EcoWatch

Comments regarding the draft “impaired” designation of Fish Creek, shown, and portions of Flat Creek are due by Feb. 20 to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

‘Impaired’ streams study

All of Fish Creek and portions of Flat Creek officially have an E. coli problem, according to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

The comment period on the draft “impaired” designation is open, with thoughts due by Feb. 20. Comments may be submitted at WQ.WyomingDEQ.CommentInput.com.

State environmental regulators made their determination, which was expected, in the draft version of a 2020 report, which rounds up water quality conditions across the Equality State. Teton County’s two prized streams actually constitute two-thirds of all the new “impaired” listings documented since the last DEQ report was completed two years ago.

The only other newly impaired stretch of Wyoming water the DEQ’s draft report identified was Lander Creek, which flows from the Wind River Range and also is being listed due to dangerous levels of E. coli bacteria.

Statewide, Wyoming’s waterways and lakes are in pretty good shape, especially relative to more developed and peopled parts of the country. Approximately 7% of 267,294 stream miles and 4% of 487,948 lake acres have been assessed. Only 6% of assessed stream miles and 2% of the assessed lake acres are currently listed as impaired

Solar farm sets open house

The Bureau of Land Management is holding an open house on the 66-megawatt Raven Solar Energy Project in Sweetwater County.

The event is set up for 3 to 6 p.m. Friday at the BLM’s Rock Springs field office.

The 400-acre Raven solar farm would include a 3.9-mile underground 34.5-kV generation tie power line in a 30-foot-wide right of way. The system would include a battery bank, access roads, substation and switchyard and maintenance building.

The project is being scoped, and comments are due in by Feb. 27. Find related documents and instructions for commenting online at Go.USA.gov/xdbxD.

Call project contact Crystal Hoyt for more information: 307-352-0322.

BLM parcel consultant sought

Teton County has released a call for consultant assistance in determining and pursuing alternative ownership or management options for federal property along the Snake and Gros Ventre river corridors.

The federal government decided to transfer the inaccessible parcels from Bureau of Land Management administration while ensuring the land remains in public ownership and available for recreation, public access, open space and wildlife habitat.

Disposal by sale and exchange and other means of disposal are also options.

The selected consultant will make recommendations on a parcel-by-parcel basis and execute on behalf of Teton County. The submission deadline is noon Feb. 28. The contract will be awarded March 17.

Shoshone to take bids

The Shoshone National Forest is looking to permit new outfitting and guiding services near the communities of Cody, Dubois and Lander.

Activities that are potentially open include mountaineering, sport climbing and ice climbing in the Wild Iris, Sinks Canyon, Little Popo Agie and Gannett Peak areas in the Wind River Ranger District. There are also commercial climbing opportunities in the South Fork of the Shoshone River corridor and the Clarks Fork area. Other non-motor commercial activities being considered include mountain biking, trail running, day-use fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing.

Additional activities may be considered.

For information on the solicitation process call Paul Rau at 307-578-5140 or Mike LaFrentz, 307-578-5117.

Proposals will be due by March 9.

Stargazing sets speakers

Wyoming Stargazing has announced its 2020 speaker series, “The World Above the Tetons.”

The first event of the year was when Ryan Prouty gave a talk about cooperation in space.

Coming up: Mike Adler will talk about astrophotography on March 7; Danielle Carroll will present on human health in space March 29; last, Mike Brotherton will speak on cosmic storytelling April 27.

All the speaker events start at 7:30 p.m. at the Center for the Arts. Tickets for children and students are free; adults pay $25.

See WyomingStargazing.org/speaker-series for more information and to buy tickets.

Comment on bird rule rollback

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking comments on a proposed rule that limits the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, exempting some industries that kill species protected under the act.

Comments on the proposal are due by March 19.

Find documentation in the Feb. 3 edition of the Federal Register, at FederalRegister.gov.

Comment by going to Regulations.gov and searching for Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2018-0090.

GYE science conference set

The theme and dates of the 15th biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem have been announced.

This year’s event, May 4 to 6 at Mammoth Hot Springs, is titled “Living with a Supervolcano: Focus on the Geoscience.”

The conference will begin with an opening reception and public lecture by Dr. Bruce Fouke the evening of May 3. Presentations and posters will draw from the fields of volcanology, geology, geobiology, geohydrology, geohazards, glacial geology and geomorphology. Montana State University is cosponsoring the event.

Student scholarships and lodging will be available. Registration and abstract submission will begin in early February. Check YellowstoneScienceConference.org for updates.

— Mike Koshmrl

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Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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