Steamboat Springs: Stage 2 watering restrictions remain in place

The Yampa River Core Trail runs right through downtown Steamboat. Photo credit City of Steamboat Springs.

From Steamboat Today:

With the Western Slope under a NOAA heat advisory, the four water districts in Steamboat Springs will continue mandatory stage 2 water restrictions for the remainder of the summer.

“Conditions continue to dry out in our region, and we’re seeing hotter temperatures across Colorado, and in many cases, record temperatures for many areas,” said Frank Alfone, with Mount Werner Water, in a news release.

“As a community, we were able to get a jump on what’s shaping up to be a very hot and dry summer with the early implementation of Stage 2 in May. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and their support as we head into the heart of summer.”

As part of stage 2 restrictions, home and property owners are allowed to water based on the last number of their street address. Even address numbers water Sunday, Tuesday and Friday, while odd addresses are set for Monday, Thursday and Saturday. There is no watering Wednesday…

In an effort to help reduce use of treated water, the city of Steamboat Springs Parks and Community Service Department is now using non-potable water for irrigation in several parks. Drawn from the river and other sources, non-potable water systems are utilized in Ski Town, Emerald, Memorial, Howelsen, West Lincoln and Heritage parks.

Western Governors approve policy resolutions @westgov

Whitefish

From the Western Governors Association:

Western Governors formally approved five policy resolutions on: Workforce Development; Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Act; National Forest and Rangeland Management; Western Agriculture; and State Wildlife Science, Data and Analysis at the Western Governors’ Association 2017 Annual Meeting in Whitefish, Montana.

The five new policy resolutions formally approved include:

  • Workforce Development: To meet current and future workforce development challenges, Western Governors are committed to identifying innovative approaches that connect western citizens in need of career advancement opportunities to western business sectors with employment vacancies to be filled. The Western Governors’ Association is ideally situated to collect and disseminate workforce development information (such as best practices, case studies and policy options) to enhance workforce development in the West. This resolution directs WGA to pursue a workforce development initiative that leverages the region’s best thinking to help bridge the gap between prospective workers and western employers, now and in the future
  • Species Conservation and the Endangered Species Act: Western Governors applaud the principles and intent of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Governors believe that targeted, legislative, regulatory, and funding refinements could improve the operation of the ESA. The Governors also recognize that much can be accomplished by working collaboratively with federal partners and that the ESA can only be reauthorized through legislation developed in a fashion that results in broad bipartisan support and maintains the intent of the ESA to protect and recover imperiled species. This is an amendment to WGA Policy Resolution 2016-08, incorporating year-two Species Conservation and ESA Initiative principles by reference.
  • Pawnee Buttes. Photo credit Greg Hobbs.
    • National Forest and Rangeland Management: Western Governors support sound forest and rangeland management policies that maintain and promote environmental, economic and social balance and sustainability. The Governors support programs intended to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health and resilience, and believe the federal landscape should be focused on environmentally-sound forest and rangeland management practices that also provide sustainable economic opportunities for local communities. Western Governors encourage collaboration as a tool to achieve community-supported and durable land management outcomes.
    • Western Agriculture: Western Governors support a broad array of funding, education, research, and conservation programs that enable farms, forests, and rangelands to be important contributors to the economies and quality of life in western states. The Governors encourage responsible management of federal lands in the West, given that western states include more than 75 percent of our national forest and rangeland ecosystems. Western Governors encourage integrating these policies into legislative action as Congress considers the 2018 Farm Bill.
    • State Wildlife Science, Data and Analysis: Western Governors direct U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to utilize state wildlife data, analysis and expertise as principal sources in development and analysis of science serving as the legal basis for federal regulatory action to manage species and habitat. The Governors support efforts to provide statutory exceptions to Freedom of Information Act disclosure for state wildlife data and analysis in instances where publication of state data provided to federal agencies would be in violation of existing state statutes.
    Credit: TechCrunch

    Oil & Gas folks find 129,000 underground oil and gas pipelines <= 1,000 feet (300 meters) of occupied buildings

    Photo credit Croft Production Systems.

    From the Associated Press (Dan Elliott):

    The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ordered energy companies to identify and test all pipelines near occupied structures after a natural gas explosion killed two people and injured a third in April…

    The data reported to the state by Friday showed more than 7,700 pipelines had at least one end inside a city or town.

    The house that exploded was within 200 feet (60 meters) of the gas well, and the pipeline was severed about 10 feet (3 meters) from the house, officials said. The well and pipeline were in place several years before the house was built.

    Anadarko Petroleum, which owns the well, said it would permanently shut it down.

    The pipelines are known as flow lines and connect wells to tanks or other collection points. A well can have multiple flow lines of varying lengths. Some carry petroleum from the well to a separator, which removes water and divides oil from the gas. Other lines carry the water, oil and gas from the separator to tanks.

    Many are 1 or 2 inches (2.5 or 5 centimeters) in diameter…

    Oil and gas companies reported 128,826 flow lines within 1,000 feet of buildings, although a few companies included lines up to 1,500 feet (460 meters) away, said Todd Hartman, a spokesman for the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

    About 113,000 of the pipelines are in use.

    The purpose of the inventory is to see whether any inactive lines still protrude above the ground, where they might mistakenly be put back in use, Stuart Ellsworth, engineering manager for the commission, said in an interview.

    “My goal is to get rid of this guy,” Ellsworth said, pointing to a diagram showing the above-ground section of a flow line, called a riser. “I do not want the opportunity for an error.”

    Since 2001, the commission has required companies to disconnect and purge flow lines when they are abandoned. They also have to be cut off 3 feet below the surface and sealed at both ends.

    Ellsworth said the owners of abandoned pipelines identified in this year’s inspections will have to comply with that rule, even if the lines went out of use before the rule was enacted.

    Gov. John Hickenlooper and some lawmakers suggested after the April explosion that Colorado could compile a map of all flow lines. Ellsworth said the data the state is collecting now is not enough to create a map because it shows only the end points of a flow line, and the path from one end to the other is not always a straight line.

    #ActOnClimate: States and cities are forming a kind of parallel national government around #climatechange

    Map credit ClimateMayors.org

    From Vox (David Roberts):

    Since Trump gave the world the finger over Paris, more than 1,400 companies and institutions, 200 cities, and a dozen states have committed to meet the carbon targets the US originally pledged there.

    There’s been so much activity that it can be difficult to track all the new initiatives and groups. There’s the US Climate Alliance, representing 12 states and about a third of the US population. There’s We Are Still In, representing nine states, hundreds of cities, and thousands of businesses and institutions of higher learning. There’s Climate Mayors, with 338 US mayors representing 65 million constituents. And probably more I’m missing.

    Just this week, at the US Conference of Mayors in Miami Beach, Florida, US mayors of 1,481 cities signed a unanimous resolution calling on Trump to rejoin the Paris agreement, implement the Clean Power Plan, and help build electric vehicle infrastructure.

    All of this action was more or less symbolic until earlier this month, when yet another coalition, as yet unnamed — consisting of three governors, 30 mayors, and more than 80 university presidents, led by ex-NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg — began negotiating with the UNFCCC to have their contributions officially counted alongside other nations in the Paris agreement.

    It’s not clear if that effort will come to anything. There is currently no formal mechanism in the Paris agreement to account for subnationally determined contributions (SNDCs, a spin on nationally determined contributions that I just made up). And the Paris agreement is nonbinding anyway, so even if this coalition’s SNDCs end up formally included and reported, it will still mostly be symbolic. There’s no legal authority holding states, cities, and institutions to these commitments.

    Still, it’s notable that the US subnational climate diaspora — mostly Democrats, but more than a handful of Republicans too, especially at the city level — is spontaneously organizing itself.

    #ActOnClimate: Humans need to come together quickly to fight #GlobalWarming

    Yes, there is still lots of ice in Antarctica, but it’s melting faster than ever. bberwyn photo.

    Here’s a report from The Guardian (Fiona Harvey). Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

    Avoiding dangerous levels of climate change is still just about possible, but will require unprecedented effort and coordination from governments, businesses, citizens and scientists in the next three years, a group of prominent experts has warned.

    Warnings over global warming have picked up pace in recent months, even as the political environment has grown chilly with Donald Trump’s formal announcement of the US’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement. This year’s weather has beaten high temperature records in some regions, and 2014, 2015 and 2016 were the hottest years on record.

    But while temperatures have risen, global carbon dioxide emissions have stayed broadly flat for the past three years. This gives hope that the worst effects of climate change – devastating droughts, floods, heatwaves and irreversible sea level rises – may be avoided, according to a letter published in the journal Nature this week.

    The authors, including former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, argue that the next three years will be crucial. They calculate that if emissions can be brought permanently lower by 2020 then the temperature thresholds leading to runaway irreversible climate change will not be breached.

    Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, under whom the Paris agreement was signed, said: “We stand at the doorway of being able to bend the emissions curve downwards by 2020, as science demands, in protection of the UN sustainable development goals, and in particular the eradication of extreme poverty. This monumental challenge coincides with an unprecedented openness to self-challenge on the part of sub-national governments inside the US, governments at all levels outside the US, and of the private sector in general. The opportunity given to us over the next three years is unique in history.”

    Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, added: “The maths is brutally clear: while the world can’t be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence [before] 2020.”[ed. emphasis mine]

    Ten Years The State Engineer Dick Wolfe Celebration — Greg Hobbs

    Greg Hobbs was one of the guests at the celebration of Dick Wolfe’s retirement as State Engineer hosted by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources at the Governor’s Mansion’s Carriage House. He sent in this short poem and gallery of photographs.

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    Ten Years The State Engineer Dick Wolfe Celebration

    Invite Dick Wolfe to his farewell party,
    you’d expect somewhere out there
    along a Colorado creek

    A water commissioner on the other end
    would be holding up a cell for

    The Mother of Rivers dialing-in
    to say, “Well done, my
    faithful friend!”

    Greg Hobbs 6/28/2017

    Adiós Dick, it has been my great honor knowing you. I really appreciate your support for Coyote Gulch over the years. Keep on trucking. Here’s a quote from that blues guitarist we both loved. I think he could be talking about your service to Colorado:

    “I don’t like to feel that I owe anything. I like to feel that I pay my own way — there’s no free lunch. And when people give me all these great compliments, I thank them but still go back to my room and practice. And a lot of times I say to myself ‘I wish I could be worthy of all the compliments that people give me sometime.’ I am not inventing anything that’s going to stop cancer or muscular distrophy or anything, but I like to feel that my time and talent is always there for the people that need it.” — B.B. King, from an interview on Slate.

    Photo: The commissioners of the Republican River Compact Administration sign the long-term resolutions on August 24, 2016: (from left) Commissioner David Barfield, Chief Engineer, Kansas Department of Agriculture; Commissioner Dick Wolfe, State Engineer, Colorado Division of Water Resources; Commissioner Jeff Fassett, Director of Nebraska’s Department of Natural Resources, via Governor Hickenlooper’s office.

    Southwestern Water Conservation District annual Water Seminar presentations are now online

    Lake Nighthorse and Durango March 2016 photo via Greg Hobbs.

    Click here to view the presentations. Click here to go to the website:

    Thanks for talking water with us!
    It’s never too late to say thank you for attending the Southwestern Water Conservation District’s 2017 Annual Water Seminar! Just under 200 people gathered in early April to discuss the current funding needs for water-related projects in the state.

    Missed the seminar this year? Fortunately, many of the speakers have generously shared their presentations; click on the button below to view them online. You can also read a short summary of the event in the Durango Herald, “Water conference explores financial solutions.”

    Mark your calendars for the 2018 Annual Water Seminar on Friday, April 6, again at the DoubleTree Hotel in Durango.