2014 Podcasts


Heidi Fischer and Bill Debuys moved on from grief by getting active: walking. Their conscious choice to keep going took them from hardship and on with their lives.


The March 2014 “Pulse Flow” brought water back to the dry Colorado River Delta after decades of diversion for municipal and agricultural uses. But the flood only lasted a couple of days, so what good could it do?


Individually, ranchers and environmentalists tend to understand one another, but in groups, there is little ability to compromise. How can large-scale collaboration be accomplished across the West if no region-wide agreements are possible?


Kryptobiotic soil crusts, or biocrusts, are small colonies of bacteria, fungi, and other species, but they're not much to look at. Yet, these diminutive dry patches are among the best indicators of healthy Western arid landscape, and their conservation is of paramount importance.


Ted Turner’s known for a lot of things: CNN, baseball, and sailing being just a few. But what about bison ranching and Pleistocene rewilding? To write his conservation legacy, Turner’s trusted experienced and innovative ranch managers to do whatever it takes, as long as it’s profitable.  


Fires are part of a forest's cycle of growth: they are continuously changing, sometimes dramatically. People tend to become attached to forests that look a certain way. Can we learn to love the ashes, too?


Californians love wind power, and Californians love endangered species. What happens when a new energy project and the restoration of California Condors intersect? Synergy.


Valer Austin needed to keep water on her ranch, so she built small dams on her creeks. An absolute ecological revitalization resulted, bringing plants and fish back to her ranch. She ended up in court with the Center for Biological Diversity. Why?


The Desert Tortoise doesn't have an easy life: predators, heat, and development of the Mojave threaten these long-lived creatures every day. Solar energy investment and endangered species funds have let scientists work to protect and breed the tortoises, but the results of this work won't be clear for a long time.


Peabody Coal and the strip mining of Black Mesa, on the Navajo Nation, spelled doom. The mine displaced Navajos who'd lived there for centuries, and has sucked the once plentiful and clean Navajo aquifer, completely dry.


In the 1990's, the Endangered Species Act listing of spotted owls and salmon brought Wallowa County to the edge of collapse. With the lumber mills, shut down, there didn't appear to be a way out, until a local non-profit combined environmental stewardship and job creation to establish a new identity for the county.


Mary O'Brien's come a long way in conservation, and she now finds herself as a lone voice for aspen, beaver, and soil crusts in Southern Utah, but has struggled to effect actual change. Through collaboration and the threat of legal action, she's found fun and function in the bureaucracy that most consider boring.


In conservation, passion and expertise only go so far. Caring, knowledgeable people have tried and failed to preserve many a place from development and destruction. Ecologists Mary O'Brien and Suzanne Fouty espouse the importance of a third necessity: tools.


In wilderness, access is important: roads crisscross many "wild" places so people can move around freely. Ironically, roads become barriers as tortoises, deer, and other species struggle to cross roads or fences built alongside them.


Released Mexican Gray Wolves roam between western New Mexico and adjacent Arizona, but are relocated if they stray from a small zone where they're allowed to live. Ranchers live in fear of these top carnivores, and imposed this seemingly self-defeating system of reintroduction. Does this have to be the case?


Heidi Fischer stood to be taken by their grief. The passing of a loved one could have swept her away. She found joy at home in the West, captivated by canyons, cold desert nights, and saguaros.


Invasive species are often seen as a pest: something to be immediately removed. This one-minded view ignores the broader ecological context of these species: the connections between organisms, rather than the organisms themselves.


Renewable energy in California faces a conundrum: green power is prioritized, but faces strict environmental regulations that protect impacted species. Energy companies like TerraGen push for exceptions to the rules, but have also made themselves a model organization for working with regulators, rather than fighting them.


The Mojave Chubb is found in only one pond in the entire world, and will continue to do so: artificial restoration for these fish is impossible. If the goal of the Endangered Species Act is to aid recovery, what's the point of the Chubb?


Coal is both boon and bane of the Navajo people. It provides millions in revenue and many jobs to a community in sore need of both, but carries the obvious cost of pollution, depletion of natural resources, and displacement of Navajo from their ancestral homes. What's the way forward?


Liza Doran came to Bluff, Utah in 1986 to run the Cow Canyon Trading Post. From this central location in the middle of nowhere, her life's been changed by her surroundings here and other Bluff residents. Liza has learned to lean into the change.