@CWCB_DNR: June 2017 #Drought Update

Click here to read the update. Here’s an excerpt:

May was characterized by wet and cool conditions, particularly in southeast Colorado. The first 20 days of June were a drastic change characterized by hot temperatures and little rainfall. In most parts of the state, streamflow forecasts throughout the summer season are projected to be near normal to above normal and reservoir storage remains high. These conditions leave municipal suppliers generally feeling comfortable with current levels of supply and demand in their systems.

  • After an early peak snow accumulation across the state, snow has melted out in most areas.
  • Reservoir storage statewide remains high at 109% of normal.
  • After receiving 132% percent of average precipitation in May at Snotel stations, June precipitation to date statewide is only 30% of average as of June 21.
  • Long-term forecasts for the summer season are not suggesting any major departure from normal conditions across Colorado.
  • Per the June 20 U.S. Drought Monitor, only 6 percent of Colorado is classified as abnormally dry (D0), the same as last month, with no other drought classification area in the state.
  • @EPA, U.S. Army Move to Rescind 2015 #WOTUS

    Colorado River headwaters tributary in Rocky Mountain National Park photo via Greg Hobbs.

    Here’s the release from the Environmental Protection Agency:

    The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Army, and Army Corps of Engineers (the agencies) are proposing a rule to rescind the Clean Water Rule and re-codify the regulatory text that existed prior to 2015 defining “waters of the United States” or WOTUS. This action would, when finalized, provide certainty in the interim, pending a second rulemaking in which the agencies will engage in a substantive re-evaluation of the definition of “waters of the United States.” The proposed rule would be implemented in accordance with Supreme Court decisions, agency guidance, and longstanding practice.

    “We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses,” said Administrator Scott Pruitt. “This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty, in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”

    This proposed rule follows the February 28, 2017, Presidential Executive Order on “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” The February Order states that it is in the national interest to ensure that the Nation’s navigable waters are kept free from pollution, while at the same time promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty, and showing due regard for the roles of Congress and the States under the Constitution. To meet these objectives, the agencies intend to follow an expeditious, two-step process that will provide certainty across the country.

    The proposed rule would recodify the identical regulatory text that was in place prior to the 2015 Clean Water Rule and that is currently in place as a result of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s stay of the 2015 rule. Therefore, this action, when final, will not change current practice with respect to how the definition applies.

    The agencies have also begun deliberations and outreach on the second step rulemaking involving a re-evaluation and revision of the definition of “waters of the United States” in accordance with the Executive Order.

    “The Army, together with the Corps of Engineers, is committed to working closely with and supporting the EPA on these rulemakings. As we go through the rulemaking process, we will continue to make the implementation of the Clean Water Act Section 404 regulatory program as transparent as possible for the regulated public, ” said Mr. Douglas Lamont, senior official performing the duties of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.

    For the pre-publication Federal Register Notice and additional information: http://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule

    @ColoradoClimate: Weekly Climate, Water and #Drought Assessment of the Intermountain West

    Upper Colorado River Basin month to date precipitation through June 26, 2017 via the Colorado Climate Center.

    Click here to read the current assessment. Click here to go to the NIDIS website hosted by the Colorado Climate Center.

    #Colorado outdoor recreation industry = $28 billion per year economic impact

    Bicycling the Colorado National Monument, Grand Valley in the distance via Colorado.com

    From The Denver Business Journal (Monica Mendoza):

    Outdoor recreation in Colorado is a $28 billion-a-year industry with more than 70 percent of the state’s residents participating every year.

    That’s according to a report today from the Outdoor Industry Association, a Boulder-based trade association and title sponsor of the twice-a-year Outdoor Retailer trade shows.

    Their report says that 229,000 jobs are tied to the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado, and all of that recreating contributes $2 billion in state and local tax revenue…

    The report, which was completed by Florida-based Southwick Associates, says that the 229,000 jobs tied to the outdoor recreation industry meant $10 billion in wages and salaries.

    The firm tracks annual spending by Americans in pursuit of outdoor recreation in 10 activity categories, including camping, fishing, bicycling, water sports, hunting and snow sports. It will release reports on all 50 states July 26 at the summer Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah…

    Across the country, outdoor recreation in a $887 billion industry creating 7.6 million jobs, according to Southwick Associates.

    Outdoor recreation is a powerful economic sector, said Luis Benitez, director of Colorado’s Office of Outdoor Recreation. In comparison, the oil, gas and mining sector had 58,000 jobs in Colorado…

    The report was commissioned to increase advocacy for government programming on outdoor recreation.

    For example, in Colorado, the report is calling on lawmakers to develop and plan urban areas in a way that means every citizen can get outside and recreate within 30 minutes of their home and support policies that encourage people to start an outdoor recreation business.

    Edwards said the state-by-state reports are meant to jumpstart discussions with policy and lawmakers in hopes that outdoor recreation is top of mind when doing urban planning or renewal and when recruiting new businesses to the state.