@ColoradoStateU: To prepare for #climatechange, U.S. Air Force enlists CSU scientists, engineers

Photo credit: Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands at Colorado State University.

Here’s the release from Colorado State University (Anne Manning):

From rising temperatures to eroding beaches and increased flood and wildfire risks, a warming climate will have ripple effects across the world – and the U.S. military wants to be ready.

Colorado State University civil engineers, climate modelers and natural resource managers are working together to help set military priorities to prepare for worst-case scenarios tied to climate change.

A CSU research team led by the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands (CEMML) is supported by a nearly $3 million grant from the U.S. Air Force to help its most vulnerable installations – bases, facilities and other Air Force-owned properties – prepare for the threat of climate change.

A year into their initial efforts, the CSU team has defined the assessment process and completed an analysis for California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, with 67 more installations on their list to tackle.

“One of CEMML’s strengths is understanding the information needed by installation leaders in terms of natural resources,” said Liz Caldwell, project lead and CEMML associate director. “We are able to take all the modeling information and bring it down to what we call ‘red, yellow green’ – most urgent, to least.”

Multiple disciplines, common goals

The CSU team includes Ken Carlson, professor of civil and environmental engineering; Chris Thornton, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering; Dennis Ojima, senior research scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory in the Warner College of Natural Resources; CEMML program manager Mindy Clarke; and 20 or so graduate students and researchers. The North Central Climate Science Center has also provided staff and computing resources for the project.

The team brings together individual expertise in military land use, civil infrastructure, hydrology, natural resources ecology and climate modeling. Together, they are assessing potential climate change-induced impacts on installation resources, with the goal of recommending tangible adaptation strategies to support short- and long-term management decisions to minimize these impacts. According to the researchers, the transdisciplinary nature of the team is paramount to its success.

“Our three groups collaborating together has opened our eyes to what each group can do, and we think this is just the start,” Carlson said.

Vandenberg threatened by sea level rise

For each of the U.S. Air Force bases, the researchers are looking beyond baseline conditions by applying two carbon emissions estimate scenarios ­– moderate and high – and extending the analyses through the years 2030 and 2050.

For example, for the Vandenberg Air Force Base report just completed, the team modeled the hydrology and hydraulics of the Santa Ynez River and San Antonio Creek basin to project flooding risk in the years 2030 and 2050. Flooding could worsen due to sea level rise, storm surges and tides.

They pointed to such concerns as a disturbance in the equilibrium state of the Bishop Pine forest due to rising temperatures. They also included potential impacts on animal species like the red-legged frog and the California least tern due to worsening drought conditions. In addition, projections of flooding inundation were overlaid with built infrastructure to highlight vulnerabilities of roads, buildings and other structures.

Their recommendations for adaptation strategies included channel modifications, diversion spillways, storm surge gates and culvert expansions, as well as erosion monitoring, bulkheads and artificial breakwaters.

The researchers are now applying a similar method to assess other installations, including Bellows Air Force Station in Hawaii, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Misawa Air Base in Japan.

Integration into larger plans

The lists of adaptation strategies being prepared by the CSU team will fold into Integrated Natural Resources Management Plans commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense. Each branch of the U.S. military is required to submit these planning documents to “implement landscape-level management of their natural resources” at individual installations. The plans help ensure sustainability of realistic habitat conditions and high-quality lands for military training, biodiversity and recreation.

CEMML is a service, education and research unit within the Warner College of Natural Resources. For more than three decades, the center has supported military readiness and resource conservation.

The Economics of our Water: A Colorado River Business Tour, October 7, 2017

Photo credit Ruth Powell Hutchins Water Center.

Click here for the inside skinny and to register:

Join us Saturday, October 7th to learn about how the Grand Valley’s economy depends on our rivers for its growth and vitality.

10 am-5 pm- meet at Edgewater Brewing, 905 Struthers Ave, Grand Junction


Tour Includes:

Talbott Farms
Orchard Mesa Pump & Power Plant site
Lunch at a farm
Las Colonias Park/Watson Island
Happy Hour at Edgewater!

This event is being organized in collaboration with Business for Water Stewardship, Alpine Bank, Colorado River District, Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, Grand Junction Economic Partnership, and the Grand Junction Outdoor Recreation Coalition.

Sponsors: Hutchins Water Center at CMU, Business for Water Stewardship, Denver Water, Walton Family Foundation

@ColoradoStateU: New report details innovations in water reuse

From Colorado State University (Anne Manning):

In drought-prone states like California, Colorado and others, every drop of water is precious. A newly published national report provides comprehensive guidelines for innovative water-saving techniques, with Colorado State University expertise playing a key role.

Sybil Sharvelle, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University, September 10, 2015

Sybil Sharvelle, associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and co-leader of CSU’s One Water Solutions Institute, recently chaired a national committee of experts who wrote the new guidelines. They call for safe, cost-effective expansion of water reuse systems in commercial and multi-residential buildings, as well as municipal districts.

The new “Risk-Based Framework for the Development of Public Health Guidance for Decentralized Non-Potable Water Systems” outlines how to design reliable, efficient and safe building-scale water reuse systems. Such systems aren’t yet widespread, and thanks to the committee’s efforts, municipalities now have guidance to provide developers with regulations, and a consistent approach to projects. A non-potable water program was pioneered in the City of San Francisco several years ago, with a handful of projects coming online in recent years.

Recycled water for non-potable uses

Decentralized non-potable water systems use various local water sources and extend to the building, neighborhood or district scale. The report focused on these complex, multi-use systems that go beyond the single residential scale, Sharvelle explained.

The water systems can use graywater, blackwater, wastewater, roof runoff or stormwater that is collected onsite. This water can then be used for non-potable applications like flushing toilets, running laundry machines or irrigation.

“These systems are up and coming,” Sharvelle said. “More and more developers are wanting to do them, and systems have popped up here and there, but everything to date has been case by case.”

Sharvelle, who previously served on a National Research Council panel providing analysis of stormwater and graywater for recycling, chaired the national committee, funded by the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation. The committee created guidelines for protecting public health as decentralized non-potable water systems come online. The guidelines included a microbial risk assessment to determine pathogen reduction targets that was based on new U.S. EPA research.

“The critical thing here is that developers are wanting to build buildings that are off-the-grid with efficient and sustainable use of resources,” Sharvelle said. “And aside from that, there is the benefit of reduced water use in buildings. Water savings of around 50 percent are easily achieved through these systems. It’s a great way to diversify the portfolio of water sources in a city, in a way that’s not infrastructure-intensive for utilities.”

CSU’s interdisciplinary One Water Solutions Institute connects CSU expertise and research to the most pressing water challenges of today.

San Juan Water Conservancy District wants a 1 mill increase for the San Juan River Headwaters Project

Graphic credit Wikipedia.

From The Pagosa Springs Sun (Marshall Dunham):

The ballot question seeks to raise the district’s mill levy to 1 mill for 30 years and allow the district’s debt be increased by $2 million with a maximum repayment of $2,885,803.80 for the purposes of acquiring additional land for its reservoir project…

Holsinger was the first to speak, explaining that he serves as legal counsel to the SJWCD.

“Water is Colorado’s most precious natural resource,” then explaining that water storage has “transformed the West.”

He also noted the agreement among experts that water storage is vital and reported that the demand for water continues to grow, with Archuleta County’s population projected to more than double in the next 30 years.

“Conservation alone doesn’t cut it,” he said, also suggesting that the project could become a “crown jewel” in the state park system.

San Juan Water Conservancy District in the hunt for a new General Manager

San Juan Mountains March, 2016 photo credit Greg Hobbs.

From The Pagosa Springs Sun (Chris Mannara):

With the termination of the ser- vices agreement with [Rod] Proffitt, the SJWCD is now looking for a general manager…

“In the bylaws, there is a provision hat allows for a general manager for the district, so we do have enabling legislation on our behalf so that we can do that,” Proffitt said.

The services agreement with Proffitt was entered into in October of 2012…

The search for the new general manager will be open to the public, Proffitt said in a phone call to The SUN…

Following the Sept. 8 decision, Rueschhoff noted that Proffitt still holds his position as chair, and re- mains on the board of directors.

Proffitt noted that it is still impor- tant that water and land use issues are being handled effectively.

Dillon wildfire hits close to home – News on TAP

How preplanning helped fight the Tenderfoot 2 fire before it began.

Source: Dillon wildfire hits close to home – News on TAP

Fall arrives with a splash of color – News on TAP

Beautiful colors this time of year remind us just how lucky we are to live, work and play in the Rockies.

Source: Fall arrives with a splash of color – News on TAP