Press Release: ADWR creates new, informational “Continuing Operations” web page — Arizona Water News

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Doug MacEachern or Shauna Evans March 20, 2020 PHONE: 602.771. 8507 or 602.771.8507 ADWR creates new, informational “Continuing Operations” web page PHOENIX – Like virtually all other […]

via Press Release: ADWR creates new, informational “Continuing Operations” web page — Arizona Water News

Reclamation will support #ArkansasRiver forecasting — The Leadville Herald Democrat

Arkansas River Basin via The Encyclopedia of Earth

From The Leadville Herald:

The Bureau of Reclamation selected the Colorado Water Conservation Board to receive $150,000 in WaterSMART Applied Science Grants to increase functionality of the Arkansas River Colors of Water and Forecasting Tool. This is just one of 19 projects that will receive $3.5 million across the West. Financing of these projects will be supplemented by more than $4.5 million in non-federal matching funds, supporting total project expenditures of $8 million.

“Water managers need the most updated information to ensure they are making the best water management decisions,” said Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman. “Applied Science Grants fund tool development and studies that help make western water more reliable.”

The forecasting tool assists water users in making informed decisions related to water use and management. The enhanced forecasting tool will include modeling capabilities and will serve as a communications tool that will portray a “color of water” which will describe the destination, use, type, or purpose of water for the Arkansas River. The enhanced capabilities will allow for a more accurate capture of reservoir releases, increased efficiency, and reduced potential injury to other users in the basin. The forecasting tool will be generically built to allow for adoption in other basins in Colorado. These other users are contributing $150,000 in non-federal funds to the project.

Learn more about all of the selected projects at https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/appliedscience/.

Through WaterSMART, Reclamation works cooperatively with states, tribes and local entities as they plan for and implement actions to increase water supply reliability through investments to modernize existing infrastructure and attention to local water conflicts. Visit http://www.usbr.gov/watersmart to learn more.

@USDA Designates These Colorado Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Areas — The Prowers Journal

From The Prowers Journal (Russ Baldwin):

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designated 21 Colorado counties as primary natural disaster areas. Producers who suffered losses due to recent drought may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency emergency loans.

The Colorado counties with the primary natural disaster designation include Alamosa, Archuleta, Baca, Conejos, Costilla, Delta, Dolores, Garfield, Gunnison, Huerfano, La Plata, Las Animas, Mesa, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Rio Grande, Saguache, and San Miguel.

Producers in the contiguous Colorado counties of Bent, Chaffee, Custer, Eagle, Fremont, Hinsdale, Lake, Mineral, Moffat, Otero, Prowers, Pueblo, Routt, and San Juan, along with Apache County, Arizona; Morton and Stanton counties in Kansas; Colfax, Rio Arriba, San Juan, Taos, and Union counties in New Mexico; Cimarron County, Oklahoma; and Grand, San Juan, and Uintah counties in Utah, are also eligible to apply for emergency loans.

Ten Kansas counties were declared as primary natural disaster areas. Producers in Finney, Grant, Gray, Hamilton, Kearny, Morton, Scott, Stanton, Stevens, and Wichita counties who suffered losses due to recent drought may be eligible for USDA FSA emergency loans.

Producers in the contiguous Kansas counties of Ford, Gove, Greeley, Haskell, Hodgeman, Lane, Logan, Meade, Ness, Seward, and Wallace, along with Baca and Prowers counties in Colorado, and Cimarron and Texas counties in Oklahoma, are also eligible to apply for emergency loans.

Two Utah counties were declared as primary natural disaster areas. Producers in Kane and San Juan counties who suffered losses due to recent drought may be eligible for USDA FSA emergency loans.

Producers in the contiguous Utah counties of Emery, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Washington, and Wayne, along with Apache, Coconino, Mohave, and Navajo counties in Arizona; Dolores, Mesa, Montezuma, Montrose, and San Miguel counties in Colorado; and San Juan County, New Mexico, are also eligible to apply for emergency loans…

This natural disaster designation allows FSA to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts.

The deadline to apply for these emergency loans is Nov. 7, 2020…

Farmers may contact their local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at farmers.gov/recover.

#Snowpack news: SW basins SWE = 101% of normal

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map March 22, 2020 via the NRCS.

From The Pagosa Sun (Chris Mannara):

Snow water equivalency (SWE) saw a slight increase since last week, going from 20.3 inches to 20.8 inches.

The SWE median also saw an increase, going from 26.1 inches to 27.2 inches.

This week, SWE data is 76.5 percent of median. Last week, it was 77.8 percent of median.

Precipitation data has seen an increase from last week, going from 21.1 inches to 21.6 inches.

The precipitation median has decreased since last week, however, going from 28 inches to 23.4 inches.

This week, precipitation data is 92.3 percent of median. Last week, it was 75.4 percent of median.

The latest “E-Newsletter” is hot off the presses from the Hutchins Water Center

Umatilla National Forest, salvage thinning USFS via Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Umatilla_National_Forest,_salvage_thinning_Badger_TS_(36044553064).jpg

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

FOREST THINNING AND SNOWPACK
A new article in Frontiers in Forests and Global Change looks at how forest thinning can impact snowpack, with promising results for thinning strategies that would also serve fire suppression and wildlife habitat goals.

Colorado has wolves for first time in decades, but big question is: Are they breeding? — The Fort Collins Coloradoan

A trail of wolf tracks observed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers in
Northwest Colorado on January 19, 2020. Photo credit: Colorado Parks & Wildlife

From The Fort Collins Coloradoan (Miles Blumhardt):

Now that a pack of wolves has been confirmed in Colorado for the first time in decades, could the state also have its first breeding pair?

Answering that question could have ramifications for a ballot initiative and legislative bill that calls for reintroducing wolves, predators that have been absent from the state since the 1940s (aside from sporadic reports of wandering lone individuals).

Both measures require the state to establish a sustainable wolf population. However, wording in the bill allows the state to cancel reintroduction efforts if the gray wolf already has a self-sustaining population.

“There is some trickiness and uncertainty for the ballot initiative and legislation (if the pack does produce young in Colorado), but you need a couple of packs successfully producing a couple of years to call it a population,” said Eric Odell, Colorado Parks and Wildlife species conservation program manager.

Now that a pack has been reported in the state for the first time in 80 years, the start of that self-sustaining population may already be happening.

Currently, neither Colorado Parks and Wildlife nor the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is actively monitoring the pack, which was discovered in the northwest corner of the state earlier this month…

If the pack was captured and tracking collars applied, it would identify if there is a breeding pair of adults, allow biologists to locate a possible den site and help determine if the pair produces young in the state this spring…

Carbondale rancher Bill Fales said he would like to see the pack more closely monitored.

“I think we need to know if they are breeding and what they are eating, and the sooner we know that information, the better,” said Fales, while checking calves at his ranch Friday.

Rob Edward, president of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund, which is spearheading the ballot initiative, said more closely monitoring the pack may not be needed until later.

“It is conceivable in the future that there will be a closer eye paid to them because it will play into discussions of what we do going forward with reintroduction or augmentation of the wolf population,” he said…

What biologists do know about the pack

Odell said district wildlife mangers used spotting scopes to locate six wolves from more than a mile away on March 4. The pack was spotted several miles south of where the animals were initially seen in January in Moffat County.

He said no tracking collars were seen on any of the wolves verified by CPW employees. He said genetic evidence collected from the pack’s scat samples near an elk kill indicated three females and one male and that the animals are siblings. Their age is unknown.

He said it is unknown if the other wolves in the pack are parents of the siblings. If that is the case, it would indicate a breeding pair but would still leave unanswered whether the parents produced the siblings in Colorado.

Wolves generally breed in January and February and give birth in April and May. Wolf packs are usually made up of parents and their pups from the previous several years.

“You can connect the dots and make an educated guess based on the genetics that there has been reproduction in the past, maybe even last spring,” he said. “But that could have taken place in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, who knows.”’

Edward said it is likely if there are adults in the pack and they do produce young in the state this spring, given the current monitoring of game cameras and the local’s interest in the wolves, they will be seen.

#WorldWaterDay2020: The role of innovation in creating abundance — GreenBiz

Confluence of the Little Colorado River and the Colorado River. Climate change is affecting western streams by diminishing snowpack and accelerating evaporation, a new study finds. Photo credit: DMY at Hebrew Wikipedia [Public domain]

From GreenBiz (Will Sarni):

With another World Water Day upon us, it is a good time to examine how we can accelerate progress in solving wicked water problems, including achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6, ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

I come back to the belief that we can create water abundance and achieve SDG 6. I am not alone in believing we can create abundance with regards to water. What that looks like is universal access to safe drinking water and ample water supply for economic development, business growth and ecosystem health.

This is not a strategy of increasing water supplies to accommodate business-as-usual practices in the water sector. Instead, it is a view that innovation in technology, financing, business models, partnerships and policy will enable society and business to do more with less water in a sustainable manner.

Creating abundance
Creating abundance is integral to the work of Peter Diamandis and the X-PRIZE Foundation. I was introduced to the mindset of creating abundance when I led the 2016 Safe Drinking Water X-PRIZE Sponsored by Brita. This experience convinced me that we can create abundance through deploying exponential technologies such as digital solutions (think: IoT devices, artificial intelligence applications and data acquisition and analytics via remote sensing).

Consider what digital technologies have accomplished in education, healthcare and transportation — increasing access to essential services and resources. The same potential exists for water. I also have expanded my view that it is not just innovation in scaling exponential technologies but also driving innovation in financing, business models, partnerships and policy that can create water abundance.

The view of water abundance has gained traction over the last few years, in reports such as “Creating 21st Century Abundance through Public Policy Innovation: Moving Beyond Business as Usual” and “Water Stewardship and Business Value: Creating Abundance from Scarcity.” A recent report from the World Resources Institute (WRI). “Achieving Abundance: Understanding the Cost of a Sustainable Water Future,” advances the thinking behind this strategy.

Sure, a sustainable water future comes at a cost. However, compared to the cost of business as usual, the investment is more than reasonable. As outlined in the WRI report, “It is estimated that to achieve sustainable water management for all countries and major basins is $1.04 trillion annually to close the gap between renewable water supply and demand.”

The report also references specific benefits of sustainable and accessible water management:

  • The return on investment ratio for water access, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services ranges from 0.6 to 8.0. The primary drivers of these economic benefits are health-related improvements and fewer deaths associated with water-related diseases.
  • The World Bank estimates that regional GDP decline from water scarcity can be avoided through more efficient water allocation and policies.
  • The estimated benefit of reducing water scarcity risk globally for agriculture at $94 billion annually.
  • It is estimated that one in six cities (sample size was 4,000) that implemented source protection measures could net immediate positive returns through recued treatment costs. Associated benefits would be improved local health and well-being, higher biodiversity value and carbon value on top of saving water treatment costs.
  • It is unclear if these estimates assume incremental improvements in technologies and if the positive impact of deploying exponential technologies (such as digital solutions) and innovation in financing, business models, partnerships and policy were considered. Regardless, the WRI paper does map out a path forward and the investment required with a focus on the private sector.

    The bottom line is that water abundance is achievable, and I believe even more so if exponential technologies are commercially scaled.

    Click on the image to go to the UN World Water Day 2020 website.