Federal regulators deny permits for hydropower projects on Navajo Nation

Federal energy officials took the unusual step of denying permits Thursday to several pumped hydropower projects proposed on the Navajo Nation, citing a new policy that gives tribes a greater voice in projects on their lands - a move welcomed by advocates.

Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture teaches next generation farmers sustainable practices

AJO – Sterling Johnson from the Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture is teaching the next generation of Indigenous farmers how to connect with the land and the culture through sustainable growing techniques.

Rain check: How Arizonans can prepare for rainy drives

PHOENIX – As Arizona gets winter rain, ADOT and local experts remind drivers of important safety habits to keep in mind while on the road. From vehicle maintenance to awareness of road conditions, Arizonans are urged to slow down and remember to get their cars inspected by professionals.

It’s been a rainy week in Phoenix, and puddles have accumulated and made the roads slippery across the Valley. Photo taken in downtown Phoenix on Feb. 8, 2024. (Photo by Sam Ballesteros/Cronkite News)

Arizona rock climbers speak out against National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service proposal to restrict anchors

TUCSON – The National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service drafted policy in November that could prohibit climbing anchors in wilderness areas around the country. The Climbing Association of Southern Arizona is one of several climbing organizations speaking out against the proposals, saying that they would discourage and endanger climbers.

Climber Nicki Manzanares starts to rappel down a cliffside on Mount Lemmon near Tucson on Jan. 29, 2024. (Photo by Emily Mai/Cronkite News)

Lessons from abroad: the environmental and social costs to lithium mining in Argentina

One of North America's lithium mining powerhouse companies has lobbied for a record $1 billion Department of Energy low-interest loan — despite having never owned or operated any kind of mine in the U.S.

Environmental groups champion nature, wildlife and water to Arizona policymakers

PHOENIX – Activist groups and legislators gathered at the state Capitol for “Environmental Day” to address nature, wildlife and water. With the “Save Water, Save Life” theme, dozens of groups advocated for legislative changes and support for the environment and general sustainability.

Greg Clark, burrowing owl habitat coordinator for Wild at Heart, welcomes attendees at the Environmental Day at the Arizona Capitol to learn more about the rescue organization. Photo taken Jan. 25, 2024. (Photo by Kayla Jackson/Cronkite News)

Watershed Management Group removes invasive plants to aid in river flow, land restoration in Tucson

TUCSON – Tucson-based nonprofit Watershed Management Group works to restore area waterways by removing invasive arundo from riparian preserves. The reedy arundo takes water from other plants, negatively affects the ecosystem, increases flood risk, decreases vegetation and trees, and reduces groundwater used for irrigation and reclamation.

Watershed Management Group employees and volunteers make their way to a riparian preserve in the Tanque Verde area of Tucson for restoration efforts on Nov. 18, 2023. (Photo by Hunter Fore/Cronkite News)

Gardening helps protect threatened bees in Arizona

PHOENIX – Urban expansion limits bees’ habitat options, putting more space between the bees and the water and food sources they need access to. But community members can attract native bees to their gardens and help them thrive by planting native, desert-acclimated wildflowers.

At the 2023 Arizona Honeybee Festival in November, put on at Paradise Valley Community College by the Arizona Backyard Beekeepers Association, beekeepers shared advice with community members on how to support Arizona’s bees. (Photo by Hunter Fore/Cronkite News)

Arizona Sailing Foundation makes waves with sailing lessons in the Valley

TEMPE – The Arizona Sailing Foundation has helped people of all ages learn to sail in the desert since 1958, mostly on Tempe Town Lake and Lake Pleasant. On select weekends throughout the year, the organization teaches youth and adult classes for those yearning to become mariners. The students learn key skills such as control, patience and a capsize drill.

The Arizona Sailing Foundation teaches youth and adult classes, including a capsize drill students learn on the first of the two-day course. Photo taken at Tempe Town Lake on Oct. 14, 2023. (Photo by Sydney Witte/Cronkite News)

A 120-year legacy: Tempe’s historic Hayden Flour Mill set for revitalization

TEMPE – Tempe's historic Hayden Flour Mill, a landmark dating back to 1918, has been approved for redevelopment after standing vacant since 1998. The project includes new retail businesses, a public park, improvements to the A Mountain trailhead and preservation of the historic buildings.

An early-winter ‘snow drought’ is leaving the West’s mountains high and dry

Winter is off to a dry start across the West, with wide swaths of the Rocky Mountains seeing lower-than-average snow totals for this time of year. That "snow drought" could affect the region's water supply, but experts say there’s plenty of time to turn it around.

‘Pumped’ hydropower plans proliferate; one in particular stirs opposition

WASHNGTON - Plans for pumped storage hydropower projects - which recirculate water on a loop to generate power - are proliferating in Arizona, but one in particular, at Black Mesa on the Navajo Nation, has drawn opposition from local groups.