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Best of the West: Flood threat rises in states, sage-grouse rescue mission, waste shipments return to WIPP

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The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting April 10, 2017, that you don't want to miss.

Video of MudslideThe abundance of rain and snow this winter in the West poses challenges for residents and officials dealing with the runoff. High Country News highlighted the variability of winter weather, including when the big melt might begin. Other highlights of conditions across the region:

  • Idaho: More than 2 million acre-feet of water remains in the Boise watershed in the form of snow, with less than 300,000 acre-feet of capacity left in the Boise River reservoirs. The state's Transportation Department caught a powerful mudslide on video, demonstrating the danger caused by extreme precipitation. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
  • Montana: Snowpack levels exceed 160% of average in the Missoula and Kalispell Valleys. For now, snow at higher elevations remains frozen, and experts are hoping it melts in stages.
  • California: The state has experienced its fair share of flooding, but there is a silver lining for farmers in in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, who are seeing water allocations from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation boosted to 100% for the first time since 2006.

Sage-Grouse Safe Haven? Wyoming officials are airlifting 60 sage-grouse to North Dakota in an attempt to boost that state's sagging population of the bird. The sage grouse program coordinator in the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, in explaining the airlift, noted that “as a state ... there is a strong commitment to help others succeed in conserving this species."

WIPP Reopens: The Waste Isolation Pilot Program (WIPP) in New Mexico received its first shipment of transuranic waste after a three-year closure. Learn more about WGA’s involvement in the WIPP program.

Free Parking (Still): North Dakota legislators just said no this week to a bill that would have ended the state's 70-year prohibition on parking meters. Top that, New York!

Snowpack Mystery: NASA is conducting a study to determine how much water is stored in the Earth’s snow cover. Learn how results from the study in western Colorado may guide future decisions, such as when to plant crops or use hydropower. More

Hybrid Police Cruisers: Los Angeles Police Department officers will soon be driving the world’s first “pursuit-rated” hybrids. That's right: The Ford vehicle will offer more than twice the fuel economy of the current car, the Interceptor, but still have plenty of speed.

ATTEND WGA'S ANNUAL MEETING: Influential pollster Frank Luntz has just been added as a keynote speaker at the 2017 WGA Annual Meeting, hosted by Gov. Steve Bullock June 26-28 in Whitefish, Montana. (See Agenda, Register)

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Free Parking (Still): North Dakota legislators just said no this week to a bill that would have ended the state's 70-year prohibition on parking meters. Top that, New York.