Environment: Feds extend comment period on controversial Endangered Species Act changes

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

sdf Can the Endangered Species Act be improved?

Proposed changes would make it harder for citizen groups to petition for protection

Staff Report

FRISCO — The feds will give the public an extra two months to weigh in on proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act, with a new comment deadline set for mid-September.

In May, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service published draft regulations, saying that the changes are aimed at improving transparency and inclusiveness. The move to freshen up the Endangered Species Act reflects “advances in conservation biology and genetics, as well as recent court decisions interpreting the Act’s provisions.”

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Out of drought? Not so fast!

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

A federal report says Colorado is no longer in drought, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods from a long-term water supply standpoint.

By Steve Snyder

Woo hoo! The drought is over! Let’s open the tap and let the water flow!

After all, a recent federal report shows that nearly all of Colorado is free from any type of drought designation. We are drought-free for the first time since 2009. It’s time to celebrate, right?

This U.S. Drought Monitor map shows nearly all of Colorado no longer carries a drought designation. This U.S. Drought Monitor map shows nearly all of Colorado no longer carries a drought designation.

If you’ve lived in Colorado for any length of time, you know better. In our semi-arid climate, the next drought is always lurking right around the corner.

“Our customers have truly embraced the concept of water conservation, particularly during droughts,” said Denver Water CEO and Manager Jim Lochhead. “Now it’s about taking that next step to use…

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Study documents ubiquity of bee-killing pesticides

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

dsfg Can bees survive the age of pesticides? @bberwyn photo.

Findings suggest human health risks from inhaling pollen laced with neonicotinoids

Staff Report

FRISCO — Scientists with Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health say their new study examining pollen and honey shows there’s a need to develop public policies that aims to reduce neonicotinoid exposure.

After working 62 Massachusetts beekeepers who volunteered to collect monthly samples of pollen and honey from foraging bees, the researchers found more that 70 percent of the samples contained at least one neonicotinoid, a class of pesticide that has been implicated the steep decline of honeybee populations, specifically colony collapse disorder, when adult bees abandon their hives during winter.

The study will be published online July 23, 2015 in the Journal of Environmental Chemistry. Not only do these pesticides pose a significant risk for the survival of honey bees, but they also may…

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Passion for the river

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

When it comes to the Colorado River and Denver Water, it’s all connected

By Travis Thompson

Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

This rings true for Denver Water CEO Jim Lochhead. Even though he has touched every section of the 1,450-mile Colorado River, it’s never from the same perspective. As a river master and scholar, Jim spends much of his free time rafting the rapids and sleeping next to the banks. As a lawyer and water manager, his 30-year career has been dedicated to water in the West, centered upon myriad issues along the mighty Colorado River.

Because the river flows west from the Rocky Mountains, its course doesn’t touch the city of Denver. But with half of Denver Water’s supply coming from the Colorado River Basin

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From water wagons to 50 million gallons a day

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

How the cornerstone of the Denver Water system came to be       

By Matt Bond

A rusted sign at the bottom of Waterton Canyon tells the story of what was once the hub of Denver Water’s treatment.

Picture yourself in 1858, just as Denver was in its infancy.

If you were one of the first hundred or so other gritty settlers, you were the rough-and-tumble type, living along the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. You lived there because that’s where the water was — most of the time, anyway.

The water was as clean as the rivers were. In dry years, water might be scarce by late summer. In wet years, floods could sweep away your shack.

Either way, it was good enough because it had to be.

Within no time, Denver swelled to nearly 5,000 citizens.  New water companies began to deliver water…

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Climate study projects big impacts to phytoplankton

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Scientists ‘shocked’ by scope of changes

Scientists working in the Gulf of Mexico are tracking BP's spilled oil as it works its way up the food web, from bacteria to plankton. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA. Scientists say there will dramatic changes in ocean plankton communities by the end of the 21st century. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Global warming is likely to have a big effect on the abundance and diversity of ocean phytoplankton, with some species dying out and other flourishing, researchers said after completing a study that tries to anticipate the impacts of ocean acidification.

Since pre-industrial times, the pH of the oceans has dropped from an average of 8.2 to 8.1 today, and by end of the century, could drop to 7.8 — much lower than any levels seen in open ocean marine communities today.

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Summit County: Frey Gulch restoration begins

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Construction of new dirt bike trails also under way

fgh The Forest Service and volunteer partners are simultaneously building new dirt bike trails and closing forest roads in the Tenderfoot Mountain area.

Staff Report

FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service is implementing restoration plans associated with approval of the new off-road motorcycle trail system on Tenderfoot Mountain.

The trail system, long a local point of contention, was approved last year based on a compromise agreement among stakeholders. The Forest Service has already started building part of the trail, with new single-track visible just a few feet above, and running parallel to Straight Creek Road.

This summer, Tenderfoot Mountain Road (#66.2B) in Frey Gulch will be closed and rehabilitated in order to improve water quality and improved habitat for fish and wildlife. The restoration of Frey Gulch was included as a condition the trail system permit.

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