City of Aspen directs staff to develop reservoirs in Woody Creek

A map from a study done for the City of Aspen by Deere and Ault showing the two parcels of land in Woody Creek that the city sees as potential water storage sites. Both locations are a short walk from the Woody Creek Tavern and the Woody Creek post office.

By Brent Gardner-Smith, Aspen Journalism

The Aspen City Council has directed the city manager to buy a parcel of land in Woody Creek, regardless of the results of a current ballot question, and told staff via a resolution to “proceed with plans to develop the Woody Creek parcel for water storage.”

The parcel is 58 acres of land now owned by Woody Creek Development Co. (WCDC) that the city plans to buy for $3 million, even if city voters reject a $5.5 million bonding question to finance the purchase in next week’s election.

And the water storage includes a variety of potential reservoirs on the WCDC property and the neighboring gravel pit, which is operated by Elam Construction.

The biggest reservoir in the city’s options could top out at 8,000 acre-feet, would cost $81 million, and require “construction of a 5,000-foot-long dam, with a 60-foot maximum section,” according to a study completed in September for the city by Deere and Ault, an engineering firm in Longmont.

The study includes four alternatives, all of which are flexible and could be adjusted, city officials said.

The first option is to build a 1,000 acre-foot surface reservoir in the existing gravel pit. That could be built “relatively quickly, possibly within a few years,” the study says, while additional reservoirs on the WCDC site could then be completed within “the order of a decade.”

The city has no stated plans to buy the gravel pit, and the mine’s current reclamation plan, regulated by Pitkin County, does not mention turning the gravel pit into a reservoir. Nonetheless, the existing gravel pit and potential new pits on the neighboring WCDC parcel are at the center of the city’s water storage plans.

“The city and its consultant, Deere and Ault, have identified a property located in the Woody Creek area … as a high-value property for water storage,” states a resolution approved by Aspen City Council on Oct. 23. The resolution directs the city manager to buy the property and staff to move forward with developing the water storage.

The WCDC parcel and the neighboring gravel pit are a short walk up a hill behind the Woody Creek post office, on a level bench formed by 200 feet of cobble, gravel, and large boulders left behind by melting glaciers.

Margaret Medellin, a utilities portfolio manager in the city’s water department, said the reservoirs in Woody Creek, seen by the city as good options to potential reservoirs on Castle and Maroon creeks, will not be built anytime soon.

“Developing water storage is an effort that will take time to fully implement, as it involves property acquisition, studies, planning, permitting, engineering and design before any construction can begin,” Medellin said. “This is not an overnight process. Securing the property is the first step.”

Another step is clarifying the city’s demand for stored water.

A recent risk analysis done for the city by Headwaters Corporation suggests in a worst-case scenario in 2065, the city might see occasional shortages in the range of 2,000 acre-feet, but more work needs to be done to see how that translates into a specific water-storage need.

The Deere and Ault study recommends that the city should next “perform a water resources analysis to better understand how the [Woody Creek] site can be used to optimize the flexibility of the city’s water rights.”

The property next to the Elam gravel pit and the Woody Creek raceway that the city of Aspen has put under contract. The city is investigating the site as a place for potential water storage.

Finance and water rights

Before voting to approve Resolution 139 at an Oct. 23 City Council meeting to buy the WCDC parcel, Councilman Adam Frisch described how he saw the ballot question, which is question 2C on the city of Aspen ballot.

“This is an election question [and] council’s direction is that this [is] going to be purchased, it’s just a matter of how,” Frisch said. “And it’s either going to be done with using general obligation bonds, if the voters give us approval, [or] with COPs, which will be slightly more expensive, but we’re planning on executing that path if the voters don’t support us.”

Certificates of participation (COPs) are an alternative method for the city to obtain project financing.

Aspen City Manager Steve Barwick then said, “We may not use COPs. COPs would be possible. But we could also do some internal financing and use cash. You’ve identified the key issue though. It’s about the financial method rather than whether or not you are going to buy it.”

And while the city has said it intends to develop reservoirs in Woody Creek as an alternative to the potential Castle and Maroon reservoirs, it is still officially pursuing approval in water court for two due-diligence applications that would allow it to maintain conditional water storage rights on Castle and Maroon.

The city issued a press release in July stating its intent to transfer a portion of its water storage rights out of the Castle and Maroon creek valleys to Woody Creek, but it has not done so to date. It also is in settlement talks with the 10 parties opposing its due-diligence applications, and a status conference is set for Nov. 9.

The city holds conditional water rights to the potential Castle Creek Reservoir, two miles below Ashcroft, and to the potential Maroon Creek Reservoir, about a mile below Maroon Lake.

An Oct. 13 staff memo from David Hornbacher, the city’s director of utilities and environmental initiatives said the city is working to transfer “some or all of its Maroon and/or Castle creek conditional water storage rights” to the Woody Creek parcel.

In his remarks last week, Frisch said “this is about a stage of protecting water rights and hopefully, possibly, moving our water storage plans from the upper Ashcroft and Maroon Creek down to the Woody Creek area.”

A view of the downvalley end of the existing gravel pit in Woody Creek. The first potential reservoir to be built by the city could be in this location.

Reservoir details

The potential reservoirs studied by Deere and Ault are not on either a creek or a river, but are “off-channel” reservoirs that would be filled “using a pipeline from existing ditch structures,” which are not specified.

Water in the reservoir would be released via an outlet pipe and a spillway to the Roaring Fork River, which is 150 feet below the reservoir sites.

The first alternative in the Deere and Ault study shows three reservoirs totaling 2,500 acre-feet of storage.

The first phase of the first alternative in the Deere and Ault study is to build a 1,000 acre-foot reservoir in the lower end of the existing gravel pit. The reservoir would require “low asphalt cored dams” to hold back the stored water.

The next phase is to excavate the lower end of the WCDC parcel to create a 700-acre-foot reservoir. It would require a 20-foot-high dam and a “geosynthetic liner” on the bottom of the excavated area.

A second reservoir could then be dug out and lined on the WCDC property to hold 800 acre-feet of water.

Building the two reservoirs on the WCDC site would require mining 3 million cubic yards, or 4.5 million tons, of material, according to Deere and Ault.

Combined, the three reservoirs — two on the WCDC site, one in the existing gravel pit — would hold 2,500 acre-feet and would cost $73 million to build ($29,000 an acre-foot of stored water).

The second alternative in the Deere and Ault study shows a potential 8,000-acre-foot reservoir, on both the gravel pit parcel and the WCDC parcel.

The next alternative “represents the maximum storage vessel that could be realized using both parcels,” according to Deere and Ault.

This reservoir requires a 5,000-foot-long dam wrapping around the downvalley end of the existing gravel pit and then along the west side of the WCDC parcel. It would store 8,000 acre-feet and cost $81 million ($10,000 per acre-foot).

It would also require excavating 11 million cubic yards, or 16.5 million tons, of gravel.

The third alternative in the Deere and Ault study shows a 1,000-acre-foot reservoir in the gravel pit and a 2,000-acre-foot reservoir on the WCDC parcel.

The third alternative describes a 1,000-acre-foot reservoir in the existing gravel pit and another 2,000-acre-foot reservoir on the WCDC parcel. These two reservoirs would together store 3,000 acre-feet and cost $74 million ($25,000 an acre-foot).

The fourth alternative is a small and expensive underground reservoir built on the WCDC parcel and would hold 320 acre-feet and cost $48 million ($150,000 an acre-foot).

Aspen Journalism is collaborating with The Aspen Times, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, the Vail Daily, and the Summit Daily on coverage of rivers and water. The Times published this story on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017

@AmericanRivers podcast: Glen Canyon – tough decisions surround a #ColoradoRiver flashpoint #COriver

Cavitation at the Glen Canyon Dam via Flow Science.

Click here to listen to the podcast:

Fifteen miles upstream from Lee’s Ferry, Glen Canyon Dam halts the Colorado River. Over 50 years ago, before the last bucket of concrete hardened in the 714-ft tall Glen Canyon Dam, Glen Canyon, whose magnificence was said to rival the Grand Canyon was just upstream. As Lake Powell filled, becoming the second largest reservoir in the United States, Glen Canyon was drowned under hundreds of feet of water. Since its creation, all the way through the present, Glen Canyon Dam has had its supporters and adversaries.

There are a variety of issues, opinions, and concerns surrounding Glen Canyon Dam, and whether this dam that has created many controversies over its 50 years of existence should be removed, or at least bypassed. In Episode Five, we hear from a trio of voices on the issue of Glen Canyon Dam, New York Times Bestselling Author Kevin Fedarko, Glen Canyon Institute President Eric Balken, and American Rivers’ Intermountain West Communication Director Sinjin Eberle.

In this episode, we seek to understand the dam’s purpose, its impact on the Upper and Lower Basin water management, and the concept of restoring a world currently under water.

The latest “The Current” newsletter is hot off the presses from the Eagle River Watershed Council

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

Cutthroat Trout Habitat Restoration Project

Thanks to the very hard work of our volunteers, the U.S. Forest Service, and National Forest Foundation, the Watershed Council was able to complete our cutthroat trout habitat restoration project on Shrine Pass before the snow began to stick. Over 3 miles of a closed Forest Service road, which was contributing sediment to Turkey and Lime Creeks and degrading spawning habitat, was scarified (making it impassible to 4-wheel drive traffic) and reseeded with a native seed mix and erosion control fabric to return it to its natural state.

In total, three miles of stream bank, 10 acres of watershed, and 20 acres of wildlife habitat were enhanced. These efforts will establish a healthy riparian buffer which will improve instream water quality by filtering sediment and pollutants that would otherwise enter Turkey and Lime Creeks.

A look back at #Kansas v. #Colorado and river compacts

Arkansas River Basin via The Encyclopedia of Earth

From the High Plains Midwest Ag Journal (Kylene Scott):

Kansas v. Colorado began in 1902 with the issue of whether Colorado was taking too much Arkansas River water from Kansas. Claims were made that the land surrounding the river banks was less valuable because of reduced flow. The issue was again revisited in 1907 where the Supreme Court dismissed Kansas’ petition. After examination of transcripts from the litigation, the court found Kansas was justified in its claims. It has continued to be brought to the Supreme Court with official designations in 1943, 1985, 1995, 2001 and 2009.

“In fact, this was the largest U.S. Supreme Court case that had ever come before the justices up to this time,” Sherow said during his presentation at the 3i Show in Dodge City, Kansas, Oct. 13.

To delve into the case, one must understand a little bit about economics and the American market system at the time.

“The American economic system is more than just economics. It’s also culture. It embodies values,” Sherow said.

There are three components to the market culture. The first, any natural resource is looked at for its economic potential.

“When you see a tree you see lumber. When you see water you see cubic feet per second that can be used in economic production. When you see a mountainside you see mining and the ores that are in it,” Sherow said.

The second part is human beings have a natural right to use their own labor to create value out of those commodities.

The third component is the government has the right and the obligation to protect individual natural rights to use those commodities for their own economic gain.

“These were things that were very important in terms of making sense out of this lawsuit,” Sherow said.

Even though the case originated with central Kansans wanting water in the Arkansas River, blame was placed on farmers irrigating in western Kansas. Sherow said early pump systems in the western part of the state were based on windmills with small ponds feeding flood irrigation systems.

“Sugar beets made irrigation in western Kansas profitable,” he said. “Irrigation was an iffy proposition in Kansas, but with this it became a very important economic source in the state.”

At the time of the litigation, Colorado and Kansas had different ways of thinking about water, according to Sherow. Colorado had prior appropriation built into their state constitution. It recognized three beneficial uses the state would protect—domestic, agricultural and industrial uses.

“With the prior appropriations system, which stresses first in time first in right,” Sherow said, “the first person to use the water establishes the right to it and we’ll have that right in perpetuity.”

The next person has the right to the water they put in economic use. The later the date on the prior appropriation right, the less likely the later person will get the water use.

“The earlier the date, the more likely to get water as the rivers flow,” Sherow said.

By 1900 between Pueblo, Colorado, and the Kansas/Colorado state line there were nearly 100 irrigation systems in place. These systems provided for more than 7,000 farms and 300,000 acres in the Arkansas River Valley of Colorado as well as domestic uses in Pueblo and Colorado Springs. The Colorado Fuel and Iron Company also used water off the Arkansas River.

“So the economic use of water in those three beneficial uses was extensive, well developed by 1900,” Sherow said.

Around Garden City, Kansas, there was approximately 30,000 acres in irrigation by the time the suit came in to play. What is now the Bureau of Reclamation also got involved with one of the first pump irrigation projects in the area.

Marshall Murdock was the editor of the Wichita Eagle in the early 1900s. He was a powerful individual and concerned for his city since they had to rely solely upon railroads for transportation of goods in and out of the city.

“Everybody was held captive to what railroad rates were,” Sherow said. “If you’re a farmer shipping out wheat or if you’re a retailer bringing in goods on the railroad, those railroad rates determine what your bottom-line is going to be.”

Murdock felt held hostage by the railroad companies and wanted another source of transportation in and out of Wichita. He wanted it to be river transportation.

“Think about that,” Sherow said. “Bringing river transportation and steamboats up the Arkansas River to Wichita.”

Sherow said Murdock was no fool but he knew the river needed more depth and more flowing water. During his time as editor he noticed the flow seemed to lessen each year. The riverbanks were compressing, which concerned him. He convinced the Army Corps of Engineers to bring a snag boat to Wichita in the Arkansas River in 1880.

“It got to Wichita, believe it or not, and when the snag boat was turned around to go back down the river it got stuck on sand bars almost immediately. People jumped off the boat and landed in 2.5 inches of running water in the Arkansas River,” Sherow said. “It was about the last time the Army Corps of Engineers really considered making Wichita an inland port.”

Undeterred, Murdock still wanted to get more water down the Arkansas River. He pointed fingers at “those greedy farmers out around Garden City causing all our water problems here at Wichita,” Sherow said.

“Now think about how you feel about that if you’re a farmer relying on the Arkansas River at Garden City and all at once one of the most powerful newspaper editors in Kansas is saying you’re the root of all my problems,” he said. “Well they didn’t take that very well.”

Murdock did some research and learned about the other irrigation companies in Colorado and later shifted his blame.

“Everybody knew something was going to have to break here because the United States government prior to the creation of the reclamation service was very interested in including the federal resources to increase irrigation,” Sherow said.

Eventually the case came to a head and in May 1907 the suit was settled.

“So out of this comes the notion we’ve got to put states together to come up with a way to divide water among themselves,” Sherow said. “This created interstate water compacts.”

The interstate water compacts helped avoid litigation like the Kansas v. Colorado case and became very important to water in the west.

“It is prime to everything else has followed since that time,” Sherow said. “So western Kansas and eastern Colorado have created the modern litigating system that we have today and it came out of this suit. I can’t over emphasize how important this suit was.”

Will electric car sales become like the pond with proliferating lily pads? — The Mountain Town News

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

From The Mountain Town News (Allen Best):

EVs still small share of market share, but that could change

Remember the riddle about the lily pond that begins with one lily, the number doubling each day? The pond seems empty even when it has become an eighth filled. But you can do the math for the three days beyond.

That riddle comes to mind when Will Toor talks about the adoption rate for electric vehicles in Colorado. Today they constitute just 10,000 or so among the 5 million-plus cars, trucks, and motorcycles. But the growth rate for EVs has averaged 41 percent since 2012, and this year sales are up 73 percent over the same months of last year.

Toor, the transportation program director for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, sees this progression as evidence for a coming tipping point in transportation electrification. Like the lilies, this automotive pond will soon look very different.

“We are clearly headed toward lower-carbon electricity, and we now seem to be getting to the tipping point in electrification of transportation,” says Toor, who has a doctorate in physics. Sales will double within three years at this rate of growth. With certain policy supports, Colorado could have a million EVs by 2030, he adds.

Colorado now has the 6th largest market share of EVs in the country, behind California and other West Coast states, Hawaii, and Vermont. Fort Collins, Boulder, and the Roaring Fork Valley stand out as early adopters, says Toor.

To be sure, there are some who remain skeptical, seeing more measured and incremental growth unlike the quick adoption of smart phones and other new wrinkles in technology. EVs, they say, do not obviously represent a transformative improvement for consumers as compared to gas- and diesel-fueled vehicles.

Graphic credit The Mountain Town News.

State governments, however, want to smooth the way for EVs, creating charging infrastructure to create comfort for potential buyers. Colorado agencies propose to spend $10.3 million of the state’s $68 million share of the Volkswagen settlement for charging stations or fueling stations for zero-emission passenger cars and trucks. The settlement is a result of Volkswagen’s admission that it tampered with its diesel cars to allow more emissions than permitted by the Clean Air Act.

In anticipation of that settlement, Colorado a year ago was moving to join Utah and Nevada in creating charging infrastructure on interstate highways—and, in some places, beyond. Soon, it will be possible to drive from Kansas to the Pacific Ocean with some sort of fast-charging infrastructure guaranteed about every 50 miles. But there are still gaps, such as between Denver and Summit County.

Last year, Colorado also released a tiered program for implementation of electric charging stations and other alternative fuels on secondary highways, such as along U.S. 285 between Denver and Buena Vista and along U.S. 36 between Denver and Estes Park. Other corridors, including U.S. 40 and U.S. 50, are also being targeted for alternative fueling stations.

More policy supports may be on the way as advisors to Gov. John Hickenlooper put together strategies to support the governor’s executive order, issued July 11, “supporting Colorado’s clean energy transition.”

The order directs state agencies to develop a statewide electric vehicle plan by Jan. 1 to build out key charging corridors that “will facilitate economic development and boost tourism across the state while reducing harmful air pollution.”

Denver, Salt Lake City, and other cities have also identified electrification of transportation as crucial to achieving their greenhouse gas reduction goals. Denver is aiming for an 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gases by 2050.

The Salt Lake Valley each winter suffers through temperature inversions that trap pollutants from cars, trucks and buildings. Photo credit The Mountain Town News.

In Salt Lake City, vehicle electrification is seen as a crucial strategy for addressing the pollution that badly fouls the air during winter. Temperature inversions trap local pollution in the valley, leaving many of the one million residents of the metropolitan area wheezing, hacking, and scratching their eyes.

“It’s absolutely miserable,” says Nick Norris, communities and neighborhoods planning director. The pollution is also unhealthy, exacerbating asthma and even causing spikes in heart attacks. Medical authorities have attributed 1,000 to 2,000 premature deaths to the air pollution.

Transportation is the single largest source of the pollution, followed by exhausts from heating buildings, according to analysis by the state government. Electric power plants are located well away from Salt Lake.

This clear and obvious problem of pollution is causing more rapid acceptance of electric vehicles in the Salt Lake Valley, says Norris. It also fits with the goals of the city to reduce carbon emissions from transportation and home heating 80 percent by 2040.

Rocky Mountain Power, the electrical utility for Salt Lake City as well as Park City and Moab, supports this transition with installation of charging stations. And why shouldn’t it? Electric cars represent new demand even as improved energy efficiency has leveled off and even caused declines from other sectors. “It’s a different world out there than it was only a few years ago,” said Cindy Crane, chief executive of Rocky Mountain Power at the Western Power Summit last week.

Utah now leads the nation in percentage growth in EV sales, followed by Nevada, North Carolina, and Colorado. About 1.2 percent of all cars in Colorado are now electric, compared to more than 4 percent of all cars in California.

Tesla several years ago installed fast-charging stations in Lusk, Wyo., located in eastern Wyoming. It is the county seat for one of the nation’s least-populated counties, Niobrara. Photo/Allen Best.

Wyoming, too, doesn’t want to be left behind. It joined with the effort to put electric charging infrastructure along major highways in concert with other Western states, despite the lack of current demand. Wyoming Gov. Brad Mead, at at the Center for the New Energy Economy conference in Fort Collins this week, characterized it as a chicken-and-egg situation. But given the importance of tourism in Wyoming, he said, “we don’t want to be left behind. We don’t want to be the gap state.”

Federal tax credits of $7,500 are available everywhere, but Colorado buyers have an additional incentive of $5,000 in state tax credits of, bringing an electric car so ld by Boulder Nissan, one of the West’s busiest electric-car dealers, down to about $22,500.

Boulder Nissan’s Nigel Zeid says tax credits will not always be needed to foster sales of electric vehicles. “This is like when you have a kid in college,” said Zeid, a member of the Colorado Electric Vehicle Coalition, a state-sponsored group. “Once you’re out (of college), you’re on your own.”

Zeid also sees range concerns diminishing. The Chevy Bolt has 238 miles of range, and Tesla’s Model X has 295 miles of range (but at a cost of $98,500). But many more models are coming with 150 miles of range, satisfactory for nearly all daily commutes. “Now that you have 150 to 200 mile range, range is not really an issue,” he says.

A Federal Highway Administration map shows existing fueling infrastructure for Colorado, Utah, and other states, not just for electricity but also hydrogen and natural gas. However, the map has been outdated in recent weeks by the announcement that Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, and Idaho will be joining in the interstate infrastructure.

A case can be made that hydrogen still represents the fuel of the future. California now has 31 fueling stations and plans more. Colorado, perhaps surprisingly, also has some hydrogen fueling stations, all in the metropolitan area. Hydrogen fuel is energy dense and can be produced from water through a variety of fuels, both renewables and natural gas.

But U.S. car manufacturers are now rushing to produce electric cars. General Motors several weeks ago announced plans to embrace an all-electric, zero-emissions future, leaving behind the internal combustion engine “General Motors believes the future is all-electric,” says Mark Reuss, the company’s head of product. Wired Magazine reports that GM plans almost two-dozen fully electric models by 2023.

Other car manufacturers have also announced plans to offer new EV models. China and India are embracing electrified transportation as they develop their economies and try to tame emissions that have fouled skies and scarred lungs. China, Britain, and France all plan to ban sales of vehicles powered by fossil fuels but have not set dates.

Some see the transition to electric vehicles happening more slowly.

“I am not sure they (EVs) will come quite as fast as some people say,” said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper at the Western Power Summit on Oct. 24. But one indication that it will occur sooner, he went on to say, is the announcement by GM of its robust commitment to EV models.

Some bumps in the road of this transition. “Certainly, there will be some issues around lithium and cobalt, two constituents of batteries. There could be some supply challenges,” says Toor, a former mayor of Boulder. “But I don’t think they will derail electrification.”

Discounts yields 42 EVs and hybrids in group buy

From April through June, a group buy for electric vehicles was organized in the Pitkin, Garfield, and Eagle county areas (Aspen, Glenwood Springs, and Vail).

Dealers in Boulder and Loveland, plus two in Glenwood Springs, were enlisted to offer discounts on top of the $12,500 state and federal tax credits. The best deal was offered by Boulder Nissan, which offered an $8,000 discount on Leafs. Other dealers offered somewhat lesser discounts for all electric and hybrid models.

The goal of 50 EV sales in the three-county area fell short: 42 were sold. However, the goal for 25 percent expansion of charging stations by the end of this year will almost certainly be exceeded. A recent report predicted an 85 percent increase.

The program was sponsored by Clean Energy Economy for the Region. It was based on similar group buys in the Fort Collins and Boulder areas in 2015 and 2016.

Notable was the support of Holy Cross Energy, the co-operative that serves most of the three counties. Holy Cross offered rebates of $200 to EV purchasers.

Can e-bikes help decongest the highway to Yellowstone?

JACKSON, Wyo. – Now come e-bikes and the question whether they can ease the congestion of cars found in ski towns like Jackson.

The specific question at hand is whether the e-bikes should be allowed on the local trails normally frequented by pedestrians and bicycle riders. Or should they instead be restricted to streets? Jackson town officials will soon be talking with their counterparts in Teton County, reports the Jackson Hole News&Guide.

An important distinction, according to the federal Consumer Product Safety Act, is 20 mph. That’s the maximum assisted speed when powered solely by the motor of a low-speed electric bike. However, there are some ways to use a larger motor, allowing an e-bike to go more than 30 mph without pedaling.

Brian Schilling, coordinator for Teton County Pathways, told Jackson town officials recently that e-bikes have been called a game-changer. He sees great potential for their application in Jackson during warm months.

“It changes the way people get around town, especially during the busy summer months when they don’t want to be sitting in traffic on Broadway,” he said, referring to the street that is the main street in Jackson and the primary route for many thousands of travelers going to and from Yellowstone National Park.

Crested Butte may slowly ease into paid parking

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – Crested Butte is planning to take a year to gather public feedback before moving ahead with paid parking in the town’s interior.

The town has gone along with a committee’s recommendation and has allocated $45,000 for the year-long study and a community outreach effort.

“The committee feels parking in town is ‘free and easy’ and we can’t build our way out of the problem,” said Bob Nevins, town planner for Crested Butte, according to a story reported by the Crested Butte News. “I want to get people out of their cars,” said Jackson Petito, a council member.

The plan calls for paid parking along Elk Avenue, the town’s main street, and other adjoining areas. Residents will get permits. The start-up costs if the town decides to go forward will be $220,000, or about the same price as paving a parking lot.

About Allen Best
Allen Best is a Colorado-based journalist. He publishes a subscription-based e-zine called Mountain Town News, portions of which are published on the website of the same name, and also writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines.

Book Review: “Doughnut Economics” — Kate Raworth

This is an important book. Raworth posits a system where economies live in the sweet spot between the carrying capacity of the planet and providing the social needs of the world population and regenerative capitalism rules the day. Click here to buy your copy. Here’s a review from Resilence:

Economics is the mother tongue of public policy. It dominates our decision-making for the future, guides multi-billion-dollar investments, and shapes our responses to climate change, inequality, and other environmental and social challenges that define our times.

Pity then, or more like disaster, that its fundamental ideas are centuries out of date yet are still taught in college courses worldwide and still used to address critical issues in government and business alike.

That’s why it is time, says renegade economist Kate Raworth, to revise our economic thinking for the 21st century. In Doughnut Economics, she sets out seven key ways to fundamentally reframe our understanding of what economics is and does. Along the way, she points out how we can break our addiction to growth; redesign money, finance, and business to be in service to people; and create economies that are regenerative and distributive by design.

Named after the now-iconic “doughnut” image that Raworth first drew to depict a sweet spot of human prosperity (an image that appealed to the Occupy Movement, the United Nations, eco-activists, and business leaders alike), Doughnut Economics offers a radically new compass for guiding global development, government policy, and corporate strategy, and sets new standards for what economic success looks like.

Raworth handpicks the best emergent ideas–from ecological, behavioral, feminist, and institutional economics to complexity thinking and Earth-systems science–to address this question: How can we turn economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, into economies that make us thrive, whether or not they grow?

Simple, playful, and eloquent, Doughnut Economics offers game-changing analysis and inspiration for a new generation of economic thinkers.

@COParksWildlife: Grunt work of biologists includes assessing habitat, documenting what is there, and what is not, to guide wildlife management into the future

A team of Colorado Parks and Wildlife and U.S. Forest Service biologists, staff and volunteers fanned out along rugged Newlin Creek and four tributaries on Oct. 25, 2017, to search of cutthroat trout rescued from the South Prong of Hayden Creek during a 2016 wildlife. Photo credit Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Here’s the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife:

Conservation work often involves grueling slogs through dense forests

WETMORE, Colo. – On a recent cold October morning, a team of 20 aquatic biologists, other staff and volunteers from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service fanned out across five drainages in the rugged foothills of the Wet Mountains.

They split into six teams and bushwhacked up and down six miles, give or take, of the remote upper reaches of Newlin Creek and its four tributaries, following the creek beds as they snaked along treacherous cliffs, through jumbles of huge boulders and under fallen trees between Locke and Stull mountains.

The teams hiked for hours as the sun turned the day into short-sleeve weather, taxing some of the crew clad in rubber wading outfits and lugging 30-pound Electrofisher units on their backs.

The Electrofishers were needed to test the waters of each tributary for the presence of fish, especially any of the genetically unique cutthroat trout that had been rescued from the massive 2016 Hayden Creek wildfire.

At the time, CPW biologists ducked behind fire lines and rescued 194 of these fish from the South Prong of Hayden Creek. Of the total, 158 were taken to a CPW hatchery near Gunnison and placed in isolation. The other 36 were released in Newlin Creek in hopes they would reproduce naturally.

Hundreds more of these genetically unique fish were left behind in Hayden Creek with hopes they would survive. But monsoon rains later inundated the stream with debris, ash and sediment, leaving little hope the remaining cutthroats survived.

That knowledge gave special importance to the Newlin fish survey. Anywhere that trickles of water pooled enough to offer fish habitat, the CPW/USFS teams stopped and utilized the electrofishing units in hopes of catching a few of the 36 fish that were released.

They repeated the process dozens of times as they thrashed through the brush, scrambled over rocks, under felled trees and past caves and piles of bones from predator kills. At the end of a 10-hour marathon fish survey, the results were less than what they had hoped for: biologists were unsuccessful in locating any of the introduced fish.

But Josh Nehring, senior aquatic biologist for CPW’s Southeast Region, said the day was far from a wasted effort. In fact, it was a pretty typical day in the life of CPW biologists who are on the front lines of the agency’s efforts to perpetuate the wildlife of Colorado.

“We came to see if we can find any of the Hayden cutthroat,” Nehring said. “We wanted to see how they were doing. And we wanted to assess Newlin Creek for potentially re-introducing more of those fish here in the future.”

As with greenback cutthroat trout found in Bear Creek in Colorado Springs, CPW’s goal is to reintroduce native fish their historic landscape. And if Hayden Creek is unable to support fish in coming years as it recovers from the wildfire, CPW biologists need to find other creeks where they might thrive.

“Newlin Creek is a fairly small stream that we’ve had cutthroat in for a number of years,” Nehring said. “We presumed the upper portions of Newlin were fishless, but we needed to know definitively and assess the quality of the habitat. That’s why today’s fish survey was important. Now we know exactly what we’ve got in Newlin, if we decide we want to put more fish in it someday.”

Similar surveys on creeks, lakes and rivers go on year-round by CPW biologists and interns as they take study the state’s fish, assess the health of the various populations and decide whether to stock the waters. It’s the rarely seen conservation grunt work that pays off in gold-medal streams and lakes and attracts anglers from around the world to Colorado.

And it doesn’t matter if a grueling day of slogging through dense forests doesn’t result in big numbers of fish. Assessing the habitat and documenting what is there, and what is not, will help guide wildlife management and conservation into the future.

“Our mission is to perpetuate the wildlife of the state and conserve the native populations,” Nehring said. “That’s what days like today are about. These native fish were here before man was. If man hadn’t introduced rainbow trout, brown trout or brook trout – all these non-native fish – and altered their habitat, all these streams would be full of cutthroat.

“Unfortunately, they all out-compete the native cutthroat and some of them can mate with them diluting the uniqueness of these fish. I think it’s our duty to protect the cutthroat and make sure they are around for future generations.”

In coming months, Nehring and his team will assess other streams – hiking miles in the heat and cold – to search for new homes for the Hayden Creek cutthroat so they can get out of the hatchery and back in the wild where they belong.

Watch the fish survey work:

Cutthroat trout historic range via Western Trout