CWCB: Next board meeting — September 27-28 in Berthoud

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From email from the Colorado Water Conservation Board:

Notice is hereby given that a meeting of the CWCB will be held on Thursday, September 27, 2012, commencing at 8:30 a.m. and continuing through Friday, September 28, 2012. This meeting will be held at the offices of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, located at 220 Water Ave, Berthoud, CO, 80513.

There will be a meeting of the Finance Committee on Wednesday, September 26th, at the same location, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

More CWCB coverage here.

Denver: Statewide Drought Conference September 19-21

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Here’s the release from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (Taryn Hutchins-Cabibi):

Building a “Drought-Resilient” economy focus of CWCB event in Denver

The Colorado Water Conservation Board is holding a two-day drought conference with discussion themed around “Building a Drought Resilient Economy through Innovation.” The conference, September 19 and 20 at the History Colorado Center in Denver, will highlight the research and experiences of professionals working in regions and economies impacted by drought.

Participants will share new and innovative approaches to drought preparedness across various industries and sectors. The conference will also present information on what drought may look like under future climate change conditions.

Professionals or interested parties working in government, the non-profit and the private sector are encouraged to attend the event to learn the latest in preparing for and responding to drought. Those wishing to register for the event can do so through CWCB’s website: http://cwcb.state.co.us

The conference agenda includes panels and speakers addressing:

– Advances in drought monitoring, mitigation and impact assessment
– Drought preparedness innovations in agriculture, business and energy sectors
– The response and impacts from the 2011 drought – Colorado and Texas
– Managing drought-related risk
– Opportunities for interagency/intergovernmental collaboration and public/private
partnerships on drought response and mitigation efforts
– What the latest science says about drought and climate change
– Vulnerability and economic impact of drought to tourism and recreation, as well as urban and natural environments

Registration for the event closes at 5 p.m. on September 14. Cost for the event is $175 per participant before September 1st and $195 thereafter. Registration includes a complimentary pass to the History Colorado Center, located at 1200 Broadway in Denver.

More CWCB coverage here.

USGS: Streamflow of 2011—Water Year Summary

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Remember all the way back to water year 2011 when Colorado’s reservoirs mostly filled to the brim? Here’s the Streamflow of 2011 — Water Year Summary from the United States Geological Survey (Xiaodong Jian/David M. Wolock/Harry F. Lins/Steve Brady).

For you numbers junkies the document should be a great read to take along next time you’re sitting under the cottonwoods by your favorite stream.

Here’s the introduction:

The maps and graph in this summary describe streamflow conditions for water year 2011 (October 1, 2010, to September 30, 2011) in the context of the 82-year period from 1930 through 2011, unless otherwise noted. The illustrations are based on observed data from the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Streamflow Information Program (http://water.usgs.gov/nsip/). The period 1930–2010 was used because, prior to 1930, the number of streamgages was too small to provide representative data for computing statistics for most regions of the country.

In the summary, reference is made to the term “runoff,” which is the depth to which a river basin, State, or other geographic area would be covered with water if all the streamflow within the area during a single year was uniformly distributed upon it. Runoff quantifies the magnitude of water flowing through the Nation’s rivers and streams in measurement units that can be compared from one area to another. Each of the maps and graphs can be expanded to a larger view by clicking on the image. In all of the graphics, a rank of 1 indicates the highest flow of all years analyzed.

More USGS coverage here.

Drought news: Some Teller County wells are drying up

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From KRDO.com:

Lynn Lansford said they believed the lack of water to be a result of a broken pipe, which cost the family $2,500. They learned that the real source of the problem was a lack of water in the well itself. “We’re just not getting the moisture, and it’s not filling our wells,” said Lynn Lansford.

She said the well is 700 feet deep, and they have already explored the option of looking deeper. “It’s already been fracked once, just to see if it could expand into the aquifer more, but they didn’t find anything. There wasn’t anything,” said Lansford.

Lansford said the quoted price to construct a new well in a different location on their property would be $20,000 to $30,000.

So the Lansfords have resorted to having water delivered to them, which they store in two cisterns on their property. They are able to house 2,500 gallons, which has to last them about three weeks.

From TheDenverChannel.com (Mike Nelson):

We have now hit the 90 degree mark 62 times this year, passing the old record of 61 days set in 2000. The average number of 90-degree or higher days in Denver is 40.

Climate change: Arctic sea ice extent at new low

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From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

The data show the area covered by sea ice shrank to 1.58 million square miles, its lowest ebb in 32 years. That’s about 27,000 square miles less than the previous low of 1.61 million square miles recorded Sept 18, 2007. Another 150,000 square miles of sea ice could melt before the middle of next month, when refreezing typically begins, NSIDC research scientist Walt Meier said, during a conference call with colleagues at NASA. The past six years have brought the six lowest levels of sea ice since 1979, when measurements began. The climate scientists said the melting will open shipping routes for energy companies hoping to claim untapped oil and gas, while also worsening climate change worldwide…

The dissolving of white sea ice into darker open water means reduced reflection. More sunlight is absorbed into oceans, raising water temperatures. This ocean warming is seen by some as related to climate change, affecting ocean currents, air currents and storm paths.

Roaring Fork Conservancy study reveals healthy macroinvertebrate population in area waters

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From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (April E. Clark):

[Chad Rudow, water quality coordinator for Roaring Fork Conservancy] said 17 of the 20 sites sampled in the Roaring Fork and Crystal watersheds showed scores indicating healthy conditions. Of the 20 sites, only two, Cattle Creek at the Highway 82 culvert and the Roaring Fork at Slaughterhouse Bridge in Aspen, were considered impaired. Farther upstream in Aspen, the Roaring Fork at the Mill Street Bridge fell into a gray area between healthy and impaired.

The study sampled a variety of aquatic insects, such as mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies, and used the results to evaluate the health of rivers and streams. The aquatic insects are seen as good indicators of river health because they have limited mobility, high population densities, and spend a relatively long time in their aquatic life stage before hatching out into adults. They are also highly sensitive to disturbance.

“In layman’s terms, these aquatic insects are like the canary in the coal mine of how the rivers are doing,” Rudow said. “They are very intolerant of pollution and are some of the first insects to disappear. They are a good marking point, as they reflect the quality and quantity of the water.”[…]

The study was conducted in late September and early October 2011, a key time of year to study macroinvertebrates, according to Rudow. High snowpack the previous winter led to high streamflows well into the summer of 2011 and likely had a positive effect on the study’s collected data.

Rudow said the study will be repeated during the same period this year, and it may show how much the 2012 drought conditions have impacted streams, rivers and aquatic habitat.

More Roaring Fork River watershed coverage here.