Aspinall unit operations update: 500 CFS in Black Canyon starting August 5, 2020

Black Canyon July 2020. Photo credit: Cari Bischoff

From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

Releases from the Aspinall Unit will be increased from 1450 cfs to 1500 cfs on Wednesday, August 5th. Releases are being adjusted to raise flows back to the baseflow target in the lower Gunnison River. The actual April-July runoff volume for Blue Mesa Reservoir came in at 57% of average.

There is a drought rule in the Aspinall Unit Operations EIS which has changed the baseflow target at the Whitewater gage. The rule states that during Dry or Moderately Dry years, when the content of Blue Mesa Reservoir drops below 600,000 AF the baseflow target is reduced from 1050 cfs to 900 cfs. Therefore, the baseflow target for July and August will now be 900 cfs.

Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently below the baseflow target of 900 cfs. River flows are expected to trend up toward the baseflow target after the release increase has arrived at the Whitewater gage.

Currently, Gunnison Tunnel diversions are 1050 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon are around 450 cfs. After this release change Gunnison Tunnel diversions will still be around 1050 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will be around 500 cfs. Current flow information is obtained from provisional data that may undergo revision subsequent to review.

Reimagining the Rural West Initiative Special Report delivers ideas to re-energize communities — @WestGov

Here’s the release from the Western Governor’s Association:

As the population of the West concentrates in metropolitan areas, rural communities face increasing challenges to provide the services, infrastructure and opportunities needed to thrive. At the same time, opportunity abounds for rural areas to respond to global economic trends and technological innovation.

How do we re-energize rural communities and help them tap into an increasingly technological world? That was the question WGA Chair and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum sought to answer when he launched the Reimagining the Rural West Initiative in July 2019. The Initiative has since examined challenges and highlighted opportunities in rural economic development, infrastructure and quality of life organized around three major pillars:

Opportunity: Creating an environment in which everyone has the chance to prosper, whether as a first-time entrepreneur, seasoned business owner, recent graduate starting a career or a midcareer worker looking to learn new skills.

Connectivity: Ensuring that rural communities are connected by high-speed internet and safe efficient transportation networks, so that people in the rural West can plug into the global economy and take advantage of cutting-edge technology.

Community: Supporting community-led efforts to solve local challenges and building smart, healthy, vibrant communities.

The Initiative sought answers through several avenues, including regional workshops that attracted leading experts on rural development. WGA also developed a series of webinars to further explore ideas that arose from the workshops. And when the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear, WGA launched a dedicated webinar series to explore what it meant for the communities at the heart of the Initiative’s work.

The Special Report on the Initiative shares more than a dozen policy recommendations to support vibrant rural communities in the West. Highlights include:

  • Change the way we do economic development to focus on attracting workforce and building community assets that improve quality of life.
  • Develop policy and financial solutions that can bring broadband access to all rural communities, enabling them to take advantage of remote work opportunities, distance learning and telehealth, among other things.
  • Strengthen local leadership with the capacity to develop a shared vision for the future along with their community, and then leverage local resources to achieve it.
  • The report also includes additional details about the workshops, webinars, participants, and podcast series dedicated to the Initiative.

    Read, download Special Report

    Read, download the Appendix of the Reimagining the Rural West Initiative

    #Arizona’s #megadrought worst on record — #drought #aridification #ColoradoRiver #COriver

    Roosevelt Dam, Salt River, Arizona. By Nicholas Hartmann – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

    From (Ashlee DeMartino):

    “This current megadrought began in the mid-1990s. So if you do the calculations, 25 years now,” said Dr. Kevin Murphy, researcher of Hydro-climatology at Arizona State University.

    Megadroughts can run 10 to 30 years. Dr. Kevin Murphy from ASU looked at tree ring records and found our current one.

    “This has been the most severe megadrought over 1,000 years; that’s what we found by looking at the records,” said Dr. Murphy.

    A drought like this can put a significant stress on our water supply.

    “The Salt River Project was formed in 1903. It was a direct result of the severe drought that occurred between 1898 and 1905,” said Charlie Ester, Water Manager for SRP. That project has kept the water supply flowing into the Valley ever since…

    The Salt and Verde rivers rely on mother nature to keep them replenished, with 75 percent of the water coming from our winter storms.

    Report provides new framework for understanding climate risks, impacts to U.S. agriculture — @ColoradoStateU

    CSU’s Peter Backlund was part of a team that looked at the U.S. agricultural system and identified climate stresses. Backlund is associate director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability. Photo: Joe Mendoza/CSU Photography

    Here’s the release from Colorado State University (Mary Guiden):

    Agricultural production is highly sensitive to weather and climate, which affect when farmers and land managers plant seeds or harvest crops. These conditions also factor into decision-making, when people decide to make capital investments or plant trees in an agroforestry system.

    A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture focuses on how agricultural systems are impacted by climate change and offers a list of 20 indicators that provide a broad look at what’s happening across the country.

    The report, “Climate Indicators for Agriculture,” is co-authored by Colorado State University’s Peter Backlund, associate director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability.”>Climate Indicators for Agriculture,” is co-authored by Colorado State University’s Peter Backlund, associate director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability.

    Backlund said the research team started with the scientific fact that climate change is underway.

    “We looked at the U.S. agricultural system and examined the climate stresses,” he said. “This report outlines data that farmers and land managers can use to understand how climate change is affecting their operations, and, hopefully, guide the development of effective adaptation.”

    In the report, the authors outline how the changes taking place in agriculture affect the system that many people make their livelihoods from.

    “We want to help farmers, ranchers and land managers adapt better under climate change, which requires understanding what is actually happening on the ground. These indicators offer ways to measure the impacts of change,” said Backlund.

    20 climate indicators, based on robust data

    The climate indicators described in the report are arranged in five categories, including physical (extreme precipitation and nighttime air temperature), crop and livestock (animal heat stress and leaf wetness duration), biological (insect infestation in crops, crop pathogens), phenological (timing of budbreak in fruit trees, disease vectors in livestock) and socioeconomic (crop insurance payments, heat-related mortality of agricultural workers).

    Backlund said the research team chose these indicators based on the strength of their connection to climate change and availability of long-term data, which is needed to identify how impacts are changing over time and whether adaptive actions are having the desired effect.

    “We want to help farmers, ranchers and land managers adapt better under climate change,” said Peter Backlund, Associate Director, School of Global Environmental Sustainability, Colorado State University.

    “There had to be a measurement of a variable strongly coupled with climate,” he said. “As we go forward, we will better understand the impact of climate change by using these indicators.”

    Researchers opted to include nighttime air temperatures as opposed to general temperature because nighttime temperatures have a big effect on the way plants develop.

    Some of the indicators have national data, while others are more regional. Heat stress on livestock, a huge issue for feedlot operators, will be of interest to farmers and ranchers in states including Colorado.

    “Heat interferes with the rate of reproduction and rate of weight gain,” Backlund said. “This presses on the whole operation; it’s not just that a few more animals will die from getting too hot.”

    The crop insurance payment indicator offers insight on the repercussions of climate events.

    “You can see if you have a big climate event, like drought, one region will be much more affected than another,” he said. “If farmers have good irrigation, they’ll be much more capable in dealing with periods of low rainfall.”

    Backlund said the indicator covering weed range and intensity was also notable. As carbon dioxide concentrations increase, researchers are seeing extreme northern migrations and expanded ranges for weeds.

    “Climate Indicators for Agriculture” was produced through a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Colorado State University and the National Center for Atmospheric Research under an Interagency Agreement with the National Science Foundation and Cooperative Agreement #58-0111-18-015.

    The Colorado Corn Administrative Committee will be holding four district meetings on August 11 & 12, in the districts where director positions are up for election

    Is that a new waterslide? — News on TAP

    Nope. It’s a Denver Water canal built in the 1930s and called upon to shuttle water this summer. The post Is that a new waterslide? appeared first on News on TAP.

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    Tackling lead at its source, the first six months — News on TAP

    Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program replaces more than 1,000 lead lines, distributes 80,000 pitchers/filters out of the gate. The post Tackling lead at its source, the first six months appeared first on News on TAP.

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