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
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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • 10 ACRES OF NEW MEXICO HIGH DESERT
    10 Acres of undeveloped high desert land in central NM, about 45 minutes from downtown Albuquerque. Mixed cedar and piñon pine cover. Some dirt roadways...
  • WATERSHED RESTORATION DIRECTOR
    $58k-$70k + benefits to oversee watershed restoration projects that fulfill our strategic goals across urban and rural areas within the bi-national Santa Cruz and San...
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT - (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time Customer Service Assistant, based at...
  • OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    We are a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education, innovation, and collaboration....
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Come work alongside everyday Montanans to project our clean air, water, and build thriving communities! Competitive salary, health insurance, pension, generous vacation time and sabbatical....
  • CAMPAIGN MANAGER
    Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting, defending and restoring Oregon's high desert, seeks a Campaign Manager to works as...
  • HECHO DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE, COLUMBIA CASCADES
    The Regional Representative serves as PCTA's primary staff on the ground along the trail working closely with staff, volunteers, and nonprofit and agency partners. This...
  • FINANCE AND OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    The Montana Land Reliance (MLR) seeks a full-time Finance and Operations Director to manage the internal functions of MLR and its nonprofit affiliates. Key areas...
  • DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION
    The Nature Conservancy is recruiting for a Director of Conservation. Provides strategic leadership and support for all of the Conservancy's conservation work in Arizona. The...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Amargosa Conservancy (AC), a conservation nonprofit dedicated to standing up for water and biodiversity in the Death Valley region, seeks an executive director to...
  • BIG BASIN SENIOR PROJECT PLANNER - CLIMATE ADAPTATION & RESILIENCE
    Parks California Big Basin Senior Project Planner - Climate Adaptation & Resilience ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND Parks California is a new organization working to ensure that our...
  • SCIENCE PROJECT MANAGER
    About Long Live the Kings (LLTK) Our mission is to restore wild salmon and steelhead and support sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1986,...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES GENERALIST
    Honor the Earth is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on identity. Indigenous people, people of color, Two-Spirit or LGBTQA+ people,...
  • NEW BOOK BY AWARD-WINNING WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST, BRUCE SMITH
    In a perilous place at the roof of the world, an orphaned mountain goat is rescued from certain death by a mysterious raven.This middle-grade novel,...
  • MOUNTAIN LOTS FOR SALE
    Multiple lots in gated community only 5 miles from Great Sand Dunes National Park. Seasonal flowing streams. Year round road maintenance.
  • RURAL ACREAGE OUTSIDE SILVER CITY, NM
    Country living just minutes from town! 20 acres with great views makes a perfect spot for your custom home. Nice oaks and juniper. Cassie Carver,...
  • A FIVE STAR FOREST SETTING WITH SECLUSION AND SEPARATENESS
    This home is for a discerning buyer in search of a forest setting of premier seclusion & separateness. Surrounded on all sides by USFS land...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, HIke the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • CAUCASIAN OVCHARKA PUPPIES
    Strong loyal companions. Ready to protect your family and property. Proven against wolves and grizzlies. Imported bloodlines. Well socialized.