Scientists to look for toxic metals in Lake Powell after Gold King Mine spill

PHOENIX – Three years after an accidental spill from a Colorado gold mine, scientists are getting the chance to thoroughly analyze its impact on Lake Powell. They’re looking for traces of toxic metals in wastewater accidentally released by the Colorado Gold King Mine in 2015.

Yellow waste water that had been held behind a barrier near an abandoned mine is seen in the Animas River in Durango, Colorado

BLM OKs pozzolan mine in Skull Valley, despite public fears and opposition

PRESCOTT – Despite public opposition, the federal government has given the green light to a pozzolan mine on public land southwest of Prescott. Pollozlan is used to fortify concrete.

Time is running short for Colorado River managers to hammer out drought plan

LAS VEGAS – Water managers across the West, particularly in Arizona, are under pressure to implement a contingency plan to keep dwindling reservoirs from collapse.

Top federal water official gives states Jan. 31 deadline to pass Colorado River drought deal

LAS VEGAS – Water leaders throughout the West now have until Jan. 31 to finish deals that would keep the Colorado River’s biggest reservoirs from dropping to deadpool levels.

Barley shortage tied to climate change could have you crying in your craft beer

PHOENIX – A recent global study said beer prices could double under extreme heat and drought trends. Phoenix-area breweries said that prediction, if true, would affect them the most. However, they believe they’ll be able to find ways to adapt to the rising temperatures and drought conditions.

Move over, single-use plastics: Gilbert company makes Earth-friendly replacements

GILBERT – An Arizona company is working to get rid of all single-use plastics in grocery stores. This year the Gilbert-based company, Footprint, started producing paper straws, and has plans to expand overseas.

Santa Monica moonscape: Biologists consider ways to restore badly burned national recreation area

LOS ANGELES – Scientists with the National Park Service are just beginning to assess and restore vast tracts of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which lost 88 percent of its land to the devastating Woolsey Fire in November. Their first task is to eliminate opportunistic invasive plants.

Despite fits and starts, officials optimistic a water deal is close

WASHINGTON - After months of meetings, progress toward Arizona's portion of a multistate drought contingency plan has been a two-steps-forward, one-step-back affair, but those involved in the process think they're getting close to a deal they can present to the Legislature this spring.

Arizona’s two abandoned-mine inspectors face daunting task: ‘We’re all by ourselves’

WICKENBURG – Meet Jerry Tyra, one of only two abandoned-mine supervisors in Arizona. The pair face an uphill battle trying to identify the estimated 100,000 abandoned mines in the state and render them safe, or at least safer.

In a hole: Arizona officials lack funds to find, secure at least 100,000 abandoned mines

PHOENIX – Arizona has an estimated 100,000 abandoned mines, according to the Arizona State Mine Inspector’s Office. However, officials have only identified about 19,000 of them. As more people move to and visit Arizona – many eager to explore the state’s more remote lands – the chances of people coming across one of these hazardous mines only increase.

Population boom in West putting humans closer to devastating wildfires

DENVER – Nearly half the population of the West lives in an area with potential for wildfire danger. And both the risk of fire and the population in harm’s way are rising in this fast-growing part of the nation. Eighty-four percent of the risk area has not yet been developed.

Native Americans hope to protect ancestral sites threatened by multibillion-dollar copper mine

TONTO NATIONAL FOREST – In the wake of the Oak Flat protests, Resolution Copper funds a program in which Native Americans record culturally significant sites with an uncertain future.