Jimmy Fallon and the Boss parody Bridgegate

Water Sources for endangered fishes in Colorado

Snowpack news: Map of the Upper Colorado River Basin SWE as a % of normal from Reclamation #COdrought

Upper Colorado River Basin Snow Water Equivalent as a percent of normal January 31, 2014 via Reclamation
Upper Colorado River Basin Snow Water Equivalent as a percent of normal January 31, 2014 via Reclamation

New series of climate studies aim to pinpoint global warming impacts on key natural resources

Summit County Citizens Voice

Arizona researchers to focus on Colorado River flows as feds grant $7 million for 50-plus research projects

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Arizona-based researchers will lead an effort to pinpoint how global warming will affect Colorado River flows in the coming decades, with an eye toward exploring links between Pacific Ocean climate patterns like El Niño/La Niña cycles and the occurrence of extreme wet or dry conditions.

The two-year study will result in a streamflow projection product that better accounts for physical mechanisms of weather and climate on a regional and local scale, that can be directly used by water resource providers.

The research project is one more than 50 studies funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Interior’s regional climate centers as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution, move the economy toward clean energy sources and begin to prepare communities for the impacts…

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Rio Grande River Basin: ‘Asinine — That’s the best word I can think of’ — Ruth Heide

Rio Grande Silvery Minnow via Wikipedia
Rio Grande Silvery Minnow via Wikipedia

The editor of the Valley Courier believes the WildEarth Guardians potential lawsuit is unwarranted and that the Rio Grande Compact is the law of the river. Click here to read the editorial from Ruth Heide Still Waters: Of minnows and men:

Asinine.

That’s the best word I can think of to describe the recent intent by the WildEarth Guardians to sue Colorado for not providing enough water downstream to keep the silvery minnow afloat.

What about the Rio Grande Compact do these folks not understand? We’re not hoarding our water up here at the headwaters just to dry up minnow habitat, for crying out loud. Colorado is keeping its part of the bargain of the longstanding interstate compact governing how the Rio Grande is managed from the headwaters in Colorado through New Mexico to Texas. We as a state have been complying with the terms of that compact for years. This past year we even sent more water downstream than we were required to, so we have a “credit” with our downstream neighbors.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Already stressed by a five-year drought, water use in the Rio Grande basin could be affected by legal action from downstream states. The U.S. Supreme Court this week agreed to hear a lawsuit brought by Texas against New Mexico and Colorado over groundwater pumping, primarily in New Mexico.

“Colorado’s belief is that this is not a compact issue,” said Craig Cotten, Water Division 3 engineer.

That decision came just days after Wild Earth Guardians filed its 60-day notice of intent to sue the state of Colorado in federal court over depletions of water in reaches of the Rio Grande in New Mexico considered critical to endangered species. The group charges that Colorado water administration has endangered habitat for the Rio Grande silvery minnow and the Southwestern willow flycatcher.

The Colorado Water Conservation Board met with the attorney general’s office and other state agencies in executive session this week to discuss a state response.

The actions come at a time of advanced drought in the Upper Rio Grande in Colorado, Cotten said. Water supply for ditches and wells has suffered through 12 years of drought, including the last five where moisture has been less than 70 percent of normal.

About 75 percent of the 6,000 high-capacity wells in the San Luis Valley are active, but farmers are voluntarily cutting back production in hopes of reaching sustainable groundwater levels in 20 years, Cotten said. The state is attempting to draft groundwater rules for the Rio Grande after efforts failed during the 1980s. For farmers there is little choice.

“They can obtain groundwater augmentation plans, join a groundwater management subdistrict or shut off the wells,” Cotten explained.

More Rio Grande River Basin coverage here and here.

California drought linked with global warming

Summit County Citizens Voice

‘What we are seeing now is fundamentally different from previous mega-droughts, which were driven largely by precipitation’

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — While drought conditions have eased across parts of the U.S. in recent months, conditions have worsened in the far West, and particularly in California, where water shortages will have consequences spreading far beyond the state’s borders.

And the western drought has global warming fingerprints all over, according to four researchers who discussed the links between climate change and drought at a teleconference organized by Climate Nexus, a communications group focused on highlighting the wide-ranging impacts of climate change.

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#COWaterPlan: ‘The grand opening of the new Rattler’s Den was packed on Wednesday’ — Bette McFarren #COWaterPlan

Colorado Water Plan website screen shot November 1, 2013
Colorado Water Plan website screen shot November 1, 2013

From the Fowler Tribune (Bette McFarren):

The grand opening of the new Rattler’s Den was packed on Wednesday morning for the appearance of Gov. John Hickenlooper. If the participants were looking for a meaningful discussion of the Colorado Blueprint Bottom Up program, they were not disappointed. Gov. Hickenlooper started with compliments for the small town atmosphere (more oxygen here) and the progress at Fort Lyon, which he feels may be a pattern for repurposing facilities nationwide…

The big question the governor had been waiting for was posed by Otero County Commissioner Kevin Karney. What is being done about a water plan for Colorado? Hickenlooper believes the state should be divided into regions corresponding with large drainage areas, such as the Platte and the Arkansas. He thinks conservation is the tool for water management, helping the people in Denver realize the water they spend on lawns is better utilized growing crops to feed them. “The farmers are conserving, too,” he said, “finding more efficient ways to water the crops and make better use of the water. Water is precious.” He thinks a comprehensive water plan developed in Colorado could serve as a model for other water-challenged states.
When speaking of energy, the governor was enthusiastic about the Creative Energy program which would enable energy to be produced from waste tires. He is eager to see the way cleared for this development, which has been discussed in Otero County. The Creative Energy plant would produce no emissions, but export the gas produced…

The students present were thoughtful and engrossed in the discussion. Small Business Development Director Bill Dutro was present with his intern, Malika Hussan, a college graduate from Pakistan who is studying business at OJC to help her work with women to create their own businesses in Pakistan. The meeting went a long way toward validating the governor’s theory that in order to improve the economy, he needs go to the grassroots to find out what needs to be done and to construct useful programs.

More Colorado Water Plan coverage here.