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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

As Rivers Month wraps up, action still needed to protect ID rivers

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Wednesday, June 26, 2024   

National Rivers Month comes to an end this week and conservation groups said it is a reminder more action is needed to protect Idaho's rivers.

The state is home to more than 107,000 miles of river, providing drinking water, hydropower, tourism and recreational opportunities like rafting and angling.

Stephen Pfieffer, conservation associate for Idaho Rivers United, said only a small portion of the state's river miles have the strongest type of federal protections.

"Only 1% of the rivers here in Idaho are protected via Wild and Scenic River designations," Pfieffer pointed out. "There's a lot of opportunities to give more stretches of river, that people like to recreate on or might rely on, protections that they deserve."

Idaho is home to two of the eight rivers originally protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968: the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. About 890 miles of river in Idaho are protected under the designation today.

The Snake River also flows through Idaho. The Biden administration has been studying four dams on the lower part of the Snake River in eastern Washington and their effect on fish populations migrating to and from Idaho. Last week, the administration announced the Columbia Basin Task Force to further examine the impact of those dams. Pfieffer said salmon and steelhead numbers are dwindling because of the dams.

"It all boils down to the fact that our wild salmon and steelhead don't have much time," Pfieffer emphasized. "But if we take these actions now we can get them to a place where populations can stabilize, and are in fact recovering, in the event of dam removal."

Supporters of the dams said they provide hydropower to the region, as well as enabling other uses for the river, like barging and irrigation.

Pfieffer added National Rivers Month is not only about threats to rivers, it is about enjoying what they offer.

"Idaho has so many amazing stretches of river and there might be an amazing stretch right in your backyard that's just waiting to be explored," Pfieffer observed.


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