From the Christian Science Monitor (Pete Spotts) via Alaska Dispatch:
Over the past two hurricane seasons, La Niña has held sway – characterized by cooler than normal sea-surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific and warmer than normal temperatures in the western tropical Pacific. These conditions flip-flop under El Niño. Each phase of this cycle alters wind patterns in ways that inhibit tropical-cyclone formation in the Atlantic during an El Niño and favor cyclone formation during a La Niña.
La Niña fizzled in April, leaving current conditions in a neutral phase some forecasters whimsically refer to as La Nada. Some models are forecasting the development of a weak El Niño between July and August, but for now it’s unclear whether it would last much beyond that.
Indeed, the season’s two early storms in May, Alberto and Beryl, highlight the influence wind conditions have. Both strengthened to tropical-storm levels over warm Gulf Stream waters off the coasts of Florida and the Carolinas. But they did so because the system of cloudiness they grew from traveled into a gap between two high-altitude rivers of air flowing west to east – the polar and subtropical jet streams, Dr. Masters explains on his Weather Underground blog.
The agency’s 2012 stocking schedule calls for the addition of 260,500 fish to Ruedi Reservoir east of Basalt, but most are of the “sub-catchable” variety — they’re only a few inches long. The Ruedi total includes 11,000 3-inch rainbows that were scheduled for stocking in April; 200,000 2-inch kokanee salmon to be stocked this month, 28,000 5-inch lake trout to be added to the reservoir throughout the summer and 31,500 10-inch rainbows, also to be stocked in batches through early August. The lake at Chapman Campground in the upper Fryingpan Valley will see the introduction of 1,500 10-inch trout over the course of the summer, according to the schedule. “The 10-inch fish is our typical stocker,” said Mike Porras, Parks and Wildlife spokesman. “We stock them in areas where fishing is a little more popular.” It’s the expectation that those fish will be kept when they’re caught.
In addition to the 10-inchers are the unexpected lunkers — brood fish that have been reared in state hatcheries specifically for egg production rather than introduction into lakes and streams. They’re typically big fish, and some will be culled from hatchery populations and added to popular fishing waters. Maroon Lake near Aspen, for example, has been the occasional repository of brood fish in past seasons. This year’s schedule calls for putting only 2-inch cutthroats (25,000 of them) in the lake, but that doesn’t mean some brood fish won’t find their way there.
The agency’s stocking strategy, however, is about more than emptying a tank of hungry trout into the water for eager anglers to take back out. “It’s much more complex than, we want people to catch fish and enjoy them,” Porras said.
In addition to the plans for Ruedi and Maroon Lake, roughly 100,000 fish are scheduled to be stocked in other high-mountain lakes and streams this summer, in quantities that range from 100 fish to 1,000 or several thousand.
“When we have a plan that is this complicated, we need to have the opportunity for a full hearing of the issues,” said Richard Mehren, attorney for the Lower Arkansas Water Management Association. “It’s about the standard of review. It’s an uphill battle to convince the court that there has been injury. We’re concerned that the manner in which this was done has opened the door for larger transfers.”
LAWMA joined the Amity Mutual Irrigating Co., District 26 Irrigating Canals and Tri-State Generation & Transmission last month in filing a complaint with Division 2 Water Judge Larry Schwartz over State Engineer Dick Wolfe’s approval of a pilot program for a relatively small amount of water.
More Arkansas Valley Super Ditch coverage here and here.