Issues

L.A. Bets on the Farm
L.A. Bets on the Farm
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California – the West’s most powerful water agency – uses a shrewd blend of Wall Street tactics and rural diplomacy to keep the water flowing to L.A. and its environs.
Which Way West
Which Way West
This special issue focuses on books and essays that help us understand the complex, chaotic West.
Cat Fight on the Border
Cat Fight on the Border
Plans to fence as much as possible of the U.S.-Mexico border could derail the return of rare jaguars to the Southwest.
Sheep v. Sheep
Sheep v. Sheep
Bighorn sheep and longtime sheep ranchers face off in Hells Canyon, where a legal battle over public-lands grazing could cause ripples across the West.
Facing the yuck factor
Facing the yuck factor
As population growth and climate change stress the region’s water supplies, Westerners think hard about recycling their effluent, although some worry about the possibly harmful endocrine disrupters found in cleaned-up effluent.
A Climate Change Solution?
A Climate Change Solution?
Pete McGrail believes the volcanic basalt that underlies the Columbia River Basin may hold a cure for global warming: carbon sequestration.
Bonfire of the Superweeds
Bonfire of the Superweeds
In Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, good intentions are responsible for the introduction of exotic buffelgrass – but all the good intentions in the world may not be enough to save the desert now that this invasive and fire-prone plant is spreading.
Guns R Us
Guns R Us
Westerners have always been deeply in love with their firearms, and gun-shop owners like Ryan Horsley are determined to make sure that nothing comes between them
Hydrogen Highway Revisited
Hydrogen Highway Revisited
Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to save the planet through hydrogen power, but critics say the notion is just hot air
Predator hunters for the environment
Predator hunters for the environment
The group Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife has helped to protect a lot of Western land and wildlife – while doing its best to kill off as many predators as possible.
Brave New Hay
Brave New Hay
Monsanto’s genetically modified Roundup Ready alfalfa may take over the West, as the company re-engineers the world to conform to its business plan.
Problems In Paradise
Problems In Paradise
The brutal murder of a Japanese tourist shines an unwelcome spotlight on the social problems plaguing Arizona’s beautiful but troubled Havasupai Reservation.
Two Views of the Verde
Two Views of the Verde
Prescott and the Verde Valley fight out the future of one of the West's last free-flowing streams. Also in this issue: New Mexico looks to build its border industry by attracting suppliers for Mexican manufacturers across the border in Juarez.
Rural Education 2.0
Rural Education 2.0
Tiny Vilas, Colo., thought it was a great idea to open an online school and enroll at-risk students from far-away Denver – but neither the students nor the school district ended up scoring well at report card time. Also in this Issue: Global warming spurs calls for new dams in the West – but where will the water come from to fill them?
Phoenix Falling?
Phoenix Falling?
Craig Childs lifts the rug of modern-day Phoenix, Ariz., to examine the remnants of the civilization that preceded it -- the Hohokam people, who also built a great city in the middle of the desert, and flourished until the day they ran out of water. Also in this issue: Just over the Arizona-Sonora border, Tohono O'odham traditionalists have joined environmental groups in fighting a proposed Mexican hazardous waste landfill.
Disposable Workers of the Oil and Gas Fields
Disposable Workers of the Oil and Gas Fields
Without a college degree, work on the oil and gas fields is the best job you can get in the rural West – unless, of course, it kills you. Also in this issue: Thirsty Santa Fe, N.M., considers an innovative law requiring all new buildings to install rainwater-harvesting systems.
The Silence of the Bees
The Silence of the Bees
Migratory beekeeper John Miller hauls his hives back and forth across the West, pollinating everything from almonds to apples, but a nasty little parasite called the varroa mite and the mysterious, deadly Colony Collapse Disorder are making life much harder for him and his buzzing business partners.
Wish You Weren’t Here
Wish You Weren’t Here
Quagga mussels – an extraordinarily prolific and costly invasive species – have appeared in Lake Mead, and no one is sure how to keep these unwanted newcomers from infesting the West. Also in this issue: 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.
One nation, under fire
One nation, under fire
The Sonoran Desert homeland of the Tohono O’odham Nation has become a nerve-wracking police state, caught in the crossfire between drug and immigrant smugglers and the U.S. Border Patrol. Also in this issue: The Forest Service has overhauled its cumbersome forest-planning process, but many experts say the agency may have gone too far.
The Efficiency Paradox
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. 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.
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