Natural Resources & Energy

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Sheridan Community Land Trust

The Sheridan Community Land Trust has received two grants that will go towards building more trails and parking areas in the Bighorn National Forest.

The two grants from the U.S. Forest Service and the Wyoming Business Council total nearly $600,000. The funds will go to building 15 miles of trail and three parking areas in the existing Red Grade trail system.

pxhere via CC0 Public Domain

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many have turned to the great outdoors in an effort to get out of their house but still stay away from people. And with more people out of work, it also helps to be able to fill the freezer. For some, stocking up on food during the pandemic means buying extra meat. For others, it means buying a hunting license and heading into the field. For Tylynn Smith from Laramie, it's her first time going hunting.

Many communities in the West are growing, and in some places that’s putting pressure on already scarce water supplies.

That’s the case in northern Colorado, where a proposed set of reservoirs promises to allow small suburbs to keep getting bigger. The project, called the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP), has stirred up a familiar debate over how the West grows, and whether water should be a limiting factor.

Hila Shamon with Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Swift foxes are reddish-brown, a bit smaller than a house cat, with big ears and a long tail. They do their best to sound intimidating when they're live-trapped, but they tend to be quite docile. They were historically found across the Great Plains region from Alberta, Canada down through the central part of the United States, but today, they're only in about 40 percent of that area.

Tennessee Watson


It's the end of August, and I've joined a handful of biologists for an expedition in Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming.

The journey starts with a paddle across the north end of Jackson Lake to the mouth of a drainage. We ditch the canoe, pull on our neoprene socks, extend our trekking poles and start wading up a creek bed — ankle-deep in the cool water — in search of the elusive Harlequin duck.

Bob Beck

So far, Northwest Wyoming sugar beet producers are happy with their harvest. 

While this week's winter storm had a potential to threaten the crops, Western Sugar Cooperative's Randall Jobman, the north region vice president of agriculture at Western Sugar Cooperative, said thankfully it didn't get cold enough. 

Oscar Vilca

A new study suggests that glacial lakes are growing as the earth's temperatures increase.

PxHere through Creative Commons CC0

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) is urging anglers to modify their routine to protect fish. Hot, dry weather can heat up water temperatures and lower the overall dissolved oxygen in the water, which can stress the fish. 

NASA

A University of Wyoming team has received a $5 million grant to research the Earth's critical zone.

Many states introduced moratoriums to protect residents from having their utilities shut off for non-payment during the early days of the pandemic. But those moratoriums are coming to an end.

Cooper McKim

Earlier this summer, organizations got together across Wyoming to give testimony about the largest utility in the state's controversial plan to make a shift away from coal and towards renewables.

Loring Schaible


It's a bright August morning in the northeast corner of Montana. Robbie Magnan, Game and Fish director for the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, rose before dawn to round up 40 buffalo into a corral.

If you're experiencing quarantine fatigue, these bulls can relate.

LORING SCHAIBLE

Millions of bison used to roam the west but by the early 1900's, only a couple dozen were left inside Yellowstone. That's because the animal was over-hunted by western settlers. Yellowstone Chris Geremia, the Yellowstone National Park bison coordinator, said decades were spent to recover the population.

Gray Wolf
Gary Kramer / USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) plans to lift endangered species protections for gray wolves across most of the nation by the end of the year. 

Although wolves are already off of the Endangered Species List in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and portions of Utah, Oregon and Washington states, this would remove the animal from federal protections in all states except for a population of wolves in the southwest. 

Jim Laybourn

Wyoming Game and Fish killed four wolves in northwestern Wyoming last week as part of an effort to control their interactions with livestock.

Bureau of Land Management

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a backlog in the meat processing industry. So Gov. Mark Gordon is directing $10 million in federal CARES Act funding to help Wyoming processors expand their operations.

The Meat Processing Expansion grant program hopes to address supply chain issues many producers and processors are facing.

Job Impact Analysis by Year from DOE-funded report on CCUS in Wyoming. It predicts nearly 20 additional years of jobs from its scenarios versus Pacificorp's baseline plan.
United States Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy

The governor's office has released a report it requested from the U.S. Department of Energy last year that explores alternative scenarios to Pacificorp's plan to retire several coal plant units early and transition to a heavier focus on renewables. The report considers the impacts of instead retrofitting the plants with carbon capture technology.

Top three list of unsecured creditors
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District Of Alabama

A company whose ownership was once affiliated with Wyoming mines has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Alabama-based FM Coal cited consistently reduced revenue and lack of capital investment.

Pilot Hill Project

The Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners closed a land exchange on Friday that secures 4,343 acres of land for the Pilot Hill Project. The exchange has been in the works for more than two years and traded 11,668 acres of isolated state trust land for the area now in Pilot Hill.

Yathin S Krishnappa via the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Hunter education is required for all hunters in Wyoming who were born after January 1, 1966. But the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's (WGFD) Hunter Mentor Program enables new hunters who haven't completed their hunter education to experience the hunt with a mentor who has taken the course.

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management held its first oil and gas lease sales in months, netting more than $8 million from drillers eyeing public lands primarily in New Mexico.


Orion Mine Finance

The likely new owners of four million acres of mineral rights and a million acres of land primarily in Wyoming is Orion Mine Finance, a subset of the investment management firm Orion Resource Partners. Jon Lamb, portfolio manager with Orion Resource Partners, spoke with Cooper McKim regarding the firm's thinking behind the purchase and their plans forward.

Savannah Maher


The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is considering changes to laws and regulations surrounding trapping. This comes after some encounters that members of the public and pets have had with traps near public areas. Some want trapping near trails banned, and others say pets should always be leashed. A working group has looked into solutions. Lander Region Wildlife Supervisor Jason Hunter spoke with Bob Beck to discuss what they are proposing.

Below the Dry Fork Station is the Integrated Test Center where Carbon XPRIZE teams were expected to set up shop. CO2Concrete's shelter is located near the middle of the picture.
Cooper McKim

The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition is nearing its finale, though with fewer teams on site than expected. The international carbon capture competition based in Gillette welcomed its second and last competitor to site this week after COVID-19 complications prevented all three other competitors from making the trek.

Kamila Kudelska

On a hot afternoon, a group of girls are going in circles playing musical chairs, except there are no chairs. Just orange cones. And they are all on mountain bikes.

Anna Rader


Medicine Bow National Forest is a popular area for recreation in Southeastern Wyoming, covering about one million acres of mountains, lakes, and more.

The National Forest Service is launching a plan for restoration in Medicine Bow. The Landscape Vegetation Analysis, or LaVA project, gives the Forest Service the ability to treat over two hundred thousand acres of the forest with prescribed burns and logging and build up to 600 miles of temporary roads. Although the Forest Service said the goal of the project is to create a healthier forest, environmental groups are critical of the plan.

The lab going up in Boise, Idaho, will be part of a new, larger U.S. Geological Survey building. And it would test environmental DNA, or eDNA, from around the nation. That is, instead of trying to find an invasive animal, like a single mussel or fish in a lake, scientists could just sample water to test for DNA of certain species.


National Forest Service

The National Forest Service is launching a new restoration project in Medicine Bow National Forest.

Rocky Mountain Power

Rocky Mountain Power's renewable energy program turns 20 this year. So far, it has helped over 20 Wyoming organizations start renewable energy projects.

William Perry Pendley’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Land Management may have been pulled, but he’s still effectively leading the organization. Two lawsuits are still trying to put that to an end. 


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