Designers busy enhancing Arkansas River features through Cañon City

Cañon City via

From The Cañon City Daily Record (Carie Canterbury):

The plan focuses on the whitewater park between First and Fourth streets, which is a small part of the overall Arkansas River Corridor Master Plan, which also meshes with the Centennial Park Master Plan.

The overall goal is river beautification by removing concrete debris and other hazardous materials from the site and then recreational and habitat enhancements, said Nathan Werner, a designer and engineer with S2O Design.

“For recreation, we are creating structures that give the river more character to create more eddies and pools for in-stream users,” he said. “Random boulders and jetties create this recreational enhancement, but they also create fish habitat.”

Right now the river is largely just uniform with not a lot of velocity breaks, Werner said, so designers are creating a more diverse river.

The estimated cost of this multi-user, multi-use project is about $700,000, half of which is expected to be funded through a Great Outdoors Colorado grant, said Will Colon, who spearheaded the fundraising and creation of the Whitewater Kayak & Recreation Park. The park, built at a cost of about $450,000, also includes a feature near Black Bridge. The annual Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival since 2010 helps to fund improvements on the river…

Construction is expected to begin in the fall and winter of 2018, making the area usable in the spring of 2019.

The latest “Headwaters Pulse” is hot off the presses from @CFWEwater

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

Webinar: Aquatic Nuisance Species, the Threat and Solutions Oct. 24

From 12-1 p.m. on Oct. 24, the Colorado Water Congress and Colorado Foundation for Water Education are partnering to host a webinar on the threat of aquatic nuisance species, specifically zebra and quagga mussels, to our waterways and delivery systems in Colorado. Join us for this free offering to hear about the threats these invasive mussels pose and how Colorado is working to educate the public and our policy makers so we can maintain healthy waterways and infrastructure.

Mike Preston, Dolores Water Conservancy District
Ken Curtis, Dolores Water Conservancy District
Doug Vilsack, Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Doug Krieger, Colorado Department of Natural Resources
Registration is FREE! Register here.

Cloud-seeding is gaining acceptance

From the SummitDaily (Jack Queen) via The Aspen Times:

[Larry] Hjermstad and his company, Western Weather Consultants, now run cloud seeding programs across the state, including in Summit County.

For decades, local ski areas have paid him to send plumes of silver iodide up to their slopes when opportune storms approach, squeezing out a couple of extra inches of snow each time.

In recent years, however, water managers on the Front Range and even states further down the Colorado River have started to pitch in some of the $250,000 to $300,000 it costs to run the program in the Summit County area, hoping the extra snow will flow into their water system when it melts.

Here, in the Central Colorado Mountains River Basin, the company operates about 36 cloud seeding generators. They’re small, almost homebrew-looking devices that burn a solution of inert silver iodide and send it into the atmosphere.

Some of the generators are on private land, and when Western Weather Consultants detects an optimal storm coming, it sends instructions to the landowners to fire them up. It varies, but Hjermstad says the process can boost snowfall by as much as 25 percent…


The concept of cloud seeding has been around since the 1940s, when Bernard Vonnegut (brother of author Kurt) discovered that silver iodide could produce ice crystals when introduced into cloud chambers.

In those heady days, cloud seeding was heralded as a way to produce rain where there was none, boosting crop yields and filling reservoirs to the brim.

That was a wild overstatement, and cloud seeding’s reputation suffered for it…

Studies in Australia and Israel have debunked the idea that airplanes spewing silver iodide willy-nilly will do much of anything. But a targeted approach that hits the right clouds at the right time high in the mountains has gained scientific currency in recent years.

@ColoradoStateU: New state climatologist up for the challenge of #Colorado’s ‘fascinating, diverse’ climate

Russ Schumacher, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science, Director of the Climate Center and Colorado State Climatologist, Colorado State University, October 6, 2017

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

Most of Russ Schumacher’s atmospheric science research career has centered on weather extremes: heavy rain, flash floods, snowstorms and the like.

This knowledge and experience makes Schumacher a perfect fit for the job of Colorado State Climatologist. Take the flood of 2013, the Windsor tornado of 2008, or the perpetual threat of drought and wildfire in summer months.

An associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, Schumacher became Colorado State Climatologist Oct. 6. He’ll continue in his academic role while taking on the added, vast responsibility of key statewide climate expert and spokesperson.

“Part of our mission is to help people understand what sort of extreme weather we need to prepare for and be cognizant of here in Colorado – which of course varies hugely from one part of the state to the other,” Schumacher said. “Yet the majority of our work deals with day-to-day aspects of measuring and understanding our state’s unique weather and climate, from normals to extremes.”

As State Climatologist, Schumacher will lead the Colorado Climate Center, the CSU-based office that provides climate monitoring and research for the benefit of scientists, educators and the general public. The center’s long list of activities includes drought monitoring for the National Integrated Drought Information System; operation of the Colorado Agricultural Meteorological Network; and administration of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.

Filling big shoes

Schumacher succeeds Nolan Doesken, who has served as Colorado State Climatologist since 2006 and as assistant state climatologist for close to three decades prior. Schumacher says “it will never be possible to fill the shoes of my predecessor,” who built up the visibility of the Colorado Climate Center and created a vast network of stakeholders – from farmers to government officials to meteorologists.

What Schumacher brings to his new position is an extensive research background, teaching prowess, and intimate familiarity with Colorado’s climate.

Coming from the academic side of weather and climate, Schumacher hopes his dual role can forge stronger connections between the Department of Atmospheric Science – his academic home – and the activities of the climate center. That might include more integration of department graduate students with climate center outreach and research, for example.

Established roots

Schumacher’s CSU and Colorado roots are well established. He first came to Colorado as a graduate student in the Department of Atmospheric Science in Fall 2001, completing his M.S. in 2003 and Ph.D. in 2008. He became a faculty member in 2011 following a postdoctoral stint at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, and two years as an assistant professor at Texas A&M.

Schumacher received a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2010, and he is editor of the American Meteorological Society’s Monthly Weather Review. His research is in mesoscale meteorology; mesoscale convective systems; weather analysis and forecasting; climatology of precipitation; precipitation extremes; flash floods; and societal impacts of weather.

Schumacher’s expertise matches his enthusiasm for the weird, wacky world of Colorado weather.

“The weather and climate of Colorado is fascinating, it’s diverse – and it’s hard to understand sometimes,” he said.

“I’m asking you to save civilization” — Auden Schendler #ActOnClimate

The frozen Snake River east of Keystone is one of Dillon Reservoir’s three main tributaries.

From the SummitDaily (Kevin Fixler):

Last week in Keystone, a modern-day prophet on climate change addressed a room of several hundred High Country residents as they chomped away at their breakfasts, daring each of them to accept a simple challenge.

“I’m asking you to save civilization,” he said unabashedly. “You’re being asked to do a major thing and your response should be, ‘Oooh, I don’t know if I’m your person, I can barely wake up in the morning.’ But the truth is history is replete with people of no power at all who have done incredible things.”

The directive seemed straightforward enough to Auden Schendler, who is regarded by many as an oracle on the future of outdoor-centric life and sustaining human existence as we know it, but it was perhaps not the lesson attendees might have expected over their buffet bacon and eggs. However, if maintaining the mountain lifestyles they’ve come to enjoy is important, he said, the time to act is now.

“There’s risk in not taking action vocally on climate,” said Aspen Skiing Co.’s vice president of sustainability. “There’s opportunity in moving (on it), and we can solve this problem.”

Schendler, also the chair of the activist group Protect Our Winters, was the keynote for the annual winter season kickoff and he took the opportunity to present a grim yet optimistic portrayal of the ski industry’s prospects if they don’t collectively work to combat the warming of our globe. Efficiency-minded activities like swapping out light bulbs, no matter the scope, aren’t going to do it alone.

@COWaterTrust: “Celebrating Rivers” 2017 Photo Contest

Here’s the release from the Colorado Water Trust:

Send us your best pictures of your favorite river!

Second Runner Up, 2016 Celebrating Rivers Contest
Grace Carberry, Watching the River – Platte River

Our second annual “Celebrating Rivers” photo contest is underway!

Last year, we announced our first annual photo contest in celebration of our 15th anniversary. We were thrilled to see over 70 photos, including the second-runner up winner above, from Grace Carberry. Grace is a junior high student in the Denver metro area who works on river restoration projects on the Platte River, and her affection for “her river” is seen in her photo above.

We loved sharing her story and her photos last year, so are you ready to share your story about your favorite river? We’re accepting photos now through next Friday, October 20. More details about the contest, including the contest rules, can be found here.

We’re lucky to have generous and loyal friends, like Peter McBride and Down River Equipment, who have offered prizes for our contest winners and finalists. Our grand-prize and runner-up winners will receive a free ticket each to our annual fundraising event, RiverBank, in June 2018, gear from Down River, and this gorgeous hard-copy book, “The Colorado River, Flowing Through Conflict,” featuring two award-winning National Geographic contributors, photographer Peter McBride, and writer Jonathan Waterman. All this and bragging rights? Get your entries in!

The Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict — McBride/Waterman

So don’t delay! Submit your entries via email with the subject line “Photo Contest Entry” by next Friday, October 20, to Missy Yoder at

We can’t wait to see your favorite spots on your favorite rivers.


The Water Trust Team

Durango: Russian Olive mitigation

Russian Olive

From The Durango Herald (Mia Rupani):

Mountain Studies Institute and Southwest Conservation Corps continue to wage war against the Russian olive, an invasive species that chokes out native trees and degrades the quality of the watershed.

Last year, MSI was awarded a $195,000 grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board and an additional $52,000 from Colorado Parks and Wildlife for a three-year Russian olive-removal project.

Removal efforts continued Saturday morning at Animas Valley Elementary and Christ the King Lutheran Church with two saw crews from SCC, and help from Durango Daybreak Rotary Club.

MSI’s Amanda Kuenzi said the project specifically targets Russian olive trees on private land…

Originally introduced for ornamental landscaping, the plants are native to East Asia and Russia, and consume nearly 75 gallons of water per day.

They are considered a “List B noxious weed,” which requires local governments to manage their spread under Colorado state law…

“Russian olive reduce wildlife habitat, interfere with nutrient cycling and outcompete native species,” Kuenzi said. “The wetlands have been deteriorating in the West because of irrigation practices and water storage. We have to protect these important ecosystems.”

She said crews will be working on removal efforts through mid-November with about 60 private landowners throughout the Animas River Valley.

On Saturday, the Rotary Club collected wood from the removal effort for its firewood-distribution project.