Sustainability

When wildfire burns a high mountain forest, what happens to the snow and runoff?

GREELEY, Colorado – Researchers are studying burned areas high in the Colorado Rockies to see how wildfires affect snow accumulation, snowmelt and water supplies across the West. They’re finding that there’s no simple answer: “The scale (of fire damage) that we're experiencing now, we actually don't know what the hydrologic impacts will be,” said Anne Nolin, a geography professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.


‘Divas’ and suckers: The fight to save endangered Colorado River fish

The Colorado River is one of the most engineered river systems in the world. Dams throughout the watershed create barriers and alter flows that make life harder for native fish. For decades, millions of dollars have been spent on recovering the river’s fish species on the brink of extinction. KUNC’s Luke Runyon has more.


If ancient drought choked the Southwest for centuries, what does the future hold?

Caves in the Great Basin of Nevada and Utah tell a story linking climate change to a “worst-case scenario” with potential impact on 56 million water users in the West.


Researchers at Petrified Forest discover fossil of a reptile with claws and a beak

PHOENIX – Researchers in the Petrified Forest National Park have discovered a new species of prehistoric reptile that offers a glimpse into Arizona’s past.


Biden firm on uranium-mining ban around ‘jewel’ of the Grand Canyon

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration cited national security for its efforts to boost uranium mining. but environmentalists saw it as an attempt to open the door to mining near the Grand Canyon. President-elect Joe Biden may be ready to shut that door for good.


Waymo’s driverless ride service moves metro Phoenix toward autonomous future

PHOENIX – Google’s self-driving company, Waymo, introduced a fully driverless ride hailing service to parts of the East Valley this fall. Arizona in Focus looks at how today’s decisions will shape the future of autonomous vehicles.


Saltwater lakes beneath Mars’ surface raise new questions about life on the red planet

PHOENIX – New radar data from the Mars Express spacecraft reveals three saltwater lakes below the surface of the red planet. In this episode of Arizona in Focus, we look at what the lakes might be like and whether they indicate life on Mars.


Record heat proves to be a queen palm’s worst enemy

PHOENIX – Queen palm trees, widely used in landscaping in metro Phoenix, have become a victim of Arizona’s record-breaking heat in 2020.


Colorado River Basin winter forecast signals dry times ahead

This year the sprawling western river basin saw a dry spring, dry summer, dry fall, and now – a dry start to winter. So far, this has been among the driest years on record for portions of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada.


As Lake Powell recedes, river guides race to document long-hidden rapids

Climate change and growing population across the Southwest are pushing Lake Powell to historic lows and revealed some long-lost features along the Colorado River.


Diversifying the pack: Cross fostering helps Mexican wolf population boost genetic mix

ALPINE – With fewer than 200 Mexican wolves living wild in Arizona, biologists on the ground and in Missouri have helped implement a cross-fostering program to increase the genetic diversity of wolf packs.


Biosphere 2 study: Tropical forests may be more resilient to rising temperatures than predicted

PHOENIX – Researchers discovered at Biosphere 2 near Tucson that tropical forests may be more resilient to warming temperatures than originally thought, but they are still facing other negative effects of climate change.