W. Govs sign MOU to plan regional electric vehicle corridor for the west #ActOnCLimate

Coyote Gulch’s Leaf connected in the parking garage in Winter Park, August 21, 2017.

Here’s the release from Governor Hickenlooper’s office:

Today, the Governors of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to provide a framework for creating a regional electric vehicle plan for the West (“REV West Plan”). The Plan was announced today at the Energy Innovation Summit hosted by the National Governors Association.

The Plan spans more than 5,000 miles of highway across east-west Interstates 10, 40, 70, 76, 80, 84, 86, 90 and 94, and north-south Interstates 15 and 25. With more than 20,000 electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids already on the roads in western states, the electrification of these major corridors is expected to reduce range anxiety and drive further adoption of EVs, while transforming the market to allow smaller communities to plug into the regional system.

The MOU calls for a coordination group to undertake the following actions:

Create best practices and procedures that will enhance EV adoption by promoting EV consumer acceptance and awareness by addressing “range anxiety”; coordinate on EV charging station locations to avoid redundancy and to ensure stations are sited at a frequency and locations so as to optimize utilization and to minimize inconsistencies between charging infrastructure in each state; and leverage economies of scale;

Create voluntary minimum standards for EV charging stations, including standards for administration, interoperability, operations, and management;

Identify and develop opportunities to incorporate EV charging station infrastructure into planning and development processes, such as building codes, metering policies, and renewable energy generation projects;

Encourage EV manufacturers to stock and market a wide variety of EVs within the Signatory States; and

Identify, respond to, and where possible collaborate on funding opportunities to support the development of the Regional Electric Vehicle West EV Corridor.

“This framework is another example of the innovation and bipartisan collaboration happening around energy here in the West,” said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. “Through this collaboration, we will drive economic growth and promote our outdoor recreation opportunities across our states. Our residents and the millions of visitors to our states will be able to drive electric vehicles from Denver to Las Vegas, from Santa Fe to Helena.”

“This is the latest example of states like Idaho being on the forefront of energy advancement,” said Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter. “In the West we pride ourselves on what we can accomplish by working together. This initiative will ensure that locals and visitors to Idaho and our neighboring states have the freedom to explore the West in the way they prefer.”

“This state-led effort shows how western states continue to work together to find innovative solutions and plan for a future where increasing numbers of people and families are traveling the West in electric vehicles,” said Governor Steve Bullock of Montana. “I am pleased to sign onto this bipartisan effort to take practical steps to realize the economic and environmental benefits of coordinated infrastructure planning that will benefit us now and well into the future.”

“It is important for Western states to work together and prepare as the use of electric vehicles grows,” said Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. “This initiative encourages infrastructure plans that allow people with electric vehicles to visit and recreate in Wyoming. Strategically spaced charging stations will allow these visitors to enjoy the same independence as traditional vehicles.”

“Utah is proud to take part in modernizing the ‘Crossroads of the West’ through working state-to-state to establish this strategic electric vehicle transportation network,” said Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert. “By knitting together the plans of seven key states through cooperative partnerships one to another, America’s travelers will soon be able to experience the wonders of the West while enjoying the innovations of our day and advancing environmental outcomes.”

“Our state’s portfolio encourages the use of all energy assets,” said New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. “We’ve already begun to install electric vehicle charging stations at state-owned buildings, and we stand with other western states by making a bold commitment by supporting successful implementation of an EV charging station network along our main interstate corridors.”

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

Upper Colorado River Basin precipitation as a percent of normal September 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.

Landscape redesign: Don’t get stuck in the mud – News on TAP

Park Hill couple uses inspiration from their own backyard to address trouble spots in the front.

Source: Landscape redesign: Don’t get stuck in the mud – News on TAP

Eco-challenge: Save water with your trash – News on TAP

After turning nearly 20,000 pounds of waste into compost, sustainability program helps reduce operational impacts to the environment.

Source: Eco-challenge: Save water with your trash – News on TAP

South Platte Forum, October 25-26, 2017

Click here for all the inside skinny and to register:

The South Platte Forum was initiated in 1989 to provide an avenue for a timely, multi-disciplinary exchange of information and ideas important to resource management in the South Platte River Basin. Its stated mandates are:

  • to enhance the effective management of natural resources in the South Platte River Basin by promoting coordination between state, federal and local resource managers, and private enterprise, and
  • to promote the interchange of ideas among disciplines to increase awareness and understanding of South Platte River Basin issues and public values.
  • The Platte River is formed in western Nebraska east of the city of North Platte, Nebraska by the confluence of the North Platte and the South Platte Rivers, which both arise from snowmelt in the eastern Rockies east of the Continental Divide. Map via Wikimedia.

    The “Great Places” newsletter is hot off the presses from The Nature Conservancy (@nature_org)

    Screen shot Nature Conservancy Great Places newsletter October 4, 2017.

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

    Like Beer? Then Protect Forests

    Beer is 95 percent water, and more than half of our water comes from forests. OktoberForest works with brewers nationwide to highlight the need to restore forests and protect beer’s main ingredient.

    Find Out What You Can Do to Protect Your Favorite Brew.

    #ColoradoSprings sales tax revenue up, stormwater infrastructure could benefit

    Colorado Springs with the Front Range in background. Photo credit Wikipedia.

    From The Colorado Springs Gazette (J. Adrian Stanley ):

    The budget proposal assumes the stormwater fee measure on the Nov. 7 ballot will not pass, but Suthers is prepared to submit an amendment to City Council if it does.

    A big chunk of the anticipated increase in revenue is from sales tax collection increases. At times, the city has needed to refund sales tax collections that grew quickly, due to revenue growth limits set by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. But this year, and in 2018, the city will be able to keep $6 million per year in revenue overage thanks to a measure approved by voters in April. That money is dedicated to stormwater projects. (The city is aggressively dealing with drainage issues, in part, because it’s being sued by the federal government for violation of the Clean Water Act.)

    Report: Water and Birds in the Arid West: Habitats in Decline — National Audobon Society

    Here’s the executive summary. From the website:

    Water is the most precious resource in the West—for people, birds, and other wildlife. Riparian habitats like the forests and wetlands that line the Colorado River support some of the most abundant and diverse bird communities in the arid West, serving as home to some 400 species. The Colorado River also provides drinking water for more than 36 million people, irrigates 5.5 million acres of farms and ranches, and supports 16 million jobs throughout seven states, with a combined annual economic impact of $1.4 trillion.

    But dams, diversions, drought, and water demand along the Colorado River have devastated cottonwood-willow forests and other native riparian habitat that support more than 40 percent of bird species in America’s Southwest. Saline lakes—the landlocked saltwater lakes fringed with wetlands that dot the Intermountain West—are beacons for millions of birds crossing an otherwise arid landscape. But as water recedes and exposes toxic dust, not only is habitat lost, but surrounding communities are at higher risk for asthma and other health issues.

    In short, precipitous declines in Western water quantity and quality are exacting a high toll on the health, prosperity, and quality of life for rural and urban communities, and putting birds and wildlife at jeopardy.

    Water and Birds in the Arid West: Habitats in Declined represents the first comprehensive assessment of the complex and vital relationships that exist among birds, water, and climate change in the region. Our research focused on two of the most imperiled and irreplaceable Western ecosystems: 1) the Colorado River Basin; and 2) the West’s network of saline lakes—including the Great Salt Lake and Salton Sea as well as other smaller but vitally important lakes. To read the full report, click here. Have questions? Read the FAQ. Want to get up-to-date news on water issues in West? Join the Western Rivers Action Network.

    American Avocets in the Salton Sea. Photo: David Tipling/NPL/Minden Pictures. Screen shot American Audobon Society western water website, October 4, 2017.

    Here’s a report from Ian Evans writing for Water Deeply. Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

    David O’Neill and Karyn Stockdale of the National Audubon Society talk about a recent report that highlights the threats to two major habitats used by migrating birds in the West: saline lakes and riparian habitat along the Colorado River.

    The report highlights how drying saline lakes in the West and changing riparian habitat along the Colorado River are impacting migrating birds. But the two habitats also share a vulnerability to climate change and water management. The demand for water from growing metropolitan areas, like Salt Lake City, is often at the expense of these habitats and wildlife.

    But David O’Neill, Audubon’s chief conservation officer, says that doesn’t have to be the case. In the report, Audubon highlights areas where environmentalists are working with policymakers, water managers and farmers to supply both birds and people in the West with enough water.

    Saline lakes and riparian habitat on the Colorado both provide invaluable habitat for birds flying from Canada to Latin America and back every year.

    Saline lakes, like the Great Salt Lake or the Salton Sea, provide valuable food and resting spots for shore birds, such as American avocets, while riparian shrubs and willows on the Colorado River provide food and shelter for vireos, warblers, flycatchers and more.

    Water Deeply spoke with O’Neill and Karyn Stockdale, director of Audubon’s Western Water Initiative, about the report, the relationship between birds and water in the West and how Audubon hopes to help meet the water needs of people and the environment…

    Water Deeply: Have you had success in solving the issues that you lay out in terms of the saline lakes and riparian systems along the Colorado River?

    Stockdale: In the Grand Valley in Colorado, the Grand Valley Irrigation District has been implementing a few pilot projects, essentially doing more water conservation, upgrading old irrigation infrastructure, improving some of the flows on the Colorado. And while the volume of water is small, what’s really happening is that it’s demonstrating to water users and the decision-makers in the area, this kind of project’s possible, that it actually has mutual benefits. So there are a lot of small examples like that. Sort of, laying out the path and proving that this really works, being able to then talk in kind of the larger scale.