Record 2016 Renewable Energy Levels Came 23% Cheaper Than 2015 — Clean Technica #ActOnClimate

From Clean Technica (Joshua S. Hill):

Specifically, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), global investment in renewable energy for 2016 came in at $241.6 billion, 23% less than in 2015, but nevertheless helped to deploy 138.5 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity (excluding large-hydro), a figure up 8% from the 127.5 GW installed in 2015. The new report UNEP report, Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2017, found that the total investment level was the lowest it has been since 2013, due in large part to falling costs, rather than a drop in demand.

“Ever-cheaper clean tech provides a real opportunity for investors to get more for less,” said Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment. “This is exactly the kind of situation, where the needs of profit and people meet, that will drive the shift to a better world for all.”

Aspinall Unit operations update

Morrow Point Dam spilling June 2014 via USBR

From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

The April 1st forecast for the April – July unregulated inflow volume to Blue Mesa Reservoir is 930,000 acre-feet. This is 138% of the 30 year average. Snowpack in the Upper Gunnison Basin is currently 147% of average. Blue Mesa Reservoir current content is 582,000 acre-feet which is 70% of full. Current elevation is 7490.1 ft. Maximum content at Blue Mesa Reservoir is 829,500 acre-feet at an elevation of 7519.4 ft.

Black Canyon Water Right

The peak flow and shoulder flow components of the Black Canyon Water Right will be determined by the May 1 forecast of the April – July unregulated inflow volume to Blue Mesa Reservoir. If the May 1 forecast is equal to the current forecast of 930,000 acre-feet of runoff volume, the peak flow target will be equal to 6,575 cfs for a duration of 24 hours. The shoulder flow target will be 921 cfs, for the period between May 1 and July 25. The point of measurement of flows to satisfy the Black Canyon Water Right is the Gunnison River below Gunnison Tunnel streamgage at the upstream boundary of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Aspinall Unit Operations ROD

Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD), the peak flow and duration flow targets in the lower Gunnison River, as measured at the Whitewater gage, will be determined by the forecast of the April – July unregulated inflow volume to Blue Mesa Reservoir and the hydrologic year type. At the time of the spring operation, if the forecast is equal to the current forecast of 930,000 acre-feet of runoff volume, the hydrologic year type will be set as Moderately Wet. Under a Moderately Wet year the peak flow target will be 14,350 cfs and the duration target at this flow will be 10 days. The duration target for the half bankfull flow of 8,070 cfs will be 40 days.

Projected Spring Operations

During spring operations, releases from the Aspinall Unit will be made in an attempt to match the peak flow of the North Fork of the Gunnison River to maximize the potential of meeting the desired peak at the Whitewater gage, while simultaneously meeting the Black Canyon Water Right peak flow amount. The magnitude of release necessary to meet the desired peak at the Whitewater gage will be dependent on the flow contribution from the North Fork of the Gunnison River and other tributaries downstream from the Aspinall Unit. Current projections for spring peak operations show that flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon could be over 8,500 cfs for 10 days in order to achieve the desired peak flow and duration at Whitewater. If actual flows on the North Fork of the Gunnison River are less than currently projected, flows through the Black Canyon could be even higher. With this runoff forecast and corresponding downstream targets, Blue Mesa Reservoir is currently projected to fill to an elevation of around 7518 feet with an approximate peak content of 816,000 acre-feet.

Glenwood Springs: Councillors hold off on combining Parks and River commissions

The Glenwood Wave

From The Glenwood Springs Post Independent (John Stroud):

City Council, at its Thursday meeting, put the brakes on a plan to combine the city’s separate Parks and Recreation and River commissions, following pleas from river advocates for the city to maintain an advisory panel focused on cleaning up, restoring, protecting and preserving the city’s waterways and riparian zones.

Recently, at the suggestion of some council members and city staff, the city put together a proposal to combine the two advisory commissions, partly because of some overlapping duties related to recreation trails planning, construction and maintenance. Waning participation by some of the appointed commission members also weighed into the thinking.

It was that decision several years after the River Commission was formed, essentially putting the river stewards in charge of carrying out the city’s river trails master plan, that pulled the commission away from its original mission, said Steve Smith, who sat on the commission for several years after it was formed in the early 1990s.

Meeker: White River algae blooms topic of CPW special meeting

Bloom on the White River.
Photo courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife via the Rio Blanco County Herald Times.

From the Rio Blanco County Herald-Times:

“We’ve had an issue in the river (algae blooms) we’ve all seen evolving over the last couple of years that’s affecting some of the fishing and having impacts on water quality,” said CPW District Wildlife Manager Director Bill deVergie. “We are not saying there is one source of the problem, and this is not catastrophic at this point. We are not blaming any one person or industry. I think we’re all striving for the same goal: the health of the river.”

deVergie introduced Mindi May, CPW water quality specialist, who shared research done last year in 15 different locations in the White River watershed in and east of Meeker.

From March through October 2016, May’s team examined water samples in the White River, Coal Creek and Little Beaver for nutrients, major ions, suspended solids, macroinvertebrates (insects) and chlorophyll A. They performed algae identification at the Wakara Ranch testing site, where the worst of the algae blooms occurred.

While algae are a normal part of a stream system, the species of algae identified last year is of particular concern: cladophora glomerata, aka green algae, forms long filaments and is “difficult to get rid of,” May said. “It’s one of the problem children out here,” in terms of algae. “It’s a species that’s really good at taking up nutrients and storing nutrients for later use.”

Clark Fork near Missoula, Mont., has also experienced an infestation of green algae, prompting landowners, recreationalists and industry to form a coalition to reduce mitigating factors that cause the algae to grow.

Algae feeds on nitrogen and phosphorus, found naturally in soil, commercial fertilizer, manure, septic tanks and water treatment plants. The main byproducts of feeding fish are nitrogen and phosphorus, which has led to international concerns about fish farming causing water pollution and algae blooms.

“There’s lots of little sources spread all around. If everybody can do a little bit maybe we can get it under control. It’s going to be tough. This (kind of) algae is difficult to control,” May said.

The Montana coalition lists soil erosion and/or disruption along the riverbank, removal of natural riparian vegetation, buildings and septic systems placed too close to streams and application of fertilizer too close to streams or at the wrong time of year, among other items, as potential sources of nitrogen/phosphorus contamination. (Clark Fork Coalition Stream Care Guide)

While May’s research was limited to areas in and east of Meeker, Alden Vanden Brink of the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District said the problems are occurring all along the river.

“Something happened overnight that wasn’t there in 2013 that was there in 2014. It’s affecting the water chemistry. That tells me that it’s not necessarily a non-point source of pollution,” he said.

Meeker science teacher Dr. Bob Dorsett, who has performed water sampling as part of his students’ studies for years, said the problem has become more obvious in the last two years.