ISU-BLM project plots fire danger for southeast Idaho landowners

Land managers, planners and fire agencies are using a Web site developed by Idaho State University and the Bureau of Land Management to help determine the fire danger where wild and urban lands meet in nine southeast Idaho counties.    

The Web site – – displays results of the ISU-BLM Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Projects, which features fire information for Bannock, Bingham, Teton, Clark, Power, Oneida, Caribou, Bear Lake and Fremont counties. The information was developed at the ISU GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Center in Pocatello. A similar wildfire assessment for Bonneville County will be completed this fall. [Read more…]

ISU researchers study wind erosion: findings may improve air quality

Southern Idaho dust storm

Boise/Pocatello – Drive along I-84 or I-15 in southern Idaho on a windy day, when fields are bare, and you can be smacked head on by a cloud of dust so dense it is impossible to see through.

Dust storms caused by wind erosion are part of the high-desert landscape of Idaho. They’ve led to deadly car crashes on the freeway, damage to rangeland and deterioration of air quality.  So what if there were a way to predict wind erosion and ultimately limit the severity of dust storms?

That’s the goal of two Idaho State University professors and their graduate students, who were recently awarded a three-year, $360,515 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study wind erosion and its effects on the environment. [Read more…]

President Vailas Inaugural Celebration scheduled Sept. 13-14

The Inaugural Celebration of Idaho State University President Arthur C. Vailas will be held on Sept. 13 and 14 in Pocatello.

The Investiture Ceremony for Vailas will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 14 in Holt Arena on the ISU Pocatello campus. An all-community barbeque featuring entertainment, academic information and various demonstrations by ISU departments and student groups will be held on the ISU Hutchinson Quadrangle immediately following the Investiture Ceremony. [Read more…]

Noted author, conservationist Maughan to retire from ISU after 36 years

Ralph Maughan

He has hiked thousands of miles in Idaho and western United States wilderness areas, among the books he’s co-written is one of the most-used Idaho hiking guides, and his blog on conservation issues,, gets some 2,000 hits a day. He’s also one of the original founders and a former president of the now 13,000-member Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

And now, Ralph Maughan, PhD, who describes himself as a political scientist with an interest in conservation politics, is retiring from Idaho State University after a 36-year career. [Read more…]

Celebration of book on Swedish immigrants set July 16 in Pocatello

On Monday, July 16, the Pocatello community will gather to celebrate the launch of the latest scholarly book “Up in the Rocky Mountains: Writing the Swedish Immigrant Experience” by Idaho State University folklorist Jennifer Eastman Attebery, PhD.

The free reception, open to the public, will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Piccolo Gallery in Old Town Pocatello. There will be a toast and a few words about the book at 6 p.m. [Read more…]

From ‘trout bum’ to PhD; ISU prof solves resource managers’ quandaries

Rob Van Kirk

Idaho State University mathematics associate professor Robert Van Kirk, PhD, used to fly-fish as much as 150 days a year or so when he worked seasonally from 1981 to 1987 at Henry’s Fork Anglers in Last Chance, Idaho. He extensively fished Idaho’s famous Henry’s and South Forks of the Snake River and surrounding waters.

Now Van Kirk, 44, is lucky to fish 150 hours a year, but that hasn’t diminished his devotion to these fisheries. His work as a mathematician potentially affects every angler who wets a line in the South Fork of the Snake River below Palisades Reservoir and could continue to do so for years to come. Additionally, his work analyzing the effect of selenium on the trout populations of the Blackfoot and Salt Rivers, which are part of the Snake River drainage, drew widespread national and international publicity earlier this year. He also has completed numerous studies on the Henry’s Fork. [Read more…]