‘Source to Fontenelle’ is the title of Will and Zak’s first video chronicling their journey from ‘Source to Sea’


Update: I just realized that I didn’t include the link to the video in yesterday’s post.

“For some reason we’re starting this in October,” (Will or Zak) says, standing down valley from the headwaters of the Green River. The video shows some of the country and critters they’ve passed by in the first leg to Fontenelle Reservoir.

You can follow Will and Zak down the river on their blog source to sea down the colorado river: following the river from wyoming to mexico.

Their journey is in conjunction with Colorado College’s State of the Rockies Project. The theme this year is The Colorado River Basin: Agenda for Use, Restoration, and Sustainability for the Next Generation. Student and faculty research revolves around the entire basin, environmental assessment, climate change, water law and interstate compacts, supply, distribution and historical Native American claims.

The next Speakers Series get-together is December 5 where Beth Conover will moderate a panel of environmental experts — working throughout the Colorado River Basin — in a discussion of Environmental Perspectives and Actions.

Here’s the link to a short video of October’s event featuring Justice Gregory Hobbs and University of Wyoming professor Larry MacDonnell.

More Colorado River basin coverage here.

WaterSMART Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program Construction Grant Funding Opportunity Now Available


Here’s the release from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

A Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program grant funding opportunity is now available through WaterSMART. The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking sponsors of congressionally authorized Title XVI projects to request cost-shared funding for the planning, design or construction of those projects. The funding opportunity announcement is available at http://www.grants.gov using funding opportunity number R12SF80050.
In response to feedback received, Reclamation has updated the application process to ask project sponsors to describe the benefits of the entire authorized project and to communicate funding needs for the next two years.

Through the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program, a water reuse project reclaims and reuses municipal, industrial, domestic or agricultural wastewater and naturally impaired ground or surface waters. Reclaimed water can be used for a variety of purposes, such as environmental restoration, fish and wildlife, groundwater recharge, municipal, domestic, industrial, agricultural, power generation or recreation. Water reuse is an essential tool in stretching the limited water supplies.

In 2011, Reclamation funded 12 projects for $20.1 million through the Title XVI Program.

The WaterSMART Program focuses on improving water conservation, sustainability and helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use. It identifies strategies to ensure that this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, economic activities, recreation and ecosystem health. The program also identifies adaptive measures to address climate change and its impact on future water demands.

Proposals must be submitted as indicated on http://www.grants.gov by January 17, 2012, 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. It is anticipated that awards will be made this spring.

More reuse coverage here.

A collection of starlings is called a murmuration


This video posted to Vimeo by Sophie Windsor Clive has gone viral across the Internet. It captures a murmuration — a collection of starlings in flight. Click through and watch it.

The Culebra Range Community Coalition, et al., are working on a protection plan for the Purgatoire River watershed


From The Trinidad Times (Steve Block):

The Culebra Range Community Coalition brought together Colorado Watershed Assembly officials and representatives of environmental engineering consulting firm Tetra Tech at Trinidad State Junior College. Tom Perry, executive director of the coalition, said the group hopes to deepen stakeholders’ involvement in protecting the watershed. In a [November 4] phone call, Perry talked about working more closely with the members of Trout Unlimited, the Purgatoire River Watershed Coalition, the Trinidad Community Foundation and other local partners to make the watershed as healthy as possible…

Some key findings from the initial monitoring season showed water quality protects the Purgatoire River for such beneficial uses as agricultural irrigation, livestock and wildlife watering. Clean water also benefits aquatic life and municipal water systems.

Monthly data is collected at 27 sites along the Purgatoire and its tributaries upstream of Trinidad Lake. Streamflow and water quality data are communicated in near real-time using satellite telemetry from nine of the sites’ monitors and can be viewed at purgatoirewatershed.org, a potential resource to better understand surface water quality influence for ranchers, farmers and recreation industry employees.

More Purgatoire River watershed coverage here and here.

La Niña conditions strengthen across the east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean, but the models favor a weak-to-moderate strength La Niña during the Northern Hemisphere winter


Here’s the latest discussion from the Climate Prediction Center. Click through for the cool graphics. Here’s an excerpt:

A majority of the models now predict La Niña to continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter (Fig. 6) and then gradually weaken after peaking during the November – January period. The models are roughly split between those that predict La Niña to remain weak (3-month average in the Nino-3.4 region less than -0.9°C) and those that predict a stronger episode. Over the last half-century, La Niña events that were preceded by ENSO-neutral conditions during the Northern Hemisphere summer (May-August) were less likely to attain strong amplitude (less than –1.5°C) the following winter. This observation, in combination with the model forecasts, favors a weak-to-moderate strength La Niña during the Northern Hemisphere winter.

During November 2011-January 2012, there is an increased chance of above-average temperatures across the south-central U.S. with the odds favoring below-average temperatures over the north-central U.S. Also, above-average precipitation is favored across the northern tier of states, excluding New England, and drier-than-average conditions are more probable across the southern tier of the U.S. (see 3-month seasonal outlook released on 20 October 2011).

Meanwhile it’s was warmer than normal in October across most of the U.S., according to Bob Berwyn writing for the Summit County Citizens Voice. From the article:

Eighteen states reported monthly temperatures readings above their long-term averages, while 11 states reported readings below the monthly average. In the Pacific Northwest , in the central and southern plains, and parts of the Midwest reported near average temperatures for October. Most of the states with below average readings were in the Southeast, which was the coolest region for the month, according to the monthly report from the National Climatic Data Center.

For the August-October period, readings across the U.S. were well above the historic average, ranking as the 10th warmest such period on record, especially across the West, where 10 states reported near-record readings…

As of Nov. 1, about 9 percent of the country was categorized as being in exceptional drought, with some improvement across the southern plains, which recorded near-normal precipitation for the month.

‘Forest to Faucet’ partnership may serve as a funding model for watershed restoration


Here’s an interview with Harris Sherman from Catharine Tsai writing for the Associated Press via The Denver Post. From the article:

The Forest Service in past years has persuaded Vail Resorts Inc. and other companies, along with Denver Water and other utilities, to commit dollars and employees to restore watersheds that provide much of Colorado’s drinking water. “As state governments and the national government have budgetary problems, we have to be much more focused on how we spend our money,” said U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary Harris Sherman. “We have to reach out and develop new partnerships and foster collaboration.”[…]

The agency has reached out to the recreation industry and private companies to contribute. Vail Resorts Inc. and MillerCoors have had employees work on restoration projects. More than 20 ski areas have asked customers to pay a lift-ticket surcharge that benefits the National Forest Foundation, the congressionally created nonprofit partner of the Forest Service. In an era of tight budgets, Sherman said, the Forest Service also is talking with utilities and insurance companies, which have an interest in preventing devastating wildfires that could damage power lines or homes.

Sherman’s comments came the same day the Forest Service launched interactive “Forests to Faucets” maps [ed. Microsoft only technology] that show important water resources nationwide, how they overlap with forests, and threats to those resources from development, fire, disease and pests like bark beetles. The idea is to provide data for cities to prioritize spending on water resources.