A quick guide to threatened terrestrial and freshwater species in your state — @HighCountryNews

From The High Country News (Jolene Yazzie and Helen Santoro):

New rules would weaken protections for plants and animals listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act

Jolene Yazzie/High Country News, Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Trump administration is proposing several changes to the way the Endangered Species Act is implemented that would weaken the rules governing protections. One change targets species newly listed as “threatened,” or those that are likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. Under the new rules, the Fish and Wildlife Service will have to create individual regulations for each species based on its conservation needs, rather than simply extending the same level of protection that endangered species receive. Environmental groups worry this will strain the agency’s workload and put animals and plants at risk of extinction. While this change will not impact the species currently listed as threatened, any future additions to their ranks would be subject to the new rules.

Here are the 167 threatened species the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for overseeing in the West; this list does not include marine and anadromous species that are the sole responsibility of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration:

AMPHIBIANS
California red-legged frog · Calif.
Chiricahua leopard frog · Ariz., N.M.
Oregon spotted frog · Calif., Ore., Wash.
California tiger salamander · Calif.
Yosemite toad · Calif.

BIRDS
Yellow-billed cuckoo · Ariz., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Mont., N.M., Nev., Ore., Utah, Wash., Wyo.
Spectacled eider · Alaska
Steller’s eider · Alaska
Coastal California gnatcatcher · Calif.
Streaked horned lark · Ore., Wash.
Red knot · Mont.
Marbled murrelet · Calif., Ore., Wash.
Mexican spotted owl · Ariz., Colo., N.M., Utah
Northern spotted owl · Calif., Ore., Wash.
Piping plover · Colo., Mont., N.M., Wyo.
Western snowy plover · Calif., Ore., Wash.
Gunnison sage grouse · Colo., Utah
San Clemente sage sparrow · Calif.
Inyo California towhee · Calif.

CRUSTACEANS
Vernal pool fairy shrimp · Calif., Ore.

CONIFERS AND CYCADS
Gowen cypress · Calif.
Santa Cruz cypress · Calif.

FISHES
Yaqui catfish · Ariz.
Chihuahua chub · N.M.
Hutton tui chub · Ore.
Sonora chub · Ariz.
Desert dace · Nev.
Foskett speckled dace · Ore.
Arkansas River shiner · N.M.
Beautiful shiner · Ariz., N.M.
Pecos bluntnose shiner · N.M.
Delta smelt · Calif.
Big Spring spinedace · Nev.
Little Colorado spinedance · Ariz.
Railroad Valley springfish · Nev.
Santa Ana sucker · Calif.
Warner sucker · Calif., Nev., Ore.
Apache trout · Ariz.
Bull trout · Idaho, Mont., Nev., Ore., Wash.
Gila trout · Ariz., N.M.
Greenback cutthroat trout · Colo., Utah
Lahontan cutthroat trout · Calif., Nev., Ore., Utah
Little Kern golden trout · Calif.
Paiute cutthroat trout · Calif.

INSECTS
Delta green ground beetle · Calif.
Valley elderberry longhorn beetle · Calif.
Bay checkerspot butterfly · Calif.
Oregon silverspot butterfly · Calif., Ore., Wash.
Kern primrose sphinx moth · Calif.
Ash Meadows naucorid · Nev.
Pawnee montane skipper · Colo.

MAMMALS
Northern long-eared bat · Mont., Wyo.
Grizzly bear · Idaho, Mont., Wash., Wyo.
Polar bear · Alaska
Wood bison · Alaska
Columbian white-tailed deer · Ore., Wash.
Santa Catalina Island fox · Calif.
Canada Lynx · Colo., Idaho, Mont., N.M., Ore., Utah, Wash., Wyo.
Preble’s meadow jumping mouse · Colo., Wyo.
Northern Sea Otter · Alaska
Southern sea otter · Calif.
Olympia pocket gopher · Wash.
Roy Prairie pocket gopher · Wash.
Tenino pocket gopher · Wash.
Yelm pocket gopher · Wash.
Utah prairie dog · Utah
Northern Idaho ground squirrel · Idaho

PLANTS
Purple amole · Calif.
Encinitas baccharis · Calif.
Parachute beardtongue · Colo.
Dudley bluffs bladderpod · Colo.
White bluffs bladderpod · Wash.
Ash meadows blazingstar · Nev.
Chinese Camp brodiaea · Calif.
Thread-leaved brodiaea · Calif.
Umtanum desert buckwheat · Wash.
Colorado butterfly plant · Colo., Wyo.
Layne’s butterweed · Calif.
Cochise pincushion cactus · Ariz.
Colorado hookless cactus · Colo.
Kuenzler hedgehog cactus · N.M.
Lee pincushion cactus · N.M.
Mesa Verde cactus · Colo., N.M.
Pariette cactus · Utah
Siler pincushion cactus · Ariz., Utah
Uinta Basin hookless cactus · Utah
Winkler cactus · Utah
Spalding’s catchfly · Idaho, Mont., Ore., Wash.
Vail Lake ceanothus · Calif.
Spring-loving centaury · Nev.
Nelson’s checker-mallow · Ore., Wash.
Springville clarkia · Calif.
Big-leaved crownbeard · Calif.
Jones cycladenia · Ariz., Utah
Parish’s daisy · Calif.
Conejo dudleya · Calif.
Marcescent dudleya · Calif.
Santa Cruz Island dudleya · Calif.
Santa Monica Mountains dudleyea · Calif.
Verity’s dudleya · Calif.
Marin dwarf-flax · Calif.
San Benito evening primrose · Calif.
Zuni fleabane · Ariz., N.M.
MacFarlane’s four-o’clock · Idaho, Ore.
Colusa grass · Calif.
Eureka dune grass · Calif.
Ash Meadows gumplant · Nev.
Water howellia · Calif., Idaho, Mont., Ore., Wash.
Ash Meadows ivesia · Nev.
Webber’s ivesia · Calif., Nev.
Ute ladies’-tresses · Colo., Idaho, Mont., Nev., Utah, Wash., Wyo.
Laguna Beach liveforever · Calif.
San Clemente Island lotus · Calif.
Kincaid’s lupine · Ore., Wash.
Ione manzanita · Calif.
Morro manzanita · Calif.
Pallid manzanita · Calif.
Tiburon mariposa lily · Calif.
Ash Meadows milk-vetch · Nev.
Fish Slough milk-vetch · Calif.
Heliotrope milk-vetch · Utah
Peirson’s milk-vetch · Calif.
Welsh’s milkweed · Ariz., Utah
Penland Alpine fen mustard · Colo.
Spreading navarretia · Calif.
Western prairie fringed orchid · Colo., Wyo.
San Joaquin orcutt grass · Calif.
Slender orcutt grass · Calif., Ore.
Fleshy owl’s-clover · Calif.
Ash-grey paintbrush · Calif.
Golden paintbrush · Ore., Wash.
San Clemente Island paintbrush · Calif.
Slickspot peppergrass · Idaho
DeBeque phacelia · Colo.
Maguire primrose · Utah
Mariposa pussypaws · Calif.
San Francisco Peaks ragwort · Ariz.
Clay reed-mustard · Utah
Island rush-rose · Calif.
Bear Valley sandwort · Calif.
Navajo sedge · Ariz., Utah
Monterey spineflower · Calif.
Hoover’s spurge · Calif.
San Joaquin adobe sunburst · Calif.
Pecos sunflower · N.M.
Ash Meadows sunray · Calif., Nev.
Otay tarplant · Calif.
Santa Cruz tarplant · Calif.
Howell’s spectacular thelypody · Ore.
Sacramento Mountains thistle · N.M.
San Diego thornmint · Calif.
Last Chance townsendia · Utah
Dudley bluffs twinpod · Colo.
Red Hills vervain · Calif.
Gypsum wild-buckwheat · N.M.
Southern mountain wild-buckwheat · Calif.
Desert yellowhead · Wyo.

REPTILES
Narrow-headed gartersnake · Ariz., N.M.
Northern Mexican gartersnake · Ariz., N.M.
Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard · Calif.
New Mexican ridge-nosed rattlesnake · Ariz., N.M.
Olive Ridley sea turtle · Calif., Ore.
Giant garter snake · Calif.
Desert tortoise · Ariz., Calif., Nev., Utah
Alameda whipsnake · Calif.

SNAILS
Bliss Rapids snail · Idaho
San Bernardino springsnail · Ariz.

Note: This story has been updated to add the northern spotted owl, San Ana sucker, Arkansas River shiner, gypsum wild-buckwheat and southern sea otter; and to reflect that the Little Colorado Spinedace is found in Arizona, the Oregon spotted frog is found in Washington, the bull trout is found in Montana, the Warner sucker is found in California and Nevada, the piping plover is found in New Mexico, and that the Canada lynx is threatened in New Mexico but not Alaska. Spelling errors have also been corrected. Seals have been removed from this list, which reflects U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data; it does not include species solely overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Helen Santoro and Jolene Yazzie are editorial interns at High Country News. Email them at helensantoro@hcn.org and joleneyazzie@hcn.org.

$1.3 billion investment on tap for water system — News on TAP

New treatment plant, water main upgrades and more make up 5-year capital plan. The post $1.3 billion investment on tap for water system appeared first on News on TAP.

via $1.3 billion investment on tap for water system — News on TAP

New water rates to be slightly higher in 2020 — News on TAP

How we’re keeping our commitment to providing an affordable and reliable drinking water supply. The post New water rates to be slightly higher in 2020… 6 more words

via New water rates to be slightly higher in 2020 — News on TAP

Four Ways to Ensure Long-Term Water Security in the West

From the Walton Family Foundation (Ted Kowalski):

To avoid Colorado River shortages, we must embrace new ideas to protect water supply.

What will it take to ensure long-term water security in the West?

Over the past two years, we’ve learned the power of collaboration – among water users across state lines and international boundaries – to lower the risk of a severe water crisis in the Colorado River basin.

The Drought Contingency Plan (DCP), signed in May 2019, will save up to 1.1 million acre-feet of river water – enough to fill 500,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools –annually across seven U.S. states. And it triggers additional water savings, agreed to by Mexico.

Young girl enjoying the river restored temporarily by the pulse flow March 2014 via National Geographic

The DCP showed how much can be accomplished when communities recognize they can protect their own interests while working to ensure their neighbors’ needs are also met.

We learned a similar lesson in 2017 when the U.S. and Mexico – at a time of severely strained bilateral relations – renewed a water-sharing agreement that committed both countries to voluntary cutbacks during times of shortage.

Neither of these agreements would have been possible without stakeholders – state and federals governments, conservation NGOs, water managers, farmers, ranchers and native tribes – learning to trust each other to serve the collective best interest.

The lessons of the past three years make me optimistic about the future of the Colorado River and the 40 million people who depend on it for their survival and livelihoods.

But we must always strive to better.

At a global water summit this summer, I was proud to share the successes achieved on the Colorado River. And I gained valuable insights from colleagues around the world that can help us ensure a stable water supply for the Colorado River and its communities.

Lesson #1. Water is a human right, and we need to recognize that across sectors and borders to succeed. Because rivers belong to all of us, even as we recognize existing water rights and allocations, we must recognize we will make more progress by working together as a basin to ensure a healthy river and a water-secure future for all the communities that depend upon it.

We need to see ‘the other side’ as humans first. In the foundation’s work with partners in the U.S. and Mexico, we shared meals with one another and learned about each other’s families and goals and challenges. The importance of developing relationships and friendships cannot be overstated.

Lesson #2. We need to place a higher priority on protecting and acknowledging the environment. The health of the river itself is critically important – and the river should not have to settle for the leftovers in water-use negotiations. While the 2017 U.S. Mexico agreement included specific measures to restore the Colorado River Delta in Mexico, and the System Conservation Pilot Program incidentally and indirectly provided some environmental flow benefits in the upper basin, we need to do better. We must consider the environmental health of the river to be as important as the needs for hydro power or agricultural and municipal uses.

Morelos Dam. Photo credit American Rivers.

Lesson #3. The Colorado River basin will continue to face water shortages over the next several decades due to future droughts and changes in climate. Water and climate are inextricably linked. If you care about climate change, you care about water issues. We need to recognize their connection. We must find ways to use watershed health work to mitigate for climate change by, for example, assisting landowners to protect and restore forests and rangeland. We cannot solve the water and climate change issues in a vacuum. We need to solve them together.

Wyoming rancher Freddie Botur walking across rocks that form the diversion structure at his headgate on Cottonwood Creek, a tributary of the Green River. Botur was paid to let water flow past these headgates and down the river system toward Lake Powell as part of the System Conservation Pilot Program. Photo credit: Jim Paussa via Aspen Journalism

Lesson #4. We need all hands on deck to solve the problems we’re facing on the Colorado River. At 2019 World Water Week conference, I was struck by the incredible diversity of participants and the remarkable number of young professionals working on water issues.

This is most welcome. We need the energy, creativity and hope that young people can bring to solving problems. We also we need to do better at including underrepresented voices in decisions about the future of the Colorado River.

In the U.S., native American tribes have not always had a seat at the water table. We need their strong voices to find water solutions that can allow us to thrive, not just now, but for generations. We need their traditional ecological knowledge to better manage this river for sustainability and for the health of the river.

Many Indian reservations are located in or near contentious river basins where demand for water outstrips supply. Map courtesy of the Bureau of Reclamation.

And we need to extend invitations to other under-represented and diverse voices – from rural communities, Latinx communities, and others. We cannot succeed without them.

Despite the water challenges facing us in the Colorado River basin and literally all over this globe, I’m looking forward to the future with great hope and renewed energy. We cannot fail to rise up to these challenges. Success, together, is the only option.

Greeley: Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Innovation Fair, November 21, 2019

Young farmers

From The Greeley Tribune (Bobby Fernandez):

The fourth annual Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Innovation Fair will take place Nov. 21 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Greeley.

Serving as the kickoff to the 2019 RMFU annual convention, the Innovation Fair is a series of short-form presentations intended to inspire and educate anyone interested in agriculture, food systems or community activism, according to a news release.

The event begins at 12:30 p.m. with farm business workshops covering succession and farm finances, presented by CSU Extension, RMFU and American Ag. Credit.

Following the workshops, the Innovation Fair presenters will take the stage. Each presentation will last 5-7 minutes.

Registration for the Innovation Fair is free for students and Farmers Union members and $15 for non-members. Registration is available at http://rmfu.org/what-we-do/upcoming-events/2019-convention or participants can register at the door, 919 7th St.

2019 #SouthPlatte Forum

It was a great forum again this year. The last speaker yesterday presented his project Platte Basin Timelapse: A Watershed in Motion and most of the folks that stuck around were moved and inspired. Click on the screenshot below to go to the website.

Click here to view the Tweets from the hash tag #spforum. Click here to view my Twitter feed @CoyoteGulch.

As usual the forum program was well thought out and the presenters were informative and interesting.

Thanks for another great experience South Platte Forum.

From The Sterling Journal-Advocate (Jeff Rice):

Two Logan County men were recognized Wednesday as Friends of the South Platte during the 30th Annual South Platte Forum in Westminster.

Joe Frank, general manager of the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District, and Jim Yahn, manager of the North Sterling Irrigation District and Prewitt Reservoir, received the awards during the first day of the two-day conference.

Don Ament, former Colorado Agriculture Commissioner and long-time friend of both men, said he was honored to introduce Frank and Yahn, and asked that those in attendance think about the hours of volunteer work the two men have put in on behalf of water users in the South Platte Valley.

“When people volunteer, just think about the time they spend away from their jobs, the time away from their families, from their communities,” Ament said. “These guys give a lot, all the time, in service of those of us who live and work and farm along the South Platte River.”

Frank told the conference it was an honor just to get to work with Yahn…

Yahn joked that, because people in the water community often confuse the two men, the selection committee probably gave the award to both, just to be safe.