Colorado Trout Unlimited’s 2011 Annual Gala & Auction March 11

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Click here to register. From email from Colorado Trout Unlimited:

Please join us on Friday, March 11th at the Arvada Center for our biggest event of the year – the 2011 CTU Annual Auction & Gala! Last year’s event was our most successful to date and raised over $37,000 for river conservation. This year we hope to raise over $40,000 in support of our growing youth conservation education program, river advocacy, and native fish restoration efforts across Colorado.

The evening kicks off at 5pm with a cocktail reception featuring live music, complimentary beer and wine, and opportunities to bid on a wide range of silent auction items of interest to the angler and nonangler alike. The festivities continue with a sit-down dinner and a live auction featuring some remarkable packages from a Key West getaway, to a South African safari, to a party suite for a Rockies game at Coors Field.

Conservation: Ann and Mike Luark named ‘Conservationists of the Year’ by the Eagle County Conservation District

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From the Eagle Valley Enterprise (Mike Lederhause):

This year, the Eagle County Conservation District recognized Mike and Ann for their continued stewardship of their ranch. The ranch is highly visible from the Colorado River Road and the first glance reveals the level, well-cared-for fields of alfalfa, which border the Colorado River, and the neat appearance of the ranch. The Luarks have planted varieties that produce exceptionally well on their ranch along with taking steps to maximize the efficient use and conservation of their irrigation water. They have installed a combination of pivot sprinkler and gated pipe irrigation to irrigate their land. Doing so reduces the runoff and silting of the river and the overall amount of water needed to grow a crop. To improve the riparian area along the river, they first installed livestock troughs, then installed more than 6,000 feet of fence to keep cattle off the river bank. This year they will be planting more than 150 trees along the river. Mike and Ann also manage a large colony of honey bees that pollinate almonds in California, fruit in the Palisade area and the various crops in Eagle and Routt Counties, and complete the cycle of life for the various plants. The excess honey and wax is recovered and sold locally.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

Snowpack news

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From the Loveland Reporter-Herald:

The figures for the Big Thompson mirror those for the rest of the South Platte River basin, which slakes the thirst of the state’s biggest urban areas and most-productive farmland. Federal figures show the basin at 122 percent of its 30-year average. Statewide, all of the major river basins are close to or above their historical averages. Leading the way is the North Platte basin, at 132 percent, with the Colorado River basin at 127 percent, Yampa at 125 percent and Gunnison at 120 percent. In the southern half of the state, the Arkansas River basin is at 105 percent of average, the Animas/San Juan basin is at 99 percent and Rio Grande at 90 percent.

Cloudseeding update

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From (Dann Cianca):

George Stowell lives in Gunnison and is the operator of one of the many cloud seeding generators in the county. The generator is actually located in his back yard and works by injecting the cloud seeding solution into a propane burner. The heat carries the particulate that results into the upper levels of the atmosphere where the particles act, in simple terms, as an attractive place for tiny water vapor droplets to gather. Could seeding works by increasing the efficiency by which rain drops or ice crystals form within the cloud. Atmospheric conditions have to be just right for this to work, however, so the generator is typically only turned on a few times per season. The state issues permits through the Colorado Water Conservation Board and these permits only allow the operators to seed at when the permit area will be affected. This basically happens when the wind is blowing a certain way.

The Gunnison County program has been ongoing for about ten years and is partially sponsored by the county itself. The county isn’t actually the largest source of funding for the program however as many other interests which include agriculture groups, municipal water districts and even ski resorts contribute…

Operators of these programs say that the science is sound and that it provides good results. With Colorado’s dependency on water, they say that having extra snow-pack can make a huge difference on the economy of the state. That is why these programs have expanded over the years to include many areas of Western Colorado. Generators exist in the San Juans, the Upper Gunnison River Basin, the Grand Mesa area and even near Vail to name a few.

More cloud seeding coverage here and here.