Sustainability

National park visitors – and money – are coming back after 2020 plunge

WASHINGTON - After hitting a 40-year low in the pandemic year of 2020, national park visitors - and their dollars - are steadily returning, but they are still below pre-pandemic levels, according to new National Park Service data.


Western states looking closely at water supplies, including some duck ponds in Colorado

Water supplies are so tight in the West that many states keep close watch over every creek, river, ditch and reservoir. A complex web of laws and rules makes sure water is put to use. To prevent any waste, Colorado has started cracking down on what may seem like a drop in the proverbial bucket.


Hot, dry forecast offers little hope for relief as wildfires rage

WASHINGTON - A half-dozen wildfires were burning close to 140,000 acres across Arizona Tuesday and growing, as heat, wind and drought conditions complicated firefighting efforts, officials said.


Worsening drought in the West weighs on farmers’ mental health

Farms in the Four Corners region are experiencing extreme drought conditions, which have been hard for both crops and farmers' mental health.


Spur Fire destroys homes in Arizona mining community

PHOENIX – The Spur Fire in the mining community of Bagdad, Arizonahas demolished more than 25 structures and homes, forcing the town to evacuate. The wildfire was 50% contained as of Friday afternoon.


Arizona’s current historic drought may be ‘baseline for the future’

WASHINGTON - Arizona and other Western states just lived through the driest year in more than a century, with no drought relief in sight in the near future, experts told a House panel Tuesday.


Declining Lake Powell levels prompt Colorado River states to form new plan

Declining levels at the second-largest reservoir in the U.S. have spurred officials in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico to search for ways to prop it up.


New study makes case for jaguar reintroduction in Arizona, New Mexico

A new study suggests jaguars could be successfully reintroduced to parts of their historic range in Arizona and New Mexico, where the large cats were wiped out by humans decades ago.


Researchers spelunk the Grand Canyon to document its beautiful, confounding springs

Research examining how water flows in Grand Canyon springs could shed light on understanding the link between ground water and surface water in the Colorado River system.


Water speculation is ‘all the problems’ in one, Colorado group warns

Last year, Colorado lawmakers pointed a finger at what they consider a growing threat: speculative investments in water rights. Since then, a state work group has been examining the issue, and the process raises questions about how the West divvies up water.


Wildfire prevention gets boost from behind bars with expanded program

WASHINGTON - It's important to have boots on the ground when battling wildfires, and state officials will soon be able to put 1,400 more boots on the ground - in the form of up to 700 prison inmates, who will be used to do forest maintenance under a new law.


Fight over Oak Flat mine draws support of diverse religious groups

WASHINGTON - The Oak Flat copper mine battle has gone from an environmental to a religious fight, with groups ranging from the Sikh Coalition to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints backing a White Mountain Apache claim that the mine will destroy sacred lands.