Region briefs

New hotline for bear complaints

RENO (AP) - Got a bear problem? Northern Nevadans now can turn for help to a new BEAR hotline.

Nevada Department of Wildlife officials said they decided to establish the hotline after they dealt with a record number of bear complaints last year in the Reno-Lake Tahoe area. The hotline is wired directly into the agency's dispatch center in Reno. Calls can be made to (775) 688-BEAR between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.

The department will respond to calls based on prioritized threat levels, department Director Ken Mayer said.

Residents who have simply sighted bears or had garbage cans tipped over by bears are being asked to refer to the agency's Web site ( for advice on reducing bear problems.

Last year, department personnel handled 1,531 bear complaints compared with 350 in 2006. About 300 adult bears live in Nevada, primarily around Lake Tahoe.

Bill designed to make aging Western canals safer

RENO (AP) - Sen. Harry Reid has introduced a bill designed to make aging federal-owned canals and levees safer across the West.

The Nevada Democrat's measure was introduced Thursday, about three months after the failure of an earthen embankment on a century-old irrigation canal flooded the growing town of Fernley, 30 miles east of Reno.

The Jan. 5 breach of the Truckee Canal flooded nearly 600 homes, making Fernley a state and federal disaster area.

The bill would provide $11 million over the next five years for required inspections of federal water infrastructure such as the Truckee Canal. It also directs the Department of Interior to perform maintenance and repairs to ensure the safety of nearby homes and businesses.

"I will work diligently to pass this bill to protect Nevadans living near canals and levees," Reid said.

Fish, crabs destroyed after small oil spill

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) - The Cast Guard says nearly 50 gallons of oil has leaked from an underground pipeline into Long Beach Harbor.

Lt. Anthony Munoz says the leak was discovered late Thursday from an underground oil transfer pipeline at the port. A cleanup crew dispatched by the pipeline's owner, Tidelands Oil Production Company, arrived within an hour. Munoz says the leak has been stopped and the spill is contained.

Bait fish and shellfish from charter boats at the harbor along with crabs from a local fish market had to be destroyed. They were kept in tanks that drew surface water from the spill area.

The cleanup is expected to be completed within two weeks.


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