Items by Joshua Zaffos

Back down the fireline
In Fire and Ashes: On the Front Lines of American Wildfire, John N. Mclean leads readers through sweaty-palmed human encounters with Western wildfires
Water law for dummies
The Citizen’s Guide to Colorado Water Law by the nonprofit Colorado Foundation for Water Education gives a clear and simple overview of water in the state
Another roadside detraction
New studies from the University of California at Davis show that roads significantly promote the spread of invasive, exotic weeds
Toxic waste looms over village
A pile of toxic waste rock is moving dangerously close to Questa, N.M., while the mining company, Molycorp, and the state slowly work out a reclamation plan
BLM sinks local input to drill Roan Plateau
In Western Colorado, locals burned by the oil shale boom 20 years ago are dubious about planned natural gas drilling on the Roan Plateau, especially since the BLM unexpectedly dropped their favorite plan
A fire maverick is resurrected
Forgotten Fires: Native Americans and the Transient Wilderness, a controversial and thought-provoking 1954 study by Omer C. Stewart, has been rediscovered and republished
Sustainable forestry for beginners
Brian Foster’s Wild Logging: A Guide to Environmentally and Economically Sustainable Forestry introduces readers to Western landowners, foresters and loggers, and answers technical questions
Report brandishes cold facts about U.S. energy
A new report by the Rocky Mountain Institute called U.S. Energy Facts criticizes current energy policy and urges efficiency and conservation
A ravaged river gets a new life
The Nature Conservancy is using the McCarran Ranch, which it recently purchased, as a river-restoration pilot project for Nevada’s Truckee River
Reinstating the heir to the Truckee River
The Nevada Lahontan cutthroat trout, believed to be extinct for 60 years, may still be alive, but actually restoring the fish to its native Truckee River and Pyramid Lake could prove extremely complicated
Who needs Superfund when we’ve got reality TV?
Joshua Zaffos scoffs at the Bush administration’s effort to cleanup pollution
Tribes recognized at Little Bighorn
This summer, the National Park Service will unveil a memorial to the American Indians who fought Custer at the Little Bighorn
A dirty use for Clean Water Act money?
A Forest Service project to thin trees in New Mexico’s Santa Fe National Forest is using money obtained through the Clean Water Act
Roadkill 101
Hayden Valley Elementary School in Hayden, Colo., is using its "Critter Control Project" to map wildlife roadkill patterns and find solutions to the problem
Off-roaders steer agencies with dollars
Critics say Idaho is being swayed by ORVers’ money in its plans for an off-road vehicle trail through the Lost River Valley
On the WaterWatch
WaterWatch of Oregon has a newly revamped Web site designed to educate people about the Beaver State’s rivers and watersheds.
The hunt is on for a mystery killer
Fallon, Nev., is home to the fastest-growing cancer cluster in U.S. history, and some researchers suspect that the seemingly harmless metal tungsten may be to blame
Tangled up in blue
Ellen Meloy’s memoir, The Anthropology of Turquoise, explores her life in the Southwest through the metaphor of color
Born to be winter wild
The Boise-based Winter Wildlands Alliance works to encourage "human-powered" winter recreation on public lands in Idaho, Colorado, California and Nevada
Wilderness proposal or political ploy?
Environmentalists say the Red Table Mountain Wilderness proposal of Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., is so full of anti-wilderness provisions that it is nothing but a political ploy.
Refuge back in the crosshairs
Republican control of the new Congress may resurrect plans for oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic Wildlife National Refuge and the National Petroleum Reserve.
How to go with the flow
Montana Audubon has written an eight-page guide to flood preparation, called Go With the Flow: Streams and Bank Stabilization.
Catch 22
A plan to restore native pikeminnow and sucker to the San Juan River in New Mexico may end up destroying a world-class trout fishery.
Fish and wildlife have rights, too
Montana’s Supreme Court rules that citizens and government agencies can maintain water rights without "using" the water, while the Wyoming Legislature stalls over a bill that would allow irrigators to leave water instream temporarily.
Klamath water worth more in river
A U.S. Geological Survey study, suppressed by the Interior Department in October, says that recreation adds more than agriculture to the economy of the Klamath River Basin.
A slap of Western reality
In his memoir of rural life in Alder Creek, Idaho, On All Sides Nowhere, author William Gruber avoids the traps of sentimentality and self-importance that so often infest the genre
Reports drill Bush energy plan
The Wilderness Society has published two reports criticizing the Bush administration's national energy plan
Did the BLM Spike New Mexico's ditches?
Herbicide spread by BLM land managers on range near Malaga, N.M., has washed into the Black River, contaminating a diversion ditch and killing nearby farmers' crops and trees
Clinton-era monuments weather court challenge
A federal court rules that Pres. Clinton did, in fact, have the authority to create six national monuments in four Western states
My trysts with Miss November
November out West: The spectacle of changing leaves has passed, the hills collecting snow are not yet blanketed in white, and daylight savings brings night time all too soon. It may sound innocent, but the season feels like a cruel and careless mistress t