Items by Mitch Tobin

The great nonflagration?
The great nonflagration?
Despite a few high-profile wildfires, 2013 was a fairly quiet fire season after all.
Getting the lead out
Condor 134’s harrowing experience with lead poisoning exemplifies these endangered birds’ greatest challenge – which some advocates hope to ease by banning lead bullets in California
Rancher wins big in libel suit against enviros
Arizona rancher and investment banker Jim Chilton wins a $600,000 judgment for libel against The Center for Biological Diversity
Squirrels and scopes in the line of fire
A wildfire on Arizona’s Mount Graham almost reached the University of Arizona’s controversial mountaintop telescopes – and may yet destroy an already endangered squirrel
Water holes awash in controversy
Game managers and environmentalists disagree on the usefulness of artificial water holes for game; environmental groups say they spread disease, attract killer bees, and give predators a convenient spot to ambush prey. The Arizona Game and Fish Department
Phelps Dodge looks to revive mining in the Copper State
Phelps Dodge wants to open a big copper mine near Safford, Ariz., but some critics say that the company’s planned land swap is a rip-off, and that the mine may have harmful environmental impacts
Warm-water native fish are left out in the cold
A new study by a team of biologists shows little is being done to save a dozen of the Southwest’s threatened and endangered native fish species
Delta beast rears its head
The Interior Department is considering restarting the Yuma Desalting Plant, and environmentalists fear the plant’s salty runoff could destroy Mexico’s Cienega de Santa Clara – the Sonoran Desert’s largest wetland
State land no longer just for the cows
The environmental group Forest Guardians outbids a rancher to gain control of a grazing allotment on state school-trust land in Arizona
Bikers want back in to national park
Tucson, Ariz., mountain bikers are pushing the Park Service to reopen the Cactus Forest Trail in Saguaro National Park
Monument presents a management morass
In Arizona’s Ironwood Forest National Monument, ranchers, recreationists and illegal immigrants are all fighting for space
Fences go up along the Mexican border
The Border Patrol wants to erect 249 miles of fences along the Arizona-Mexico border, and some environmentalists are worried about their impact on desert wildlife.
Where’d you get that cactus, partner?
Southern Arizona cities are importing cacti from west Texas, and demand is beginning to outstrip the natural supply.
Wheels still spin after desert lockdown
Road closures to protect endangered Sonoran pronghorn in Ariz.'s Cabeza Prieta Nat'l Wildlife Refuge and Organ Pipe Cactus Nat'l Monument will keep the public out, but may not stem the tide of drug smugglers, illegal immigrants and Border Patrol agents.
A wing and a genius grant
Tucson pilot Sandy Lanham wins a MacArthur "genius grant" for her work flying scientists and conservationists while charging no more than the cost of fuel and airport fees.
Protecting Arizona's underground wonderland
Arizona State Parks is fighting a proposal resort near Benson, Ariz., which some fear could harm the nearby Kartchner Caverns.
Dangerous parks
The U.S. Park Rangers Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police lists the 10 most dangerous national parks in the country.
Luxury homes torched in Tucson
In Phoenix, Mark Warren Sands is charged with burning down eight trophy homes, but the June arsons that burned three brand-new, vacant luxury homes in Tucson's Pima Canyon Estates remain a mystery.
Arizona waffles on wolves
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission wants to pull the plug on Mexican wolf reintroduction.
Will a watched refuge ever revive?
At the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona, ranchers, environmentalists and agencies are at odds over whether grazing could help beat back an exotic grass, Lehmann lovegrass.
Mining the crown jewels
The 1872 Mining Law may allow the Rainbow Talc Mine to resume operations, despite the mine's location in a wilderness area of California's Death Valley National Park.