EPA’s new WOTUS rule expected soon, amid pushback

May 22, 2015

Originally posted on Your Water Colorado Blog:

Photo with permission by John B. Kalla High-country wetland with Colorado aspens. Photo with permission by John B. Kalla via Flickr.

By Mark Scharfenaker

Wherefloweth the Clean Water Act Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule jointly proposed last spring by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers? The rule clarifies which waters are covered under the Clean Water Act, raising concerns over a potentially expanded federal jurisdiction over previously uncovered waterways, wetlands, and groundwater resources.

The Corps and the EPA have asserted the rules will save time and money in making jurisdictional determinations and provide better protection of the public’s water resources as the Clean Water Act intended, without affecting any new types of waters.

But after more than one million public comments, a questionable “campaign” by the EPA to promote the rule, a GOP-majority Congress aiming to make the agency start over, and the two-term Obama Administration winding down, this important rulemaking very well…

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Water Fest soaks students with knowledge

May 21, 2015

Originally posted on Mile High Water Talk:

Water Fest soaks students with knowledge

One World One Water Center and Denver Water team up for day of hands-on learning

By Jay Adams

On May 19, Denver Water and its suburban distributors teamed up with Metro State University’s One World One Water Center for the second annual Denver Metro Water Festival on the Auraria Campus. Despite the rainy weather, more than 1,200 sixth-grade students from Denver Public Schools and other metro-area schools attended the event.

The festival offered unique lessons and activities to create a greater awareness of the importance of water in our daily lives. Denver Water’s Youth Education team worked with organizers to create a fun, hands-on experience for students to learn about the impact of the environment, industry, population growth, agriculture and more on water in Colorado.

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Study: No such thing as ‘normal’ weather in Colorado

May 21, 2015

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Extreme storms can happen outside expected times

sdfg A monsoon season lighting strike in Summit County. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A new study led by Colorado-based scientists seems to reinforce the old saying that, when it comes to the state’s weather, there’s no such thing as normal.

The research aimed to track seasonal and geographical patterns of extreme weather events, especially the monster storms that create headaches for emergency responders and resources managers. But pinpointing those trends is not easy the weather experts found.

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Global warming: New NOAA study eyes link between Arctic meltdown and extreme weather in mid-latitudes

May 21, 2015

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

A warming Arctic is changing the configuration of the jet stream, which affects mid-latitude weather. GRAPHIC COURTESY NOAA. A warming Arctic is changing the configuration of the jet stream, which affects mid-latitude weather. GRAPHIC COURTESY NOAA.

‘Too soon to tell …’

Staff Report

*More Summit Voice stories on this subject are here

FRISCO — There’s been lots of speculation and some early research on a possible link between soaring temperatures in the Arctic and extreme weather in North America and Europe, but the jury is still out, according to scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA’s James Overland was part of an international team that took a close look at possible connections and concluded that more research is needed.

“We are in the pre-consensus stage of a theory that there are links between the rapid warming of the Arctic and some severe weather events since 2007,” said Overland, lead author of the new study, “The melting Arctic and Mid-latitude weather patterns: Are they connected?”

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Can a water plan save the Colorado River?

May 20, 2015

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

In-depth coverage of the Colorado water plan is unfolding in a new series of stories for the Colorado Independent

sdfg Gotta love that Colorado River. Want to help save it? Conserve! @bberwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado’s creeping water crisis isn’t as dramatic as a wildfire or a flood, but its consequences could be just as severe. State and federal water experts say the state will see a huge gap between supply and demand within a few decades, and possibly sooner if regional drought continues.

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Climate: Is this year’s El Niño here to stay?

May 18, 2015

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Forecasters nearly certain pattern will persist at least through the end of summer and probably to the end of the year

j Warm sea surface temperatures along the equatorial Pacific show the shape of El Niño.

klj A classic El Niño sea surface temperature pattern is projected in this map from NOAA.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A developing Pacific El Niño is already affecting weather patterns across the western U.S. by bringing abundant spring moisture to the region, including late season snow and rain to parts of parched California.

And last week meteorologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said El Niño is likely to stick around for the summer and probably even through the end of the year, perhaps even gaining strength. More on the forecast in this NOAA El Niño blog.

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Colorado steps up sage grouse conservation

May 17, 2015

Originally posted on Summit County Citizens Voice:

Habitat exchange scheme eyed as key component in efforts to protect dwindling western birds

dsg Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is ordering state agencies to boost greater sage-grouse conservation efforts. Photo courtesy USFWS.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is calling for an all-out state effort to protect greater sage-grouse by stepping up coordination among state agencies, improving habitat on state-controlled lands, and boosting the role of the state’s oil and gas commission.

The new conservation push, announced in a May 15 executive order, also outlines a market-based habitat exchange program that would let ranchers and other landowners buy and sell conservation credits to developers, including the oil and gas industry with the goal of mitigating “residual impacts” to sage-grouse habitat.

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