Rae Ellen Bichell

Mountain West Reporter

Rae Ellen Bichell reports for the Mountain West News Bureau out of KUNC in Colorado. 

Before joining the team, she covered everything from Ebola to butterfly evolution and space toilets as a science reporter for NPR. She also tried freelancing for a couple years in Helsinki, Finland, originally under a Fulbright grant.

Now based in northern Colorado, she spends her free time reading, playing indoor soccer (not very well) and doing a crazy sport called canyoneering. 

You can reach Rae Ellen at rae.bichell@kunc.org.

Ways to Connect

Matt Lavin / Flickr

According to the Western Governors Association, species like the Canada thistle and common carp aren’t just nuisances -- they’re a matter of western biosecurity.

Royal Gorge Field Office / Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management planned to lease about 18,000 acres of land in southern Colorado for oil and gas drilling. Now, the bureau says it’s holding off so it can consult with the Navajo Nation.

Geo Group, Inc

Dozens of young children were reunited with their parents yesterday after being separated at the border under the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. The government is still working to reunite many more children with their parents, some of whom are being held at a detention center in Aurora, Colorado.

Global SuperTanker Services LLC

One of the world’s biggest firefighting aircraft is based in Colorado Springs. But it's fighting fires in California right now, rather than in the Mountain West.

Jose Hernandez / USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

In an open field in Longmont, Colorado, about a dozen people crouched in the tall grass, moving slowly and deliberately through mud that squelched underfoot. Some carried huge, serrated knives called hori-hori, a Japanese tool made specifically for gutting weeds. Others wielded gardening shears, saws or chemical sprays as their weapons of choice.

nicdalic / Flickr

Between growing populations and changing climate conditions, our water sources are only expected to get more crunched. Communities in some very dry states have had to get creative about where to get their water, sometimes purifying sewage into drinking water. More western cities are beginning to get on board, too. But there’s a problem: the ick factor.

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons / Flickr

Nuclear testing during the Cold War sent radioactive fallout far away from the actual test sites. Politicians are moving to expand who can be compensated by the government for getting sick after exposure to that fallout.

Environmental Defense Fund

A study in the journal Science says a lot more methane is leaking from oil & gas sites than previously thought -- about 60 percent more than the current estimate from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Courtesy of Alessandro Franchin

Public lands have been in the news a lot this year. They comprise much of the Mountain West, from around 30 percent of land in Montana and Colorado to more than 60 percent in Utah and Idaho. This summer, we’re taking you on a tour of some of our favorite public lands.

Aguttes

The fossil skeleton of a carnivorous dinosaur recently found in Wyoming was just auctioned off in Paris. Paleontologists are worried the sale is part of a trend that will keep specimens from our region out of the hands of scientists.

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