The Future of Hydropower in the Pacific Northwest

The Future of Hydropower in the Pacific Northwest: Challenges and Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released a report detailing a vision for increasing the nation’s hydropower capacity by 50% by 2050. Despite a variety of technical, environmental, and market challenges to be overcome, the report concludes that there remain significant opportunities for future hydropower development in the United States. Those opportunities come particularly through upgrades to existing hydropower facilities, adding power generation capacity to existing dams and canals, and development of new pumped storage capacity. In the Pacific Northwest, the nation’s hydropower leader, the potential for new hydro development in undammed stream reaches is limited largely due to environmental constraints associated with fish habitat protections. However, there are still significant regional opportunities to optimize the use of existing infrastructure to increase hydropower capacity. In particular, through development of in-conduit hydropower and pumped storage hydropower facilities, the region could reap benefits ranging from increased grid reliability, improved ability to incorporate intermittent renewable power sources like wind energy, and reduced carbon emissions.

energy, hydroelectric

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To Be or Not to Be a Wolf

sci fact checkDuring a House hearing on wolf conservation, Rep. Debbie Dingell claimed “the science is clear” that red wolves are not “hybrids” between coyotes and gray wolves. But the science is not clear — and the latest research has tipped the balance of evidence in favor of the hybrid hypothesis.

If recognized as a hybrid, the red wolf could risk losing protection under the Endangered Species Act — an outcome hunters, landowners and ranchers advocate, in part, because red wolves and other wolf species prey on livestock and deer. The new research may also influence the status of other wolf species under the act, such as the gray wolf and the eastern wolf.

In order to be eligible for federal protection under the act, a plant or animal must be classified as a distinct species, including “any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.” However, the act lacks specific provisions for hybrids between endangered and unlisted species — making it unclear if the red wolf should continue to be protected.

USFWS, red wolf, gray wolf

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Obama Administration’s Lack of Wildfire Strategy Keeps Communities At Risk

house nrWashington, D.C. – White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan and U.S. Forest Service (FS) leadership today hosted a national media call on wildfire activity in California and nationally. House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement in response to the Administration’s flawed and lackluster priorities related to improving forest health and mitigating increasingly catastrophic wildfire:

Forest Service, Wildfire, ForestHealth

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New Research Provides Insights into Sage Grouse DNA

sage grouse aThe greater sage grouse is an iconic bird that lives in the American West’s sagebrush landscape. It’s also a species at the center of a nationwide debate focused on how best to manage its habitat to balance multiple uses and ensure the bird’s long-term survival.

And the dialogue has just been informed by new information from a genetics study that has validated the primary target locations of current conservation efforts.

Though sage grouse were once numerous, their populations have dwindled drastically from historic numbers. Their range is still impressively large, though. Sage grouse are spread across a staggering 258,000 square miles.

sage grouse, DNA

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ESA Reform Need Demonstrated

house nrBishop: Obama Administration’s Final Species Petition Regulations Demonstrate Need for ESA Reform 

Washington, D.C. (Sept 26, 2016) – Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced final revisions to regulations governing the petition process under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:

esa, reform

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