That green lawn may not be so green: Gas-powered mowers are heavy polluters

WASHINGTON - Gas-powered lawn equipment in Arizona emitted 445,908 tons of carbon dioxide in 2020, the polluting equivalent of putting 98,162 cars on the road, according to a new report.

River reprieve: Wet winter, conservation deal ease Colorado planning for now

A wet winter and a temporary water conservation agreement have eased some pressure on Colorado River policymakers, which is reflected in a new Bureau of Reclamation proposal that says the risk of critically low reservoirs remains but is "much lower."

Trees Matter gives out free trees to increase Valley canopy coverage

PHOENIX – Trees Matter held a free tree distribution event alongside SRP earlier this month. They gave out free, desert-tolerant trees and shared education about tree planting.

A Trees Matter worker waits to assist a line of cars awaiting free trees. Dozens of Phoenix residents in the Maryvale area came to the distribution event Oct. 7, 2023, at Maryvale High School in Phoenix. (Photo by Hunter Fore/Cronkite News)

Flagstaff devotes thousands of tax dollars to urban beautification programs to ‘enliven the city’

FLAGSTAFF – The city of Flagstaff Beautification & Public Art Commission devotes thousands of tax dollars to urban beautification programs to enhance community aesthetics. Programs include wrapping utility cabinets with colorful artwork and potting flowers downtown.

“Here Comes the Sun” traffic cabinet art wrap by Christy Moeller. (Photo courtesy city of Flagstaff)

‘Not normal at all’: Rising temperatures threaten saguaros, other native plants

Saguaros, agave and more native plants are feeling the effects of Phoenix’s record-breaking hot summer, which is increasingly common. As trees and plants die, scientists are assisting their evolutionary adaptability and working on new solutions.

‘Scoping’ results show new Colorado River rules will face a range of demands

A new federal government report shows Colorado River states are aiming to agree on a plan to cut back on water, but remain divided about how to share the shrinking supply among tens of millions across the Southwest.

Thousands gather in Flagstaff to witness annular solar eclipse

FLAGSTAFF — The annular solar eclipse on Saturday drew large crowds to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.

From left, Scott Glib, Laura Nicholson, Haley Finch and Emma Railey look at the annular solar eclipse with protective solar glasses at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff on Sat., Oct. 14, 2023. "We just thought people would be excited and knowledgeable here and it would be fun to share in the excitement," Nicholson said. (Photo by Emily Mai/Cronkite News)

Water catchments across Arizona provide drinking water for wildlife

CAREFREE – Agencies such as Arizona Game and Fish maintain water catchments across the state. The agency noted wildlife used the catchments heavily amid record-breaking heat over the summer.

A bird sits at the trough of a water catchment following a refill in Anthem on Sept. 26, 2023. (Photo by Sam Volante/Cronkite News)

Phoenix funding trees and shade structures for underserved communities

PHOENIX – The city of Phoenix’s Office of Heat Response and Mitigation is working to fund trees and shade structures for qualified census tracts. Schools and neighborhoods can apply for funds to increase shade cover, in line with the city’s Tree and Shade Master Plan, which aims to increase city canopy coverage to roughly 25% by 2030.

Phoenix’s Tree and Shade Master Plan aims to increase city canopy coverage to roughly 25% by 2030. (Photo by Hunter Fore/Cronkite News)

Arizona’s extreme heat threatens ‘spectacular migrations’ of butterflies

SCOTTSDALE – Arizona experienced extreme heat this summer, which may affect butterfly migratory patterns. The prolonged heat means less food for butterflies and caterpillars.

A spotted tiger glassywing butterfly rests atop a flower at Butterfly Wonderland on Sept. 20, 2023. Arizona’s prolonged extreme heat is expected to reduce butterflies’ food, resulting in fewer migrating butterflies, Nina de l’Etoile, Butterfly Wonderland conservatory supervisor, said. (Photo by Kevinjonah Paguio/Cronkite News)

Senators urged to step up after Supreme Court ruling on Navajo water rights

WASHINGTON - Witnesses told a Senate hearing the federal government has both a a legal and an ethical obligation to ensure water access for tribes. The Supreme Court this summer rejected a Navajo claim that the government needed to take steps to protect its water rights.

Tribal water infrastructure needs more than a one-time fix, senators told

The infusion of federal money for infrastructure projects is a welcome first step toward fixing deep problems with water systems on tribal lands, but it's only a first step, an Arizona official testified Wednesday.