Video: You Can Make a Difference — @NOAA #ClimateChange

Screenshot from the video "You Can Make a Difference" from the Utah Education Network.
Screenshot from the video “You Can Make a Difference” from the Utah Education Network.

“It’s never a bad idea to think about what your daily impact has on the planet.”

Click here to watch the video.

From the website:

You Can Make a Difference!

Rapid Climate Change affects the whole planet. But you might be surprised to know that one person, meaning you, can make a big difference.

This video was funded by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and was produced in collaboration with KUEN TV in Salt Lake City.

Salida: Interbasin Compact Committee talks taxes — The Mountain Mail

ARBWF-SalidaSteamplantArkRiver

From The Mountain Mail (Brian McCabe):

The Interbasin Compact Committee continued its ongoing discussion about Colorado water rights and river basins at a meeting Tuesday in Salida.

The IBCC was founded through the Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act to lead conversations and address issues about Colorado’s water.

The Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District hosted the event and kicked off the meeting with a presentation by the Arkansas River Basin PEPO (Public Education, Participation and Outreach) Workgroup, led by Chelsey Nutter and Jean Van Pelt.

They explained four tasks they are working on, including participation and partnership building, focusing specifically on the Arkansas Basin area for education.

Their second task is to develop a Water 101 presentation for education, and they are currently working on a documentary about water and the Arkansas Basin.

Their third task is to help facilitate communication among the Arkansas Basin Roundtable, the Colorado Water Conservancy Board, the IBCC and the public, by integrating the information gathered into public outreach forums.

Finally, they are working to market the Arkansas Basin by designing a mission, logo and online resources, including a website and a Facebook presence.

Bob Randell, an attorney with the IBCC, discussed the Colorado Supreme Court decision earlier this month, in which BP America Production Co. will be refunded millions in oil and gas severance taxes.

Randell explained that the refunded taxes will have a direct effect on Colorado general funds and Department of Local Affairs grants, which will not be adding any additional money to 2016 and 2017 Tier 2 programs.

Sean Cronin, the South Platte River Basin representative, spoke about how that will affect the Water Supply Reserve Account.

“With demand outpacing supply, we will have to maximize our limited dollars,” Cronin said. “We want to provide folks with confidence that we are using WSRA funds as effectively as possible.”

Cronin said some of the options they have been looking at to help the program include:

• Looking at other grant deed programs for ideas.
• Considering how money is spent to hire contractors.
• Looking at financial need analysis for applicants, with a sliding scale depending on financial stability.
• Encouraging match requirements.
• Considering holding back a percentage of funds until progress reports on projects have been turned in and reviewed.

During the Lean Process update, Eric Kuhn, an appointee to the IBCC by the governor, raised a point about the difficulty with working with different parties on a project.

“Sometimes we miss the biggest concern,” Kuhn said, “trying to do something with a complex project. When you have two major entities with a lack of consensus, you hope it works out, because the permitting process only works as long as people agree on it.”

Becky Mitchell with the IBCC responded, saying, “What we came up with out of the Lean Process is that the state won’t jump into those kinds of situations.”

Cronin also said he had heard it wasn’t so much a problem in other parts of the country, only Colorado.

“I did hear that Colorado has had special circumstances, but that it is common among Western states, but we’re not the worst,” Mitchell said.

The committee also debated an idea of placing a tax on drinking liquid containers, from children’s juice boxes to cans of soda, as a possible source for the additional funding.

No decisions on the tax were made, but it was jokingly said that Colorado would need a drought for a tax like that to go through.

Did You Miss NPR Presents’ Going There: The Future of Water? — KUNC

NPR panel discussion of The Future of Water at CSU May 24, 2016. L to R: Patty Limerick, Roger Frugua, Melissa Mays, Paolo Bacigalupi, Kathleen Curry, and host Michel Martin.
NPR panel discussion of The Future of Water at CSU May 24, 2016. L to R: Patty Limerick, Roger Frugua, Melissa Mays, Paolo Bacigalupi, Kathleen Curry, and host Michel Martin.

From KUNC (Robert Leja):

KUNC welcomed All Things Considered Weekend Host Michel Martin to Colorado State University for a live storytelling event about the evolving legal, ethical, and social conversations around water.

Watch it.

Panelists include:

Paolo Bacigalupi is a Hugo award-winning author of The Water Knife. Bacigalupi’s writing has appeared in Wired magazine, High Country News, OnEarth magazine,The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine and on Salon.com.

Kathleen Curry is a Colorado native and rancher who served in the Colorado Legislature from 2005 to 2010. Prior to serving in the Legislature, she managed the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District.

Roger Fragua of Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico has dedicated his professional career to the advancement and development of American Indian communities. Roger is currently the president of Cota Holdings LLC and ndnEnergy LLC. Both organizations are engaged in tribal development in the energy sector.

Patty Limerick is the faculty director and chair of the board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she is also a professor of environmental studies and history. In addition, Limerick serves as the official state historian for Colorado State and was appointed to the National Endowment for the Humanities’ advisory board and the National Council on the Humanities in 2015.

Melissa Mays has proudly lived in Flint, Mich., since 2002, where she is a clean-water activist. With her husband, Melissa formed Water You Fighting For, an organization that connects activists with the stated mission of standing together against the loss of democracy and denial of clean, safe and affordable water.

High Line Canal Conservancy Launches New Public Planning Initiative to Re-imagine the 71-Mile Trail Corridor

Highline Canal Denver
Highline Canal Denver

Here’s the release from the High Line Canal Conservancy (Suzanna Jones):

The High Line Canal Conservancy, which is dedicated to preserving the recreational and environmental future of the High Line Canal, today announced the launch of the High Line Canal public planning initiative. The public planning initiative is part of a large-scale planning program to ensure the well-loved Canal trail reaches its potential as an economic, environmental, recreational and social asset along all of its 71 miles. The goal of the public outreach and visioning phase, called “Adventure on the Canal: Charting our course for the next century,” is to develop a shared vision for the Canal that will guide the future planning process.

“Today begins a region-wide conversation led by the High Line Canal Conservancy to rehabilitate this beloved corridor into a legacy greenway that unifies and celebrates the distinct communities it intersects,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper. “This project joins a statewide effort to get people outdoors and connect with the beauty of Colorado.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper will help kick off the public planning initiative at the High Line Canal and Triple Creek Trail connection ribbon cutting and bike ride in Aurora on Tuesday, May 31 at 12:10 p.m. Following the press conference, the Governor will begin a bike ride along the Canal with local children from Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK), assisted by Bicycle Colorado, and continue with a small select group of riders for a portion of the trail. The Governor will have an opportunity to see some of the challenges presenting the Canal currently.

“The High Line Canal Conservancy is thrilled to work with the Governor and other leaders throughout the region to preserve and transform this outmoded water delivery corridor into a legacy greenway that unifies and celebrates the distinct communities along the High Line Canal,” said Harriet Crittenden LaMair, Executive Director of the High Line Canal Conservancy. “We’re thrilled to have Governor Hickenlooper’s help launching the public outreach phase of this project, asking the public to consider how they view the long-term purpose of the Canal.”

Following the kickoff event, the Conservancy will launch its summer outreach “Adventure on the High Line Canal,” which will include a series of community open houses, events and other engaging activities in various locations across the region. These gatherings will be interactive, fun opportunities where participants can share the reasons they love the Canal and help write a new chapter for the Canal’s future.

Each series of community open houses includes 3 identical gatherings in various locations along the Canal’s reach and represents an important chapter in the mission to chart the High Line Canal’s course for the next century. Together, the four series follow the arc of a typical story. Chapter One – “Our Journey Begins” will kick off the week of June 6 at Aurora Central Library, the Lowry Town Center and Goodson Recreation Center. At these introductory open house events, we’ll take a journey together along all 71 miles of the Canal, from the foothills to the plains, and you’ll be able to share your ideas and feedback every step of the way.

Chapter Two – “A Fork in the Road” will be held the week of July 18 at Expo Recreation Center, Eloise May Library and Eisenhower Recreation Center. This set of community open houses will be the second chapter of the story, bringing residents together to focus on the Canal’s future opportunities and challenges. We’ll explore how each of these ideas could impact the Canal’s narrative in the years to come and ask for your feedback.

Chapter 3 – “Our Story” will be held the week of September 5 at locations to be set in the future. This third chapter will focus on presenting the initial vision reached by residents, the draft shared vision for the Canal, asking the public to share their feedback and input on the shared vision for the Canal.

Chapter 4 – “Looking Ahead” will be held the week of October 16 at locations to be set in the future. This fourth set of open houses represents the final chapter, the draft action plan, determined by feedback from the public. It will be focused on implementation and next steps, and will continue to rely on feedback from the public about the final preferred vision for the Canal.

In addition, online surveys will be available in June and July, providing additional opportunities for input. Visit highlinecanal.org.

Anyone can participate throughout the launch and subsequent events on social media by following @COHighLineCanal and using the hashtag #71Miles.

Here’s how to stay updated on High Line Canal project updates:

The High Line Canal newsletter.

High Line Canal’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).

Participate in public meetings: http://highlinecanal.org/community

Take online surveys, which will be active throughout the summer by visiting http://highlinecanal.org/surveys

Help us spread the word: Please invite your friends and neighbors to participate too!

ABOUT THE HIGH LINE CANAL CONSERVANCY

The High Line Canal Conservancy was formed in 2014 by a passionate coalition of private citizens to provide leadership and harness the region’s commitment to protecting the future of the High Line Canal. With support from each jurisdiction and in partnership with Denver Water, the Conservancy is connecting stakeholders in support of comprehensive planning to ensure that the Canal is protected and enhanced for future generations. For more information, please visit http://www.highlinecanal.org.

#NPRH2O: NPR’s “Michel Martin Going There” tackles “The Future of Water”

NPR panel discussion of The Future of Water at CSU May 24, 2016. L to R: Patty Limerick, Roger Frugua, Melissa Mays, Paolo Bacigalupi, Kathleen Curry, and host Michel Martin.
NPR panel discussion of The Future of Water at CSU May 24, 2016. L to R: Patty Limerick, Roger Frugua, Melissa Mays, Paolo Bacigalupi, Kathleen Curry, and host Michel Martin.

What a hoot at Colorado State University last night. NPR and KUNC collaborated to host a national conversation about The Future of Water.

The panel included, Patty Limerick (Colorado State Historian), Kathleen Curry (Former state legislator from Gunnison County), author Paolo Bacigalupi (The Water Knife), Melissa Mays (Resident from Flint, Michigan), and Roger Fragua (Spiritual leader form the Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico).

Ms. Martin asked pointed questions and kept the discussion on track. She had done her homework about the Colorado River Basin and water issues in general.

The event turned into a national Twitter fest using hashtag #NPRH2O. Click here to view all the Tweets. (If you don’t have a Twitter account you can still view them. After you click the link, click the “Live” button at the top of the page. Scroll down to the bottom and read upward since Tweets are posted in reverse chronological order.)

Reading the Tweets will give you an understanding of the conversation. I observed entries from coast to coast. It was a great example of social media enabling folks to interact with each other.

Colorado water law and prior appropriation are under scrutiny nowadays. Kathleen Curry risked the enmity of some by asserting that, “I don’t have a lot of sympathy for newcomers. This [Colorado water law] is how it works here.”

She understands that senior water rights mean a lot to food production and that Colorado has the most active water market in the US. She also cautioned that forcing efficiency on the ag sector would lead to higher prices at the grocery store. She touched on the need for wise use of changed ag water rights by the urban areas. She also mentioned the 800 pound gorilla of water management — land use and growth management.

Curry added, “I’m not overly optimistic that things will change. Water follows money,” and, “We’re taking a fixed amount of water and reallocating it here in the West.”

Patty Limerick always finds a way to get at the heart of issues. She warned, “Whenever you get a simple position it means you haven’t thought enough.”

She also mentioned rhetorically, “Maybe conventional agriculture wasn’t the best idea for the West.”

Paolo Bacigalupi was more direct, saying, “We’ve done magical things because of our engineering prowess but populations exist where they should never have been.”

Ms. Limerick expanded on that theme when Melissa Mays asserted that Flint’s problem was a national problem. Patty defended water providers in general countering Mays claim with, “I’m a friend of many water managers. I know that there are dedicated people that are in our camp. We need them.”

“In the US we like to address our natural world in terms of commodities,” said Bacigalupi, “The value of water is infinite since we will pay almost any amount to survive.”

He summed up the importance of the evening saying, “We need to become more comfortable with abstract thinking and wonky subjects like water quality.”

Click through to the Tweet stream cited above. I guarantee that it is safe for work and of course I believe that learning and talking about water issues is the most important thing you can do.

#ColoradoRiver #COriver: “…this is a time of great reckoning” — Patty Limerick via NPR

Patty Limerick
Patty Limerick

From NPR (Michel Martin):

As the Colorado River dries out, the seven states that rely on this body of water risk water scarcity. Colorado state historian Patty Limerick discusses preparations for water scarcity in the West.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now we’re going to take the conversation closer to home. Water is becoming a major topic of concern in the American West. Just take the Colorado River. Forty million people in seven states depend upon it for drinking, farming and recreation, and the strain on the river is showing. For the last decade, the Colorado River has been completely dry by the time it completes its 1,400 mile journey to the Sea of Cortez.

That’s just one reason we’re heading to Colorado on Tuesday for our live event series. And one of the people we’ll meet up with there is Patty Limerick. She’s the faculty director for the Center for the American West in Boulder, and she’s also the Colorado state historian. Patty, thanks so much for joining us.

PATTY LIMERICK: Oh, what a pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.

MARTIN: Now you have a saying that I want to introduce everybody to. You call the last 100 years in the American West, quote, “the era of improbable comfort made possible by a truly astonishing but taken for granted infrastructure,” unquote. It’s catchy. But unpack that for me.

LIMERICK: Oh, thank you. In my opinion, that’s just a wonderful way of saying after initial encounters of Euro-Americans with this region, they just thought, it’s too dry for conventional American settlement. It can’t happen here. Then all kinds of ingenuity and hard work kicked in, and this place became a very comfortable place to live.

You turn on a faucet, you get water. You turn on a switch, you get electricity. It’s just a – it’s a remarkable transformation. And so if you look before this era and if you look at the future, that is implausible and improbable comfort. And it is not guaranteed for the ages. In fact, this is a time of great reckoning.

MARTIN: Do I take that to mean that you believe that era is now over? And if so, why? Is it because of climate change, or is it because of demand?

LIMERICK: Yeah, I think it’s petering out more than ended. I think a whole bunch of factors – certainly climate change – and as the managers of, well, most water utilities say it’s not that we’re moving from one determined, defined state of precipitation to another one. The past no longer really give us our bearings. We don’t know that there’s not going to be a new, stable normal. It’s really a state of continued uncertainty. I’ve been in this area for 32 years, and I would say I see change.

MARTIN: Now a World Bank report said that lack of water could give rise to a lot of interpersonal conflict. In your state, conflicts have already arisen with the eastern and western parts of the state sometimes in conflict over water rights. I mean, do you – is that something that you see?

LIMERICK: I think it’s an open question. I would say there’s a very strong streak of collaboration. And the state of Colorado has a state water plan for the first time in its history. It was a very long process. And they squabbled, they fought, but then they reached some kind of report that they could all stand behind. Now having that as a written document is pretty different from having a new this is how we conduct ourselves and this is how water is allocated.

MARTIN: So what I think I hear you saying is that conflict isn’t the only choice. What you also see…

LIMERICK: No.

MARTIN: …Are new pathways to collaboration around this because people are understanding just how crucial it is. So, Patty, before we let you go, why should people in other parts of the country care about this?

LIMERICK: Because you can have droughts in the southeast. Georgia and Alabama – those states have squabbled over water during periods of drought. And bedrock – most important – water quality can create a problem of scarcity. I don’t want to take us off track, but Flint, Mich. is the place to remember – to think it’s not just the West.

MARTIN: Patty Limerick is the Colorado state historian and the faculty director of the Center for the American West in Boulder. She will be joining me in Fort Collins, Colo., on Tuesday for our live event. It’s called The Future of Water. It’s a conversation about a lot of the things that we’ve been talking about and more. You can start joining the conversation right now if you care to. Our hashtag is #nprh20. That’s on Tuesday in Fort Collins, Colo. Patty, thank you so much for joining us.

LIMERICK: Oh, thank you. I can’t wait until Tuesday.

Rifle: “State of the River” meeting, May 25 #ColoradoRiver #COriver

Register here.

Colorado River in Eagle County via the Colorado River District
Colorado River in Eagle County via the Colorado River District

From the Middle Colorado Watershed Council:

How much snowmelt will eventually flow into our reservoirs and rivers? Join us to learn all about this year’s snowpack figures, water supply forecasts and anticipated stream flows & conditions.

The Colorado River District and the Middle Colorado Watershed Council will co-sponsor the annual “State of the River” meeting on Wednesday, May 25 from 6-8pm at the Ute Events Center in Rifle. The public meeting will provide an overview of expected river flows in the Colorado River, as well as other topics pertaining to the Watershed. The packed lineup will include:

  • Victor Lee, Hydrologic Monitoring Program Coordinator, Bureau of Reclamation
  • Laurie Rink, Executive Director, Middle Colorado Watershed Council
  • Jim Miller, Utility Director, City of Rifle
  • Eric Kuhn, General Manager, Colorado River District
  • Nolan Doesken, Colorado State Climatologist, Colorado Climate Center
  • WHEN Wednesday, May 25, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (MDT)

    WHERE: Ute Theater and Events Center – 132 East 4th Street, Rifle, CO 81650