Mountain West News Bureau

In wide open spaces like the rural parts of the Mountain West, there's sometimes little known about the secret lives of plants and animals. There are too many square miles and too few scientists. That's where citizen scientists can come to the rescue.

An environmental group sent a letter to Governor Mark Gordon asking him to intervene in last week's lease sale of some parcels of land native to sage grouse.

Last year the nation was shocked when a 9-year-old Colorado boy took his own life. A recent report says youth suicide is a public health crisis in Colorado and the numbers in the Mountain West as a whole are staggering, with some of the highest rates in the nation. At the same time, there’s a significant shortage of mental health professionals -- at crisis levels in some communities. Often, it’s mental health workers in schools who work on the front lines of this crisis.

The National Park Service may have lost millions of dollars in revenue during the recent government shutdown, and recovering from this setback may take a while.

Imagine a swarm of big, black birds flying overhead at dusk. No, it’s not a scene from a Hitchcock film. This is Nampa, Idaho — a small community that’s become the winter home for tens of thousands of crows. They are noisy and messy, and Nampa residents are pushing back.

 


U.S. House Democrats are holding a hearing Wednesday to look at how the Interior Department paid to keep national parks open during the partial government shutdown.

Updated 6:36 p.m. MST

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to nominate David Bernhardt as the nation’s next Interior Secretary. The former oil industry lobbyist and longtime government employee has been acting Secretary since Ryan Zinke stepped down last month amid questions about his ethics and conflicts of interest.

PRESTON, Idaho — Alongside Idaho State Highway 91 just north of the Utah border stands a prayer tree, its branches tied with remnants of faded cloth.

In an hour-long hearing Thursday, frustrated Democrats on the House Natural Resources committee called out the Trump administration for "blatant favoritism" toward the oil and gas industry. California Congressman Alan Lowenthal complained oil and gas has gone unscathed while all walks of life are feeling the pain.

The battle over a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 census may have profound economic implications for the Mountain West.

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