Natural Resources & Energy

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Several wildfire projections for this summer aren’t looking good. And the Mountain West is facing a number of water shortages, according to Mojtaba Sadegh, who leads the Hydroclimate Lab at Boise State University.

“We are down on river flows, we are down on dam storage, we are down on soil moisture. It’s hotter. Everything is converging,” he said.

Miria White

The White family cabin sits at the base of Boulder Ridge with a stunning view of the Laramie Valley. Today, Michelle White is canning beans, the pots rattling on the stove. But Michelle and her daughter, Miria gesture out their giant picture window at the prairie.

By Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team has changed a data point in their calculations for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear population. This one adjustment shows how past population estimates on the number of grizzlies have been very conservative. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska asked study team leader Frank Van Manen why make this change now.

Scott Wing

In a normal year, University of Wyoming associate professor in botany and geology Ellen Currano would spend about a month searching for plant fossils. But in the midst of the pandemic last summer, Currano wasn't allowed to do her usual research.

High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment / University of Arizona

Rock-covered glaciers in Wyoming are helping scientists understand the glaciers on Mars.

We’ve heard a lot about wolf reintroduction in our region, but that’s not the only carnivore environmentalists want to bring back.

Even in the height of the pandemic last summer, visitors came rushing to national parks and forests in Wyoming. Officials are preparing for an even crazier summer season this year.

Rare earth minerals from Baotou, Geology exhibition in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China
Brücke-Osteuropa / Creative Commons/Wikipedia

U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) is looking to a bipartisan innovation bill, the Endless Frontiers Act, to expand research into critical and rare earth element mining, resources used widely in military and civilian industries.

University of Wyoming College of Law

University of Wyoming Professor Tara Righetti will head to France this summer to study how the European state transitioned its economy and culture away from fossil fuel production.

Swinburne Astronomy Productions/ESO

Wyoming Stargazing, an astronomy non-profit, is hosting a free online speaker series this spring and summer. The next featured speaker is Suzanne Ramsay from the European Southern Observatory in Munich.

The University of Wyoming has won two awards from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support research on critical minerals.

Photo by Lukas Kloeppel from Pexels

The Wyoming Office of Tourism has released its 2020 Tourism Economic Impact Report and it shows a decline in revenue and visitors last year.

In 2020, Wyoming's travel economy declined 23 percent, while travel across the U.S. was down 36 percent. Nearly seven million visitors in 2020 brought in $160 million in state and local taxes.

The coal-fired Dry Fork Station with the Wyoming Integrated Test Center located right next to it.
Cooper McKim

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $51.7 million dollars to a California-based carbon capture company called Membrane Technology and Research (MTR) in order to set up a large-scale pilot demonstration in northeast Wyoming.

MTR is expected to set up at the partially-state funded research site Wyoming Integrated Test Center, located next to the Dry Fork Station, a coal-fired power plant in Gillette.

Courtesy of Abby Sisneros-Kidd

The newly established Pilot Hill Recreation Area opened late last year for non-motorized recreation. More recently, the Pilot Hill Wildlife Habitat Management Area opened May 1.

The 5,500-acre parcel is managed by the nonprofit Pilot Hill Inc. and provides a natural laboratory for researchers interested in the effects of non-motorized recreation on wildlife.

Tayler LaSharr

Mule deer migrate twice a year, moving between low elevation winter ranges and higher elevation summer ranges. In the spring they "surf the green wave," following the nutritious young spring plants upwards in elevation.

Previously, it was thought that does timed giving birth to peak green up during this wave, giving their fawns easy access to the most nutritious forage.

President Biden is meeting with world leaders on Thursday to talk about climate change. The summit comes as he readies an aggressive greenhouse gas emissions pledge – a 50% reduction by 2030.

It's an ambitious goal with real consequences for the Mountain West.

Bureau of Land Management Elko District Office

Last year was one of the worst wildfire seasons on record in the West. But certain seeding treatments may help prevent more fires in the future.

Anthony Carnahan

Conserving energy is important for bears, especially in the fall, when they're getting ready for hibernation. According to new research, their travel habits have a lot to do with that goal.

Sheridan College

Sheridan College has been honored by the Arbor Day Foundation for its tree management practices. It's the eighth consecutive year the college has received the Tree Campus USA distinction and was the first in the state to do so.

Sheridan College Grounds Maintenance Supervisor Zack Houck said there are 44 varieties and 23 different species of trees, with more than 500 trees total on campus.

Powder River Basin Resource Council Logo
Powder River Basin Resource Council

A number of conservation groups are joining the legal battle over President Biden's oil and gas leasing pause, filing a motion to defend the president's actions.

Scott Wing

One scientist thought he wasn't going to be able to go out into the field due to the pandemic, so he started looking for fossil plants from his desktop.

Joe Riis

Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials updated the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission on the public engagement process as it looks to update its elk feedground management plan.

Catherine Wheeler

A study done by University of Wyoming researchers and a food justice non-profit shows some evidence that farmers market coupon programs for low-income people can improve fruit and vegetable consumption.

It took place at the Wyoming Food For Thought Project's summer farmers market in Casper.

We often hear about efforts to support and conserve rare species, like the spotted owl or Joshua trees. But new findings argue that some very ordinary plants and animals deserve our attention, too.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Hunters and anglers are required to have a Conservation Stamp when they're in the field. Starting July 1, though, the price of Conservation Stamps will increase 72 percent from $12.50 to $21.50. The $9 increase will generate $1.6 million in additional funds for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) every year.

NPS Photo/ Tim Rains

Last year, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team estimated the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly population was around 700. The team did that by using a calculation that uses several different data points.

Eric Kounce

Methane has a larger impact on global warming than carbon dioxide. Some states are releasing a lot of it through abandoned oil and gas wells, but a new study finds Wyoming is not one of them.

Gabe Falzone, former VP of Technology for CO2 Concrete, now CarbonBuilt standing at their test facility at the Dry Fork Station
Cooper McKim

Two winners have been announced for the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE: one that used flue gas from natural gas combustion in Canada, the other, from a coal-fired power plant in Wyoming.

The competition aimed to scale up young demonstrations of carbon capture utilization technology: tech that uses carbon dioxide to create products.

Dave Freudenthal

Carbon capture, utilization and storage continue to gain steam across Wyoming, with Governor Mark Gordon urging Congress last month to consider a bill that supports infrastructure for the technology. The hope is that carbon capture tech will take off in Wyoming and help offset the cost and emissions of a coal plant - and then keep it open. There's plenty of doubt about whether that can work.

Wyoming leaders have supported the tech since around 2008, when coal production in the state first began to decline. Energy and Natural Resources reporter Cooper McKim spoke with former Governor Dave Freudenthal about the origins of the state's vision for carbon capture and why it didn't gain traction right away. Noa Greenspan, producer for the audio series Carbon Valley, put together the interview.

Left - Mellimage/, center - Montree Hanlue/, right - NASA

A new study finds that liberals and conservatives not only hold different beliefs about climate change, but they also pay attention to different aspects of it.