Arizona farmers turn to solar panels to shade crops, save water and generate power

WASHINGTON – With Arizona’s blazing sunshine and depleting water sources, agrivoltaics could be used to grow healthy crops in a sustainable way. Federal funding under IRA and REAP is helping farmers get started.

Rows of crops grow under solar panels while farmers work on the side of Spaces of Opportunity’s agrivoltaic plot in Phoenix. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Bendok)

Does Arizona have enough water? Phoenix-area cities are spending big to make sure it does

Phoenix, Peoria and cities across the Valley are focused on adding new water supplies, rather than just using less of the water they already have.

Brett Fleck shows where Colorado River water enters Peoria’s water treatment facility on March 18, 2024. The city has plans to build new water purification technology that will turn sewage into usable water, decreasing the strain on the Colorado River and groundwater. (Photo by Alex Hager/KUNC)

As farmers age and the number of farms shrinks, new growers struggle to get started in the agriculture industry

WASHINGTON – New farmers struggle to find affordable land and markets for their produce as they try to break into the agriculture industry. The USDA offers programs to address some of the hardships.

A patch of cucumber plants on the Shamba AZ farm in north Phoenix. (Photo courtesy of Avrile Remy)

Experts, beekeepers weigh in on local honey for seasonal allergies

SCOTTSDALE – The evidence that eating local honey can help with allergies is largely anecdotal; what's not in dispute is that local honey is both tastier and healthier than honey at the supermarket, beekeepers and experts agree.

Bees settle on a frame in their hive that has open larvae cells and capped worker brood comb. Photo taken in Scottsdale on March 20, 2024. (Photo by Emily Mai/Cronkite News)

Sporting a greener future: U.S. arenas, stadiums tackle carbon footprint to score environmental wins

PHOENIX – Sports venues are going green by pioneering sustainable design and retrofitting older stadiums with eco-friendly technologies to reduce their environmental impact.

The solar panel installation at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta generates 1.6 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year, reducing the venue's electricity use by 29%. (Photo by Andrea Vilchez/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

A plumbing issue at Lake Powell dam could mean big trouble for Western water

Damage to the Glen Canyon Dam’s “river outlet works,” a critical set of small tubes near the bottom of the dam that hold back Lake Powell, are raising new concerns that it may become harder to keep the falling Colorado River flowing downstream.

‘A tangible difference’: Phoenix Zoo scientists work to save native species

PHOENIX – Phoenix Zoo scientists are working to save species under threat. The zoo’s website lists nine native species conservation projects that scientists are working on, including the black-footed ferret, Chiricahua leopard frog, cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl, desert pupfish, narrow-headed gartersnake, Huachuca water umbel, springsnail, Mount Graham red squirrel and Gila topminnow.

A juvenile narrow-headed garter snake at the conservation center at the Phoenix Zoo on April 15, 2024. (Photo by Mariah Temprendola/Cronkite News)

Cave Creek business aims to train dogs to avoid rattlesnakes in the summer months

PHOENIX – With rattlesnake season reaching its peak in Arizona, professionals warn hikers and pet owners to proceed with caution outdoors. One business in Cave Creek is taking a proactive step to train dogs to avoid the venomous reptiles.

Rattlesnake Ready trainer Cody Will holds Arlo before having the dog run past a rattlesnake to his owner. Photo taken in Cave Creek on April 24. (Photo by Emily Mai/Cronkite News)

Salton Sea immigrant community experiences high rates of asthma from inhaling dust from the drying sea bed

NORTH SHORE, California – Childhood asthma rates are disproportionately high for immigrant families who live and work near the Salton Sea in Southern California. Scientists say the alarming rate of respiratory problems comes from inhaling dust of decayed fish that ingested toxic materials flowing into the sea from nearby agricultural sites.

The Salton Sea in Southern California used to be a popular tourist destination, but the environment has been decimated through agricultural runoff and natural disasters as the water recedes. Photo taken on April 6. (Photo by Jack Orleans/Cronkite News)

As Arizona shifts into warmer weather, beware of rattlesnakes, experts say

PHOENIX – Hikers and adventurers should be aware of increased encounters between humans and rattlesnakes as temperatures climb above 80 degrees. The serpents make their presence known in rural areas and even in homes, especially from March to October.

A western diamondback rattlesnake tastes the air at the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary. Hikers and adventurers should be aware of increased encounters between humans and rattlesnakes as temperatures climb. (File photo by Samantha Chow/Cronkite News)

‘Mobility, community and open space’: Culdesac in Tempe aims to provide a healthy alternative to suburban living

TEMPE – Culdesac, a walkable, car-free neighborhood in Tempe, aims to support tenants’ healthier lifestyles by allowing them to have quick access to necessities such as stores, restaurants and public transit.

A community area inside of Culdesac features a mural by a local artist. Photo taken in Tempe on April 2, 2024. (Photo by Crystal Aguilar/Cronkite News)

How city of Phoenix, CAP are addressing water supply issues

PHOENIX – State and local agencies are working toward Arizona water supply solutions, including potentially expanding the Bartlett Dam and adding new infrastructure.

A man looks out over the Colorado River near Page in November 2022. Statewide and local agencies are working toward Arizona water supply solutions. (File photo by Alex Hager/KUNC)