In response to increasing flows in the San Juan River Basin, the Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled a decrease in the release from Navajo Dam from 700 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 500 cfs on Tuesday, July 28th, starting at 4:00 AM. Releases are made for the authorized purposes of the Navajo Unit, and to attempt to maintain a target base flow through the endangered fish critical habitat reach of the San Juan River (Farmington to Lake Powell).
The San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program has recommended base flows as close to 500 cfs as possible for the summer of 2020. This is within their normal recommended range of 500 to 1,000 cfs. The target base flow is calculated as the weekly average of gaged flows throughout the critical habitat area from Farmington to Lake Powell.
Here’s the release from Colorado Parks & Wildlife (Travis Duncan):
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has awarded $650,000 to eight Fishing is Fun (FIF) projects, all geared to improve angling opportunities in the state of Colorado. The approved projects include improved angling access, habitat improvement, and trail and boat access. Funding recipients include projects in the San Luis Valley, on the Yampa and Crystal rivers, and in the northern Front Range in Denver and Mead.
“The angling opportunities that Colorado waters provide are part of what makes this state so special,” said Dan Prenzlow, Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Not only does the Fishing is Fun program help revitalize aquatic ecosystems across the state, it also ensures that residents and visitors will continue to have improved angling access for years to come.”
Among the projects approved for funding are:
Wolf Lake in El Paso County
Angling access will be significantly improved with the construction of two fishing piers on a newly constructed reservoir in a rapidly growing area on the northeastern side of Colorado Springs. The project will increase angling access on a 12-acre reservoir in a part of El Paso County that currently has limited angling options. “It is great to have a project like this that local kids can use to get introduced to the sport and that experienced anglers can use to stay engaged,” said Jim Guthrie, CPW’s Fishing Is Fun Program Coordinator.
Conejos Meadows in the San Luis Valley
In-stream habitat improvements will occur on 1.75 miles of the Conejos River downstream from Platoro Reservoir in the San Luis Valley. The project will address low-flow conditions during droughts and winter reservoir operations and will protect conditions for the existing self-sustaining brown trout population.
“The Conejos Meadows Resilient Habitat project is a model for projects that benefit fish habitat and wild self-maintaining trout populations, while also providing benefits to irrigation water users below a working reservoir,” said Kevin Terry, Rio Grande Basin Project Manager for Trout Unlimited. “Partnerships on the Conejos River between Trout Unlimited, CPW, and the Conejos Water Conservancy District ensure that each project identifies and maximizes benefits for the entire water community and the environment at the same time.”
Uncompaghre River in Montrose
This grant will restore quality angling conditions along a 0.65-mile section of the Uncompaghre River in the heart of Montrose. The multi-year project will cover 1.6 miles of river and develop in-channel habitat, stabilize river banks and connect to a major new GOCO-funded trail system.
“This project delivers on the Montrose community’s desire to see stewardship of the city’s natural resources, which was identified as a top priority during the city’s comprehensive planning process,” said City of Montrose Grant Coordinator Kendall Cramer. “The restoration of our river enhances aquatic and wildlife habitat, provides new opportunities for anglers and other recreationists, and will serve as a catalyst for economic growth, particularly in the outdoor industry sector in Montrose.”
Fishing alone contributes $2.4 billion dollars in economic output per year, supporting over 17,000 jobs in Colorado according to CPW’s 2017 economic study.
For over 30 years, FIF has supported more than 375 projects in nearly every county in the state, improving stream and river habitats, easing public access to angling waters, developing new angling opportunities for youth and seniors and more.
The program typically provides up to $400,000 annually from the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Program (SFR). This year the program awarded an additional $250,000 from revenue generated through the wildlife sporting license plate. “Sportsmen and women who have signed up for the license plate have helped make more projects possible. That is a big boost to making angling accessible to many more people,” said Guthrie. The $650,000 total was met with more than $2 million in local support for the eight projects approved in 2020 (matching funds are required for the program).
EVs and internal combustion engine vehicles are likely to reach sticker price parity sometime in the next decade. The timing hinges on one crucial factor: battery cost. An EV’s battery pack accounts for about a quarter of total vehicle cost, making it the most important factor in the sales price.
Battery pack prices have been falling fast. A typical EV battery pack stores 10-100 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. For example, the Mitsubishi i-MIEV has a battery capacity of 16 kWh and a range of 62 miles, and the Tesla model S has a battery capacity of 100 kWh and a range of 400 miles. In 2010, the price of an EV battery pack was over $1,000 per kWh. That fell to $150 per kWh in 2019. The challenge for the automotive industry is figuring out how to drive the cost down further.
The Department of Energy goal for the industry is to reduce the price of battery packs to less than $100/kWh and ultimately to about $80/kWh. At these battery price points, the sticker price of an EV is likely to be lower than that of a comparable combustion engine vehicle.
Forecasting when that price crossover will occur requires models that account for the cost variables: design, materials, labor, manufacturing capacity and demand. These models also show where researchers and manufacturers are focusing their efforts to reduce battery costs. Our group at Carnegie Mellon University has developed a model of battery costs that accounts for all aspects of EV battery manufacturing.
From the bottom up
Models used for analyzing battery costs are classified either as “top down” or “bottom up.” Top-down models predict cost based primarily on demand and time. One popular top-down model that can forecast battery cost is Wright’s law, which predicts that costs go down as more units are produced. Economies of scale and the experience an industry acquires over time drive down costs.
To build a bottom-up cost model, it’s important to understand what goes into making a battery. Lithium-ion batteries consist of a positive electrode, the cathode, a negative electrode, the anode and an electrolyte, as well as auxiliary components such as terminals and casing.
Each component has a cost associated with its materials, manufacturing, assembly, expenses related to factory maintenance, and overhead costs. For EVs, batteries also need to be integrated into small groups of cells, or modules, which are then combined into packs.
Our open source, bottom-up battery cost model follows the same structure as the battery manufacturing process itself. The model uses inputs to the battery manufacturing process as inputs to the model, including battery design specifications, commodity and labor prices, capital investment requirements like manufacturing plants and equipment, overhead rates and manufacturing volume to account for economies of scale. It uses these inputs to calculate manufacturing costs, material costs and overhead costs, and those costs are summed to arrive at the final cost.
Using our bottom-up cost model, we can break down the contributions of each part of the battery to the total battery cost and use those insights to analyze the impact of battery innovations on EV cost. Materials make up the largest portion of the total battery cost, around 50%. The cathode accounts for around 43% of the materials cost, and other cell materials account for around 36%.
Improvements in cathode materials are the most important innovations, because the cathode is the largest component of battery cost. This drives strong interest in commodity prices.
Nickel cobalt aluminum oxide has the lowest cost-per-energy-content and highest energy-per-unit-mass, or specific energy, of these three materials. A low cost per unit of energy results from a high specific energy because fewer cells are needed to build a battery pack. This results in a lower cost for other cell materials. Cobalt is the most expensive material within the cathode, so formulations of these materials with less cobalt typically lead to cheaper batteries.
Inactive cell materials such as tabs and containers account for roughly 36% of the total cell materials cost. These other cell materials do not add energy content to the battery. Therefore, reducing inactive materials reduces the weight and size of battery cells without reducing energy content. This drives interest in improving cell design with innovations such as tabless batteries like those being teased by Tesla.
The battery pack cost also decreases significantly with an increase in the number of cells manufacturers produce annually. As more EV battery factories come on-line, economies of scale and further improvement in battery manufacturing and design should lead to further cost declines.
Road to price-parity
Predicting a timeline for price parity with ICE vehicles requires forecasting a future trajectory of battery costs. We estimate that reduction in raw material costs, improvements in performance and learning by manufacturing together are likely to lead to batteries with pack costs below $80/kWh by 2025.
Assuming batteries represent a quarter of the EV cost, a 100 kWh battery pack at $75 per kilowatt hour yields a cost of about $30,000. This should result in EV sticker prices that are lower than the sticker prices for comparable models of gas-powered cars.
Abhinav Misalkar contributed to this article while he was a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University.
The water running through the Whitney Ditch is from the Cache La Poudre River. Seller of the water shares, which have an average yield of 1,629 acre feet of water — or about 531 million gallons, is BCI Waterco LLC, a company at 252 Clayton St. in Denver. The address is shared by The Broe Group and Great Western Railway, owners of the industrial park.
The purchase is part of an effort that began in 2003 to buy water rights in the South Platte basin, dry up the land that had been irrigated by the water and bring the water to the thirsty urban developments within Aurora, Colorado’s third largest city behind Denver and Colorado Springs.
While the proposed purchase agreement includes a pipeline easement for land within the industrial park, getting the water to the Denver metro region is not included in the deal, nor is the required amendment of water court decrees to specify where the water will be used.
“We have had high level concept discussions” about getting the water to Aurora, but the city does not have a specific plan, [Dawn] Jewell said.
Jewell said Aurora has purchased other water shares in Northern Colorado, but none from the Poudre. It has water rights from the South Platte main stem and some in the Greeley area, she said.
The city may choose to place the water in a reservoir in the region — it has one already west of Platteville — and seek an opportunity to exchange shares with someone else.
The deal is expected to close Aug. 31, according to city council documents.
Three Gorges Dam Spilling June 30, 2020 via NASA. According to the Three Gorges Corporation, the water level in the reservoir reached a record high flood season level of 164.18 meters on July 19. The previous high level reached during the flood season since the dam became fully operational in 2012 was 163.11 meters. The reservoir is designed to hold a maximum water level of 175 meters
Gezhouba Dam Spilling June 30, 2020 via NASA.
Here’s the release from the NASA Earth Observatory:
Since the start of Asia’s summer monsoon season on June 1, 2020, excessive rainfall has pushed lakes and rivers to record high levels in China. Flooding within the Yangtze River Basin, in particular, has displaced millions of people.
The Yangtze River is Asia’s longest, winding 6300 kilometers (3,900 miles) through China. Together with its network of tributaries and lakes, the river system has undergone significant development as a means to generate power, store water for drinking and irrigation, and control flooding. Today the watershed is dotted with tens of thousands of reservoirs, and its rivers are spanned by numerous dams.
During the 2020 summer monsoon, floodwater was being held, or “absorbed,” by 2,297 reservoirs in the region, including the one behind Three Gorges Dam. In an attempt to regulate the flow of floodwater, dam operators can discharge water through spillway gates.
Those gates were open when these images were acquired on June 30, 2020, with the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8. The images are composites of natural color and shortwave infrared to better distinguish the water. Note how the torrent flowing through the spillways changes how the water downstream reflects light, making it appear whiter.
The image at the top of this page shows water moving through the gates of Three Gorges Dam. Spanning a segment of the Yangtze River in central China’s Hubei Province, the dam is 2300 meters long and stands 185 meters high. The second image shows the smaller Gezhouba Dam, located about 26 kilometers (16 miles) southeast from Three Gorges. This dam also appeared to have its spillway gates open.
When these images were acquired in June, the waterways were trying to handle the first major flooding of the monsoon season. A second wave of severe flooding, referred to by local media as the “No. 2 flood,” hit the region in July. Between and during these flood events, continuous adjustments are made to the amount of reservoir outflow flowing through the gates.
According to the Three Gorges Corporation, the water level in the reservoir reached a record high flood season level of 164.18 meters on July 19. The previous high level reached during the flood season since the dam became fully operational in 2012 was 163.11 meters. The reservoir is designed to hold a maximum water level of 175 meters.
NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Story by Kathryn Hansen.
FromThe High Country News [July 27, 2020] (Anna V. Smith):
“That has a real chilling effect on democratic practice.”
In the first weeks of June, as protests against police brutality spread across the country, a group of people who were neither demonstrators nor law enforcement began to appear in the streets. These members of the Patriot militia movement — an assortment of groups defined by antigovernment, pro-gun and conspiracy-driven ideologies — watched from the sidelines, kitted out in bulletproof vests and camouflage and armed with semi-automatic rifles.
By mid-June, there had been 136 instances of paramilitary, far-right and armed militia groups or individuals attending anti-police violence protests nationwide, according to Political Research Associates, a social justice think tank. In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, militia groups and motorcycle clubs gathered in hopes of confronting antifascists who never materialized. In Oakdale, California, rumors of a Black Lives Matter protest drew members of the California State Militia but few others. In Olympia, Washington, members of the Washington State Three Percent guarded businesses, at, they said, the owners’ request, posing for a photo with a police officer. (The police department later launched an investigation into the incident.)
The protests and concurrent pandemic have proven a boon to extremist groups looking to increase their visibility. During the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, Patriot militia members — particularly those in the Three Percent — mobilized around food drives and “reopen” rallies. Then, as protests against police violence spread, Three Percenters and other Patriot militia groups positioned themselves as guardians of private property and free speech. The leadership vacuum left by state and federal authorities in recent months offered the groups an opening, allowing them to accrue clout, provide services in lieu of government action and build political influence.
“We’ve certainly seen a clear pivot from militia groups active in the so-called reopen protests to, now, armed security in local communities,” said Amy Herzfeld-Copple, deputy director of Western States Center, a politically progressive organization that promotes inclusive democracy. “That has a real chilling effect on democratic practice. We see a throughline from militia groups mobilizing to exploit the pandemic to their military presence in small towns across the West — another opening for them to try and posture as providing a service that we’d normally look to government to provide.”
The Three Percent has been particularly visible in the Western U.S. Founded in 2008, in opposition to President Barack Obama’s administration and its perceived threat to gun rights, the movement takes its name from settler-colonial mythology: the belief that just 3% of people in the 13 British colonies took up arms to fight in the Revolutionary War (a statistic that historians dispute). Members generally describe themselves as defending individual liberty from a tyrannical government. The sprawling and decentralized movement is without a national leadership structure: Some Three Percent groups operate statewide, while others are county-based. And while some have disavowed racism, others are virulently anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant. Because anyone can claim the movement, a variety of activities, from violence to paramilitary training to nonprofit food drives, have been carried out beneath its banner.
Still, several ideological tenets bind Three Percenters together. One is a refusal to obey “unjustified martial law” or a “state of emergency.” So when the novel coronavirus arrived in the United States earlier this year, some members were primed to oppose the policies enacted to curb it. As schools and businesses closed and governors issued stay-at-home orders, rumors of “medical martial law” circulated. Three Percenter Facebook pages roiled, comparing stay-at-home orders to the Holocaust, questioning the legitimacy of local and state public health decisions, predicting civil war and spreading misinformation about COVID-19.
Threats, real or perceived, provided an opportunity for a show of strength by various Patriot militia groups. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Washington State Three Percent — which rejects the antigovernment, militia and extremist labels — delivered truckloads of goods to food banks, coordinated a dozen food drives and organized reopen rallies to address the twin problems of food insecurity and economic fallout, according to Matt Marshall, the group’s founder. Meanwhile, its Facebook posts included threats to contact tracers. As a registered nonprofit, the group is required to “be operated exclusively to promote social welfare.” Marshall — a Republican currently running for the Washington House of Representatives — is on a school board; other members are on city councils and run food banks. “The purpose (of the group) is to prepare, and support the community. And, if the time ever came, defend the community,” said Marshall. “Not taking a militia-type role, but a truly grassroots support role.” Marshall is also a supporter of Washington state Rep. Matt Shea, who, last year, was found to have participated in domestic terrorism by an investigation commissioned by the Legislature.
Patriot militia groups, who generally see themselves as good community members, often use civic engagement to gain local support and new members. After Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, Oath Keepers mobilized to provide boats, search and rescue operations and medical care. In the Pacific Northwest, there are at least 20 instances of Three Percent and other Patriot militia groups signing up for Adopt-a-Highway, a nationwide program that promises “positive impressions when consumers know that you are doing good for the community.” In May, the Real 3%ers Idaho coordinated the distribution of 15,000 pounds of surplus potatoes donated by a farm in Reardan, Washington, according to The Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls Press. Armed members of the group later showed up in Coeur d’Alene during a protest against police violence.
Washington State Three Percenters also intertwined their pandemic efforts with a political push. In May, the group posted on Facebook asking for volunteers to help with the next food drive, while also collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to repeal Washington’s comprehensive sex education law. (In June, the petition, which was backed by anti-LGBTQ+ groups, gathered enough signatures to get the initiative on the November ballot.) Tying ideological aims to the distribution of essential goods is problematic, Herzfeld-Copple said. “Often, part of their ideology is to replace civil infrastructure. And if they have opportunities to step in and build shadow government infrastructure, it’s not going to serve the interests of the whole community.”
THAT CONCERN IS REFLECTED in Patriot militia groups’ presence at protests as an extrajudicial authority, which they point to as another example of fulfilling a civic duty. At a Black Lives Matter protest in Sandpoint, Idaho, organizers denounced the armed presence of militia members as nothing but intimidation, saying they neither needed nor wanted their protection, according to The Sandpoint Reader.
The mayor of Sandpoint echoed this in a statement: “Civilians have legal authority to use firearms for self-protection, not vigilante justice. It is the job and responsibility of the police to enforce the laws and protect the city from looting or violence.”
In the past, militia groups have directed their ire and conspiracy theories primarily at the federal government, said Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center of Extremism, who has been studying the groups since the 1990s. Now, for the first time, they have someone in office to stand behind. President Donald Trump has broad support within the militia movement, so groups have turned to state-level issues, focusing especially on laws limiting access to guns. In 2018, Three Percenters and Oath Keepers campaigned for an ordinance that would allow county sheriffs to disregard gun laws they deemed unconstitutional. (It passed in eight Oregon counties.) This year, Three Percenters in Oregon, Idaho and Washington are running for county commissioner, state representative and sheriff.
Researchers say Patriot militia group leaders are political extremists, who operate as such. “They contribute to a conflictual understanding of politics,” said Sam Jackson, who researches antigovernment extremism at the University at Albany and is the author of an upcoming book on the Oath Keepers, “where there are enemies across the political divide, and we’re in a battle against those enemies, and we need to be prepared to use whatever means necessary against those enemies.”
Watchdogs expect Patriot militia groups to mobilize around this year’s election. It has happened before: In 2016, after candidate Donald Trump falsely claimed voter fraud, Oath Keepers showed up at polling stations. In Portland, Oregon, in 2017, the local Republican Party voted to hire Three Percenters and Oath Keepers to provide event security. This year, amid ongoing waves of the pandemic and with some states halting their reopening, “there is going to be so much distraction and calls for voter suppression by the White House between now and November,” Herzfeld-Copple said. “There are going to be lots of openings for antidemocratic groups to seize.”
Anna V. Smith is an assistant editor for High Country News. Email her at email@example.com.