During 2017 Summit County made progress mitigating dredge mining in the Swan River floodplain

Photo credit: Summit Magazine

From Summit County:

The ongoing Swan River Restoration Project logged another successful year of undoing the damage of dredge mining, which took place a century ago. Revegetation work wrapped up in November on more than 30 acres of riparian and upland areas adjacent to the recently restored river. This work was supported by $100,000 in grant funding from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Water Conservation Board. OST staff and Rocky Mountain Youth Corps assisted in planting thousands of willows, upland shrubs and mature trees across the site. Gravel removal commenced upstream of the recently restored section of the Swan River, with over 70,000 tons of material leaving the site.

“We estimate that this is roughly one-quarter of the total material that needs to be removed before the next phase of stream channel restoration work can begin,” Lederer said. “The contractor also imported about 8,500 cubic yards of soil, which will be critical for completing riparian and upland restoration.”

Gravel removal operations have ceased for the winter and will resume in 2018. The Swan River Restoration Project is occurring in collaboration with numerous partners, including the Town of Breckenridge and the U.S. Forest Service. Additional information is available at http://www.RestoreTheSwanRiver.com and http://www.SummitCountyCO.gov/SwanRiverBlog.

Summit County’s abandoned-mine cleanup efforts in the Peru Creek drainage took another step forward in 2017. On the heels of a successful multi-year effort at the Pennsylvania Mine, Summit County coordinated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to address contaminated water draining from the Jumbo Mine into Peru Creek, a major tributary to the Snake River above Keystone. Summit County purchased the land surrounding the abandoned Jumbo Mine in early 2016 for public open space, setting the stage for EPA’s cleanup work. OST also facilitated efforts to reclaim two settling ponds near the Wellington Neighborhood in Breckenridge, to improve safety and aesthetics and create a transit bus turnaround.

#LakeMead ends 2017 not in shortage — @JFleck #ColoradoRiver #COriver

Lake Mead December 2017. Photo credit: Greg Hobbs

From InkStain (John Fleck):

Lake Mead ends 2017 at elevation 1,082.5, almost two feet above last year at this time. Lake Powell ends the year at 3,623, up more than 20 feet from a year ago. Combined storage in the two primary Colorado River reservoirs ends the year up more than 2 million acre feet.

This is in part the result of a good snowpack in the winter of 2016-17, but is more than that. Excess runoff into Powell this year from that snowpack was 1.14 million acre feet. The only way you get from there to an increase in storage of 2 million acre feet is by using less water. And that is perhaps the most remarkable piece of Colorado River news as we end 2017.

In the lower basin states of Arizona, Nevada, and California, this year’s preliminary estimate of total use – 6.77 million acre feet – is the lowest since 1987.

@WaterCenterCMU: The latest E-Newsletter is hot off the presses from the Hutchins Water Center

No Name Rapid, Class V, mile 10, Upper Animas River, Mountain Waters Rafting.

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

So far, 21st century flows in the Colorado River are on average significantly lower than 20th century flows. Updates on how climate change is reducing flows in the Colorado River and “drought contingency plan” negotiations are provided in this recent article in The Desert Sun and this KUNC story.

Record high temperatures in Denver in 2017 = 14, record low temperatures = 0 #ActOnClimate

From The Denver Post (Danika Worthington):

Denver saw 14 record highs this year and no record lows, according to the National Weather Service. Those numbers include three monthly highs for February, September and November.

The metro area hasn’t set a record low since last year on Dec. 17. Official temperatures for the metro area are recorded at the Denver International Airport.

5 awareness tips on stormwater pollution

Barr Lake State Park photo via Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

From the University of Colorado at Boulder:

State and federal agencies task the office of Environmental Health and Safety at CU Boulder with ensuring everyone on campus does their part to keep our water clean by preventing chemical waste and other pollutants from being disposed of into storm drains and sanitary sewer lines.

As a large, eco-conscious community at CU Boulder, we have the great opportunity to become educated and work together to reduce our impact on stormwater. Small amounts of contaminants from all over the landscape add up to cause pollution in our water. It is important to remember even the little things matter. You will make a difference, no matter how small, if you can adopt simple habits and change the way you look at water quality.

A few important tips to keep in mind include:

  • Do not dispose of chemicals down the drain.
  • Report anything suspicious or unusual around stormwater.
  • Clean up after your pets, and do not litter.
  • Do not maintain or wash your car in public areas, where runoff will easily flow to storm water.
  • Be aware.
  • #NewMexico: Gov. Susana Martinez appoints Jack King to Interstate Stream Commission.

    New Mexico water projects map via Reclamation

    From Governor Martinez’s office via The Taos News:

    Gov. Susana Martinez announced Friday (Dec. 22) she had appointed Jack King, a Lincoln County rancher, to the Interstate Stream Commission. Three of the commission’s nine members resigned in October, citing issues with the commission’s legal ability to manage the state’s water.

    King is also a retired chief of the New Mexico Environment Department Environmental Health Bureau.

    The governor also appointed John Cyle Sharp of Clovis to the state’s Soil and Water Conservation Commission. “He is a rancher and board member of the National Association of Conservation Districts,” the press release states.