Mountain West News Bureau

Courtesy Glen Canyon Institute

Lake Powell, one of the Colorado River’s largest reservoirs, is dropping. While the decline means trouble for the region’s ongoing water scarcity issues, it presents a unique opportunity for a group of Utah-based river runners. As KZMU’s Molly Marcello  reports, hidden rapids are being revealed as the water drops.

Amid America’s racial reckoning spurred by the killing of George Floyd, a number of controversial historical monuments were torn down by protesters or removed by authorities this year, including some in the Mountain West.

Early research out of Yellowstone National Park backs up a working theory that wolf populations may be an effective way to control the spread of chronic wasting disease. The Mountain West News Bureau’s Beau Baker reports.


Vanessa Chavarriaga loves to be outside, whether it's floating down a river in the desert or ice skating on a frozen alpine lake. And when she posts photos of her adventures, she includes information about where exactly she was.

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Thursday removed Endangered Species List protections for the gray wolf in the lower 48 states. Mountain West News Bureau's Madelyn Beck explains what that means for the West.


Here's a scenario you may have found yourself in recently: You open up Facebook or Twitter, and someone you know is posting about a conspiracy theory. You wonder, Do I say something? Is there any convincing them otherwise?

Colorado regulators are now requiring oil and gas operators to monitor fracking emissions earlier and more often, and provide that data to local governments. Both industry officials and regulators supported the move. But concerns persist, like the fact that the rules allow oil and gas operators to choose how to monitor their own emissions. Regardless, environmental groups see Colorado as a leader in emission monitoring in the region and hope other states follow suit.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

For Dr. Lori Drumm, the trouble began after she cancelled a rodeo in rural Deer Lodge, Mont.

This story is part of a collaboration between the Mountain West News Bureau and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Read about how a U.S. border town is responding to the shutdown here.

Paul Samycia started his fly fishing company two decades ago and has grown it into the largest in Fernie, British Columbia. But these days, Samycia's Elk River Guiding Company is adrift. 

Traditionally more than two-thirds of the company's clients are Americans, and with the border closed, Samycia says the season is almost a write-off.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

The U.S.-Canada border crossing north of Eureka, Mont., is quiet these days. No buses or vans packed with mountain bikes and vacationing families. Just a single logging truck. 

"No traffic hardly at all," says David Clarke, owner of the First & Last Chance Bar and Duty Free Store.

At a hearing last weekend about a Colorado bill on vaccination, Dr. Reginald Washington had originally planned to make several urgent points in support of the bill. 

First, that diseases like measles are resurging, and they’re serious. (He’d know. He’s treated patients with complications from measles and pertussis.) Second, due to COVID-19, children are missing well-child visits and skipping vaccinations, putting them at risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. 

The pandemic has beef markets on a roller coaster, and Shohone, Idaho's Amie Taber is among the ranchers along for the ride.

 


This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Justin and his buddies look like they're from a special ops team – they're wearing flak jackets and carrying assault weapons. But they aren't military and they aren't police. 

"I see myself as a concerned citizen who happens to be armed," he says.

 


A bill to permanently fund conservation efforts and reduce maintenance backlogs across public lands will soon be up for a vote in the U.S. Senate.

Lucas Turner/KDNK

KDNK's Weekly News Reel takes a look at the week's top local and regional news stories aired on KDNK between Monday and Friday.

Most of us have never experienced anything like the coronavirus pandemic in our lifetime, and that's especially true for children. The Mountain West News Bureau spoke with five kids about what's on their minds: 6-year-old Emerson, 10-year-old Eleanor, 11-year-old Wren, 11-year-old Brennan, and 10-year-old Olivia. Amanda Peacher shares their voices in this audio postcard.

Noxious gas, rolling giant eyeballs, being trapped in a perpetually falling elevator. The pandemic is sparking a world-wide increase in vivid dreams. And people are sharing them on websites like I Dream of COVID and across social media.


Testing is considered a major requirement on the path back to normal, and as the president has made clear, it's largely up to the states to find the way. Are states in the Mountain West up to the task? By multiple measures, Utah and New Mexico are leading the way, while other states are still lagging behind. 

As the graph below shows, the number of COVID-19 cases reported by public health agencies in the Mountain West is climbing. But what do those numbers actually say? 

Most national parks around the Mountain West remain closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And it remains unclear when or if parks will reopen in the coming months. 

A new study in the journal Science says that human-driven climate change is pushing the American West into a megadrought, and into its driest period in more than 400 years.

 


There’s been too much oil on the market since well before the coronavirus outbreak. But a recent agreement to cut production won’t be enough to prevent states in the Mountain West from taking a big hit.