Click on a thumbnail to view the gallery of snowpack data from the NRCS.
From The Greeley Tribune (T.M. Fasano):
Pam Wright wants to educate today’s youth about how precious water is, and will be, in their lives.
Wright, the public outreach and education coordinator for the West Greeley Conservation District, brought her rolling river education trailer to Skyview Elementary School in Windsor on Thursday and taught students about water cycles, erosion, how humans impact the water table and how pesticides and chemicals can enter a river or lake through ground water. Toy people, sand, rocks, trucks, cars, animals, farm equipment, trees and brush were sprinkled throughout the trailer that represented the dynamics of a watershed. Once the flowing water caused erosion, the students had to move around the models and fix the river’s surroundings.
“I really stress that this water situation is not going to change,” Wright said. “We’re going to be drinking the same water in the future, so it’s important for them to take care of it not only for themselves but for future generations. We stress the importance of healthy soil. Especially since we’re such an ag community, we do a lot of work out in the community, too.”
Second-grader Gavin Leagjeld, 7, a member of the after-school Roots & Shoots club that is working on a project to rehabilitate Skyview’s wetlands east of the school and make it into an outdoor classroom, was all about sticking his hands into the flowing water and makeshift sand by the river. Gavin learned about the dangers of polluting the water.
“If farmers keep using fertilizer or chemicals and if it goes into the river as ground water, it could pollute the river or ocean,” Gavin said.
Fifth-grader Blaine Tonnies, 10, said he liked what he learned.
“Since we’re younger, we should probably learn it now so later we don’t (pollute),” Blaine said. “I really like nature, plants and animals.”
Skyview teacher Kendra Jacoby, who is an adviser for Roost & Shoots along with fellow teacher Roxanne Visconti, said it’s exciting to see the first- through fifth-graders learn about what will impact them in their future.
“It’s huge, especially because we are in Colorado and our arid climate, they need to know that the water that we have is the water that we have. There is never going to be any more,” said Jacoby, a SOAR and Gifted and Talented Education teacher.
Visconti said it’s vital for students to learn what’s happening around them.
“They are very engaged. That’s what we want this to be, is them giving of themselves and learning about what surrounds them and not just going back and forth to school every day,” said Visconti, a first-grade teacher.
Second-grader Emma Johnson, 8, said she learned how a river can be polluted.
“If you’re too close to the river, you can pollute in it or you can spill oil into it and it can make it really bad for the animals who drink it,” Johnson said. “Because if they drink it they’ll die or get sick.”
Wright said she takes her riparian water trailer, the conservation district has two of them, and visits 20 to 30 schools annually throughout Weld County. She said she has an entire curriculum for different grade levels.
“Right after the flooding in the schools in Greeley and Evans, we were busy out in those schools,” Wright said. “There was not one kid I dealt with that wasn’t affected by those floods in one way or another. Their main question was: ‘Is this going to happen again?’”
Wright said it’s never too early for the kids to learn.
“For those little kids to realize that their water source is never going to change, that they’re drinking the same water the dinosaurs did, that always sticks with them,” Wright said. “It’s never too early to start teaching them the importance of where their water comes from. It needs to be started early.”
More education coverage here.
CFWE is proud to announce our 2014 class of Water Leaders! This diverse and talented group of mid-level water professionals have started a journey to develop their leadership potential. The first training on March 17-18 focused on self-awareness and functional team-building. The group also examined how regional leaders have effectively built water teams in northeastern Colorado by numerous guest presentations and excursions at the Poudre Learning Center in Greeley. Subsequent trainings will be in Fraser on May 15-16, Pueblo on July 31-August 1 and Denver on September 18-19. Join us in welcoming them to your community!
Jason Carey, River Restoration
Adam Cwiklin, Town of Fraser
Aaron Derwingson, The Nature Conservancy
Julia Galucci, Colorado Springs Utilities
James Henderson, 711 Ranch
Dawn Jewell, City of Aurora
Laurna Katz, Denver Water
Aimee Konowal, CDPHE Water Quality Control Division
Steve Malers, Open…
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More Colorado Water Plan coverage here.
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Not much substance, a lot of political smoke …
FRISCO — The Republican anti-environment cadre in the House is once again taking aim at the Endangered Species Act by introducing legislation that would make it even harder for federal agencies to protect animals and plants that are at risk of going extinct.
Two of the bills, H.R. 4316 and H.R. 4318, would limit the ability of citizens to challenge government decisions in court. The Republican measures are also ostensibly aimed at reducing the government’s legal costs associated with responding to endangered species lawsuits, but conservation advocates said that is an ideological red herring. Government data shows that the Department of Interior has spent far more money responding to frivolous demands for documents than on settling lawsuits.
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From The Mountain Mail (Taylor Edrington/Andy Neinas):
Gold medals aren’t won by accident. They’re earned with hard and often thankless work. The same is true for the Arkansas River’s Gold Medal trout waters. The 102-mile stretch from Leadville to Parkdale is easily Colorado’s longest Gold Medal water and likely one of North America’s top five in terms of contiguous miles. On average, it supports some of the state’s biggest trout and largest stock, at over 170 pounds per acre. It’s no wonder tens of thousands of anglers fish these waters every year.
The Arkansas is also the most rafted river in the U.S. with more than 210,000 visitors enjoying the best family and adventure-class rafting in Colorado just last year. The commercial outfitters of the Arkansas River Outfitters Association, along with other summer activities, are the economic engine of the river communities that reside along its banks.
From pristine Browns Canyon to the well-traveled Bighorn Sheep Canyon, the diverse environments of the Arkansas have thrived while supporting a variety of recreational, agricultural and municipal uses.
The health of the riparian environment is a testament to decades of cooperative and deliberate stewardship efforts. It all starts with responsible management, particularly the Voluntary Flow Management Program. This collaboration of outfitters, agencies and water providers has been essential in preserving and enhancing recreation and the fishery.
The Arkansas River Outfitters Association and Colorado Parks and Wildlife deserve a great deal of credit, as do folks like Jim Broderick at the Southeast Water Conservancy District, Roy Vaughn at the Bureau of Land Management and Alan Ward at the Pueblo Board of Water Works, to name a few. It would not have been possible without their support for vibrant and diverse resources.
The efforts of Christo and Jeanne-Claude have also helped preserve and enhance the area. “Over the River” has been thoroughly evaluated to ensure it is installed and exhibited responsibly. The Fish and Wildlife Service was actively involved in this process and established many precautionary measures, as well as strict water quality and aquatic species requirements to protect these Gold Medal waters. Years before ground is broken, Christo has already paid to remove hundreds of graffiti-tagged railcars from the tracks in Bighorn Sheep Canyon and has funded a recently completed new wildlife corridor identified by Colorado Parks and Wildlife as a bighorn sheep habitat enhancement. In addition, “Over the River” will bring significant international attention from those who may not normally appreciate all the Arkansas River has to offer.
Just upstream, Browns Canyon highlights a completely different part of the river. The proposed National Monument and Wilderness Act speaks to the health of the river and exemplifies the unique environments that exist along the Upper Arkansas.
At the end of the day, the Gold Medal is an important designation that reflects the health of the entire ecosystem. A healthy river doesn’t exist by itself; it takes a chorus of stewards dedicated to preserving this amazing and important river.
The Arkansas will continue to support many varied uses, just as it has for many years.
More Arkansas River Basin coverage here.
From the BBC (Matt McGrath):
The costs of inaction on climate change will be “catastrophic”, according to US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Mr Kerry was responding to a major report by the UN which described the impacts of global warming as “severe, pervasive and irreversible”.
He said dramatic and swift action was required to tackle the threats posed by a rapidly changing climate.
Our health, homes, food and safety are all likely to be threatened by rising temperatures, the report says.
Scientists and officials meeting in Japan say the document is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the impacts of climate change on the world.
In a statement, Mr Kerry said: “Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy. Denial of the science is malpractice.
“There are those who say we can’t afford to act. But waiting is truly unaffordable. The costs of inaction are catastrophic.”
By Mark Scharfenaker
Everyone seriously interested in water quality throughout the United States has 90 days to let EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers and federal lawmakers know what they think about the agency’s newly proposed rule intended to clarify just where in a watershed the protections of the Clean Water Act cease to apply.
This long-awaited rulemaking aims to define CWA jurisdiction over streams and wetlands distant from “navigable” waters of the United States…the lines of which were muddied by recent Supreme Court rulings rooted in a sense that perhaps EPA and the Corps had strayed too far in requiring CWA dredge-and-fill permits for such “waters” as intermittent streams and isolated potholes.
This rule is as big as it gets in respect to protecting waterways from nonfarm pollutant discharges, and the proposal has not calmed the conflict between those who want the jurisdictional line closer to navigable waters and…
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