Energy & Environment

Judy Fahys/KUER

Scott Jones steers a snowmobile into the T.W. Daniel Experimental Forest deep in the mountains above Logan. He’s a soils physicist at Utah State University, and he’s studying how forests use and store water.

“Understanding the processes up here will help us anticipate what’s happening in the valleys and streams,” he says.

Jones and a colleague measure water the snowpack’s holding after Utah’s warmest and driest winter on record. Data like this can help water managers plan for the future.

Brian Grimmett

After finding veligers, or baby quagga mussels, in a water sample taken last year, staff from the Utah Department of Natural Resources began testing to determine if the invasive mussel has infested Deer Creek Reservoir.

Terry Gildea/KUER

Getting water from streams, lakes and reservoirs to homes and businesses is challenging for any city utility.  Pipe valves leak. Water mains can break. Aging infrastructure can allow gallons of treated water to escape the system before ever getting to where it needs to go.  As our series Utah’s Uncertain Water Future continues, we look at how Salt Lake City water managers are trying to maintain a sophisticated pipe system and stay ahead of leaks.

Gary Turnier / KUED

We can't see aquifers, but these underground water reservoirs make life possible in the West. As we continue our series on Utah's Uncertain Water Future, we explore the consequences of mining groundwater in Utah’s Cedar Valley.

Water managers have a chart that shows Utah’s water demands will outstrip supplies by 2040 and say it shows why the state should start expensive water development projects now.

The Legislature’s auditors spent more than a year basically fact-checking that chart, and at a hearing Tuesday they informed lawmakers important decisions about Utah’s water are being made with unreliable data.

Flickr creative commons

When we turn on our faucets at home we expect water to come rushing out of them on demand. It’s easy not to think about where that water comes from or how it’s treated.  But with climate change and persistent droughts across the West, many city water managers have to find creative ways to supply growing populations with the water they need.  We continue our series, Utah’s Uncertain Water Future, with a look at the sophisticated system that brings clean drinking water to the residents of Salt Lake City.

Judy Fahys/KUER

In a parched corner of the nation's second driest state, the Virgin River delivers life-giving water to wildlife, farms and increasing numbers of people.

Ron Thompson sees a future when four times as many people could be living here in St. George, and they’ll need more water than the Virgin can provide. That’s why he wants the Lake Powell Pipeline.

Brian Grimmett

The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” report ranks Salt Lake City’s air 7th worst in the nation. On a report card, that’s an “F” in ozone and single-day particle pollution.

Dan Bammes

Environmental advocates are appealing a decision to issue an air quality permit allowing expansion of the HollyFrontier refinery in Davis County.

Andrea Smardon

Primatologist Jane Goodall was speaking in Salt Lake City at a sold-out event Friday evening about her work and the future of chimpanzees. But in the afternoon, she lent her fame and clout to a more controversial cause. Goodall appeared with Steven Druker, the author of a book that aims to wipe out genetically modified organisms from the world’s food supply.

Warren Hanratty via Creative Commons

Several dry winters have prompted two local governments to offer tools to help Utahns save water.

Courtesy photo

Salt Lake City is the first US stop on the world tour of author Steven Druker, an attorney who sued the US Food and Drug Administration over its policy on genetically engineered foods. He’s in town talking about his new book, “Altered Genes, Twisted Truth,” with a little help from primatologist Jane Goodall.

Brian Grimmett

The Environmental Protection Agency has officially removed the newly redeveloped Midvale Slag site from the Superfund National Priorities List.

KUED

Governor Gary Herbert says he’s still not sure people have a role in causing climate change.

A reporter asked Utah’s Republican governor on Thursday whether Utah’s lean snowpack and possible water shortages are the result of climate change.

Tax Day Storm Stands Out

Apr 15, 2015
USU Webcam

The storm that bounded into Utah Tuesday stands out as an epic weather event for a number of reasons.

Wind gusts topped 60 miles an hour at dozens of Utah locations. Blowing dust pushed air-pollution measurements into the hazardous range. And temperatures plummeted 29 degrees between afternoon and evening.

Flickr: Ray Terrill

Rio Tinto stadium is set to be the home of the largest privately owned solar arrays in Utah. The new solar arrays will provide more than 2 megawatts of power to the stadium, offsetting 73% of its electric needs.

USU and Yale University

Researchers at Utah State University and Yale University have mapped public opinion about global warming across the US. Their study published Monday in Nature Climate Change reveals the diversity of opinions at state and local levels.

File: Delta Disaster Services

Among the bills Governor Gary Herbert signed into law earlier this week is HB 396, which prevents the Utah Department of Environmental Quality from placing a season-long ban on wood burning.

Lynn Kitchen / NCRS

Utah’s warm, dry winter means a measly snowmelt, and water-watchers are already writing off this water year as one of the state’s driest ever even though it’s just halfway over.

Most years, the dogs splashing in Parley’s Creek would find the water here cold and swift with spring snowmelt. But the stream’s running at about one-third of normal for this time of year, and that’s as good as it’s going to get. Forecasters say there’s no more runoff to look forward to.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Leaders of an ATV ride into a closed canyon last year asked a court to dismiss the charges against them. But a federal judge ruled Wednesday that the trial will go forward.

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman and three others behind last May’s Recapture Canyon protest ride declined to comment after Wednesday’s court hearing.

Nicole Nixon

Salt Lake City mayor Ralph Becker came together with public utilities and infrastructure experts on Wednesday to discuss planning and building in a way that conserves land, water and natural resources along the Wasatch front.

James Marvin Phelps / Flickr Creative Commons

The West used to solve its water troubles with dams. But now Dan Beard, a man who used to lead the nation’s dam-building agency, wants to shutter it.

Beard once oversaw the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s vast water network in the West, and he helped Congress decide on one billion dollars worth of finishing touches for the Central Utah Project.

Courtesy of J. Willard Marriott Library

The University of Utah has unveiled a new online dashboard that will display the energy production of solar panels on the J. Willard Marriott Library. 

Utah Division of Natural Resources and FrogWatch

The season to spot frogs and toads has arrived, and Hogle Zoo is part of a nationwide, citizen-science effort to monitor them in Utah.

The zoo’s Suzanne Zgraggen, coordinator for FrogWatch USA in Utah, teaches volunteers how to identify frogs and toads.

Courtesy: Brenda Norrell / Earthcycles

 The West lost an important anti-nuclear activist last week, when Margene Bullcreek was laid to rest on the Skull Valley Goshute Indian Reservation.

snowbirdphoto / Flickr Creative Commons

  Utah’s second annual Outdoor Recreation Summit gets underway in Salt Lake City Tuesday. The daylong meeting is aimed at bringing together communities that have been at odds in the past.

EMDOT/ FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

State Senators are expected to take up a bill later this week to merge the agencies that oversee radiation and waste disposal. Doctors and other medical professionals are criticizing the move.

Whittney Evans

The American Society of Engineers has given Utah’s public infrastructure a C+. The group’s 2015 report card shows the state could better prepare for earthquakes and climate change.

Health officials in Salt Lake County probably won’t know until Saturday what’s causing an oily sheen on  Mill Creek.

utahlake.gov

The Utah Lake Commission announced this week it has reached the halfway mark in its massive carp removal project. It’s part of an overall effort to restore the Endangered June Sucker, which is native to the lake.

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