Town of Vail Issues Caution Regarding Use of Pesticides

Gore Creek is healthy as it emerges from the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area, but has problems soon after, via The Mountain Town News. All photos by Jack Affleck.

Here’s the release from the Town of Vail:

Many of the pesticides used to protect trees in Vail can unintentionally kill beneficial insects, both on land and in Gore Creek. As a way to reduce the negative impacts of pesticide use, town officials are asking homeowners, property managers and commercial applicators to carefully consider what they are spraying and how it is being applied, and to implement the use of Integrated Pest Management practices for all pest control.

The town’s Public Works and Environmental Sustainability departments have produced resource guides available for download here and at LoveVail.org that provide important recommendations regarding the use of pesticides in Vail. “Careful Where You Point that Thing,” a pocket guide to safe landscaping practices, fertilizer and pesticide use, is available at LoveVail.org or in print at the town offices. Homeowners can reduce the use and impacts of pesticides by considering some of the following recommendations:

  • Now that the mountain pine beetle epidemic is behind us, lodgepole pines no longer need annual spraying.
  • At the same time, a new insect, spruce beetle, is attacking natural spruce trees along Gore Creek. Attaching MCH pheromone packets to susceptible trees and removing affected trees before spring can slow their spread without the use of harmful sprays.
  • Work with a licensed applicator and request trunk and root applications over foliar applications. Improper pesticide use can be particularly harmful to aquatic insects, and can quickly wipe out sensitive species like mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies for an entire season.
  • The Town of Vail encourages Integrated Pest Management techniques that include mechanical, cultural and biological pest control options over the use of chemicals whenever possible. These integrated resources can be found online from the Colorado State Extension office at CSU IPM.
  • Gregg Barrie, senior landscape architect, is encouraging property owners to take a few minutes to review the pesticide practices resource guides, then share your concerns about stream health to your commercial applicator and help get Gore Creek off of the list of impaired waterways.

    For more information, contact Barrie at 970-479-2337 or email gbarrie@vailgov.com.

    @CWCB_DNR: 2019 #Drought Update

    West Drought Monitor June 25, 2019.

    Click here to read the update (Taryn Finnessey/Tracy Kosloff):

    For the first time in nineteen years, the U.S. Drought Monitor Map of Colorado has officially been free of D0-D4 for four weeks. The month of May brought cool temperatures across the state and midwest. Not far behind, June has delivered lower than average temperatures and increased precipitation in the form of rain and snow. The last week of June is anticipated to be fairly dry and warm following below average temperatures and above average precipitation. Streamflows are forecast to continue to increase from precipitation and remaining snowpack melt. Current reservoir storage is slightly below normal.

  • June has been completely free of D0-D4. The smallest amount recorded of D0 last occurred in May 2001, when only 0.13% of our state showed D0.
  • A weak El Niño is in effect and forecast to remain through the fall. There is an increased chance of cool and wet extremes from July to September.
  • The Yampa and White River Basins have accumulated 227 percent of average precipitation from the beginning of June to date while the Gunnison Basin has only received 78 percent of average precipitation this month. This is historically a drier time of year in both these basins.
  • As of June 24th, the precipitation in June is 150 percent of average. The upcoming months of July, August, and September are projected to have an increased chance of above average precipitation as well. July and August are considered critical months of the year, as they are the wettest for the eastern plains.
  • Current SNOTEL Water Year to-date precipitation is 124 percent of average, with all basins above average. June has been a wet month across the far eastern plains. According to SNOTEL, 12 percent of this year’s remaining snowpack continues to melt. The 2019 peak snowpack ranked 6th at 130 percent median among the last 34 years.
  • Reservoir storage across the state (as of the end of May) is 90 percent of average. This is slightly lower than last year’s statewide reservoir storage at the same time which was 106 percent of average.
  • Flooding in post wildfire burn scars remains a concern and is being monitored closely. The daily flood threat bulletin can be accessed May 1 through September 30 ​HERE​.
  • Boulder County Commissioners enact emergency moratorium on new oil and gas development applications and seismic testing #ActOnClimate

    Boulder. By Gtj82 at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Patriot8790., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11297782

    Here’s the release from Boulder County:

    Unless modified at a future public hearing, the moratorium shall remain in effect until March 27, 2020. A public hearing to accept public testimony and take formal action on the temporary moratorium is scheduled for Tuesday, July 16 at 4 p.m.

    At a public meeting today (watch 7-min video), the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved Resolution 2019-59 enacting an Emergency Temporary Moratorium on the accepting and processing of new oil and gas development applications and seismic testing in unincorporated Boulder County. Unless modified at a future public hearing, the moratorium will remain in effect until March 27, 2020.

    The county commissioners approved the temporary moratorium in order to give staff time to pursue changes to the county’s existing oil and gas regulations in light of SB19-181 and to address public health and safety issues related to oil and gas development operations as authorized by the BOCC on June 4 so that any new applications to drill could be reviewed under the most protective, updated regulations.

  • It’s our duty and responsibility as county commissioners to do everything we can to fully safeguard the environment and people of Boulder County. To that end, it’s critical that we impose an emergency moratorium today to ensure that our regulations are as strong as they can be under the new law and that any industry proposals to drill or frack here are reviewed under these updated protections. – Board of County Commissioners Chair Elise Jones
  • SB 181 gives us an opportunity to regulate oil and gas activity in Boulder County in the way that we feel protects the public’s health and safety and safeguards the welfare of the environment for the people who live here. It also allows us to respond to the consistent and vocal concerns of residents who want us to put these essential protections in place. – Board of County Commissioners Vice-Chair Deb Gardner
  • It’s critical that we protect Boulder County residents to the full extent of the law. This moratorium will give us the needed time to create the strongest rules we can after the change in state law that prioritizes protection over profit. – Boulder County Commissioner Matt Jones.
  • July 16 Public Hearing
    The commissioners will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, July 16 at 4 p.m. to accept public testimony and to make any changes to the temporary moratorium that may be necessary. At the public hearing, staff will provide more information about the time needed to complete the requested research into public health and safety protections allowable under SB19-181 and to develop the proposed regulations.

    Based on that information and public testimony, the BOCC will then determine whether to extend, terminate, or further amend the temporary moratorium.

  • What: Board of County Commissioners’ Public Hearing to take testimony on the merits of the temporary moratorium on oil and gas development applications and seismic testing in unincorporated Boulder County and to determine whether the moratorium should be extended, terminated, or further amended.
  • When: Tuesday, July 16 at 4 p.m.
  • Where: Boulder County Courthouse, 1325 Pearl St., Third Floor, Boulder
  • Webstream: Open Meeting Portal
  • Public Testimony
    Online Sign-up for Speaking Times at the Public Hearing: On Tuesday, July 2 at 10 a.m., the online sign-up forms for Individual Speakers and Pooled-Time Speakers will become available at http://www.boco.org/OilGas. All sign-ups will be placed in order based on the time they are received. Those wishing to sign up for pooled time will need to include the names and addresses for anyone donating time to the pool.

    In-Person Speaker Sign-ups: Members of the public will be able to speak at the hearing whether or not they have signed up online in advance of the hearing. In-person speaker sign-ups will be taken beginning one-hour in advance of the hearing start time and will include individual speakers and pooled-time speakers. Anyone who signs up in-person at the time of the hearing will be placed in the queue following the online signups. The county commissioners will continue to take public testimony until all speakers have had an opportunity to comment.

    Written comments may be submitted to oilgascomment@bouldercounty.org or mailed to the Boulder County Commissioners’ Office, P.O. Box 471, Boulder, CO 80306. Comments must be received by 8 a.m. on Monday, July 15 in order to be considered by the Board of County Commissioners prior to the July 16 public hearing.

    Background

    On April 11, 2017, the Board of County Commissioners adopted a resolution enacting the strongest set of regulations on oil and gas development in the State of Colorado. Since that date, no applications have been filed with the Boulder County Land Use Department to seek a permit for oil and gas development. Recently, however, an oil and gas operator indicated an interest in applying for a drilling permit with Boulder County.

    On June 4, 2019, the commissioners authorized Boulder County staff to work on Docket DC-19-0002 Amendments to Article 12 of the Land Use Code which addresses oil and gas development in unincorporated Boulder County. The June 4 meeting was held to consider an update to the county’s oil and gas regulations following the passage of SB19-181 which prioritizes the local protection of public safety, health, welfare, and the environment in the regulation of the oil and gas industry and grants additional authority to local governments to regulate oil and gas development.

    Staff intends to work on changes to the current set of oil and gas regulations as time and resources allow. It is anticipated that the Article 12 revisions will require significant staff time from multiple departments.

    #2019 #Colorado legislative session wrap-up #COleg

    The 2015 Colorado Water Plan, on a shelf, at the CU law library. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

    From The Montrose Press (Katharhynn Heidelberg):

    Coram carried or supported 40 bills in the Colorado Senate this past legislative session and is crafting more for the upcoming session that are aimed at teacher retention, providing funding for entrepreneurs and protecting the lifeblood of the Western Slope, water.

    Coram said he is working on creating more stable funding for the implementation of the Colorado Water Plan, a statewide roadmap to conserve 400,000 acre-feet of water per year by 2050, by which time Colorado’s population is expected to swell by millions.

    “There really isn’t any sustainable funding right now,” Coram said. “We’re looking at several options. There’s nothing off the table. We can’t rely on severance tax and that’s where we’re at right now.”

    Severance taxes come from natural resource extraction, such as oil and gas. The extraction industry is entering a slowdown, with 6,000 permits waiting in the wings, plus there have been layoffs, Coram said. Less extraction means less severance tax, and it could also increase fuel prices for critical sectors such as agriculture, he said.

    Additionally, millions in severance tax has been shunted to the state’s general fund over the years, Coram also said…

    Helping the West End repurpose Tri-State Generation and Transmission’s power plant for possible biomass power generation remains on his agenda, too.

    Recharge pond

    From The Sterling Journal Advocate (Callie Jones):

    Sonnenberg, who just finished his 13th legislative session, served on the State, Veterans and Military Affairs and the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committees during the session, the Capital Development Committee year round and out of session is a member of the Legislative Interim Committee on School Finance, Water Resources Review Committee and the Prison Population Management Interim Study Committee.

    The Capital Development Committee is responsible for reviewing funding requests for capital projects from all state agencies, and making prioritized recommendations to the Joint Budget Committee. Sonnenberg called it one of the most fun, nicest committees, noting it is truly a bipartisan committee.

    Two weeks ago, the committee toured Colorado’s western slope, visiting some of the state’s assets including a veterans home and fish hatchery in Rifle, the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose, the Georgetown Loop Railroad, Fort Lewis College in Durango and Buena Vista Correctional Center…

    Last week, the Water Resources Review Committee, charged with studying the conservation, use development, and financing of water resources of Colorado for the general welfare of its inhabitants, visited Sterling and northeast Colorado to tour the Lower South Platte Basin. Water Education Colorado put together the tour.

    “We looked at ag, we looked at recharge, we looked at dairies and how they reuse water, those type of things, we looked at the new 70 Ranch Reservoir (located near Kersey),” Sonnenberg said.

    In regards to the 70 Ranch Reservoir, the senator explained he is a little bit worried about how the reservoir works because it was built by someone who is “trying to get ag water and then sell it to the city, that’s going to be his venue to be able to do exchanges.”

    “But, from my perspective anytime you build storage it’s a good thing,” Sonnenberg said. “This year worries me, that we don’t have enough storage; we have a lot of water, Nebraska’s going to get water from us, quite frankly they don’t need it this year. That becomes a challenge at the federal level how we handle agriculture in those areas through which it was flooded, there are people that will not plant an acre this year in the Midwest, because of the silt and the water still sitting in fields.”

    #Runoff news

    The Cascades, on the Roaring Fork River June 16, 2016. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

    From The Glenwood Springs Post Independent (Jason Auslander):

    A spate of warm weather predicted for the next several days is likely to prompt high flows for this time of year in the Roaring Fork River and other area waterways, forecasters and river watchers said this week.

    That’s because the snowpack in the high country remains huge for this time of year, said Valerie MacDonald, Pitkin County’s emergency manager.

    “It’s mind-blowing,” she said Thursday. “It still looks like winter in a lot of places.”

    […]

    On Thursday, the Roaring Fork River at Stillwater Bridge east of Aspen was running at about 400 cubic feet per second, said April Long, Clean River Program manager for the city of Aspen. The river is expected to rise to between 600 and 650 cfs in the next three days or so and remain at about that level for the next week, according to predictions by the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center.

    And while that is roughly the river’s historic level at about this time of year, generally the rivers are decreasing in flow now rather than rising, which is what’s happening, according to Long and historical data on the CBRFC website…

    The river peaked above Aspen on June 21 about 900 cfs, [Greg Smith] said.

    Arkansas River headwaters. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

    From KOAA.com (Caiti Blase):

    High and powerful waters in the Arkansas River have now caused a partial breach in a Canon City levee and a section of the riverwalk was forced to close…

    The impacted section is about 100 feet and city leaders say that while the ground underneath has been stabilized it’s only a band-aid fix and that part of the trail has collapsed…

    Kyle Horne, executive director of the Canon City Area Recreation and Park District, said, “We started seeing collapsing trail and other things, and we knew that we were going to have problems. We also saw an increase in groundwater in the parking lot in the low area adjacent to the levee.”

    With the river flowing at a powerful 5,000 cubic feet per second for the last few weeks, Horne said, “It then gets into areas it normally doesn’t make it into and it starts chewing away at banks.”

    Eventually, causing a slight breach in the levee and part of the trail to collapse.

    Fryingpan River downstream of Ruedi Reservoir. Photo credit Greg Hobbs

    From The Aspen Times (Scott Condon):

    The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reduced releases from Ruedi Reservoir earlier this week but hydrologist Tim Miller acknowledged it’s a crapshoot right now whether adjustments will be required as the ample high-elevation snowpack melts out.

    Ruedi was releasing in excess of 600 cubic feet per second as part of the Coordinated Reservoirs Operations program for the benefit of four endangered fish. The flows boosted the level of the Colorado River in habitat for humpback chub, razorback sucker, bonytail club and the Colorado pikeminnow upstream of Grand Junction.

    Miller said about 5,000 acre-feet of water from Ruedi was released for the endangered fish program. Once the program was over, he dialed the releases back to about 350 cfs to try to ensure the reservoir fills.

    The inflow to Ruedi from the upper Fryingpan River dipped to 600 cfs on Tuesday and was at 591 cfs on Thursday. That was about half of the June 22 peak of 1,300 cfs.

    The federal River Forecast Center envisioned inflow rising again to 800 cfs and then gradually receding…

    The big unknown is how much snowpack remains at high elevations and how it will melt out. Miller said snow telemetry sites in the Upper Fryingpan Valley have melted out. However, those automated sites are at lower elevations. There is still significant snow in higher basins. The warm weather this week is eating into the snowpack. If the inflow to the reservoir spikes again, releases also will increase.

    The Rio Grande flowing through the Colorado town of Del Norte. Photo credit: USBR

    From The Denver Post (Sam Tabachnik):

    The Mineral County Sheriff’s Office reported the [Rio Grande River] will remain closed [as of June 28, 2019] to all boating because of turbulent water and the ongoing search [for a missing boater]…

    Thursday was the first day the river was open to boaters, Rice said. The waterway had previously been closed off due to unsafe conditions. Still, officials advised only experienced boaters should take to the water Thursday, Rice said, and people were urged to use extra caution.

    #ClimateChange: What 10 presidents have known — CBS News

    The youth plaintiffs in Juliana v. United States attended the Ninth Circuit hearing in December. Photo credit: Robin Loznak

    Here’s an article about Juliana v. United States from CBS News (Brit McCandless Farmer). Click through and read the whole article and check out the documents highlighted. Here’s an excerpt:

    There’s a White House memorandum that addresses “the carbon dioxide problem” in straightforward terms. The process, it reads, is simple. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has the effect of a pane of glass in a greenhouse. With all the fossil fuels man is now burning, more carbon dioxide is entering the atmosphere and raising temperatures, which in turn will raise sea levels.

    “Goodbye New York,” it reads. “Goodbye Washington, for that matter.”

    The memo isn’t remarkable for its dire warning. It’s noteworthy because it is dated almost 50 years ago: September 17, 1969.

    Daniel Patrick Moynihan, an adviser to President Richard Nixon at the time, authored it to raise awareness of the “apocalyptic change.”

    “I would think this is a subject that the Administration ought to get involved with,” he wrote.

    The memo is one of hundreds of records submitted in Juliana v. United States, a court case against the federal government. As correspondent Steve Kroft reports this week on 60 Minutes, a lawyer filed the case in 2015 on behalf of a group of kids who want the courts to block the U.S. government from continuing to support fossil fuels.

    Oregon lawyer Julia Olson is leading the charge, along with 21 “climate kids” she recruited from environmental groups around the country. The kids range in age from 11 to 22 and include lead plaintiff Kelsey Juliana, a University of Oregon student.

    The suit alleges that the use of fossil fuels is causing climate change, and the government’s continued support of the fossil fuel industry endangers the plaintiffs’ future and violates their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.

    Olson began constructing the case eight years ago and has now assembled a timeline of what past presidential administrations knew about the connection between fossil fuels and climate change. The records stretch back more than 50 years, beginning with President Lyndon Johnson, and Olson feels they prove that each president since has known about the potentially catastrophic effects of fossil fuels.

    “Our government, at the highest levels, knew and was briefed on it regularly by the national security community, by the scientific community,” Olson told Kroft on the broadcast. “They have known for a very long time that it was a big threat.”

    One of the earliest documents is a federal science report authored in November 1965 by a panel of scientists and engineers from government, universities, and industries. The document, titled “Restoring the Quality of Our Environment,” includes a section co-authored by Charles David Keeling, the climate scientist whose readings of carbon dioxide first alerted the world to the possibility of the “greenhouse effect.”

    Keeling’s section warns about high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and blames humans for burning coal, oil, and gas.

    “Man is unwittingly conducting a vast geophysical experiment,” it reads.

    Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since scientific record keeping began in 1880. The rate of global sea level rise has increased in recent decades. The current rate is a little more than an inch per decade.

    Say hello to FortheLoveofColorado.org #COWaterPlan

    Click here to go to the website and learn about what you can do to help implement the Colorado Water Plan:

    Everything you love about Colorado is connected back to water: kayaking, fishing, peaches, beer, the thriving economy. But the fact is, we’re using more water than the Colorado River supplies. Our population is booming. And snowpack, which feeds our rivers, has been below average all across Colorado most years since 2000. This year’s snowpack has been great, but it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to how much we’ll need. So in order to keep this amazing state a great place to live, work, and do business we need to support Colorado’s Water Plan.

    From The Summit Daily (Deepan Dutta):

    Colorado has launched a public messaging campaign aimed at increasing public awareness of water scarcity as well as to promote the state’s water plan.

    The campaign, For the Love of Colorado, was created to educate the public about water conservation, leaning on sobering facts and figures about the Colorado River.

    For one, Colorado’s population is expected to double by 2050. The campaign also notes that 80% of the state’s water comes from snowpack runoff, which could shrink by as much as 50% by the end of the century.

    To avoid a slow-building water supply catastrophe, the state has drafted its own water plan — which integrates work done by Colorado’s nine Basin Roundtables, the Interbasin Compact Committee, the Colorado Water Conservation Board and other organizations — since 2005 to implement water management plans.

    For the Love of Colorado is trying to push the water plan into the public consciousness, inviting residents to engage in the process and learn more about efforts to protect one of the most critical water supplies in the country.