Salazar Center, #Denver Parks and Recreation announce #Colorado State University request for proposals for actionable #climate research

Denver. A pilot program between CSU’s Salazar Center for North American Conservation and Denver Parks and Recreation will make up to $150,000 available to one to two research teams to identify and fund actionable research that support the city’s climate management needs and decision-making. Photo credit: Colorado State University

Click the link to read the release on the Colorado State University website (Shoshanna Dean):

Are you a researcher focused on urban equity and climate resilience? The Salazar Center for North American Conservation, along with Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR), is currently seeking proposals from CSU faculty and research staff to support and advance DPR’s efforts in equitable climate resilience. The goal of this pilot program is to identify and fund actionable research that supports the city’s climate management needs and decision-making.

The Salazar Center’s mission is to accelerate the pace and scale of equitable, innovative, and durable solutions for nature and all people by connecting diverse leaders, communities, and resources across the North American continent. With Denver as a leader in climate action, this partnership will lead to durable natural climate solutions through a health-equity lens to improve the well-being of Denver’s landscapes and people. This program aims to bridge the gap between innovative CSU researchers and the city of Denver to advance solutions for meaningful work in urban conservation.

Core themes

The Center invites proposals that address one of four core research themes, developed in collaboration with DPR:

  • Climate impacts on landscapes
  • Native pollinators and climate change
  • Urban tree canopy and climate change
  • Soil carbon sequestration
  • In alignment with the Center and DPR’s programmatic priorities, proposals should also address how the research will support solutions that deliver equitable benefits across Denver’s communities. More information and guiding questions for each theme are available in the complete RFP.

    Funding and Eligibility

    The RFP opens to applications June 30, and proposals are due by August 5; 2022 proposals are to be submitted via the Center’s online application form. This program will make up to $150,000 available and award one to two research teams.

    Any researcher affiliated with CSU may apply as a principal investigator, whether they are pre- or post-tenure, affiliates, or staff with any of the relevant centers, institutes, departments, extension offices, or other campus entities. While non-affiliates may not serve as PI, non-PI members of the research team may come from partner entities external to CSU. Teams that are interdisciplinary and cross-sector in nature, and proposals that include a spatial component and/or utilize GIS data, are encouraged.

    Research funds will be awarded through a competitive process guided by a selection committee comprising staff from the Salazar Center and DPR, as well as CSU experts.

    More information

    Interested applicants can learn more on the Salazar Center’s website, and are encouraged to sign up for an optional informational webinar on July 18 at 12:00pm MT.

    Please contact Jennifer Kovecses with questions:

    #Climate data on top of the world: #Central #Wyoming College students trek to Everest —

    CWC ICCE Everest team member Red Thunder Spoonhunter, with a Northern Arapaho flag, and Adina Scott, engineer with the all-Black Full Circle climbing team, on Everest. (CWC ICCE Everest team)

    Click the link to read the article on the WyoFile website (Katie Klingsporn):

    he alpinist team Full Circle made international headlines when it became the first all-Black expedition to summit Mount Everest in May.

    Full Circle’s accomplishment was widely celebrated. What was lost in much of the coverage, however, was this detail: Five college students from central Wyoming trekked to base camp to help Full Circle test climate sensor technology.

    The Wyoming group, affiliated with the Central Wyoming College’s Interdisciplinary Climate Change Expedition program, included two Eastern Shoshone students, two Northern Arapaho students and one bike shop mechanic who’s the first in his family to go to college.

    Members of the CWC ICCE Everest team hike toward the Himalayas. (CWC ICCE Everest team)

    On the expedition, they met Full Circle’s climbers, tested emerging technology that may provide clearer data on high-altitude climate change and visited communities dealing with impacts of a changing climate. It was eye-opening, said Ryan Towne, the bike mechanic.

    “The communities who are least responsible for climate change do not deserve to bear the brunt of its consequences,” he said. “Whatever we can do, as a school, as a community, to spread awareness for these cultures and their struggles is, you know, all that I can hope for.”

    The young adults also had an adventure of a lifetime touring the vibrant city of Kathmandu, sharing meals with Nepali hosts, hiking into the thin Himalayan air and bonding as friends. They played a role in a historic achievement that felt singular in its own merit.

    “I can say that I, a Native American female, have reached Everest base camp conducting climate change research,” student Jada Antelope wrote about the trip. “For this, I am beyond proud…”

    An Everest expedition arises

    Central Wyoming College’s ICCE program launched in 2014. The undergraduate research program weaves together science and outdoor education skills, and its students have undertaken expeditions to Tanzania (in partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School), the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and the Wind River Range.

    The Everest project started as a nebulous concept and narrowed into focus only a couple months before it took place, said Jacki Klancher, director of instruction and research at CWC’s Alpine Science Institute, who wrangled the expedition. It spawned in part out of Klancher’s relationships with Full Circle members Phil Henderson and James “KG” Kagambi — all three have worked for Lander-based NOLS.

    In conversations with the climbers ahead of their Everest attempt, Klancher said, the concept of a CWC student team came up. “They embraced us,” she said. “And the idea was we work with them to get their electrical engineer help testing some tech that we wanted to test.”

    The concept of beta testing climate sensors, meanwhile, has roots in a NASA National Space Grant Consortium meeting in Jackson Hole in October, where young and promising STEM scientists gathered, Klancher said. That’s where she put out the message that she was seeking a portable climate sensor, something she has been wanting for some time for Alpine Science Institute programs.

    “I was like, ‘y’all, all I want is a portable location-enabled temperature and [relative-humidity] sensor. Can anybody help?’” she said. That led to conversations with scientists from universities like Penn State, as well as the company MeteoTracker, who showed interest in developing prototypes.

    As those conversations evolved and with a green light from Full Circle, Klancher next set out to secure funding and assemble a team. Several funders, such as Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium and Wyoming EPSCoR, backed the project. In selecting students, she first turned to program veterans like Towne and Aidan Darissa Hereford, who had ridden in the bike trek, and Red Thunder Spoonhunter, who was on the Tanzania expedition.

    When Klancher first proposed the expedition, Hereford said, she was reluctant. Hereford was unsure about traveling abroad during a pandemic for one, she said.

    “It seemed pretty scary,” she said. “So I was just debating on it for … about a week. [Then] I thought ‘why not? Just go for it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.’”

    Antelope, who along with Spoonhunter is Northern Arapaho, and Antoine Day, who like Hereford is Eastern Shoshone, rounded out the team.

    Once the team solidified, Klancher and the students scrambled to apply for funding, train for high altitude trekking, expedite passport applications and secure requisite vaccinations with barely any time to spare.

    On April 25, they left Fremont County on the first leg of an enormous journey. In the end, base camp occupied two days of their experience-rich three-week adventure.

    Travel weary and trekking

    After a ride on a triple-decker plane and a long layover in Dubai, the students landed in the teeming city of Kathmandu on April 28, jet-lagged from the 12-hour time difference. They spent a couple days touring temples and negotiating the incessant city traffic before riding a helicopter to the precarious Lukla airport. From Lukla, a carless city roved instead by yaks and trekkers, they set out on foot. They hiked for 10 days, stopping at tea houses, learning Nepali words from their guides and experiencing the countryside one step at a time.

    “It was really surreal,” Hereford said. “And it was really nice to see, like, the villages and see how they live and how things are just really different over there.”

    Jada Antelope perches on a boulder at Everest base camp with the Northern Arapaho flag. (CWC ICCE Everest team)

    Each day was vibrant, Klancher said. “It was spectacular — tea houses and people and culture and the landscape. It felt like we did a month’s worth of living in those 10 days.”

    The expedition wasn’t without trials. The team had to manage a gamut of illnesses — including acute mountain sickness, which felled Hereford — and contend with foul weather.

    Members healthy enough to keep hiking reached base camp on May 9. It was a different world at 17,600 feet, Day said. “Base camp is tent city, tents everywhere,” he said, with constant helicopter traffic overhead.

    There, they met the Full Circle team and hiked to the ice fields. They partnered with Adina Scott, a Full Circle researcher and engineer, to work with the sensor prototypes, and Towne carried one on the trek down.

    After two nights at base camp, the students started the journey home. Full Circle reached the summit of Everest on May 12.

    It was a wild ride. But reminders of home helped bridge the familiar with the foreign, Hereford said. “What I really loved the most was waking up every day and smelling … over here in our community, you know, we burn sweetgrass … and so it smelled like that every morning, but they called that juniper.” One thing that helped her through her altitude sickness, she said, was eating a Nepali version of fry bread.

    Crunching data, telling the tale

    The team returned on May 19. In early June, members were still processing the adventure, and hadn’t yet determined the quality of the data the prototypes collected or the technology’s potential.

    “We were successful in doing what we wanted to do, which was to partner with Full Circle to beta test these prototype units and go, ‘Can these things even do what MeteoTracker says?’” Klancher said.

    Not knowing the answer to that immediately illustrates the long and sometimes painstaking process of science, she said

    Aidan Hereford and Antoine Day on the trek. (CWC ICCE Everest team)

    “So, you know, like people asked, ‘What did you learn?’ It’s like, well, we didn’t solve climate change for all time and save the Nepalese and 1.6 billion people from surface water crises,” Klancher said. Instead, they tested an idea, and will offer feedback in an attempt to improve the devices and ultimately the science, Klancher and Day said.

    It’s “baby steps,” Klancher said, that one day could lead to, for instance, Sherpas carrying the units to gauge high-altitude climate conditions.

    “Did we meet my objectives of diversity, equity, inclusion in STEM? We did,” she said. “Did we educate students and help provide them with professional preparation…? Yes. Did we contribute to climate and water science data and tech? Yes. Did we work on a ton of partnerships…? Yes.

    “And did we have a blast? Yes,” Klancher said. The team was a delight, she said. “These guys just figured it out and laughed so much. …I did not have to do a lot of interpersonal group management … It was kind of the magic group.”

    The students will present on their expedition in September in Riverton, and Day will curate a photography exhibit of images he took later in the fall.

    The Pagosa Area Water & Sanitation District implements Level 1 water-use restrictions — The #PagosaSprings Sun #SanJuanRiver #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

    Click the link to read the release from PAWSD on the Pagosa Springs Sun website (Justin Ramsey):

    Due to current drought conditions and decreasing water supply levels, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) began implementation of Level 1 water-use restrictions last week. Below is an abridged summary of the levels of water-use restrictions. A full and detailed explanation of forthcoming water use restrictions will be mailed to all PAWSD customers. It is expected that all affected customers will become familiar with the requirements and employ the demand reduction mandates so as to preserve the current water supply.

    Copies of the PAWSD Drought Management Plan are available at or at the PAWSD office located at 100 Lyn Ave.

    The Pagosa Area #Water & Sanitation District providing water to #Chama — The #PagosaSprings Sun #SanJuanRiver #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

    Ranch near Chama, New Mexico. By Jeff Vanuga / Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service., Public Domain,

    Click the link to read the article on the The Pagosa Springs Sun website (Josh Pike). Here’s an excerpt:

    The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) is currently providing water for Chama, N.M., with that community facing a water shortage and lack of running water. District Manager Justin Ramsey explained in an interview with The SUN that PAWSD is currently working with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) to provide water for Chama.

    According to Ramsey, DHSEM has a contract with PAWSD for up to 150,000 gallons of water a day for five days, which they are currently drawing from to help provide water for Chama, which is facing extensive water line breakages and extreme water shortages from a lack of running water.
    “I know it’s gonna seem odd ‘cause we just went into drought restrictions, but this is an emergency,” Ramsey said of PAWSD’s involvement. “They have no water … to water their grass and their vegetables, … so we opted to be good neighbors.”

    Ramsey also commented, “We’re trying to get ‘em to take it from … the fill station at [the PAWSD Vista office] and the fill station at Trails so that it’s coming from our San Juan plant. … Once it passes that diversion at San Juan, it’s gone, we don’t have it anyway, so that’s where we’re trying to grab it from. It’s water that would flow by us anyway.”

    Rivers and drought

    Stream flow for the San Juan River on June 29 at approximately 9 a.m. was 402 cubic feet per second (cfs), according to the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) National Water Dashboard. This is down from a recent peak of 911 cfs at 6:30 a.m. on June 27 and up from last week’s reading of 220 cfs at 9 a.m. on June 22.

    Colorado Drought Monitor map June 28, 2022.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Integrated Drought In- formation System (NIDIS) reports that 100 percent of the county is experiencing drought. The NIDIS indicates May 2022 was the 19th driest May in 128 years, with 1.03 fewer inches of precipitation than normal, and with 2022 to date being the sixth driest year in the last 128 years, with 5.22 inches of precipitation less than normal. The NIDIS places the entire county in a severe drought, which the website notes may cause farm- ers to reduce planting, producers to sell cattle and the wildfire season to be extended, among other impacts. The NIDIS also notes that a severe drought is associated with low surface water levels and reduced river flows. The NIDIS also places a portion of the county in an extreme drought…

    The forecast for the area indicates that in the next two weeks, the majority of Archuleta County will be experiencing extreme wet conditions, while the four-week forecast shows the county will be experiencing a mix of extreme wet and exceptionally wet conditions.