Sustainability

Feds cite safety for Quitobaquito closing; critics see other motives

WASHINGTON - The National Park Service cited public safety concerns for its decision this week to prohibit access to a sacred Tohono O'odham site, a move that comes amid rising tensions between border wall protestors and federal agents.


Arizona expected to clear over the next few days, but smoke could return

PHOENIX – Meteorologists predict less smoke in Arizona for the next few days, but it could return as wildfires continue to ravage large parts of California, Oregon and Washington.


Feds reaffirm western yellow-billed cuckoo’s threatened species status

WASHINGTON - Federal officials said Wednesday that the western yellow-billed cuckoo should remain a threatened species, rejecting an appeal by miners, ranchers and other groups that claimed the bird no longer needs protection.


EPA unveils Western office to focus on abandoned mine tracking, cleanup

WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency announced plans Wednesday for a new office that will focus on tracking and cleaning up abandoned mines in Western states, a particular problem in Arizona with uranium and other mines.


Rio Salado restoration efforts get boost with federal ‘partnership’ designation

WASHINGTON - Federal officials on Tuesday named a 58-mile stretch of the Lower Salt and Gila rivers an Urban Waters Federal Partnership location, a designation that could bring millions in funding to efforts to revitalize the stressed Valley waterway.


Experts: Border wall construction may imperil sacred source of water in desert

Along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, Hia C-ed O'odham and the Tohono O'odham – along with wildlife – have relied on Quitobaquito Springs. Some experts worry that ongoing border wall construction may further imperil the freshwater source.


Many Navajos face pandemic without running water, tribal members urged to ‘lift each other up’

One grassroots organization – The WATERED – has delivered hand-washing stations to more than 110 households on the 27,000-square-mile Navajo Nation reservation.


Western states look to sewers to track next coronavirus outbreak

Right now, there is no reliable way to predict where the next potential coronavirus outbreak will be. But many western states are looking to get a handle on the disease by diving into the sewer.


Colorado’s abandonment list incentivizes water users to take share, exemplifies complex policies

“Use it or lose it.” That saying is at the heart of how water is managed in the Western U.S. Laws that govern water incentivize users to always take their full share from rivers and streams, or risk the state taking it from them.


Proposal to protect Joshua trees from climate change proves divisive

PHOENIX – A petition to list Joshua trees as threatened in California has residents of one small town in disagreement, with some arguing the protections will negatively impact the town’s economy.


Efforts to cool Phoenix include pale pavement coating to reflect sunlight

PHOENIX – An off-white asphalt sealant could help mitigate Phoenix’s urban heat island troubles by reflecting sunlight instead of absorbing and holding it overnight.


Fuel buildup puts Arizona communities at wildfire risk

Researchers say one way to live with fire is to thin fuel. In the desert, that means brush and invasive grasses. In the high country, that means ponderosa pine.