Policy implications of Castle and colleagues on #ColoradoRiver Basin groundwater depletions — John Fleck

July 25, 2014
Colorado River Basin including out of basin demands -- Graphic/USBR

Colorado River Basin including out of basin demands — Graphic/USBR

From Inkstain (John Fleck):

I’ve been arguing that one of the things we see in the Colorado River Basin is an institutional maturity that has thus far had the ability to absorb the changes we’ve seen to date – the 2001 Interim Surplus Guidelines that jiggered Colorado Basin allocations to rein in California’s overuse (pdf), the 2007 shortage sharing agreement, the remarkable Minute 319 deal with Mexico. Those institutions are now wrestling with the fact that none of this has been enough, which is why maybe this week we’ll see the announcement of a system conservation program deal that will be one more brick in that wall.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.

The One World One Water Center June 2014 newsletter is hot off the presses

July 14, 2014

Denver City Park sunrise

Denver City Park sunrise

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

Denver Metro Water Festival
On May 21, 2014 in partnership with Denver Water and Suburban Providers of Denver Water, the One World One Water Center hosted over 800 sixth graders from the Denver Metro area on Auraria Campus for the very first Denver Metro Water Festival.

Colorado Ski Area Water Rights and USFS

July 14, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

Copper Mountain, photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Colorado ski areas got some “fresh powder” in late June in the form of a proposed US Forest Service water rights rule that backs away from an earlier and much criticized approach that would have required ski areas to transfer water rights to the agency.

The new rule, proposed June 23 and open for comment through August 22, would amend internal USFS directives for some 122 ski area concessions across the country by instead conditioning their 40-year special use permits on a commitment that sufficient water stay dedicated to ski area operations even if the area is sold. Under the proposal, permits would be updated as they are renewed to include the water rights commitment language. Currently, USFS policy requires the public hold the rights to such water, but the proposed change would allow water rights to be in the name of the permit holder.

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Water wisely during Smart Irrigation Month

July 14, 2014

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

Smart_Irrigation_Month_logoThe hot month of July typically is when people use the most water. In honor of this busy lawn-watering month, the Irrigation Association created Smart Irrigation Month to remind people about the importance of appropriate irrigation technology and wise watering habits to reduce water use, create healthy lawns and achieve greater agricultural yields.

You can take part in Smart Irrigation Month with these simple tips:

Abide by the watering rules

To help eliminate outdoor water waste, Denver Water implements annual summer water use rules, which help facilitate smart irrigation. The rules include:

  • Water during cooler times of the day — lawn watering is NOT allowed between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Water no more than three days per week.
  • Do not allow water to pool in gutters, streets and alleys.
  • Do not waste water by letting it spray on concrete or asphalt.
  • Repair leaking sprinkler systems within 10 days.
  • Do not…

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Colorado September 2013 Flooding: Magazine Hot Off the Press!

July 10, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

HW cover webThe newest issue of Headwaters magazine focusing on the September 2013 floods in Colorado is now on our website and available in print!

The September 2013 flood disaster was financially the most devastating flood Colorado has faced this century. Read about what happened in 2013 and how it could have been worse. Learn about the rush of flood recovery efforts targeting short and long-term resiliency as well as the opportunity that a strong rebuild presents. Then, explore the question of living with risk and the risks we accept as a society. Full recovery from the September 2013 flood is still a long way off, but check out this issue for some lessons learned that apply state-wide.

Flip through or download the flood issue online. And stay tuned to see excerpts and new information that relates to magazine feature stories.

Interested in additional flood coverage? Listen to this new episode of Connecting the Drops

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Climate study projects more severe thunderstorms

July 2, 2014

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:


Lightning flashes over Peak 1 in Frisco, Colorado, during a late-summer thunderstorm. bberwyn photo.

Eastern U.S. may see more winter and autumn storms

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A warmer and wetter atmosphere is likely to drive up the number of severe thunderstorms in coming decades, potentially resulting in more economic losses associated with extreme weather.

The new study led by Stanford University scientists shows  that global warming is likely to cause a robust increase in the conditions that produce these types of storms across much of the country over the next century, including more severe weather during the spring, fall and winter.

To date, efforts to project thunderstorm activity under various global warming scenarios has been hampered by sparse historical data. But the Stanford-led team, headed by professor Noah Diffenbaugh, was able to use a complex ensemble of physics-based climate models to produce the most comprehensive projections of…

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Study: plastic pollution pervasive globally

July 1, 2014

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

The five major ocean gyres.

The five major ocean gyres.

‘But probably, most of the impacts taking place due to plastic pollution in the oceans are not yet known’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Humankind’s out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude about garbage is slowly but surely turning the world’s oceans into a soup full of microscopic plastic particles that are probably passing into the marine food chain, Spanish scientists said this week, describing their findings from a nine-month research cruise around the world.

“Ocean currents carry plastic objects which split into smaller and smaller fragments due to solar radiation,” said Andrés Cózar, aresearcher with the University of Cadiz. “Those little pieces of plastic, known as microplastics, can last hundreds of years and were detected in 88 percent of the ocean surface sampled during the 2010 Malaspina Expedition,” Cózar said.

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Runoff/snowpack news: Ruedi pretty much full #ColoradoRiver

June 29, 2014


From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

It looks like Ruedi Reservoir is inches from completely full. Last night at midnight, the reservoir’s total content was about 98.8%. Tonight’s reading will likely be around 99% full. As a result, tomorrow, Sunday, releases from the dam to the Fryingpan River will bump up another 50 cfs. We will make the change around 8:00 a.m. After that, flows past the Ruedi Dam gage will be closer to 321 cfs.

Take a trip down the High Line Canal

June 29, 2014

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

The trail along the High Line Canal is a favorite urban getaway that meanders 66 miles across the Denver metro area. While the waterway (71-miles long) is owned and operated by Denver Water, this National Landmark Trail is maintained by municipal recreation agencies.

The workers who built the High Line Canal more than a century ago didn’t envision that people would be using their ambitious irrigation project as a recreational outlet in the midst of a busy urban area. Take a trip back in time with Greenwood Village to learn how the canal transformed into the recreational amenity it is today.

Beyond The Green – The High Line Canal Trail

The Guide to the High Line Canal Trail, a full-color guide with mile-by-mile descriptions and a pull-out trail map, is a perfect companion for anyone looking to enjoy a slice of the outdoors in the middle of a city.

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Reservoirs fill and spill

June 17, 2014

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

Several Denver Water reservoirs filled this spring during the runoff. Cheesman, Strontia Springs, Eleven Mile Canyon and Williams Fork all had water going over the spillways.

The high water allowed Denver Water to conduct the first full-capacity test of Cheesman Dam’s jet flow gate on June 10 and 11, 2014. The gate was installed in 2012 as part of a project to upgrade the dam. The dam’s valve system controls the amount of water flowing from the reservoir into the South Platte River. Water successfully passed through the gate at a rate of 937 cubic feet per second.

Check out the photos 7News captured from a helicopter during the test.

Watch this video about the test:

Cheesman Dam photos:

Photographer Tim O’Hara captures water going over the Cheesman Dam spillway in early June.

Photographer Tim O’Hara captures water going over the Cheesman Dam spillway in early June.

Jeff Martin, Denver Water engineering project manager, said the test was successful and the gate will provide better redundancy in dam operations. Jeff Martin, Denver Water engineering project manager, said the test was successful and the gate will provide better redundancy in…

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Colorado: Wrangling continues over Denver Water’s proposed new transmountain diversion, reservoir enlargement

June 6, 2014

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Boulder County gets high-level backup on request for comment period extension on major new transmountain water diversion


Will the public get more time to review and comment on the final environmental study for the largest proposed water project in years?

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Boulder County’s request for more time to comment on the proposed Moffat Tunnel Collection System expansion got some high-level backup this week, as Sen. Michael Bennet formally asked the federal government for an extension.

Denver Water’s proposed new diversions from Colorado River headwaters in Grand County, specifically the Fraser River, are under federal scrutiny as the Corps considers issuing a permit for the enlargement of Gross Reservoir in Boulder County. The federal agency released the final version of a massive environmental study in April, setting a June 9 deadline for comment.

The agency received about 400 requests for an extension, many of them via a…

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“Talking water in Grand County with exceptional @CFWEWater 2014 water leaders” — James Eklund #COWaterPlan

May 17, 2014

Climate: Strengthening circumpolar winds trapping cold air over Antarctica

May 12, 2014

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

An international research team explores the geological history of the Gamburtsev Mountains, buried under two miles of ice in eastern Antarctica.

New data helps explain Antarctic climate change.

Study helps explain regional temperature patterns

Staff Report

FRISCO — Strengthening circumpolar winds in the southern hemisphere are trapping cold air over Antarctica and slowing global warming in the region, according to new research led by scientists with Australian National University.

Those westerly winds are stronger than any time in the last 1,000 years, the scientists said after carefully studying ice core samples and comparing the data with other long-term climate records. The findings help explain why Antarctica is not warming as much as other continents, and why southern Australia is recording more droughts.

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Make Water Provocative: Measuring Effectiveness

May 10, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

When we present interpretive programs, what do we ultimately hope to accomplish?  The answer is often that we hope to change people’s minds and behaviors.  Perhaps we want them to feel concern about water shortages and use less water.  Perhaps we want them to appreciate Colorado water law and therefore vote a certain way.  Perhaps we just want them to care about water and make decisions with water in mind.  Regardless, interpreters must (1) determine their goals and (2) set objectives by which to measure their effectiveness.

Start With the End in Mind

When I first became an interpreter, if you had asked me what the goals of my program were, my best answer probably would have been “to cover the information I need to in the allotted time.”  This was my goal – but what about my goals for the audience?  What did I hope my audience would…

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Youth and water – clean, safe drinking water

May 10, 2014

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

Denver Water's teacher resource packet describes how Denver Water treats our water.

Denver Water’s Teacher Resource Packet  highlights the Denver Water treatment process.

In honor of Drinking Water Week we are highlighting Denver Water’s work to provide clean, safe drinking water every day and recognizing the important role clean drinking water plays in our daily lives.

Week four: Water quality and water treatment

The first post in the Youth Education blog series covered watersheds, where our water quality work begins. Denver Water recognizes the importance of healthy watersheds, and has partnered with the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, to accelerate our mutual efforts to improve forest and watershed conditions.

We also learned about Denver’s water cycle. Denver Water monitors water quality every step of the journey from source to tap. In 2013, we collected more than 16,000 samples and conducted more than 60,000 tests to ensure our water is as clean and safe…

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Happy Birthday, John L. Leal, physician & water treatment expert who pioneered chlorine disinfection in the U.S.

May 5, 2014

Click here for the Wikipedia entry. Here’s an excerpt:

John Laing Leal (1858–1914) was a physician and water treatment expert who, in 1908, was responsible for conceiving and implementing the first disinfection of a U.S. drinking water supply using chlorine. He was one of the principal expert witnesses at two trials which examined the quality of the water supply in Jersey City, New Jersey, and which evaluated the safety and utility of chlorine for production of “pure and wholesome” drinking water. The second trial verdict approved the use of chlorine to disinfect drinking water which led to an explosion of its use in water supplies of the U.S.

More water treatment coverage here.

Youth and water – conservation

May 4, 2014

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

Denver Water's Teacher Resource Packet illustrates the three Rs of water conservation.

Denver Water’s Teacher Resource Packet illustrates the three Rs of water conservation.

Last week’s Youth Education blog post, Youth and water – following a water drop, focused on the movement of water through the water cycle. Now that you understand the journey of Denver’s water — let’s talk about how to conserve our most precious resource.

Week three: Use only what you need

The weather in this area constantly fluctuates (Ebbs and flows highlights the extremes we faced in 2013 alone), but it’s typically dry. Denver receives an average of 15 inches of precipitation each year, which is about a fourth of the precipitation a tropical city such as Miami receives. We’ve also experienced several severe droughts in the past that have challenged our water system. We never know the extent of a dry period or when precipitation may come, so conservation has to be a way of…

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“…the American people expect us to act on the facts” — Gina McCarthy

April 30, 2014

Summitville Mine superfund site

Summitville Mine superfund site

From the National Journal (Jason Plautz):

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy fired back in the war over her agency’s science, slamming critics who “manufacture uncertainties that stop us from taking urgently needed climate action.”

The agency’s scientific studies have become an increasingly convenient target for industry groups and congressional Republicans bent on stopping EPA regulations. Republicans have subpoenaed several health studies that EPA relies on for its air-pollution rules, and increasing attention has been heaped on the agency’s scientific review panels.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, McCarthy went after the “small but vocal group of critics” who she said were more interested in “looking to cloud the science with uncertainty … to keep EPA from doing the very job that Congress gave us to do.”

McCarthy also touched on the agency’s controversial use of human testing to measure the impact of air pollution, the subject of a recent Inspector General report that largely said the agency followed proper procedure. Critics have said that the human tests put the subjects at risk.

In her speech, McCarthy countered that the human tests helped scientists to “better understand biological responses to different levels of air pollutants.”

“Science is real and verifiable,” she said. “With the health of our families and our futures at stake, the American people expect us to act on the facts, not spend precious time and taxpayer money refuting manufactured uncertainties.”

7 Reasons Water-Lovers Should Visit the “Living West” Exhibit at History Colorado

April 24, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

Colorado’s challenging environment has shaped the state’s history and its people, and perhaps the greatest shaping factor has been water.  Water has largely determined where people lived and how they survived, and water continues to challenge Coloradans today.  The Living West exhibit at History Colorado invites visitors to explore three water-related chapters of Colorado’s history:  Mesa Verde, the Dust Bowl, and Colorado’s Mountains. Water abundance and shortages shape all three episodes. The residents of Mesa Verde harnessed water for crops and livestock, only to experience severe drought; drought, fragile soil, volatile prices, and debt devastated many Baca County farms in the 1930s; and today we see many environmental changes in the mountains while we struggle to provide enough water for all.

Lovers of water and Colorado’s history (and present and future) will find a lot to enjoy in this exhibit. Here are seven things you won’t want to miss:


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The Water Values Podcast

April 21, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

The Water Values Podcast launched just over a month ago with the release of three episodes on March 17, 2014. Additional episodes have been released throughout March and April. Find the podcasts on iTunes , Stitcher and other podcast directories. In each weekly episode, host Dave McGimpsey, a lawyer with Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP, interviews a figure in the water sector.

In the first session, Matt Klein discusses the role of water in his past positions as an environmental regulator, an environmental lawyer, and the Executive Director of Indianapolis Water. Matt also addresses water as it relates to his current role with the state agency charged with being utility consumer advocate in Indiana. Matt provides a great overview of the environmental regulatory regime for water and issues that water utilities face.

Jack Wittmann, a hydrogeologist with INTERA, provides his perspective on water planning and the future of water in the…

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Make Water Provocative: The Key to Connecting Resources, Audiences, and Meanings

April 19, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

If the goal of interpretation is to reveal meanings, this is because we believe that resources possess inherent meanings. Water, one might argue, is only two hydrogen atoms bonded to an oxygen atom. But most of us would argue that it is more than that. Water is power, art, community, energy, renewal, opportunity – ultimately, it is life itself.


Water has many different meanings, and means many different things to different people. The goal of water interpretation is to reveal these meanings, to facilitate connections between people and water – perhaps even to illuminate new ones.  But for this to happen, the interpreter must relate the resource to the audience’s own experience – and one of the most effective ways to do this is to use universal concepts.

Linking What We Experience With Bigger Concepts

Interpretation is not just based on facts, but on associated meanings. A program might present…

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More snow same adventure – Denver Water crews measure snowpack

April 4, 2014

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

Tracking snowpack is a vital part of managing Denver Water’s water supply. But, with sample sites in remote locations throughout our watersheds, this is no easy task.

Take a journey with Jay Adams, from Denver Water’s Communications and Marketing Department, as he joins Denver Water crews to take on this adventurous mission.

Per Olsson, Jones Pass caretaker; Brian Clark, equipment operator; Tim Holinka, assistant district foreman on the Arrow snow course near Winter Park.

Per Olsson, Jones Pass caretaker; Brian Clark, equipment operator; Tim Holinka, assistant district foreman on the Arrow snow course near Winter Park.

What a difference a year makes in snowpack levels

By Jay Adams

It’s a trek not many people take, but one that provides critical information to more than 1 million people. The journey begins just below the Continental Divide in a Trooper Snow Cat. The ride leads up the side of a mountain, past a group of snowmobilers and two wandering moose. Onboard the Snow Cat heading into the forest are Denver Water employees Brian Clark, equipment operator; Tim…

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New Leadership is Growing

March 31, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

Class of 2014 during their March training with CFWE and MORF Consulting in Greeley

Class of 2014 with CFWE and MORF Consulting in Greeley

CFWE is proud to announce our 2014 class of Water Leaders! This diverse and talented group of mid-level water professionals have started a journey to develop their leadership potential. The first training on March 17-18 focused on self-awareness and functional team-building. The group also examined how regional leaders have effectively built water teams in northeastern Colorado by numerous guest presentations and excursions at the Poudre Learning Center in Greeley.  Subsequent trainings will be in Fraser on May 15-16, Pueblo on July 31-August 1 and Denver on September 18-19. Join us in welcoming them to your community!

Congratulations to:
Jason Carey, River Restoration
Adam Cwiklin, Town of Fraser
Aaron Derwingson, The Nature Conservancy
Julia Galucci, Colorado Springs Utilities
James Henderson, 711 Ranch
Dawn Jewell, City of Aurora
Laurna Katz, Denver Water
Aimee Konowal, CDPHE Water Quality Control Division
Steve Malers, Open…

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Watering restrictions not part of the picture this season

March 31, 2014
Statewide snowpack map March 27, 2014 via the NRCS

Statewide snowpack map March 27, 2014 via the NRCS

As Big As It Gets: Clean Water Act Rulemaking

March 31, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

By Mark Scharfenaker

Everyone seriously interested in water quality throughout the United States has 90 days to let EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers and federal lawmakers know what they think about the agency’s newly proposed rule intended to clarify just where in a watershed the protections of the Clean Water Act cease to apply.

This long-awaited rulemaking aims to define CWA jurisdiction over streams and wetlands distant from “navigable” waters of the United States…the lines of which were muddied by recent Supreme Court rulings rooted in a sense that perhaps EPA and the Corps had strayed too far in requiring CWA dredge-and-fill permits for such “waters” as intermittent streams and isolated potholes.

This rule is as big as it gets in respect to protecting waterways from nonfarm pollutant discharges, and the proposal has not calmed the conflict between those who want the jurisdictional line closer to navigable waters and…

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Water Books from the Board of Trustees

February 13, 2014

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

The CFWE Board meets three times per year across Colorado

The CFWE Board meets three times per year across Colorado.  Here we are in Jan. 2014 at the Ralph Carr Justice Center in Denver.

CFWE is blessed to have a diverse and helpful Board of Trustees.  All 22 of them are committed to making CFWE the best water education organization in the state of Colorado, and I greatly appreciate their expertise and guidance.  Its not surprising that they, like our staff, are a bunch of “water geeks” who spend countless hours in their personal and professional lives thinking about our most important resource.

At each of our three yearly Board meetings, our Board Development Committee Chair, Chris Treese, does a round of introductions so we can learn a bit about each other.  At our January meeting, the question asked of each member was “What is your favorite water-related book?”  This was such a great list, I wanted to share it…

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Summit County snowfall near average through December

January 13, 2014

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:


January snowfall in Summit County, Colorado.

2013 ended up as 2d-wettest on record for Dillon weather station

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A quarter of the way through the 2014 water year (which started Oct. 1, 2013), snowfall and precipitation in Summit County are just about average, according to data from the two official National Weather Service observation sites.

In Breckenridge, long-time weather watcher Rick Bly measured 27.3 inches of snow in December, just a bit more than the long-term average of 22.4 inches. But the water equivalent in that snow was just 1.43 inches, slightly below the average 1.51 inches, Bly said.

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Swiss study shows big changes in distribution of alpine species in response to global warming

January 13, 2014

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Research documents rapid upward shift of plant communities


Swiss researchers document global warming impacts to alpine ecosystems. bberwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Swiss researchers taking a close look at the effect of global warming say that plants, birds and butterflies sprinted uphill by anywhere from eight to 42 meters between 2003 and 2010 — a significant shift in a very short time, according to the study published

Swiss plants, butterflies and birds have moved 8 to 42 meters uphill between 2003 and 2010, as scientists from the University of Basel write in the online journal Plos One. Other research has shown that, in general, European bird and butterfly communities have moved on average 37 and 114 kilometers to the north, respectively.

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Climate=change denialism: Follow the money?

December 23, 2013

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:


Fossil fuel companies and conservative foundations continue to pour millions of dollars into politically and economically motivated efforts to deny climate science.

Study finds that most funding for anti-science groups can’t be traced to specific donors

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Even though climate scientists are in near total agreement about how and why Earth is steadily heating up, the political arguments over global warming continue — in large part because a well-funded disinformation network is deliberately peddling half-truths, twisted facts and even outright lies.

Since a lot of the money flows through back channels and cover organizations, it’s not always easy to tell exactly who is paying for what. But that all just got a bit easier after some detailed analysis by Drexel University environmental sociologist Dr. Robert J. Brulle. In a peer-reviewed study, Brulle looked the sources of funding that maintain the effort to deny climate science.

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Water Leadership

December 21, 2013

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

By Dana Strongin, 2013 Water Leaders graduate and Denver Water employee

water leaders 1st training

The thesaurus entry for “leadership” describes a person who is a guide – a pilot or conductor.

Based on that depiction, it might seem that the water-related equivalent would be a captain, but after completing the Colorado Foundation for Water Education’s 2013 Water Leaders program, I contend that a true leader can be anybody on the crew.

After all, it takes many dedicated leaders to run an effective ship – a fact that also stands true in the world of Colorado water.

That’s one reason Water Leaders was so worthwhile. My classmates hailed from diverse organizations, interests and supervisory ranks, yet they all exemplified leadership in some way.

Throughout the year, we openly explored and discussed the challenges, successes and goals we encountered in our work and home lives.

To truly gain from these discussions, we also had…

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‘Heatwave’ at South Pole sets records

December 20, 2013

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

More record-warm Antarctica temperatures recorded in September

Global weirding? Antarctic sea ice hits record highs and South Pole sees record high temps. bberwyn photo.

Global weirding? Antarctic sea ice hits record highs and South Pole sees record high temps. bberwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — While scientists recently pinpointed areas with all-time record low temperatures in Antarctica, the South Pole is not immune to global warming — scientists based at the bottom of the world say the past winter was the warmest since record-keeping started in 1957.

In August, for example, the average temperature for the month was more than 11 degrees Fahrenheit above average, at minus 63.9 degrees Fahrenheit.

The trend continued into the Austral spring, with September 2013 also ending up as an all-time record warm month, including four daily maximum temperature records, according to the Antarctic Sun.

That’s not to say the weather was balmy — the average annual temperature at the South Pole is about minus 56.9 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest…

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How to grow more and use less

December 17, 2013

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

This guest blog post from Denver Urban Gardens is part of our Transforming Landscapes series, introducing fresh, new ideas for upgrading your lawn to a more water-efficient landscape. To help you think outside the box when planning for your landscape transformation next spring, also check out:

How to grow more and use less

Denver Urban Gardens is a nonprofit organization that builds and supports food-producing community gardens throughout metro Denver. Founded in 1985, the DUG network now includes 125 community gardens, plus an additional seven gardens owned by DUG.

Denver Urban Gardens only owns a small percentage of the gardens in our network. Working with partner agencies to secure land for community gardens allows DUG to keep the cost…

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Water Quality in and off the press

November 22, 2013

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

NEW WQ Cover

CFWE’s updated Citizen’s Guide to Colorado Water Quality Protection is HOT off the press. Order your copy today!

CNN just named their Hero of the Year… and he happens to be, what some have referred to as ‘the rivers’ garbageman’. Congratulations to Chad Pregracke! From the article:

For nine months out of the year, Pregracke lives on a barge with members of his 12-person crew. They go around the country with a fleet of boats, and they try to make cleanup fun for the volunteers who show up in each city.

It’s good to see a water quality warrior getting some major press. And, get this, CFWE’s second edition Citizen’s Guide to Colorado Water Quality Protection is hot off the press! We’ve been clear out of stock of our popular Water Quality Guide for about a year, but at long last you can now purchase and view an updated…

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The Amazing Arkansas River

November 20, 2013

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

By Tom Pelikan, The Arkansas River Coalition

The headwaters of the Arkansas River near Lead...

The headwaters of the Arkansas River near Leadville, Colorado. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Arkansas is an amazing river, from the mountains near Leadville, across the plains east of I-25 into western Kansas, around the Great Bend and south to Wichita and through Kaw Lake into Oklahoma, then to Tulsa where it becomes a navigable river with ocean-going barges all the way through Arkansas to the Mississippi. Learn how an interstate compact divides the Arkansas’ waters between states.

It’s America’s sixth-longest river at right around 1,469 miles with two of the top 20, the 13th, the Canadian and the 20th, the Cimarron, flowing into it, with a seven-state watershed, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. As you’d expect with such a big river system, it has incredible biological, agricultural, recreational and historical diversity.

Conifers of all sorts…

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Veterans Day: Thank you veterans for your service

November 11, 2013
Vietnam Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

Thanks for your service protecting our freedoms.

Climate: So much for the cosmic ray theory

November 9, 2013

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:



Solar activity only a minor factor in global warming

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The sun’s activity is only a minor factor in 20th century global warming, a new study once again confirms, shooting down one of the red-herring arguments put forth by climate science deniers.

At most, solar cycles have contributed no more than 10 per cent to global warming in the last century. The findings, made by Professor Terry Sloan at the University of Lancaster and Professor Sir Arnold Wolfendale at the University of Durham, find that neither changes in the activity of the Sun, nor its impact in blocking cosmic rays, can be a significant contributor to global warming.

“Our paper reviews our work to try and find a connection between cosmic rays and cloud formation with changes in global temperature,” Sloan said. “We conclude that the level of contribution of changing solar activity is…

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Climate: El Niño unusually active in 20th century

October 30, 2013

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

New study may help show how El Niño will respond to global warming


Tracking El Niño …

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Powerful El Niño events during recent decades are outside the norm of the last 600 years, climate researchers said this week, after finding that the cycles of warmer-than-average sea surface temps in the equatorial Pacific appear linked to global temperatures.

“Our new estimates of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) activity of the past 600 years appear to roughly track global mean temperature,” said Shayne McGregor, of the University of New South Wales. “But we still don’t know why.”

The team of climate scientists, including researcher with the University of Hawaii International Pacific Research Center and the NOAAGeophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, said their findings (published in Climate of the Past) help resolve some of the uncertainties surrounding historic ENSO cycles, which can trigger flooding…

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Bad ass picture of the lightning over the Grand Canyon via @SciencePorn

October 29, 2013

Climate: Study links rainy European summers with dwindling Arctic sea ice

October 29, 2013

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

A NASA satellite image shows Arctic sea ice.

A NASA satellite image shows Arctic sea ice . Image courtesy NASA.

Changes in the Arctic likely to have widespread hemispheric impacts

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A new climate study by scientists at the University of Exeter (UK) adds to the growing body of research looking at the hemispheric impacts of dwinding Arctic sea ice.

The findings suggest that that the loss of ice shifts the jet stream farther south, bringing increased summer rainfall to northwestern Europe, but drier conditions to the Mediterranean region. The study could offer an explanation for the extraordinary run of wet summers experienced by Britain and northwest Europe between 2007 and 2012.

In another recent study, scientists with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science found that as sea ice disappeared, the areas of relatively warm open water began to strongly influence the atmosphere, increasing surface temperatures in the region, and…

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Baffin Island study shows skyrocketing Arctic temperatures

October 25, 2013

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

‘The warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere …’

Baffin Island's ice caps are melting fast. Photo courtesy NASA.

Baffin Island ‘s ice caps are melting fast under an unprecedented regime of global warming, according to a new CU-Boulder study: Photo courtesy NASA.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — After radiocarbon dating samples of moss at the edge of melting ice caps on Baffin Island, scientists said there’s little doubt that current warming in the Arctic is unprecedented, even on a geological time scale.

Average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic during the last 100 years are higher than during any century in the past 44,000 years and perhaps as long ago as 120,000 years, according to a University of Colorado Boulder study.

“The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” said CU-Boulder geologist

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EPA: Some plastics contain BPA: chemicals that may affect children’s health. Choose safer plastics.

October 25, 2013

Global warming: USGS study shows 20 percent decline in Rocky Mountain snow cover since 1980

October 24, 2013

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:


Sparse January snow across the Colorado Plateau in January 2013. Bob Berwyn photo.

Drop linked primarily with warmer spring temperatures

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Long-time skiers often say that skiing was better in the good old days, and new research from the U.S. Geological Survey suggests that those claims are based on more than nostalgia — notwithstanding the occasional bumper crop of powder like in 2010-2011.

After taking an in-depth look at snowfall and temperature records, federal scientists said warmer spring temperatures since the 1980s have caused an estimated 20 percent loss of snow cover across the Rocky Mountains of western North America — especially at lower elevations where temperatures have the greatest effect.

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Global warming: Researchers document profound cascading ecological effects as Rocky Mountain snowpack diminishes

October 24, 2013

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Winter browsing by elk results in decline of habitat for songbirds

Dwindling Rocky Mountain snowpack is having unexpected impacts to a wide range of plants and animals, according to a new study.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A steady decline in Rocky Mountain snowpack the past few decades has led to a classic cascading ecological effect, with “powerful” shifts in mountainous plant and bird communities, according to scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Montana.

“This study illustrates that profound impacts of climate change on ecosystems arise over a time span of but two decades through unexplored feedbacks,” said USGS director Marcia McNutt. “The significance lies in the fact that humans and our economy are at the end of the same chain of cascading consequences.”

As the high-elevation snowpack dwindles, elk can stay at higher elevations during the winter and browse on plants that just a few short decades were inaccessible during the snow season, the researchers explained in their study, published Jan. 8 in…

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What happens in the Arctic does NOT stay in the Arctic

October 23, 2013

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Ocean currents originating near the poles drives tropical rainfall

At the left is observations of average annual precipitation. The right is simulated precipitation with ocean conveyor-belt circulation turned off. Credit: D. Frierson, UW

At the left is observations of average annual precipitation. The right is simulated precipitation with ocean conveyor-belt circulation turned off.
Credit: D. Frierson, University of Washington.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Rainfall amounts in the tropics may be influenced by ocean currents originating thousands of miles away, in polar regions, according to an international team of climate scientists trying to track down how global warming might affect precipitation in different regions.

Most tropical rains fall in the northern hemisphere — Palmyra Atoll, at 6 degrees north, gets 175 inches of rain a year, while comparable locations at similar latitudes south of the equator only get 45 inches annually.

Scientists have long thought that this was due to a quirk in the Earth’s geometry — with the spin of the Earth pushing tropical rain bands north across diagonally tilted ocean…

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Morning photo: October

October 16, 2013

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Slipping toward winter …


I never get tired of this …

FRISCO — Some chilly and soggy October days are giving a clear indication that we’re rapidly slipping into our cold season. That’s not to say we won’t have a few weeks of Indian Summer going into the second half of what is usually our driest month. But for now, button up, grab your beanie and head out to enjoy the last few days of changing aspen leaves — Farewell, autumn, we hardly knew you! And please visit our online gallery at FineArt America for a great selection of Summit County landscape images.

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H2O Outdoors

October 15, 2013

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

David Miller

David Miller

By David Miller, school programs director for Keystone Science School. He has a passion for water education and getting students to experience the outdoors.

When H2O Outdoors began four years ago, I never imagined we would have the partners and diversity of students that are in the program today. By being open to any high school student in Colorado, the program brings in a wide variety of perspectives that contribute to the overarching process of learning from each other, collaborating in a fictional decision-making process, and helping students learn the ways adults in the water field must work together to solve complex water problems throughout the state.



H2O Outdoors began with an idea and evolved into an award-winning program. The partnership between Keystone Science School and the Colorado River District started with the mission to engage high school students with the study of water management and…

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CMU: 2013 Upper Colorado River Basin Water Conference November 6-7, 2013 #ColoradoRiver

October 14, 2013
Colorado River Basin including out of basin demands -- Graphic/USBR

Colorado River Basin including out of basin demands — Graphic/USBR

Click here for the pitch. From the website:

Sharing Experiences Across Borders

Topics will include:

  • Understanding and Using Water Suppy and Streamflow Information
  • Following up on the Colorado River Basin Supply & Demand Study: Report from Work Groups
  • Agricultural Experiences and Challenges Across the Upper Basin
    The Navajo Water Rights Settlement
  • Should changes be made in inter-state water administration?
  • Bonus: “Water Law in a Nutshell” class by Atty Aaron Clay on Nov. 8

    The latest climate briefing from the Western Water Assessment is hot off the presses

    October 14, 2013

    US Drought Monitor October 8, 2013

    US Drought Monitor October 8, 2013

    Click here to go to the climate dashboard. Scroll down for the new stuff. Here’s an excerpt:

    September Precipitation and Temperatures, and Current Drought

    September ended the 2013 water year on a very wet note across the region, with most of the region receiving at least 200% of normal precipitation, and only a few small areas seeing drier-than-normal conditions Western US Seasonal Precipitation. The last month with comparable wet anomalies across the region was December 2007. A persistent rain event from September 9th–17th, caused by a late monsoonal surge from the south reinforced in eastern Colorado by very moist upslope flow, brought most of the month’s precipitation, including extraordinary totals for Boulder, Colorado (9″ in 24 hours; 17” in seven days) and the surrounding area. (See the WWA’s preliminary assessment of the Front Range rain event and the severe flooding it caused.)

    Other areas with over 5” of precipitation for the month included far southeastern Wyoming, south-central Utah, the Uinta Basin in northeastern Utah, the southeastern Yellowstone Plateau, and the San Juans in southwestern Colorado.

    With this late surge, the final HPRCC Water Year Precipitation map Western US Seasonal Precipitation for 2013 showed that the previously scattered areas with above-average precipitation since October 1 have enlarged and merged, covering perhaps one-third of the three-state region, with the wettest areas in northeastern Colorado, southern Utah, and northern Wyoming. But, as in the 2012 water year, most of the region still ended up drier than normal.

    Despite all the precipitation, the temperatures in SeptemberWestern US Seasonal Precipitation were warmer than average across the region, except in parts of western Utah and western Colorado. Most areas were 1–6°F above monthly average temperatures for September.

    The latest US Drought Monitor, representing conditions as of October 1 Modeled Soil Saturation Index, shows significant and widespread improvement in the persistent drought conditions, by one to three categories, compared to one month ago. The most dramatic improvements were in northeastern Colorado, where up to D2 drought conditions were brought to normal, and in southwestern Colorado, where D3 drought improved to D0 Modeled Soil Saturation Index. The proportion of Colorado in D2 or worse drought dropped from 60% on September 3 down to 12% on October 1; in Utah, 54% down to 16%; and in Wyoming, 48% to 22%. Region-wide, the overall drought extent and severity is now lower than it has been since April 2012.

    Study: Drought the prime driver of spruce beetle outbreak

    October 13, 2013

    Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

    Long-term climate shifts linked with historic spruce beetle episodes in Colorado


    A Colorado spruce forest near Shrine Pass, Colorado.


    Spruce beetles are spreading rapidly and killing trees in the southern Rockies.

    By Summit Voice

    FRISCO — The current spruce beetle outbreak in Colorado’s high country has the potential to grow larger in scope than the recent mountain pine beetle epidemic that killed mature lodgepole pines across millions of acres.

    And the trigger of for the spruce beetles is drought that’s linked with long-term changes in sea-surface temperatures in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, a trend that is expected to continue for decades, according to a new study by scientists with the University of Colorado, Boulder.

    The new study is important because it shows that drought is a better predictor of spruce beetle outbreaks in northern Colorado than temperature alone, said Sarah Hart, a CU-Boulder doctoral student in geography.

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    Environment: Plastic pollution found in mountain lakes

    October 12, 2013

    Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:


    Lake Garda, Italy. Photo courtesy NASA.

    Toxic materials a concern for freshwater ecosystems

    By Summit Voice

    FRISCO — By now, everyone has heard about the giant ocean eddies of plastic debris — the final resting place, as it were, for the detritus of our throw-away society. As it turns out, the ocean isn’t the only place that’s been polluted by human thoughtlessness.

    German scientists say their recent study of Lake Garda, a subalpine lake at the southern edge of the Italian Alps, is also polluted with potentially hazardous plastics. The findings are a warming sign that many other freshwater lakes may be similarly polluted, and that those tiny microplastics are likely finding their way into the food web through a wide range of freshwater invertebrates, too.

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