More than half the U.S. population uses smartphones and apps. And as the appetite for mobile information continues to grow, some Wyoming entrepreneurs are poised to cash in, for the sake of conservation. Wyoming Public Radio's Rebecca Huntington has more.
REBECCA HUNTINGTON: When Story Clark gets into her Prius, she doesn't just start her engine. She also revs up a new mobile app that she's developed with her business partner Madi Quissek.
STORY CLARK: So I'm hooking it up. It's TravelStorysGPS. The app is hands-free. And we're going to get going right now.
A wind energy company that was fined a million dollars Friday for the deaths of 14 golden eagles at its Wyoming facilities says it’s making strides to mitigate future bird deaths.
Duke Energy spokeswoman Tammie McGee says Duke has removed rock piles that can attract prey and employs field biologists who send out alerts if turbines need to be shut down. She says they’re also working to install a radar system.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wyoming office has mismanaged at least $14 million in easement payments, and employs supervisors who lack the knowledge to properly administer easement programs in the state. That’s according to a report from the Office of Inspector General. Easements are used to permanently retire a piece of land for conservation purposes.
Ranchers have always planned for the next season and the next generation…and as such have been natural conservationists. But new management tools in the conservation toolbox are making it easier for land owners to be successful stewards of their land. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that ranchers are up for the challenge.
After what the state characterized as a knock-down, drag-out fight with Chesapeake Oil, it’s planning to allow drilling in a sage grouse conservation area.
The protected areas were established by executive order in 2011 in order to conserve critical sage grouse habitat, with the goal of keeping the bird off the endangered species list. The new plan modifies the protections in an area near Douglas where Chesapeake has oil and gas leases.
Three conservation organizations have released a series of web videos, encouraging Wyomingites to improve water quality.
The videos highlight best management practices some landowners are using to handle E. coli, selenium and sediment, among other issues.
Kathy Rosenthal is the watershed coordinator for the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, one of the partner groups producing the videos. Rosenthal acknowledged a lack of awareness as one of the major obstacles for Wyoming’s water quality going forward.
A new report released today by the Wilderness Society says Wyoming’s Red Desert and the Wyoming Range are too special to drill for oil and gas. The report – titled Too Wild to Drill – lists a dozen locations across the U.S.
The Wyoming Range was initially opened for leasing in 2005, but the Forest Service canceled those leases in 2011. Appeals by operators have left the leases in limbo since then, but the U-S Forest Service is expected to decide later this year whether they will allow energy development.
Wildlife interest groups and agencies in Wyoming and Idaho are working to increase the populations of trumpeter swans in the region. Loss of habitat has limited numbers within the species. The Teton Regional Land Trust is working with the Wyoming Wetland Society, local offices of US Fish and Wildlife Services, and the Idaho Fish and Game departments to build a nesting colony in Teton valley.
A report by the Western Organization of Resource Councils says the oil and gas industry is using at least seven billion gallons of water per year in just four states: Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. The report says after industry is done with that water, it turns into a hazardous material, and in some cases cannot be reused for other purposes.
Powder River Basin Resource Council member Robert LeResche says he’s also worried about states’ lack of regulations regarding the quantity of water used.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a report that’s meant to help states figure out how to protect sage grouse and keep them off the endangered species list.
Bob Budd with the Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resource Trust helped put the report together. He says the document provides information about the key threats to sage grouse, but leaves it up to states to develop or revise their conservation plans.
Tens of thousands of acres of land in the Bridger-Teton National Forest have been retired, protecting the land from energy development. But the conservation group leading the effort, Trust for Public Lands, still has some work to do to protect a tract of land in the Upper Hoback Basin.
The group raised $8.75 dollars last year to buy oil and gas leases on 58,000 acres of land from Plains Exploration and Production Company.
A poll conducted by Colorado College reveals that 73% of Wyoming voters think of themselves as conservationists. Program coordinator Brendan Boepple says polled residents also believe that public lands support the state’s economy and that they should not be sold to alleviate deficits.
A new National Wildlife Federation Poll shows that protecting public lands and addressing climate change is big for those who hunt and fish. Given a choice between protecting America’s public lands and prioritizing the production of oil, gas and coal, 49 percent want to protect public lands and just 35 percent choose fossil fuel production. John Gale of the Wildlife Federation says maintaining and improving access to public lands also ranked high on the priority list.