Yampa River: American Whitewater survey of river users

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Here’s the link from the American Whitewater website.

American Whitewater is working to identify the range of flows that support the full range of boating opportunities for the main stem and tributaries of the Yampa and White Rivers. As part of our Yampa River Project, we are working with the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Yampa-White Basin roundtable to identify and define flows needed for continued recreational uses on Northwestern Colorado’s iconic rivers. THe results of our assessment will be used in future negotiations over water supply planning, and resouce management actions.

We have developed this survey so individuals can help American Whitewater represent recreational interests in deciding what the future of the Yampa and White Rivers will look like. Our goal is to utilize information from the survey to help us quantify flow preferences for whitewater boating, which will identify the range of flows necessary to provide whitewater recreation experiences, from technical low water to challenging high water trips. The information will provide us with the data necessary to describe flow-dependant recreation experiences and to protect and manage flows for river-based recreational opportunities.

AW is currently working with local governments, conservation groups, and State and Federal agencies to decide the future of the Yampa and White Rivers and their tributaries. Your honest participation in this study, will help American Whitewater Staff develop new instream flow guidelines for the Yampa and White Rivers.

Please encourage your fellow paddlers to participate in this study. The more responses we get the more robust our results will be. We will publish results of this survey for the benefit of paddlers with an interest in recreational opportunities on the Yampa and White Rivers.

From Steamboat Today (Mike Lawrence):

Survey results will be part of an extensive multiyear assessment of demands on the Yampa and could be used in future discussions of water policy and resource management. “This recreational flow survey is definitely something that’s pretty exciting for us,” said Kent Vertrees, a recreational representative on the Yampa/White River Basin Roundtable. “It’s just one of the components of the environmental and recreational nonconsumptive needs (assessments) of our basin.”[…]

“This has nothing to do with the recreational water right or establishing water rights in the future,” Vertrees said. “This is basically a study that the roundtable is doing to comply with what the state asked us to do, way back in 2005.”

More Yampa River basin coverage here and here.

Conservation: Sign up for USDA’s ‘Conservation Reserve Program’ starts today

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From the Ag Journal:

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced today that general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for Colorado landowners and producers begins today and continues through April 15. During the sign-up period, farmers and ranchers may offer eligible land for enrollment at their county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. The 2008 Farm Bill authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture to maintain CRP enrollment up to 32 million acres.

“CRP has helped farmers and ranchers preserve top soil, enhance wildlife habitat and protect our land and water,” Bennet said. “The program is a win-win for producers and the people of Colorado. I encourage those interested in taking advantage of this opportunity to contact their FSA office right away.”

CRP is a voluntary program that assists farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers to use their environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. Producers enrolling in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers in exchange for rental payments, cost-share and technical assistance. By reducing water runoff and sedimentation, CRP also protects groundwater and helps improve the condition of lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. Acreage enrolled in the CRP is planted to resource-conserving vegetative covers, making the program a major contributor to wildlife population increases in many parts of the country.

More conservation coverage here.

Roaring Fork River watershed: Roaring Fork Conservancy and the Ruedi Water and Power Authority release draft Roaring Fork Watershed Plan

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From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (John Colson):

A draft of the Roaring Fork Watershed Plan, which is a project of the Roaring Fork Conservancy and the Ruedi Water and Power Authority, aims to increase awareness of, and involvement in planning for a likely scarcity of water in the coming decades. The draft of the plan is available at the conservancy’s website, www.roaringfork.org

More than 40 percent of the water in the Roaring Fork and Fryingpan river drainages is diverted each year, and sent to cities and counties on the Front Range. Similar diversions are in operation in other Western Slope drainages, to satisfy the needs of a Front Range population that is expected to grow from roughly 5 million today to approximately 8 million by 2030, according to published estimates. At present, it is unknown whether future transmountain diversions will take ever greater amounts of water from the Western Slope, since no new diversion projects currently are under study, the draft plan states. But existing diversion rights are not being fully used, according to a Jan. 7 “Front Range Water Supply Planning Update.” The possibility of increased diversions has galvanized water planners and local governments into figuring out how to cope with the difficult issues surrounding water policy in this region…

The draft plan also relates that nearly 140 miles of streams surveyed in the Roaring Fork Watershed, out of 185 total miles of streams, show “moderately modified to severely degraded riparian habitat.” This habitat zone, although comprising less than 3 percent of the landmass in the watershed, sustains “75-80 percent of wildlife species” in the region. In addition, according to the draft plan, “functioning riparian areas reduce the risk of flooding and increase stream base flows.” Increasing diversions, and resulting lowered water levels in rivers and streams, pose a threat to riparian habitat, as well as to the availability of water for municipal, agricultural and industrial needs.

More Roaring Fork River watershed coverage here.

Lake Powell: Is the reservoir in permanent decline?

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From The Salt Lake Tribune (Tom Wharton):

Some say Lake Powell and Lake Mead are slowly dying. Others maintain the Colorado River reservoirs, two of North America’s largest, are doing just fine. These experts say they not only meet current needs but have the potential for pipelines that bring water into Denver and St. George as well as a nuclear power plant on the Green River. How the water is managed over coming years has enormous consequences for the West. At stake are the growth potential for many major Western cities that rely on Colorado River water for drinking, crops grown in California, cheap hydroelectric power, recreation enjoyed by millions each year, the ecological health of the Grand Canyon and the survival of several endangered fish.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

Energy policy — nuclear: Don Banner has no plans for lawsuit if Pueblo County denies permission for his proposed power plant

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Nick Bonham):

“My company will not bring suit. I’m content with what ever decision the county makes,” Banner said. “If our community isn’t interested, then neither am I. It’s that simple.” A three-day public hearing last week covered Banner’s zoning request to turn 24,000 acres in eastern Pueblo County into a Clean Energy Park, featuring wind and solar power and a nuclear plant.

More nuclear coverage here and here.

It looks like climate change will most affect the poor in sub-tropical nations

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From GIS and Science:

Researchers already study how various species of plants and animals migrate in response to climate change. Now, Jason Samson, a PhD candidate in McGill University’s Department of Natural Resource Sciences, has taken the innovative step of using the same analytic tools to measure the impact of climate change on human populations. Samson and fellow researchers combined climate change data with censuses covering close to 97 per-cent of the world’s population in order to forecast potential changes in local populations for 2050.

Samson’s team found that if populations continue to increase at the expected rates, those who are likely to be the most vulnerable to climate change are the people living in low-latitude, hot regions of the world, places like central South America, the Arabian Peninsula and much of Africa. In these areas, a relatively small increase in temperature will have serious consequences on a region’s ability to sustain a growing population.”It makes sense that the low latitude tropical regions should be more vulnerable because the people there already experience extremely hot conditions which make agriculture challenging. An increase in temperature over the next few decades will only make their lives more difficult in a variety of ways,” says Samson