#BlueRiver Watershed Group make a difference day 2020, August 29, 2020 #ColoradoRiver #COriver

Click here to volunteer or sponsor:

Join us on Saturday, August 29, 2020 for a county-wide river cleanup. We have partnered with Summit County’s Make a Difference Day to create an event that will have a profound positive impact on the health of the Blue River Watershed.

​We will spend the morning cleaning our valley’s waterways. We had planned to
have a small celebration in the afternoon, but due to the coronavirus
we have decided not to hold that gathering.

Volunteer Team Leaders will pick up supplies for their team starting at 8 am the day of the cleanup. Cleanup of your river section will run from 9 am to noon. Remember to take photos of your strangest find for a chance to win a prize.

Navajo Dam operations update: 900 CFS in the #SanJuanRiver below the dam, August 12, 2020 #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

From email from Reclamation (Susan Behery):

In response to decreasing flows and a dry forecast weather pattern in the San Juan River Basin, the Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled an increase in the release from Navajo Dam from 800 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 900 cfs on Wednesday, August 12th, starting at 5:00 PM. 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.

The Navajo Dam on the San Juan River.Photo credit Mike Robinson via the University of Washington.

On Climate, @KamalaHarris Has a Record and Profile for Action — Inside Climate News #ActOnClimate

Kamala Harris. By United States Senate – This file has been extracted from another file: Kamala Harris official photo.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64332043

From Inside Climate News (Marianne Lavelle):

In choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden put a spotlight on two key elements of his climate policy: environmental justice for minority communities and accountability for the oil and gas industry.

Harris, who will be the first Black woman to run on a major political party’s presidential ticket, only last week sought to affirm her commitment to communities of color in the climate battle—and progressives in the Democratic party—by introducing climate equity legislation. The California Senator teamed up with Green New Deal avatar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on the effort, an outreach to the climate activist community that Biden hopes to energize behind his candidacy.

During her presidential run, Harris also frequently advocated for the federal government to take legal action against fossil fuel companies for their legacy of climate pollution. It’s another stance that resonates with many climate-focused voters, even though, as California’s attorney general, she did not go as far as other state law enforcers in pursuing litigation against the industry.

Certainly, many factors beyond climate change will decide Harris’s value to the Democratic ticket, including her ability to win over voters in states beyond California. How she handles critiques of her past work as a prosecutor will be important, especially amid the national reckoning on race and law enforcement, and how well she stands up to President Donald Trump’s attacks will be critical, as well.

But the environmental community is an important constituency that analysts believe Biden must activate to put together a winning coalition. He took an important step toward that goal last month with a greatly expanded $2 trillion plan, developed with input from advisers to his primary rival, Bernie Sanders. By bringing another rival, Harris, aboard as vice president, Biden chose a candidate already tested in the campaign spotlight with a record and profile for action on environmental issues that is winning the team praise throughout the activist community.

“A true environmental champion,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, vice president of government affairs for the League of Conservation Voters, noting that Harris has had a 91 percent pro-environmental lifetime voting record on the LCV scorecard (that’s better than Biden’s lifetime score of 83 percent). “Senator Harris has been a long-time champion for climate action and environmental justice….We know she will continue the fight for a more just solution to the climate crisis.”

Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth Action, an environmental group that would like to see Biden’s recently expanded climate platform go even farther, also had praise for the choice of Harris.

“Senator Harris’ commitment to environmental justice and her desire to hold corporate polluters financially and criminally accountable for their destructive behavior is a welcome sign,” Pica said. “We hope her inclusion on the ticket provides another opportunity for Vice President Biden to increase the ambition of his climate plan and cements climate justice and climate equity as a priority for their administration.”

‘There Has Been No Accountability’

Harris brings a record on climate issues that dates back to her time as San Francisco’s district attorney, when she created that office’s first environmental justice unit in 2005. As California attorney general, she confronted the fossil fuel industry by opposing Chevron’s proposed refinery expansion in Richmond, a majority Black and Hispanic city that has waged a long battle against pollution at the Chevron site.

Harris also sued the Southern California Gas Co. over a massive methane blowout from an underground storage facility on the outskirts of Los Angeles, citing the climate threat posed by the uncontrolled emissions of the super-potent greenhouse gas. The blowout was the largest known natural gas leak in U.S. history. The case was settled three years later, after Harris’ departure for the Senate, in an agreement that some environmentalists criticized as inadequate.

As California attorney general, Harris lent her support to a coalition of 17 Democratic attorneys general who vowed in 2016 to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for climate change. The group—AGs United For Clean Power—was formed in the wake of disclosures that oil giant ExxonMobil had understood the magnitude of climate change for decades yet went on to mislead the public about the catastrophic consequences.

During one primary debate last year, Harris said, “I have sued ExxonMobil,” but in fact, she never did. (The attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts took Exxon to court—with the company successfully defending itself against the New York charges and still in litigation with Massachusetts.) Harris’ campaign spokesman at the time said that she meant that she investigated the company.

But as a presidential candidate, Harris was consistent in her call for accountability from the oil and gas industry over liability for their past actions on climate change. “Let’s get them not only in the pocketbook, but let’s make sure there are severe and serious penalties for their behaviors,” she told Mother Jones, in an interview last year on the campaign trail.

At a CNN Town Hall on climate change, she said as president she would direct the Department of Justice to launch an investigation of the companies. “They are causing harm and death in communities. And there has been no accountability,” she said.

Hungry for a ‘Transformative Change’

Harris has sometimes struggled with Black and progressive voters because of her history as a tough-on-crime prosecutor in a state where the incarceration rate for African Americans is five times higher than their share of the population.

That history looms large for Alexandria Villaseñor, a 14-year-old climate activist from New York, who founded the activist group Earth Uprising.

“I think Kamala Harris is a big win for women of color and environmental justice, however she definitely has some work to do in order to show our generation that she’s become more progressive since her prosecutor days,” she said.

But Robert Bullard, a professor at Texas Southern University and author, widely known as “The Father of Environmental Justice,” told InsideClimate News last week that he thought Harris would add value to a Biden ticket at a moment when people are hungry for “transformative change.”

“We must center the fight for environmental and climate justice in the broader conversation” on race, Bullard said.

Gina McCarthy, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, called Harris “a cross-generational consensus-builder with a solid record for getting things done.” McCarthy, who served as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator under President Barack Obama, said Harris’s work in the nation’s leading clean energy state makes her a good fit to lead a national transformation.

“She’s worked to make California the nation’s leader in the clean energy jobs we need to confront the climate crisis head-on and build back better with a recovery that’s strong, durable and creates opportunity in every community in America,” McCarthy said.

In a foreshadowing of the attacks that are sure to come, the Trump-Pence campaign sent a blast email to the media Tuesday night, calling Harris “the most radical, far-left Vice Presidential nominee in U.S. history.” But many climate activists see both her and Biden as centrists. Calvin Yang, an 18-year-old Canadian climate organizer and spokesman for Fridays for Future International, commented on the pragmatism of their policy approaches.

“It’s great to have a green and relatively eco friendly duo on the presidency and vice presidency,” he said, “and the politics they implement wouldn’t be impossible to pass and would win the support of the American public.”

One Black climate activist, Catherine Coleman Flowers, founder of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice, who served on the task force that helped craft Biden’s climate plan, sees Harris as a standard-bearer. “It is time to make change and history at the same time,” she said.

From Grist (Zoya Teirstein):

Harris — formerly the district attorney for the city of San Francisco and the attorney general of California — has been known to be somewhat of a political chameleon. Her once-promising presidential campaign failed in part because of Harris’s inability to nail down her political ideology. But, over time, the Democrat has become increasingly firm in her commitment to one particular issue: environmental justice.

When Harris was running for president in 2019, she released a climate plan that put environmental justice front and center. Last July, she and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York unveiled a plan to introduce climate legislation in Congress that would ensure new environmental regulations and legislation get evaluated through an environmental justice lens before becoming law. Last week, the two Democrats made good on that plan by formally introducing legislation called the Climate Equity Act. The act would set up a new Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Accountability within the Office of Management and Budget.

A week prior to that announcement, Harris introduced another piece of climate legislation in the Senate: a companion bill to the Environmental Justice for All Act introduced earlier this year in the House of Representatives by Democrats A. Donald McEachin of Virginia and Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona. In an email interview with Grist ahead of the introduction of that bill, the senator explained why environmental justice is so important to her. “Our country is in the midst of multiple crises,” Harris told Grist:

“First, there’s the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus that has killed over 148,000 people. It disproportionately affects Black and brown people in part due to the high frequency of pre-existing conditions like asthma and high blood pressure. These can stem from decades of toxic pollution being dumped in communities of color and which place people at higher risk of complications. Meanwhile, there is the continuing crisis of systemic racism in America that people of color have known and experienced for generations. All of these things intersect, and we must center the fight for environmental justice in the broader conversation.”

Harris’ commitment to this kind of work dates back to her days as a district attorney. In 2005, she created a mini version of the Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Accountability she’s proposing now within the San Francisco district attorney’s office. “Crimes against the environment are crimes against communities, people who are often poor and disenfranchised,” she said at the time.

In short, she’s got a good record on justice that’s getting better and better. That could serve Biden well as he continues to hash out his climate plans in the months leading up to the election. He’s already introduced a more comprehensive and equitable version of his initial climate plan and sought input from an array of formal and informal climate advisors from many different corners of the climate movement, including environmental justice advocates. Harris will no doubt continue to steer his campaign in a justice-friendly direction. She also supports abolishing the filibuster, a step that will likely be necessary to get any climate or environmental policy through Congress in a Biden administration.

Saving our reservoirs from invading ‘cling-ons’ — News on TAP

Vigilant inspections keep destructive mussels from causing millions in damage to Denver’s water infrastructure. The post Saving our reservoirs from invading ‘cling-ons’ appeared first on News on TAP.

via Saving our reservoirs from invading ‘cling-ons’ — News on TAP

#Drought spreads across large portions of U.S. — The Fence Post

US Drought Monitor August 4, 2020.

From the Fence Post (Holly Jessen):

More than 33 percent of the continental U.S. is in moderate to extreme drought, with another 21 percent considered abnormally dry, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map.

Compared to the previous week’s map, some areas of the U.S. saw some improvement while other areas went deeper into drought. The expansion of areas in drought outweighed the areas that showed improvement, however, meaning the U.S. drought footprint grew compared to the drought monitor update from last week…

In Colorado, the entire state is considered to be in abnormally dry to extreme drought and 59 percent of that is severe to extreme. In western Wyoming 12 percent of the state is not in drought, down slightly from 14 percent in last week’s drought map. The remainder of the state is abnormally dry to extreme drought, with 5 percent of the state in extreme drought…

In the Nebraska panhandle and northeast Colorado, moderate drought expanded from last week. A new area of severe drought was added to the map in eastern Nebraska and moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions expanded in areas of Wyoming…

Drought isn’t new in Colorado, of course. “We have some areas usually in drought almost every year,” said Becky Bolinger, assistant state climatologist at Colorado Climate Center. “But this one is a little bit more severe.”

[…]

Although conditions vary across the state, overall it’s been hot and windy with dry humidity, so a lot of precipitation evaporated before it could soak into the ground. “There has been rainstorms but they’ve been spotty,” she said. “So they are not widespread enough to be helpful.”

It’s not quite as bad as in 2012 and 2013, which had hotter and drier conditions. But it’s worse than the drought of 2018, when moisture the previous fall helped farmers bring in a good winter wheat crop, Bolinger said. This year’s winter wheat struggled and although it’s good news some was harvested, not all of it could be salvaged…

In western Colorado, the irrigated crops in a four-county area served by the Colorado State University Extension Tri-River Area are doing well, despite being in severe to extreme drought, said Susan Carter, horticulture and natural resources agent for that office. The exception is that an April frost reduced fruit production, such as peaches.

The concern moving forward is, without additional rain, irrigation water could potentially be limited, especially in counties not as close to the rivers. It’s up to everyone to conserve water, she said, so there’s enough water for agriculture and residential uses.

Drought is also putting native trees under stress, leaving them vulnerable to attack by multiple types of insects. Without enough water, more trees are dying from these attacks. “Which adds to our fire risk,” she said.

In Baca County, the furthest southeast county of Colorado, Kevin Larson, superintendent and research scientist at Plainsman Research Center, said things are actually looking better. In early July the whole southeastern corner of the state was in extreme drought, now part of that has been upgraded to severe drought thanks to July rains. It’s definitely improving,” he said.

Some of the acres of prevented plant corn were planted with grain sorghum in late June. Although those crops have come up, whether there will be a good harvest depends on if there’s an early or late frost, he said. And if moisture continues to build up farmers will be able to put in winter wheat in September. Still, it’s an improvement over earlier in the summer when virtually nothing was growing.

US Drought Monitor one week change map ending August 4, 2020.