Magazine
The Efficiency Paradox

February 5, 2007

Water efficiency has long been touted as a silver bullet for the West?s water problems, but too much efficiency can cause problems of its own, especially in the fragile Colorado River Delta. Also in this issue: In Idaho and Wyoming, old eminent domain laws allow private entities to condemn landowners? property ? as Peter and Judy Riede discovered when J.R. Simplot Co. announced plans to expand its phosphate mine and build a road across their ranch.

Feature

The Efficiency Paradox
Water efficiency has long been touted as a silver bullet for the West’s water problems, but too much efficiency can cause problems of its own, especially in the fragile Colorado River Delta.

Editor's Note

Against the current
For a long time, the West used water as if the supply were endless, but nowadays environmentalists are finding that too much efficiency causes problems of its own, especially in fragile ecosystems like the Colorado River Delta.

Uncommon Westerners

Red Feather builds homes and communities
The nonprofit Red Feather Development Group recruits volunteers like Zan Wannemuehler to help build straw-bale homes on Indian reservations.

Essays

Winter Prayer
Snowshoeing alone at night in the forest, a woman thinks – and prays – about the friends she loves, and the families they worry about.

Writers on the Range

A Western historian and a Western hero
Las Vegas historian, author and community activist Hal Rothman may be dying from Lou Gehrig’s disease, but he’s determined to go on his own terms – with courage, grace and a sense of humor.
Don’t part out our national parks
If the National Park Service allows commercial bio-prospecting in Yellowstone and our other parks, it will set a dangerous precedent.

Dear Friends

Dear Friends
HCN hosts panel discussion in Berkeley about the West’s political future; notes from readers Mark Salvo and Michael Green.

News

Condemned
In Idaho and Wyoming, old eminent domain laws allow private entities to condemn landowners’ property – as Peter and Judy Riede discovered when J.R. Simplot Co. announced plans to expand its phosphate mine and build a road across their ranch.
Energy illusions
A BLM report issued in late 2006 appears to show that less land is available for energy exploration now than in 2003, but a closer look shows that appearances are deceiving.
The West’s public lands are open for business
A close look at the data shows that, despite some restrictions, oil and gas drilling is on the rise in the West.

Book Reviews

Notes from a place of risk and hope
In Big Wonderful: Notes from Wyoming, Kevin Holdsworth describes his love for a harsh landscape in essays, poetry and fiction.
A tale of shame and glory in the Southwest
Hampton Sides’ new book, Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West, follows Kit Carson through the bloody history of the 19th century Southwest.

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Plumber vs. golfers in Soap Lake, Wash.; Welcome to Wyoming; don’t mess with mamma coyote; no intelligent life on Earth; amusing headlines; yummy hospital food?

Letters

Two Weeks in the West

Two weeks in the West
Cross-country skiers and snowmobilers clash over access to Logan Canyon, Utah; Mount Jefferson, Mont.; and (of course) Yellowstone; Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth steps down to be replaced by Gail Kimbell; West becomes player in national politics; bor