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Ripple Effects
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January 1, 2023

We begin the new year facing serious problems, so in this issue we look for possible solutions. Our feature considers proposals to breach four dams on the lower Snake River, which would benefit endangered fish and Indigenous tribes, but harm local farmers and the river’s industrial users. A proposed wildfire-risk map ends in ashes in Oregon, while Indigenous women respond to innovative workshops on prescribed and cultural burning. In Colorado, scientists employ assisted migration, moving Rio Grande cutthroat trout to cooler waters. Locals fight to save black walnut trees while fending off gentrification in Northeast Los Angeles. Washington’s shellfish farmers contend with climate change, immigration crackdowns and housing. Pima County, Arizona’s medical examiner sets new standards for identifying deceased migrants in the Borderlands. What will a third consecutive year of La Niña mean for Western weather? Saudi Arabia’s ties to Arizona predate current controversies over groundwater pumping, and growing up gay in conservative Colorado Springs was even harder than you think.

Feature

Can dam removal save the Snake River?
Can dam removal save the Snake River?
See the river as the climate changes, development continues and consequences grow with inaction.

Reportage

How protecting trees can fight gentrification
How protecting trees can fight gentrification
LA activists are wielding black walnut protections to stop development.
Can assisted migration save the Rio Grande’s cutthroat?
Can assisted migration save the Rio Grande’s cutthroat?
Scientists wage an upstream battle to save trout in a warming West.
Fire risk map ignites controversy
Fire risk map ignites controversy
Southern Oregon residents lash back at wildfire preparedness rules.
What if Indigenous women ran controlled burns?
What if Indigenous women ran controlled burns?
The Karuk Tribe’s first-of-its-kind training seeks to extinguish hypermasculinity in firefighting culture.
Why the country’s largest shellfish farm is struggling to hire and retain workers
Why the country’s largest shellfish farm is struggling to hire and retain workers
And how it’s dealing with climate change and housing costs to make back-breaking work a little easier.
How a medical examiner’s office transformed to address migrant death
How a medical examiner’s office transformed to address migrant death
Amid a shortage of forensic pathologists, Arizona’s Pima County has identified thousands of those who lost their lives in the Borderlands.

Editor's Note

What comes after the fire?
What comes after the fire?
Friction from the past intensifies in environmentally stressed regions.

Facts & Figures

La Niña expected to serve up a hat trick
La Niña expected to serve up a hat trick
The weather pattern hits the West for a third consecutive winter.

Essays

Growing up queer in Colorado Springs
Growing up queer in Colorado Springs
In the wake of the Club Q mass shooting, reflections on an adolescence in the ‘Evangelical Vatican.’

Conversation

Why are Saudi farmers pumping Arizona groundwater?
Why are Saudi farmers pumping Arizona groundwater?
A conversation with Natalie Koch, author of ‘Arid Empire: The Entangled Fates of Arabia and Arizona.’

Poetry

Plainsong
Plainsong
A poem by J.P. Grasser.

Heard Around the West

Toad lickers, bear wrestlers and beard fanciers
Toad lickers, bear wrestlers and beard fanciers
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

#iamthewest

‘I’m not separate from the land, I’m a part of it’
‘I’m not separate from the land, I’m a part of it’
#iamthewest: Giving voice to the people that make up communities in the region.

Dear Friends

HCN is staying put
HCN is staying put
We may have sold our building, but we’re not moving after all.

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • CONSERVATION PROGRAM MANAGER
    Central Colorado Conservancy, located in Salida, Colorado, is seeking a Conservation Program Manager dedicated to managing the Conservancy's land protection program which includes developing and...
  • PUBLIC LANDS PROGRAM MANAGER
    Conserve Southwest Utah is seeking a candidate with excellent communication skills and a commitment to environmental conservation for the position of Public Lands Program Manager....
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Western Slope Conservation Center in Paonia, CO, seeks a dynamic leader who is mission-driven, hardworking, and a creative problem-solver. WSCC is committed to creating...
  • PLANNED GIVING OFFICER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks a Planned Giving Officer. Do you find energy in...
  • NORTHERN NEW MEXICO PROJECT MANAGER
    Seeking qualified Northern New Mexico Project Manager to provide expertise, leadership and support to the organization by planning, cultivating, implementing and managing land conservation activities,...
  • REGIONAL TRAIL STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR
    Are you passionate about connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with trail maintenance and volunteer engagement...
  • TRAIL CREW MEMBER
    Position Title: Trail Crew Member Position Type: 6 month seasonal position, April 17-October 15, 2023 Location: Field-based; The RFOV office is in Carbondale, CO, and...
  • CEO BUFFALO NATIONS GRASSLANDS ALLIANCE
    Chief Executive Officer, Remote Exempt position for Buffalo Nations Grasslands Alliance is responsible for the planning and organization of BNGA's day-to-day operations
  • IDAHO DIRECTOR - WESTERN WATERSHEDS PROJECT
    Western Watersheds Project seeks an Idaho Director to continue and expand upon WWP's campaign to protect and restore public lands and wildlife in Idaho, with...
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, NA'AH ILLAHEE FUND
    Na'ah Illahee Fund (NIF) is seeking a highly qualified Development Director to join our team in supporting and furthering our mission. This position will create...
  • DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, NA'AH ILLAHEE FUND
    Na'ah Illahee Fund (NIF) is seeking a highly qualified Operations Director to join our team. This position will provide critical organizational and systems support to...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) is seeking a leader to join our dynamic team in the long-term protection of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM). We...
  • GRASSLAND RESEARCH COORDINATOR
    The Grassland Research Coordinator is a cooperative position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that performs and participates in and coordinates data collection for...
  • HYDROELECTRIC PLANT
    1.3 MW FERC licensed hydroelectric station near Taylorsville CA. Property is 184 deeded acres surrounded by National Forrest.
  • "PROFILES IN COURAGE: STANDING AGAINST THE WYOMING WIND"
    13 stories of extraordinary courage including HCN founder Tom Bell, PRBRC director Lynn Dickey, Liz Cheney, People of Heart Mountain, the Wind River Indian Reservation...
  • GRANT WRITER
    JOB DESCRIPTION: This Work involves the responsibility of conducting research in the procurement of Federal, State, County, and private grant funding. Additional responsibilities include identifying...
  • ASPIRE COLORADO SUSTAINABLE BODY AND HOME CARE PRODUCTS
    Go Bulk! Go Natural! Our products are better for you and better for the environment. Say no to single-use plastic. Made in U.S.A., by a...
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Field seminars for adults in the natural and human history of the Colorado Plateau, with lodge and base camp options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • ATTORNEY AD
    Criminal Defense, Code Enforcement, Water Rights, Mental Health Defense, Resentencing.
  • LUNATEC HYDRATION SPRAY BOTTLE
    A must for campers and outdoor enthusiasts. Cools, cleans and hydrates with mist, stream and shower patterns. Hundreds of uses.