Best of the West: Oregon, Idaho protect sagebrush habitats; Montana’s ‘makerspaces’; explore centuries of sheepherding in Colorado

The West

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting Oct. 15, 2018, that you don't want to miss.

Wildfire prevention and restoration following destructive blazes are top priorities for land managers. Two Pacific Northwest states are working to accomplish these goals.

Targeted grazing has been shown to reduce the risk of future wildfires and benefit native plants. In Oregon, USDA rangeland scientists are partnering with the BLM to reduce fire fuels, particularly annual grasses, by expanding grazing operations

In Idaho, The Sagebrush in Prisons Project engages inmates in habitat restoration and ecological science by growing sagebrush and bitterbrush seedlings for rehabilitation of areas affected by wildfire. The initiative also benefits the greater sage grouse, pronghorn, elk and mule deer.  

To learn about WGA’s work on rangeland management and wildfire prevention, view our webinar series and read the most recent Report on the Western Governors’ National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative.

Drought Updates: According to Bureau of Reclamation data, key reservoirs along the Colorado River are at their lowest point at the start of a new water year in nearly 40 years. Seven southwestern states have reached ‘landmark’ agreements on how to manage the waterway, which provides water to 40 million people. In Colorado, a ‘Water Cop’ is working to reduce conflict in areas where water is scarce

Treasure State Tech: Collaborative workspaces in schools, known as “makerspaces,” are having an impact in Montana. A district in the rural, northern part of the state partnered with technology organizations to train teachers on makerspace tools, and students are taking advantage of new donated equipment.

Mourning Paul Allen, Bill Coors: Two Western icons passed away in recent days, Paul Allen and Bill Coors. Allen, the cofounder of Microsoft and a Seattle-based business and philanthropy leader, was also an enthusiastic patron of sports and the arts. Coors passed away at age 102 after an extensive career with the family brewery in Colorado. Among his accomplishments, he will be remembered for the development of the recyclable beer can in 1959.

Flock to the Bookstore: Cowboys receive much of the glory for shaping the American West, but sheepherders also played an important role. A new book, The Woolly West: Colorado’s Hidden History of Sheepscapes, explores the impact of sheep grazing on public lands in Colorado over two centuries.  

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