@OmahaUSACE: Public meeting scheduled for flood risk management study in Longmont, Colorado, September 18, 2019

Click to view the August 18, 2019 slides from the USACE.

Here’s the release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — Omaha District:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with the City of Longmont, Colorado will hold a flood risk management study open house Sept. 18, from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. at the Longmont Museum, 400 Quail Road.

There will be a brief, formal presentation at 4:30 p.m. on information contained in the recently released draft feasibility study report, followed by an open house.

The draft report provides information on the need for the project, current conditions of the project area, identification of opportunities to reduce flood risk, development of various alternatives to reduce flood impacts to life safety and property along St. Vrain Creek, and selection of the proposed plan.

The recommended plan includes a levee on the south side of the Izaak Walton Pond Nature Area, channel widening and benching to contain the 1% Annual Chance Exceedance (ACE) event, replacement of the Boston Avenue Bridge, and a grade control downstream of Sunset Street Bridge.

The draft feasibility report may be downloaded at https://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Planning/Planning-Projects/LongmontCO/.

Email your comments on the report to cenwo-planning@usace.army.mil or mail to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, CENWO-PMA-A, ATTN: Tim Goode, 1616 Capitol Avenue, Omaha, NE 68102-4901. Comments must be postmarked or received by Oct. 4, 2019.

This flood risk management study builds on Resilient St. Vrain, Longmont’s extensive, multi-year undertaking to fully restore the St. Vrain Greenway and increase resiliency of the St. Vrain Creek channel to reduce future flood risk to the community. The Resilient St. Vrain project was developed by the City of Longmont in response to the catastrophic flooding in September 2013.

Contact
USACE Omaha District Public Affairs
402-995-2418
omaha.usace-pa@usace.army.mil
1616 Capitol Ave. Omaha, Neb. 68102

#ColoradoRiver District Annual Seminar, September 18, 2019, “Uncertainty, you can count on it” #COriver #aridification

Click here to register.

System Conservation Pilot, water markets, and demand management #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Hay fields under Meeker Ditch 2. Photo credit: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

From Time (Lucas Isakowitz):

…scarcity is the mother of invention, and western states are coming up with innovative ways to save water. One was a pilot program which ran from 2015 to 2018 and paid farmers—including [Paul] Kehmeier—about $200 for every acre-foot of water that they had the right to but did not use…

Over the course of four years, the pilot program sponsored 64 projects, conserving an estimated 46,000 acre-feet of water. There was so much interest in some districts that participants had to be selected via a lottery system. Participating farmers closed off some of their irrigation canals, allowing water that would normally go to their fields to flow downstream; at the same time, water administrative agencies and environmental groups like The Nature Conservancy and Trout Unlimited helped monitor flow rates.

The pilot cost about $8.5 million, with funding coming almost entirely from the major municipalities that rely on the Colorado River, including Denver, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Now the states in the upper Colorado River basin are exploring how to scale it up. Colorado has formed a series of working groups, set to meet for the first time in September, which will tackle questions like who will foot the bill for a large-scale program (which could run in the hundreds of millions of dollars), how to ensure participating farmers are legally allowed to lease out their water rights, and what sort of mechanisms can safeguard conserved water as it makes its way to reservoirs…

Not everyone is thrilled about the possibility of a water market in the upper Colorado River. “Let’s be honest about what it is that we’re doing here: paying farmers not to farm, and drying up land to buy water,” says David Harold, a sweet-corn farmer from Olathe, Colorado, who participated in the pilot program for one year. “This is ‘buy-and-dry’ with another name,” he says, referring to the practice of cities buying land purely for the water rights tied to them, leaving rural communities parched and jobless…

Harold isn’t the only skeptic. “Every single person I interviewed mentioned ‘buy-and-dry,’” says Kelsea MacIlroy, a PhD student at Colorado State University who interviewed 34 irrigators and water experts in western Colorado to understand local perceptions of a demand management program, which is a technical name for a water market where farmers can lease out their water. “People said ‘maybe it’s not exactly the same thing, but we’re afraid that demand management could lead to ‘buy and dry.’’’

[…]

Some, like Harold, see a water market as putting their counties on the road towards becoming another Crowley. But others view a demand management program as a way to avoid the fate of Crowley County. As the pressure mounts along the Colorado River, something’s got to give, and a water market—in which farmers choose to lease their water out for a set period, regaining it again when the program times out—is a more palatable option than selling their water entitlements outright. “Demand management is different than ‘buy and dry’ because it leaves the water in the hands of the farmer,” says Kehmeier…

For a demand management program to significantly reduce water security risks along the Colorado River, it will need to attract a lot of farmers and funding. Policymakers are envisioning a scaled-up version of the pilot that could lease out as much as half a million acre-feet of water by 2026, costing around $100 million. But even that won’t keep the Colorado River from over allocation. That’s why, MacIlroy says, some of the irrigators she spoke with felt demand management “was a Band-Aid and that there’s no point in continuing that conversation unless there are efforts being made to address the larger issues in the Colorado River.”

How Has #ClimateChange Affected Hurricane #Dorian? — The New York Times #ActOnClimate

Screen shot of Dorian Cone of Uncertainty September 4, 2019 4:00 AM EDT via the National Hurricane Center

Here’s an in-depth report about Climate Change effects on hurricane Dorian from John Schwartz writing for The New York Times. Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

Tropical storms draw their energy from ocean heat — and more than 90 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions is being stored in the ocean. Storms that survive the cradle of formation can intensify quickly and become immensely powerful.

While it’s common to hear the question, “Was it caused by climate change?” scientists argue that this is an unhelpful way to look at the issue. As Katharine Hayhoe (@khayhoe), a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, put it recently on Twitter, “that’s the wrong question. The right one is, ‘how much worse did climate change make it?’”

Now, as that same storm slowly moves away from the Bahamas — which experienced a nightmare scenario of a Category 5 storm stalling over it for 24 hours — it begins its slow roll toward the East Coast of the United States.

A number of recent storms have stopped in one place for extended periods of time, including Harvey, which sat over Houston for days in 2017 and caused unprecedented flooding.

Recent research suggests that climate change has made stalled Atlantic storms more common since the mid-20th century, and that they are more dangerous because they stay in one place for a longer period of time, potentially concentrating their destruction.

Jennifer Francis, a scientist with the Woods Hole Research Center, said, “This is yet another example of the kind of slow-moving tropical systems that we expect to see more often as a response to climate change. Upper-level steering winds are slowing over the continents during summer, so stalling weather systems are more likely.”

Hurricanes are steered in part by high-atmosphere winds not directly related to the storm. Dorian slowed to a crawl — about one mile an hour — because the tropical winds that were pushing it westward over the Bahamas weakened, said Joel Cline, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Silver Spring, Md.

Climate change is making hurricanes more destructive in many ways.

Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University, said that some of the links between hurricanes and climate change are still being worked out. But, he said, some attributes of storms, particularly the increasing amount of rainfall associated with many of them, has reached a very strong consensus.

A similarly solid consensus has developed about storms getting stronger. There is somewhat less consensus, he said, around the idea that storms are likelier to stall.