Best of the West: How to help victims of Harvey, Montana’s economic drivers, invasives detected in Colorado

Wildfires, The West

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting August 28, 2017, that you don't want to miss. (Photo: Houston Chronicle)

Texas has been devastated in the past week by the most powerful storm to hit the U.S. mainland in more than 10 years. Hurricane Harvey dropped more than 20 trillion gallons of rain on the Houston area and has claimed at least 38 lives. Gov. Greg Abbott has requested $125 billion in federal support for what is estimated to become one of the costliest storms on record. To contribute to local organizations organizing relief efforts and delivering direct services to victims impacted by the tropical storm, visit the following websites:

To show the impact of the floodwaters, the Washington Post created a tool to visually show what the scale of water would look like in your community.

Northwest Wildfires: Two dozen wildfires, equivalent to half the size of Rhode Island, are burning in Oregon, impacting air quality and forcing the evacuation of more than 4,500 people. In Montana, air quality issues, evacuations and red-flag warnings continue across the state, leading one official to speculate that only snow could stop the fires at this point.

Growing Economy: A new report on Montana’s economy by Headwaters Economics analyzes what is driving growth in the state. The report found that the five fastest growing counties during 2000-2015 are responsible for more than 75% of Montana’s job growth, and benefit from nearby public lands and a diversity of growing economic sectors.

Worrisome Discovery: Officials in Colorado have detected invasive mussel larvae, which can wreak havoc on recreation, water quality and hydroelectric power facilities. Adult quagga and zebra mussels have never been found in the state, but officials worry that the presence of larvae could lead to a nearly impossible to reverse infestation.

Up, Up and Away: A test version of a spacecraft being developed to autonomously transport cargo to and from the International Space Station was flown over the Mojave Desert in California on Wednesday.  Resembling a mini space shuttle, the first Dream Chaser mission is expected to launch in 2020.

Pass ‘em Forward: Looking to give a second life to your solar eclipse glasses? The Wyoming Department of Transportation is partnering with Astronomers Without Borders to collect and redistribute 2017’s hottest accessory to parts of South America and Asia, which will experience an eclipse in 2019. Learn how you can participate.

Get the latest news about the West and its governors by following the Western Governors' Association on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


sign up for our newsletters