National Elk Refuge working on plan to wean elk off feed

(Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, http://www.jhnewsandguide.com

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Under threat of legal action, federal wildlife managers are pledging to start weaning elk that winter on the National Elk Refuge in northwest Wyoming off of supplemental feeding.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been talking with Wyoming wildlife managers for about a dozen years about the feeding program. But the threat of litigation by the Earthjustice environmental group has forced the agency to act.

Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that the federal agency has agreed to have a plan in place by the next feeding season, which typically begins in late January

or early February each winter.

Earth justice contends that the supplemental feeding of elk increases the risk of spreading chronic wasting disease among wildlife in the area.


Groundwater contamination high near Wyoming coal ash ponds

(Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com)

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — PacifiCorp is proposing corrective measures at two of its coal-fired power plants in southwest Wyoming after tests showed excessive groundwater contamination from coal ash ponds.

Tests that the company conducted found that groundwater on the Jim Bridger and Naughton power plants contained lithium and selenium at levels 100 times above what is considered safe.

PacifiCorp spokesman Dave Eskelson tells the Casper Star-Tribune that the groundwater contamination is confined to company property and is not a threat to the drinking water supply.

But environmental groups are wary of taking the company at its word, pointing to the irreversible harm groundwater contamination causes to the environment and the public.

PacifiCorp is accepting public comment on contamination issues at its coal ash ponds until Aug. 26.


Firework crashes through home during pyrotechnics convention

(Information from: The Gillette (Wyo.) News Record, http://www.gillettenewsrecord.com)

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Officials say a firework rocket that was launched during a show for the Pyrotechnics Guild International convention landed in a Wyoming home and sparked a small fire.

The Gillette News Record reports the rocket broke through the roof of the Gillette home about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from the event center where the fireworks display was taking place Sunday.

The Campbell County Fire Department says the flames were extinguished before firefighters got to the house. No one was injured.

Guild spokesman Tom Sklebar says the organization will pay for the damages.

He says a rocket “took an errant trajectory” after it was launched and hit the house.

The fireworks convention started Aug. 10 and runs through Friday. It features fireworks shows on four nights.


New Wyoming state park at former missile site opens

(Information from: KGAB-AM, http://www.kgab.com)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A new Wyoming state park at a former launch command center for one of the world’s most powerful nuclear missiles has opened to the public this week.

KGAB-AM reports that the Quebec 1 Wyoming Historic Site north of Cheyenne opened for tours Tuesday. An official grand opening is set for this weekend.

The former Peacekeeper missile site is located off Interstate 25 about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Cheyenne. Tourists will be able to go underground to the steel-reinforced concrete capsule. The site also features a museum.

It’s estimated that the site will attract 50,000-60,000 visitors a year.


Farms turn to technology amid water warnings in Southwest US

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — Researchers and farmers across the U.S. Southwest are experimenting with drones, specialized cameras and other technology to squeeze the most out of every drop of

irrigation water from the vital but beleaguered Colorado River.

The river has plenty of water this summer after an unusually snowy winter in the mountains of the U.S. West.

But climatologists warn the river’s long-term outlook is uncertain at best and dire at worst, and competition for water will only intensify as the population grows and the climate changes.

Researchers say agriculture uses most of the river in the U.S. The problem is how to divert some of that to meet the needs of growing cities without drying up farms and ranches.

Experts say soil monitors, Wi-Fi, cellphone apps and farm weather stations could help.


University of Wyoming asks state for additional $31 million

(Information from: Laramie Boomerang, http://www.laramieboomerang.com)

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — The University of Wyoming has requested an additional $31.3 million in state funding.

The Laramie Boomerang reported Sunday that the university’s biennial funding request to the Legislature is for its 2021 and 2022 budgets.

Officials say the majority of the funding would be used for standard operations at the university in Laramie.

Officials have requested an increase of $1.3 million for the School of Energy Resources, which is funded separately from the university’s block grant.

The university is also requesting $2 million in ongoing funds to pay for a blockchain certificate program, blockchain technology introductory courses and a “fintech” certificate program.

In addition to 2021-2022 request, the school is seeking a one-time appropriation of $16.9 million that is not expected to continue after the biennium.


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