Water for #Colorado Coalition Applauds Legislature, Governor’s Inclusion of Water Priorities in Stimulus Funding — @water4colorado #COleg

State Capitol May 12, 2018 via Aspen Journalism

Here’s the release from Water For Colorado (Ayla Besemer):

The Water for Colorado coalition today lauded Governor Jared Polis’ and the Legislature’s inclusion of up to $50 million in Colorado’s stimulus package for water-specific projects, including watershed restoration, drought recovery and management, and additional support for projects outlined in the state’s water plan. The stimulus funds will invest in communities and put people to work while supporting Colorado’s water security, healthy rivers, and watersheds.

The package includes a one-time allocation of $10 million to $20 million for the completion of projects helping to meet Colorado’s current and future river health and water supply needs, examples of which can be found here. An additional $10 million to $25 million is allocated to watershed restoration following the devastating 2020 wildfire season. These types of projects help prevent runoff in previously burned areas, keeping drinking water supplies and wildlife habitat safe, while creating jobs. Additionally, $2 million to $5 million will be directed specifically toward farmers and ranchers to assist in drought response and preparation, as 99% of the state grapples with drought conditions unlikely to be rectified by winter snowpack.

In response to the release of The Colorado Recovery Plan and its prioritization of water funding, the Water for Colorado coalition issued the following statement:

“We are encouraged to see that statewide water and river projects, watershed health, and drought response are priorities in Colorado’s stimulus package. By elevating water priorities and funding, Governor Polis and House and Senate leaders follow the consistent will of voters across Colorado and emphasize the importance of investing in water as part of Colorado’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. With this crucial influx of state funding, we will also be better equipped to continue working together to increase resilience to a changing climate. We look forward to working with the Legislature and governor to maximize the amount and impact of these dollars.”

About the Water for Colorado Coalition

The Water for Colorado coalition is a group of nine organizations dedicated to ensuring our rivers support everyone who depends on them, working toward resilience to climate change, planning for sustained and more severe droughts, and enabling every individual in Colorado to have a voice and the opportunity to take action to advocate for sustainable conservation-based solutions for our state’s water future. The community of organizations that make up the Water for Colorado Coalition represent diverse perspectives and share a commitment to protecting Colorado’s water future to secure a reliable water supply for the state and for future generations.

Annual #RioGrande State of the Basin Symposium March 20, 2021

CLick here for all the inside skinny and to register:

Join this annual community conversation about our water, threats & opportunities! Engage & learn how you can help sustain the agriculture, environment & economy of the San Luis Valley. This virtual event is free & open to the public.

#Colorado Establishes Water Equity Task Force — @ColoradoDNR

The difference between the terms equality equity and liberation illustrated. Credit: Shrehan Lynch https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340777978_The_A-Z_of_Social_Justice_Physical_Education_Part_1

Here’s the release from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (Chris Arend and Sara Leonard):

Colorado Establishes Water Equity Task Force
Task Force will help state better understand existing equity, diversity and inclusivity challenges involving Colorado water issues and inform the Colorado Water Plan

Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Dan Gibbs, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources announced today the establishment of a Water Equity Task Force to better understand existing equity, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) challenges in Colorado water issues and inform the Colorado Water Plan.

“In Colorado, water is the lifeblood of our state and critical for our economy, agriculture, wildlife and environment. This Task Force is another important piece in creating a Colorado for all and will inform our Colorado Water Plan by ensuring that future efforts in planning for Colorado’s water future are increasingly inclusive,” said Governor Polis. “I want to thank Director Gibbs and the Water Conservation Board for their leadership on these efforts and look forward to the work ahead.”

The 2005 Water for the 21st Century Act (HB 05-1177) ushered in a new area of regionally inclusive and collaborative water planning. That spirit was further codified in the 2015 Colorado Water Plan, which ensured that all water uses in Colorado are interconnected and of equal value. At the same time, Colorado has a broad and diverse populace who are not always represented in local stakeholder groups and who need to be engaged in the forthcoming Colorado Water Plan update (set for completion in 2022).

“2020 has highlighted the need to fundamentally address deeper societal issues – including equity in water policy decisions,” said Dan Gibbs, Executive Director, Colorado Department Natural Resources. “This Task Force will build on the Governor’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Executive Order and efforts to build a climate equity structure; it is time to similarly create a water equity framework that can inform the Water Plan update.”

The Water Equity Task Force, managed by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, will bring together a group of 20 diverse stakeholders to meet over the next year to draft a set of concepts for consideration in the Colorado Water Plan update by the end of March 2022. The group will plan and develop a public workshop tentatively set for late 2021 to incorporate additional partners and voices to this effort. Details will be posted on the engagecwcb.org webpage.

“The Colorado Water Plan update will build on lessons learned, be more accessible, and will identify bold actions. I strongly support including equity considerations into our water planning to ensure that our efforts become more inclusive, welcoming, and communicative on a range of issues,” added Rebecca Mitchell, Colorado Water Conservation Board Director.

Members of the appointed Task Force include:

The 20-person Water Equity Task Force geographically represents the the legislatively defined nine basin regions across Colorado (representing each of the eight major river basins as well as the Denver metro area).

The membership includes nine water-experienced stakeholders with insights into Colorado’s current water planning efforts and basin roundtable structure, two members representing Colorado’s federally recognized Native American Tribes, the Southern Ute and the Ute Mountain Ute tribes, and nine members representing community leaders not traditionally engaged in water issues.

#Colorado Corn Spring Forum Webinar, March 24, 2021

Corn sprouting. Photo credit: Colorado Corn

Click here for all the inside skinny.

Join us on March 24, 2021 for an afternoon Spring Forum Webinar to discuss what’s new in the corn world! We will be hearing from a great panel of speakers on global and local markets, have a pesticide update, see a presentation on corn marketing and finish up with updates on research projects the CCAC has invested in.

12:00-1:15pm: Welcome and Panel Discussion on global and local markets with Reece Cannady, Manager of Global Trade for the U.S. Grains Council; Nick Leiding, Senior Merchandiser for West Plains LLC; Joe Schuele, Vice President of Communications for the U.S. Meat Export Federation and Chris Allen, Vice President of Dairy Marketing and Economic Analysis, Dairy Farmers of America
1:15-1:30pm: Annual Review with Jeremy Fix, President, CCAC and Nicholas Colglazier, Executive Director, CCAC
1:30-2:00pm: Pesticide Update with Lanny Huston, Certified Crop Adviser
2:00-2:15pm: Break
2:15-3:15pm: Corn Marketing with Dr. Brent Young, Agricultural Business Management Economist with Colorado State University Extension
3:15-4:15pm: Research Project Reports with Reza Kashavarz, Ph.D. and Chad Godsey, Ph.D.

BONUS: If you attend the full webinar on March 24 and are a corn producer in Colorado, you can attend a Pesticide Applicator Workshop with Mountain West PEST on March 25 for free! This is a live online core credit training via Zoom Webinars.

To learn more about our speakers and their topics CCAC webinar, please visit https://coloradocorn.com/event/spring-forum-2021/ or you can register here.

E-mail media@coloradocorn.com for more information.

2020 Report on the Health of #Colorado’s Forests — @CSFS_Outreach

2020 Report on the Health of Colorado’s Forests cover

Click here to read the report:

The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) published its annual forest health report today, highlighting the current conditions of forests across Colorado and how the agency is improving the health of the state’s forests in the wake of historic wildfires.

After a devastating wildfire season, the report highlights the growing need to increase forest management across the state.

It also takes a regional look at forest health, offering statistics, insect and disease trends, and successes in forest management specific to four quadrants of the state.

As always, the report also offers a statewide outlook on trends in insect and disease activity in Colorado’s forests, as well as a look at the carbon storage problem in our state’s forests.

“Last year reminded us how important our forests are, as Coloradans escaped to forested areas in their communities and wildlands for tranquility, peace and a place to recreate and exercise,” said Mike Lester, state forester and director of the CSFS.

“Colorado’s forests are experiencing many challenges, from longer fire seasons to ongoing drought to more people living in the wildland-urban interface. In this report, we take a look at what is needed to protect the many benefits our forests provide in the face of these challenges – and what the Colorado State Forest Service is doing to address them.”

The 2020 Report on the Health of Colorado’s Forests focuses on “Protecting Our Future After a Historic Wildfire Year.” Key takeaways from the report include:

Living with Wildfire
The forest management needed to reduce wildfire risk to residents, lands, water supplies and economies is not happening fast enough. Colorado is primed to face the same types of uncharacteristic wildfires as last year unless an increase in the pace and scale of forest management is made a statewide priority, work is done more quickly and the buildup of beetle-killed and living fuels is addressed across the landscape in areas that can be accessed.

Carbon and Climate
Despite encompassing over 24 million acres, Colorado’s forests emit more carbon than they store. Our state is one of the five worst Lower 48 states in forest carbon emissions by some estimates. Colorado is contributing to a global problem, partly because our trees are not as healthy as they could be. Colorado’s forests need to be healthy in order to store carbon and mitigate climate change.

Insects and Disease
The spruce beetle remains the most damaging forest pest in Colorado. The report details the state’s top forest insects and diseases – and how bark beetles may affect wildfire behavior. The report also contains a map of where forests affected by spruce and mountain pine beetles overlap with the burn perimeters of last year’s wildfires.

FRWRM Grants
The Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation Grant Program continues to be a critical source of funding to address forest health issues on a local level. The report offers an example of how a state grant helped a community in Colorado Springs successfully mitigate its wildfire risk prior to the Bear Creek Fire in November.

Regional Project Highlights
Northeast Area

The CSFS is working to keep in check a hyperactive invasive species that is pushing out native vegetation, degrading wildlife habitat and draining water at Jackson Lake State Park and the nearby Andrick Ponds and Jackson Lake state wildlife areas. The CSFS is removing about half of the Russian olives that line picnic areas, campsites and hunting spots.

Southeast Area
Last year at Lake Pueblo State Park – one of the most popular state parks in Colorado with annual visitors exceeding 2.4 million – CSFS foresters assessed 191 trees over 200 acres of land to help keep park visitors safer. They focused on trees along trails and in campground areas, tagging those that posed safety concerns for mitigation by Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Southwest Area
While time seemed to slow down for many last year with stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, foresters in Gunnison County were in a rush to contain an outbreak of another kind ̶ the mountain pine beetle in the Taylor Canyon area. Had the beetle continued to increase populations at a rapid pace within lodgepole pine tree stands in this area, the risk of a catastrophic wildfire in the forest would greatly increase.

Northwest Area
In the southeast corner of Jackson County, the CSFS is improving the forest landscape at Owl Mountain while at the same time bolstering revenue for the timber industry. Despite a declining wood products industry in the state, the CSFS is helping sustain this local economy in northwest Colorado through a 376-acre project that is creating jobs for loggers and timber mills and generating revenue for state and federal agencies through a timber sale.

Each year, the forest health report provides information to the Colorado General Assembly and residents of Colorado about the health and condition of forests across the state. Information for the report is derived from an annual aerial forest health survey by the CSFS and U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, as well as field inspections, CSFS contacts with forest landowners and special surveys.

Copies of the 2020 report are available at all CSFS field offices. A PDF of the report and interactive maps of insect and disease activity are available at https://csfs.colostate.edu/forest-management/forest-health-report/.