#Drought news: No change in #Colorado depiction

Click here to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:

An active weather pattern across the central and eastern U.S. led to more drought reduction than introduction, although pesky dryness and hot conditions led to some expansion of dryness and drought in the southern Atlantic States. In stark contrast, catastrophic flooding from the historic, August 12-13 downpours gradually subsided across southern Louisiana; as recovery efforts began, media reports noted that there were at least a dozen fatalities and that more than 60,000 residences were damaged or destroyed. Heavy rain shifted northward and westward during the drought-monitoring period, soaking the western Gulf Coast region and delivering spotty drought relief across the interior Southeast. Pockets of locally heavy rain were also noted across the northern and central Plains, the Midwest, and the Northeast. Elsewhere, scant rainfall occurred west of the Rockies, except for a few monsoon-related showers in the Southwest…

Southern Plains
Multiple rounds of heavy rain drenched the western Gulf Coast region, but only spotty showers dotted the southern High Plains. As a result, there was a marked difference between dryness/drought eradication in much of southern and eastern Texas and drought intensification across western Texas and eastern New Mexico. Through August 23, month-to-date rainfall surged to 8.82 inches (600% of normal) in Del Rio, Texas. In contrast, June 1 – August 23 rainfall in Lubbock, Texas, totaled just 2.46 inches (39% of normal). Severe drought (D2) was introduced in an area straddling the Texas-New Mexico border. On August 21, topsoil moisture in New Mexico was rated 78% very short to short, according to USDA. Also on August 21, at least one-quarter of the cotton was rated very poor to poor in New Mexico (28%) and Texas (25%). Nationally, only 18% of the cotton crop was rated very poor to poor. Deteriorating conditions were also noted in parts of central and northeastern Oklahoma, as shown by expansion of dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1)…

North Plains and Corn Belt
Well-placed showers brought some relief to drought-affected areas from southern Montana to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Pockets of dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1) were also reduced in size or eliminated in parts of the western and eastern Corn Belt. On August 21, Ohio and Michigan led the Midwest with 29% of the pastures rated very poor to poor, according to USDA. Montana led the northern Plains with one-third (33%) of its rangeland and pastures rated very poor to poor, followed by South Dakota with 25%. Rain in the eastern Corn Belt brought improved crop conditions; from August 14 to 21, corn rated very poor to poor declined from 22 to 21% in Ohio and from 18 to 15% in Michigan. Similarly, soybeans rated very poor to poor declined from 15 to 13% in Ohio and from 15 to 11% in Michigan…

Several cold fronts crossed the Northwest, accompanied by breezy conditions but little rainfall. By August 23, nearly three dozen large wildfires—in various stages of containment—were burning across the Northwest. Among them were the 100,000-acre Pioneer fire north of Idaho City, Idaho, and the 21,000-acre Copper King fire near Thompson Falls, Montana. In eastern Washington, a half-dozen large fires were burning, including the 6,000-acre Spokane complex. Due to short-term dryness, abnormal dryness (D0) and/or moderate drought (D1) were expanded in several areas, including southwestern Washington, northern Utah, and northwestern Colorado. On August 21, Oregon led the West with 49% of its rangeland and pastures rated in very poor to poor condition, according to USDA…

Spotty monsoon-related showers were heaviest in the southern Rockies. However, the Southwestern drought depiction was largely unchanged, except for a small reduction in the coverage of dryness (D0) in north-central New Mexico. Drought expansion in parts of eastern New Mexico was discussed in the “Southern Plains” paragraph…

No changes to the drought depiction were made in California, as the summer dry season continued. Still, long-term drought and a variety of weather factors contributed to the spread of the destructive Blue Cut fire, which scorched more than 36,000 acres of vegetation near Lytle Creek, California, northwest of San Bernardino. The fire also destroyed at least 105 homes and more than 200 outbuildings…

Looking Ahead
For the remainder of the week, late-summer heat will return to the East and the Far West, while a surge of cool air will briefly cover much of the nation’s mid-section. During the weekend, however, temperatures will rebound to near- or above-normal levels in the central U.S., while late-season heat will persist in the East and West. During the next 5 days, the most significant, large-scale plume of moisture will stretch from southern sections of the Rockies and Plains into the Great Lakes region, resulting in 1- to 5-inch rainfall totals. In contrast, the Far West and the Mid-Atlantic States will remain mostly dry. During the weekend, a tropical wave (or named tropical storm) could result in heavy showers and local flooding in the southern Atlantic region, especially across southern Florida.

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for August 30 – September 3 calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures nearly nationwide, with the greatest odds of late-summer heat occurring in the eastern U.S. Cooler-than-normal conditions should be confined to northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, below-normal rainfall across the Intermountain West, Southwest, and central and southern Plains will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather across the nation’s northern tier, along and near the Gulf Coast, and in the mid-South and Midwest.

Not your average pledge drive: A revival on the river

Mile High Water Talk

Denver Water and Greenway Foundation team up to provide more water for fishing, farmers and fun on the South Platte.

By Steve Snyder

Denver Water CEO Jim Lochhead announces a pledge drive for storage space in the Chatfield environmental pool at a Greenway Foundation event. Denver Water CEO Jim Lochhead announces a pledge drive to add storage space in the Chatfield environmental pool at The Greenway Foundation’s Reception on the River event.

Denver, Colorado: the city by the river.

OK, nobody has ever actually said that. Denver isn’t known as “a river town,” like some other U.S. cities.

But Denver does have a storied history with one river in particular — the South Platte River. After all, it’s where the city was founded. Since then, the South Platte has been an important water source, a unique recreational amenity and occasionally, a devastating force of nature.

But the South Platte also has had its share of environmental and water quality challenges. So when Denver Water saw an opportunity to improve…

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Global warming started earlier than you think

Summit County Citizens Voice

New study suggests climate is very sensitive to greenhouse gases

Despite ups and downs from year to year, global average surface temperature is rising. By the beginning of the 21st century, Earth’s temperature was roughly 0.5 degrees Celsius above the long-term (1951–1980) average. (NASA figure adapted from Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Despite ups and downs from year to year, global average surface temperature is rising. By the beginning of the 21st century, Earth’s temperature was roughly 0.5 degrees Celsius above the long-term (1951–1980) average. (NASA figure adapted from Goddard Institute for Space Studies).

Staff Report

Although the rate of global warming has increased dramatically in the last few decades, a new study suggests that human activities have been driving climate change for the past 180 years. The findings suggest that global warming is not just a  20th century phenomenon, and that the climate system is, indeed, quite sensitive to the buildup of heat-trapping pollution.

The study was led by Nerilie Abram, of  The Australian National University, who  warming began during the early stages of the Industrial Revolution and started leaving a fingerprint in  the Arctic and tropical oceans around the 1830s…

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#cwcsc16: Colorado Water Congress Summer Conference 2016

Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs

I’m at the conference getting ready for the first session: Leading the way with direct potable reuse in Colorado. Panel with moderator Doug Kemper (Colorado Water Congress), Myron Nealey (Denver Water), John Rehring (Carollo Engineers).

CWC has an iPhone app up at the app store. Search for CWC and scroll down to CWC Summer Conference.

Nice bike ride up the Yampa River from my campsite west of town. The Sheraton Steamboat Springs lets you check your bike and park it in a room out of the elements.

A rancher, a scientist, an angler and a conservationist walk into a room…

Your Water Colorado Blog

By Christina Medved, Watershed Education Director and Heather Lewin, Watershed Action Director at Roaring Fork Conservancy in Basalt, CO.

Mighty Mountains Spring at Mt Sopris Colorado. The Roaring Fork River is in the foreground and located just outside Carbondale CO. Credit: Steve Wiggins

A rancher, a scientist, an angler and a conservationist walk into a room… “Wait a minute,” you say, “I’ve heard this one before! Something about water being for fighting, right? Remind me the punchline again?” Well, this isn’t the same old story with the same old punchline. Roaring Fork Conservancy (RFC), currently in its 20th year, is working with an empowered group of stakeholders to rewrite the story of water in the Roaring Fork Valley. The privilege of living with ready access to cold mountain streams, abundant trout, vibrant agriculture and spectacular scenery is one we do not take for granted which is why we continue to work…

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When the river runs through it

Mile High Water Talk

In most years, water use in the city brings bountiful rapids to grateful kayakers.

By Katie Knoll

2016 08 15 085456 Kayakers on the South Platte River during BaileyFest 2016.

In August, more often than not, Denver Water responds to customer demands by releasing water through the Roberts Tunnel from Dillon Reservoir.

And in those years, that action creates the perfect conditions for kayaking at a time when flows are too low for the sport on many other rivers.

And that’s when we get BaileyFest.

The popular kayaking event runs on a stretch of the North Fork of the South Platte River from Bailey to Pine and has a national reputation for Class IV-V rapids.

“We are really excited in years where conditions align to help make BaileyFest a reality,” said Jeremy Allen, who works with Dave Bennett to coordinate the Roberts Tunnel flows as part of Denver Water’s Planning Division. “This…

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Coyote Gulch outage

Yampa River
Yampa River

I’m heading over to Steamboat Springs for the Colorado Water Congress’ Summer Conference and Membership Meeting. Posting will be hit and miss through Friday. I’ll try to catch up on Saturday. Follow me on Twitter (@CoyoteGulch).