are hunting and killing the majestic animals to halt the spread of the disease."
"A proposal to designate more than 300,000 acres of wilderness in central Idaho appears to be in a political tailspin, dashing hopes among wilderness advocates that the Gem State could soon resolve a decades-long debate over management of its public lands."
EPA warns Pavillion, WY residents not to drink or cook with their well water, and that the presence of methane (the main ingredient in natural gas) is so high that they should ventilate any room in which a shower is operating, and to not ignite anything in a closed room in which water is running.
The wildfire near Boulder, Colo., is still burning, with some 135 homes destroyed, making it the worst in Colorado history. Four people are missing. Meanwhile, as the reverse-911 phone system meant to notify people of evacuation failed to work properly, social media like Twitter emerged as the connection-of-choice in the tech-savvy community.
Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate as a wildfire near Boulder, Colorado, rages on.
"SMELTERVILLE, Idaho -- They call themselves 'the leaded.' They grew up in the shadow of a giant lead smelter here, and were contaminated with some of the biggest lead releases in the nation's history."
"A federal judge on Thursday reinstated protections for wolves in Montana and Idaho, saying the government made a political decision in removing the protections from just two of the states where Northern Rocky Mountain wolves roam."