Buying? Renting? Have you checked for lead plumbing? – News on TAP

Sellers and landlords may not know about lead in the pipes.

Source: Buying? Renting? Have you checked for lead plumbing? – News on TAP

We’re gonna need a bigger watering can! – News on TAP

As a rare flower begins to bloom at Denver’s Botanic Gardens, we think about the role Denver Water played in helping it along.

Source: We’re gonna need a bigger watering can! – News on TAP

Inside Climate News: Global Warming Means More Insects Threatening Food Crops — A Lot More, Study Warns

Maize weevil. Photo credit: Wikimedia

From Inside Climate News (Bob Berwyn):

Wheat, corn and rice are staple foods for 4 billion people. A new study suggests crop damage from climate change may be far worse than projected as pest risks rise.

Growing swarms of hungrier and hyperactive insects may wipe out big percentages of the world’s three most important grain crops—wheat, corn and rice—even if the world manages to cap global warming at 2 degrees Celsius, the upper-end target of the Paris climate agreement, scientists warn.

The biggest crop losses are expected in temperate areas where global warming will increase both insects’ population growth and their metabolic rates. That includes the major breadbaskets of North America and Europe.

Altogether, the potential scale of the damage is so high, it could threaten global food security, according to research published today in the journal Science.

“We’re turning the dial up in the temperate zones, and insects, for the most part, thrive in a warmer climate,” said co-author and sustainability researcher Josh Tewksbury, director of Future Earth at the University of Colorado. “It gets better and better for them.”

For people accustomed to the pace at which today’s crop-destroying insects migrate, the rapid and widespread changes fueled by global warming may come as a shock. Farmers will need to adapt, Tewksbury said. That could mean overhauling crop rotations, more genetic research and rethinking pesticide use to avoid severe damage.

“Get ready, because the fight is coming to you,” he said.

The researchers project that, globally, crop yield losses for wheat, corn and rice will increase 10 to 25 percent for every degree of global warming. If global temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius over the 1971-2000 average, they project that the rise in insect pest activity would increase wheat yield losses by a median of 46 percent, corn by 31 percent, and rice by 19 percent.

Those three food crops are staples for about 4 billion people, and account for about 42 percent of direct calories consumed by humans worldwide, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

University of Washington climate researcher and co-author Curtis Deutsch explained the impact this way:

“Insect pests currently consume the equivalent of 1 out of every 12 loaves of bread (before it ever gets made). By the end of this century, if climate change continues unabated, insects will be eating more than 2 loaves of every 12 that could have been made,” he wrote.

Many #Colorado businesses line up behind the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Continental Divide Trail in the Weminuche Wilderness. By Charlie DeTar [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

From The Denver Post (Judith Kohler):

A Colorado coalition of 70 businesses sent a letter Thursday to the state’s congressional delegation asking the lawmakers to support permanently reauthorizing the 54-year-old Land and Water Conservation Fund, which will expire Sept. 30.

The businesses, ranging from a mortgage company to outdoor equipment companies to retail stores, wrote to federal lawmakers that the fund has generated more than $268 million since its inception to help build trails in Colorado, protect fish and wildlife habitat and water supplies, and expand access to public lands for hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Investments in conserving the state’s open spaces and developing parks have helped build what is now a “booming $28 billion outdoor recreation industry” in the state, the businesses said.

The state’s outdoor recreation industry supports 229,000 direct jobs and generates $9.7 billion in wages and $2 billion in state and local tax revenue, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. Colorado’s robust outdoor recreation economy and support for public lands helped draw the Outdoor Retailer trade shows to Denver from Salt Lake City this year…

Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner are cosponsors of S. 569, a bill that would permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Reps. Diana DeGette, Jared Polis , Mike Coffman and Ed Perlmutter are all cosponsors of a House version of the legislation. Rep. Scott Tipton recently announced his support for reauthorizing the fund. Reps. Doug Lamborn and Ken Buck didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Denver Post on their positions.

The conservation program is funded through a portion of the fees imposed on offshore oil and gas. Congress has rarely funded the program at its full authorized level of $900 million per year. Congress agreed to extend LWCF for three years after it originally ran out in 2015. This time, supporters want Congress to permanently reauthorize it and commit to fully funding it.

Luis Benitez, director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, said continuing LWCF “is absolutely vital” to fueling the economic engine that outdoor recreation has become in Colorado and across the nation.

The Colorado coalition calling on lawmakers to support LWCF says it’s particularly concerned about the impact on Continental Divide National Scenic Trail if the program lapses. The trail, which stretches over 3,100 miles from Canada to Mexico along the spine of the Rockies, has gaps where there is no access to public lands. Grants from LWCF are used to acquire land from open or improve access to public lands.

From ColoradoPolitics.com (Marianne Goodland) via The Durango Herald:

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder and three other members of Colorado’s House delegation have signed onto the latest effort to urge Congressional leaders to find a way to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

But missing from the letter: the only Republican in Colorado’s House delegation – U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora – who has co-sponsored legislation that would do exactly what the letter asks.

The fund, which largely draws on federal offshore drilling, has provided more than $267 million for recreation and conservation projects in Colorado.

Polis – the Democratic candidate for governor – and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton of Cortez both announced last week they would support full funding, estimated at as much as $900 million per year, plus permanent reauthorization of the conservation fund.

@Northern_Water turns dirt on Southern Water Supply Project

Southern Water Supply Project

From The Longmont Times-Call (Sam Lounsberry):

Work on the pipeline, known as phase two of the Southern Water Supply Project, is being overseen by Northern Water, which manages Carter Lake as part of the Colorado Big-Thompson Project.

Once complete, the pipeline will improve water quality and delivery reliability compared to the open, above-ground Boulder Feeder Canal that currently brings water from Carter Lake to Boulder Reservoir.

The new pipeline will pump 50 cubic feet per second of Colorado-Big Thompson and Windy Gap Project water, with Boulder receiving the bulk of the water among participants at the Boulder Reservoir Water Treatment plant, the pipeline’s terminus.

Boulder will receive 32 cubic feet per second and bear $32 million of the cost, according to city spokeswoman Gretchen King, while Left Hand Water District — which serves a 130-square-mile area between Longmont and Boulder — will receive 12 cubic feet per second and pay about $8 million for its share of the project…

Left Hand will have another $2 million of cost from the district’s addition of a hydroelectric generator at the intersection of the new Southern Water Supply pipeline and the entrance to the district’s Dodd Water Treatment Plant. The generator will produce enough power to satisfy about a third of the plant’s electricity need, according to district Manager Christopher Smith…

Berthoud and Longs Peak Water District — which serves Boulder and Weld County residents in an area north of Longmont — will each receive 3 cubic feet per second, but on Thursday officials from the town and district could not to provide their share of the costs of the remaining $4 million for the project.

Smith noted the pipeline, which has an estimated completion date of March 2020, will not only further protect water quality, but also will allow year-round water delivery to Left Hand Water District’s Dodd Water Treatment Plant…

“During some portions of the year the pipeline will act as the primary source of raw water for the participants in the project,” the Northern Water release states.

Currently, the Boulder Feeder Canal is offline from Oct. 31 to April 1 annually, Smith said. When the canal is down, so, too, is the Dodd Water Treatment Plant…

When the pipeline is complete, the Dodd Plant will be open year-round.

The first 12 miles of new pipeline, from Carter Lake to St. Vrain Road in Longmont, will parallel the existing Southern Water Supply Project pipeline, which was runs to Broomfield and was completed in 1999.

From St. Vrain Road, the new pipeline will continue south to the Boulder Reservoir Treatment Plant.

#Drought news: Low-water stressing trout in Conejos River; CPW asks anglers to limit fishing activity

Here’s the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (Joe Lewandowski):

Due to extremely low flows and concerns about warm water temperatures, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking anglers to self-regulate their fishing activities. Effective immediately, CPW is placing a voluntary fishing closure on the Conejos River from noon through the remainder of the day.

This voluntary closure is in place for the section of the Conejos River from Platoro Reservoir down to Broyles Bridge. The voluntary closure will remain in effect until further notice, with a possibility
of an emergency closure to all fishing if conditions worsen. The river is located in the San Luis Valley in south-central Colorado.

“The Conejos River is one of Colorado’s most renowned trout streams,” said John Alves, senior aquatic biologist. “We know that anglers care deeply about this fishery and we need their help to conserve this resource.”

Because of the ongoing drought, the river is flowing far less than the historic flows. Normally at this time of year flows from the outlet at Platoro Reservoir are usually about 60 cubic feet per second. For the last few weeks flows have averaged about 10 cfs, only 19 percent of the historic average. Snowfall last winter of less than 50 percent of average in the Rio Grande basin is the primary reason the river is running so low.

Water temperature is also a concern. At times temperature of the river has risen to 70 degrees which is unhealthy for trout. The temperature of the river is highest from noon throughout the rest of the day. Water cools overnight, so fishing during the morning hours will help to minimize impacts to trout.

Many trout anglers practice catch and release. But in these conditions it is extremely stressful on fish when they are hooked and handled. They might look OK when they swim off quickly after they’re released, but they use a lot of energy when caught and recovery is difficult in low, warm water. With less water there is less habitat available to the fish and warming temperatures means there’s less oxygen available in the water. That can lead to increased trout mortality.

Brown trout, the predominant species in the river, spawn in the fall; so the current river conditions could impact spawning activities.

“This is the first time we’ve made this kind of voluntary-action request on the Conejos. It’s not something we like to do, but it’s the right thing to do and we hope anglers will join us in this conservation effort,” Alves said.

Low flows in the Arkansas River are also worrying. Here’s a report from Bill Folsom writing for KOAA.com. Here’s an excerpt:

Over the summer there has been a series of agreements to release water from reservoirs to maintain the river at a higher level for recreational activities like rafting and fishing. The agreements ended August 15th. “We knew that the river was going to drop,” said Arkansas River Headwaters Manager, Rob White. In days since the river has dropped so low in many spots the river bottom is showing.

Rafting companies are now strategic about what stretches they float. Aquatic Biologist with Colorado Parks and wildlife are monitoring trout in the river. “Kind of keep a watch on those temperatures. If temperatures get to 75, 76 degrees than you kind of need to be concerned,” said White. Currently tracking is happening at three locations. Higher up the river near Buena Vista the water is registering in the mid 60-degree range. At the lowest elevation near Canon City it hits 70 degrees, but still below numbers causing concern.

Days are getting shorter and nights cooler. It is countering the heat of the day.

Aquatic biologists say Brown Trout in the Arkansas spawn toward the end of September. It can actually benefit from the low flow.

From The Craig Daily Press (David Tan):

Additionally, [Elkhead] reservoir operations were modified to release more water to the Maybell gauge to supplement the flow for fish recovery efforts…

Yampa River levels have been critically low, Hinkemeyer said, though he added he believes there were problems with the Deer Lodge meter not measuring correctly.

The city maintains a 4,413 acre-foot pool at the reservoir, Hinkemeyer said, adding that he sees potential for the pool to be an asset for the city and possibly an income generator.

Mayor John Ponikvar said once new city manager Peter Brixius begins work in September, he might want to to revisit the city’s water situation and decide what direction should be taken.

#Drought news: One category improvement in parts of Crowley, Otero, Las Animas, Baca counties

Click here to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:

Summary

Frontal systems brought thunderstorms and some heavy rainfall to parts of the Plains, the Midwest, and the South. While rainfall was enough to reduce or alleviate drought conditions in some places, such as Arkansas, northern Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Michigan, it wasn’t enough in other areas, such as southwestern Missouri and Idaho, as deficits and impacts remain. This past week saw temperatures slightly below average across much of the nation, with areas of eastern Montana and western North Dakota 4-8 degrees F cooler than normal, which helped to slow, but not halt, drought development. Conversely, parts of the Southwest, Texas, and areas along the eastern northern tier of the U.S. were well above their average temperatures. In Texas, notably, the widespread heat exacerbated evolving and ongoing drought…

High Plains

Conditions along parts of the northern tier of the U.S. bordering Canada continue to deteriorate. This week the remaining area of normal conditions from northwestern North Dakota into northeastern Montana (see West for more information about Montana) was degraded to abnormally dry (D0). The area has missed out on all the rains from the last few storms.and the soil has been very dry, dating back to the previous year’s drought. In Kansas, conditions improved enough to contract D0 in the central and south central part of the state eastward. In east central Kansas, some areas of moderate (D1), severe (D2), and extreme (D3) drought also improved. However, there are still longer-term deficits and impacts remaining in the state. In eastern Colorado, D3 was improved to D2 in Crowley County and northern Otero County, where there were a few isolated thunderstorms in the area over the past week. D2 improved to D1 in southeast Las Animas County and western Baca County, where up to 2 inches of rain fell. Eastern Baca and Prowers Counties also received up to 2 inches of rain, allowing for improvement from D1 to D0. No changes were made this week to the depictions in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming…

West

Similar to North Dakota, some areas across the northern tier of Montana continued to deteriorate. The area of abnormally dry conditions (D0) was expanded eastward to connect with the dry area in North Dakota. Also along the northern tier, the two severe drought (D2) areas expanded slightly westward. However, improvements were made in southern Beaverhead, Madison, Gallatin, and Park counties in the southwest where precipitation has been more abundant. Conditions there are now considered normal. Drought continues to plague Oregon and grow worse in areas. This week the area of D2 expanded through most of the southern part of the state. In Utah, D2 improved to moderate drought (D1) across eastern Washington County and western Kane and Garfield Counties. This area has received its typical moisture since the beginning of July. No changes were made this week to the depictions in Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Additionally, no changes were made to the depiction in Idaho, but, as an aside, some precipitation did provide enough relief to Boise to make the region smoke free for the first time in a couple of weeks. Conditions still remain dry…

Looking Ahead

Over the week beginning Tuesday August 28, the Midwestern states are expected receive the highest precipitation, including northern Missouri, which as been plagued by extreme (D3) and exceptional (D4) drought conditions. Temperatures are forecast to reach the 90s (F), and even the 100s in places, across most of the central and southern tier of the U.S.. The Northeast will begin with temperatures in the 90s, but is forecast to cool into the 70s and 80s by the end of the Labor Day weekend. Daytime highs in the 70s and 80s are also forecast across much of the northern tier. Southern Florida and the central Appalachians are forecast to receive up to 3 inches of rainfall, while most of the West and the High Plains are expecting a quarter of an inch or less, with no rain forecast for much of the region. Looking further ahead at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) 6-10 day Outlook (September 2-6), the probability of dry conditions is highest in the Northwest from southern Alaska into Oregon, northern Idaho, and western Montana., while wet conditions are most likely across the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast. During this period, below-average temperatures may be seen over the much of the forecasted wet areas — upper Northwest into Alaska — while above-average temperatures are forecast for most of the contiguous U.S., especially the eastern half. Looking two weeks out (September 4-10), the likelihood of above-average temperatures is highest in central to southern California and in the eastern third of the contiguous U.S. The probability of below-average temperatures is highest across most of Alaska and Montana. The probability of above-average precipitation is highest over a swath of the central U.S. stretching northeast from New Mexico to eastern North Dakota, Minnesota, and western Wisconsin, with the highest probability of dryness now expected across Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.