Regional Rotary Clubs are working together to help fund the construction of new water filtration systems and sanitary latrines in Nicaragua

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From the Longmont Daily Times Call. (Magdalena Wegrzyn):

Seven regional Rotary Clubs have combined forces to support a project that will fund the construction of new water filtration systems in the northern Nicaraguan villages of Los Pinares, Barrio Nuevo and Miraflor. Clubs of Boulder Valley, Carbon Valley, Conifer, Golden, Mead, Twin Peaks and University Hills in Denver have raised $60,518 in donations and grants for the Los Pinares project. Fundraising is still under way for the other two villages. “Once you see the need, you can’t not do something,” said Dale Rademacher, a Mead Rotarian and chairman of the committee organizing the project. “I call these the forgotten people.”

Arkansas Valley: What’s happened to the releases of tamarisk leaf beetles?

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From The Colorado Springs Gazette (R. Scott Rappold):

…after two summers of releases here [Arkansas River Basin], the beetles have eaten little of their favorite food, and experts fear they are leaving, dying or becoming food themselves. “In most cases that I’ve seen so far, it seems like the beetles are gone and we’re trying to come up with ways to deal with that,” said Dan Bean, director of the state’s Palisade Insectary, where the beetles are bred…

In summer 2008, the National Resource Conservation Service released 27,000 beetles along Fountain Creek north of Pueblo. Last summer, after biologists found no trace of the beetles, they released another 15,000. “We did see a slight amount of defoliation, but it often takes a couple years for the beetles to take hold and establish,” said conservation service biologist Patty Knupp. She will return in spring to look for beetles.

Elsewhere in the Arkansas Basin, there have been only a few pockets with slight signs of beetles eating the tamarisk. Said Bean, “There could be some quirks in climate and weather that cause them to not make it, but I think it’s more likely it’s something biological. Something is eating them.” He suspects other insects are the culprit.

One the other hand here’s a story about a mystery population of the little buggers in Fremont County from October 2008. From the post:

On the drive back to Grand Junction after visiting Pueblo in July, Bean noticed the tamarisk at the U.S. 50 bridge over Beaver Creek were yellowing – a tell-tale sign of beetle defoliation. He stopped, and sure enough there was a thriving beetle population in the trees below the bridge. Where the beetles came from is anyone’s guess. The Bureau of Reclamation has, for years, done controlled releases of beetles on trees below Lake Pueblo, but Bean knows of no official releases of beetles upstream of Lake Pueblo. “If the conditions were just right, they could migrate upstream,” Bean said. The beetles were found in a rocky canyon, which is similar to the areas where the same type of insects have thrived in eastern Utah and Western Colorado.

More tamarisk control coverage here and here.

Pagosa Springs: Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District scores $48,700 grant for water audits to help with conservation efforts

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From The Pagosa Springs Sun (Chuck McGuire):

Working with Great Western Institute, a Colorado-based non-profit, the district successfully procured the “Water Efficiency Grant” to help cover costs associated with performing “SMART WATER audits” and installing water-conserving fixtures at select local businesses. Last winter, PAWSD conducted pilot SMART WATER audits at various volunteer businesses to gauge potential water savings and community-wide interest in a fixtures retrofit program. In the process, the district evaluates a business’s water use and determines water savings solutions. Typically, the most obvious and efficient actions include replacement of older water-wasting toilets, shower heads, and spray valves, while adding aerators to existing faucets, thereby reducing unnecessary flow and hot water usage. The district also performed irrigation audits to evaluate outdoor water usage by certain homeowner associations. Again, the audits identified needed fixture replacements and established annual reporting requirements, which will later detail water use before and after specified retrofits are made. Too, such “before and after” comparisons will measure program benefits from year to year…

In 2010, PAWSD intends to audit and retrofit another 15 area businesses, at an estimated annual savings of approximately 11.5 acre feet, or 3,747,287 gallons of precious water. The district invites all interested businesses to contact Water Conservation Coordinator Mat deGraaf to learn more about the program, or schedule a consultation for consideration in the next phase of SMART WATER audits beginning in March 2010. Meanwhile, for additional water conservation programs and practices directed at all water users, visit the PAWSD Web site at, click on the Conservation link, then click on Catch the Wave and Save. You can also contact deGraaf at 731-2691.

More conservation coverage here.