Science and Innovation

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It’s estimated that more than seven hundred thousand Native Americans in the U.S. are living without access to clean and reliable water.  A recent report from the Water & Tribes Initiative surveyed thirty tribes in the Colorado River Basin and found widespread problems with lack of water access and contaminated supplies. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with the report’s lead author, Heather Tanana, a Navajo Nation citizen and assistant professor at the University of Utah.

National Park Service, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Diminishing aquifers, drying rivers, and lingering droughts are the headlines in the West this year. Experts in science and policy say it’s urgent Arizonans plan for a future with much less water. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with John Fleck of the University of New Mexico’s Water Resources Program about how warnings about the Colorado River’s limits have been ringing out for more than a century.   

So let’s do some history first. When did hydrologists first start warning people that the Colorado River didn’t have as much water as they wanted it to have?

Melissa Sevigny

A new study from Northern Arizona University looks at the long-term effects of restoring a forest with mechanical thinning and prescribed burns. The news is good: treated forests are healthier and more resistant to catastrophic wildfires, and those benefits seem to last. But climate change adds a wild card. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with forest ecologist Mike Stoddard about the findings.


Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

Early risers tomorrow morning will have a chance to see the full moon disappear behind Earth’s shadow in a total lunar eclipse. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.


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India’s crisis continues with 26 million confirmed coronavirus cases and three hundred thousand deaths; thousands more are reported every day. The country’s severe shortage of vaccines reveals the inequities in the coronavirus response between developed and developing nations. Amit Kumar is an epidemiologist at Northern Arizona University who researches health care disparities. He spoke to KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny about how India’s crisis is a global problem—but also deeply personal for him, because he has family and friends there suffering from unimaginable tragedy and fear.   


Don Graham/WikiCommons

The Navajo Nation faces a housing crisis. Many homes don’t have electricity or running water, and large families share small spaces with few options for isolating if someone gets sick with COVID-19. Carmirae Holguin has started a new nonprofit to address these issues and revitalize traditional building practices. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with her about the Nááts'íilid Initiative.


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

An Arizona-led spacecraft mission begins its journey back to Earth today after successfully scooping up a sample of an asteroid. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.


Arizona Department of Water Resources

Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation this week to establish new clean water rules, following a rollback of federal protections for ephemeral waterways last year. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

Melissa Sevigny

Public health guidelines say to avoid crowded indoor spaces during the pandemic. But as schools reopen and people head back to the office, experts are looking for ways to measure how risky it is to share space and air with others. Scientists at Northern Arizona University are trying out an idea: simple carbon dioxide sensors in classrooms and science labs around campus. There’s even one here at KNAU. Science reporter Melissa Sevigny spoke with biologist George Koch to learn more about the project and hear our results.


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India now leads the world in coronavirus cases, with hundreds of thousands of people falling ill every day and a devestating death toll from the disease. The Navajo Nation is doing what it can to assist. President Jonathan Nez spoke with KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny about how Navajo citizens understand India’s suffering from their own experiences during the pandemic.  

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