R.I.P. David Crosby: “Eight Miles High”

David Crosby performing. By Christopher Michel – Crosby, Stills & Nash!, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24809958

Click the link to read the obituary on the Rolling Stone website (Jon Dolan). Here’s an excerpt:

Croz was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of both the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, and Nash

Crosby was a founding member of the Byrds, playing guitar and contributing harmony vocals to many of their most enduring songs, including “Eight Miles High,” “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” Shortly after being forced out of the group due to personality conflicts with frontman Roger McGuinn, he formed the supergroup Crosby, Stills, and Nash with Buffalo Springfield’s Stephen Stills and Graham Nash of the Hollies. The trio – which became a quartet in 1969 when Neil Young joined their ranks – played a major role in the development of folk-rock, country-rock and the emergent “California sound” that dominated rock radio throughout the mid-Seventies. Croz wrote many of their most beloved tunes, including “Almost Cut My Hair,” “Long Time Gone” and “Deja Vu.”


“David was fearless in life and in music” — Graham Nash


In 1964, he joined a band called the Jet Set, consisting of Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark. They changed their name to the Beefeaters, and then the Byrds. Crosby’s gorgeous harmonizing, heard on hits like the Bob Dylan cover “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” was an essential component in the Byrds’ folk-rock sound…Crosby and Stephen Stills, who had recently disbanded Buffalo Springfield, began writing songs together in 1968. They were soon joined by Nash, who had just quit the Hollies, and the trio performed together for the first time at the L.A. home of Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas. Their self-titled 1969 debut was a hit, producing the classic single “Suite: Judy Blues Eyes,” about Judy Collins…Adding Neil Young later that year, the quartet played their second gig at Woodstock, in front of nearly 500,000 people, announcing the arrival of one of rock’s first — and greatest — supergroups.

#Drought news January 19, 2023: Heavy precipitation helped erase areas of abnormal dryness in parts of #WA, #OR, W. #WY, W. #Colorado, #AZ and #NM

Click on a thumbnail graphic to view a gallery of drought data from the US Drought Monitor website.

Click the link to go to the US Drought Monitor website Here’s an excerpt:

This Week’s Drought Summary

An atmospheric river brought heavy rain and high-elevation snow across part of the West, leading to drought improvements in California, the Pacific Northwest, the northern Rockies and the Great Basin. A band of heavy rainfall, combined with severe weather, impacted the Southeast, leading to areas of drought improvement in Georgia. Meanwhile, persistent dryness led to the expansion of drought in the Carolinas. Drought in the High Plains remains largely unchanged; much of the excess moisture is tied up in snowpack and its effects on soil moisture and groundwater recharge remain to be seen. Drought expanded across parts of the South where short-term moisture deficits on top of longer-term drought continue to build…

High Plains

Much of the High Plains remained in a holding pattern last week. Areas that received abundant snowfall over the Water Year are slow to make improvements due to the long-term nature of drought in the region. Until spring melt shows verified evidence of soil moisture and groundwater recharge, it will be difficult to tell how much effect snow has had on drought conditions. Severe (D2) drought improved in eastern North Dakota, which has received 16 to 20 inches of snow this season. No areas deteriorated significantly, except for areas of abnormal dryness (D0) in South Dakota and Colorado…

Colorado Drought Monitor one week change map ending January 17, 2023.


The long-term drought continues across California, the Great Basin and parts of the Pacific Northwest. However, a barrage of atmospheric river events – streams of moisture in the atmosphere that transport water vapor from the tropics – has reduced the drought intensity over the past few weeks. In California, 1-category improvements were made along the Northern Coast, around the Delta and along the South Coast region. While precipitation over much of the state was over 300% of normal over the previous 2 weeks (2 to 12.5 inches, depending on location), deficits have been years in the making. While this last round of rain has helped return smaller reservoirs to the historical averages, many of the larger reservoirs still remain below the historical average for this time of year. Historically, long-term drought is interrupted by a period of abnormally wet weather. However, it’s too early to tell if the wet weather is enough to end the drought. Many other parts of the West also saw improvements to drought and abnormally dry areas. In Oregon, 1-category improvements were made to extreme (D3) and severe (D2) drought in the southeast and near Klamath County based on above-average snow water equivalent and improvements to long-term indicators such as 6- to 24-month precipitation and shallow groundwater. In Idaho, severe (D2) and moderate (D1) drought improved where precipitation deficits over the past 12 months and streamflows show improvement. In Utah, areas of D3 and D2 improved based on precipitation in excess of 300% of normal (3 to 10 inches, depending on location) over the last 30 days and its resulting effect on streamflows, soil moisture, and groundwater. Heavy precipitation helped erase areas of abnormal dryness in parts of Washington, Oregon, western Wyoming, western Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. The only places in the West seeing an expansion of drought were Oregon and Colorado. In Oregon, D1 was introduced in the south Willamette Valley and central Oregon Cascades and D1 and D2 expanded in the north-central part of the state. These expansions were in response to below-normal water-year-to date precipitation on top of longer-term deficits and groundwater impacts…


Much of Oklahoma and Texas missed out on this week’s precipitation events, resulting in the expansion of drought. In Oklahoma, temperatures averaged 10 to 13 degrees above normal over the previous 2 weeks while precipitation has been less than 50% of normal over the past 4 months. Extreme (D3) drought expanded in response to well-below-normal (10th percentile or lower) measurements of streamflow, groundwater and soil moisture conditions. Texas also saw a swath of degradations from the north-central region to South Texas where short-term moisture deficits, on top of longer-term drought, have continued to build, and streamflow, soil moisture and groundwater levels range from below (10th to 24th percentile) to well below normal (10th percentile or lower). In the eastern part of the region, last week’s rainfall erased lingering areas of abnormal dryness…

Looking Ahead

The National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center forecast for the remainder of the week (valid January 18 – January 20) calls for a winter storm to bring freezing rain and snowfall to the High Plains and Upper Midwest. To the southeast, showers and thunderstorms are expected with localized areas of heavy rainfall. Chances will increase for a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain along the East Coast as the storm system moves into the northeast on Thursday. Much of the southern U.S. can expect unseasonably warm temperatures. Meanwhile, another storm system is expected to move southeastward through the Pacific Northwest into the Northern Rockies, the Great Basin, California and the Desert Southwest, bringing rain and snow at lower elevations and heavier mountain snow. Moving into next week (valid January 21 – January 25), the forecast calls for a storm system to track from the central Plains to the Northeast, bringing strong winds and wintry weather to the northern regions and rain to the south. At 8 – 14 days, the Climate Prediction Center Outlook (valid January 25 – January 31) calls for below-normal temperatures over most of the country except for the Northeast, Southeast and Alaska. The Northeast can expect near-normal temperatures, while the Southeast and Alaska have the greatest probability of warmer-than-normal temperatures. Most of the U.S. can expect near- to slightly above-normal precipitation. Only the Pacific Northwest and northern Minnesota have increased odds for below-normal precipitation.

US Drought Monitor one week change map ending January 17, 2023.

Interior Assistant Secretary Trujillo Highlights Bipartisan Infrastructure Law #Drought Resilience Investments in #Colorado: $5 million investment in Prairie Waters Projects to expand water supplies in #Aurora #SouthPlatteRiver

Click the link to read the article on the Department of Interior website:

Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo wrapped up a multi-day visit to Colorado today, where she highlighted investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act in drought resilience.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates $8.3 billion for Bureau of Reclamation water infrastructure projects over the next five years to advance drought resilience and expand access to clean water for families, farmers, and wildlife. The investment will repair aging water delivery systems, secure dams, complete rural water projects, protect aquatic ecosystems and fulfill Indian Water Rights Settlements. The Inflation Reduction Act is investing another $4 billion to address the worsening crisis. Combined these two initiatives represent the largest investments in climate resilience in the nation’s history and provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the work of the Interior Department.

UV pretreatment Peter D. Binney Purification Facility.

Today [January 13, 2023] , she joined Congressman Jason Crow, Colorado Department of Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg, and Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman to tour the Binney Water Treatment facility in Aurora to celebrate a recent $5 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will allow the city to expand the Prairie Waters Project (PWP), securing more clean, reliable water. The funding is part of $84 million announced last month from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to advance innovative drought resilience efforts.

The City of Aurora constructed the PWP after the severe drought in 2002 to improve drought resiliency. The project is an innovative potable reuse system, which captures and treats river water to provide up to 10 million gallons of clean water to Aurora residents per day. With Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, the City will expand the PWP by constructing a second radial well and pump station and increasing the overall water recovery capacity by 4,500 acre-feet annually.

On Thursday, Assistant Secretary Trujillo spoke at the Four States Irrigation Council Annual Meeting to highlight how investments from both laws will support western communities. While in Colorado, Assistant Secretary Trujillo also visited with staff at the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Fort Collins Science Center and at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, Colorado. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $510.7 million over the next five year to advance scientific innovation through integrated mapping of critical minerals that power many household appliances and clean energy technologies and through a $167 million investment for the USGS Energy and Minerals Research Facility in Golden, Colorado.

Assessing the seasonal evolution of snow depth spatial variability and scaling in complex mountain terrain — USGS #snowpack

View of the Bridger Range looking south from the summit of Sacagawea Peak. By Rperry99 at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31376982

Click the link to access the article on the USGS website (Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center):

Dynamic natural processes govern snow distribution in mountainous environments throughout the world. Interactions between these different processes create spatially variable patterns of snow depth across a landscape. Variations in accumulation and redistribution occur at a variety of spatial scales, which are well established for moderate mountain terrain. However, spatial patterns of snow depth variability in steep, complex mountain terrain have not been fully explored due to insufficient spatial resolutions of snow depth measurement. Recent advances in uncrewed aerial systems (UASs) and structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetry provide an opportunity to map spatially continuous snow depths at high resolutions in these environments. Using UASs and SfM photogrammetry, we produced 11 snow depth maps at a steep couloir site in the Bridger Range of Montana, USA, during the 2019–2020 winter. We quantified the spatial scales of snow depth variability in this complex mountain terrain at a variety of resolutions over 2 orders of magnitude (0.02 to 20 m) and time steps (4 to 58 d) using variogram analysis in a high-performance computing environment. We found that spatial resolutions greater than 0.5 m do not capture the complete patterns of snow depth spatial variability within complex mountain terrain and that snow depths are autocorrelated within horizontal distances of 15 m at our study site. The results of this research have the potential to reduce uncertainty currently associated with snowpack and snow water resource analysis by documenting and quantifying snow depth variability and snowpack evolution on relatively inaccessible slopes in complex terrain at high spatial and temporal resolutions.

#Arizona city cuts off a neighborhood’s #water supply amid #drought — The Washington Post #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Rio Verde Foothills. Photo credit: VRBO

Click the link to read the article on The Washington Post website (Joshua Partlow). Here’s an excerpt:

Some living here amid the cactus and creosote bushes see themselves as the first domino to fall as the Colorado River tips further into crisis. On Jan. 1, the city of Scottsdale, which gets the majority of its water from the Colorado River, cut off Rio Verde Foothills from the municipal water supply that it has relied on for decades. The result is a disorienting and frightening lack of certainty about how residents will find enough water as their tanks run down in coming weeks, with a bitter political feud impacting possible solutions.

The city’s decision — and the failure to find a dependable alternative — has forced water haulers like [John] Hornewer to scour distant towns for any available gallons. About a quarter of the homes in Rio Verde Foothills, a checkerboard of one-acre lots linked by dirt roads in an unincorporated part of Maricopa County, rely on water from a municipal pipe hauled by trucks. Since the cutoff, their water prices have nearly tripled. The others have wells, though many of these have gone dry as the water table has fallen by hundreds of feet in some places after years of drought [ed. and over pumping]…

This grim [Colorado River] forecast prompted Scottsdale to warn Rio Verde Foothills more than a year ago that their water supply would be cut off. City officials stressed their priority was to their own residents and cast Rio Verde Foothills as a boomtown of irresponsible development, fed by noisy water trucks rumbling over city streets. “The city cannot be responsible for the water needs of a separate community especially given its unlimited and unregulated growth,” the city manager’s office wrote in December…Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega was unmoved when his Rio Verde Foothills neighbors cried foul.

“There is no Santa Claus,” he said in a statement last month. “The megadrought tells us all — water is not a compassion game.”

For the past several years, some residents have sought to form their own water district that would allow the community to buy water from elsewhere in the state and import what they need, more than 100 acre-feet of water per year. Another group prefers enlisting a Canadian private utility company, Epcor, to supply the community, as it does with neighboring areas. But political disputes have so far foiled both approaches. The water district plan — which supporters say would give them long-term access to a reliable source of water — was rejected in August by the Maricopa County supervisors. The supervisor for the area, Thomas Galvin, said he opposed adding a new layer of government to a community that prizes its freedom, particularly one run by neighbors with the authority to condemn property to build infrastructure. [Thomas] Galvin preferred Epcor, a utility that, if approved, would be regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Key takeaways from the omnibus spending package: What’s in it for rivers? — @AmericanRivers

The Rappahannock River | Virginia. Photo credit: American Rivers

Click the link to read the article on the American Rivers website (Jaime Sigaran):

On December 20, 2022 appropriators released the highly anticipated fiscal year 2023 omnibus spending package which includes modest environmental and conservation funding increases.

In the remaining days of 2022, we’re happy to share some important wins for rivers – including funding for critical clean water and river restoration programs, as well as new Wild and Scenic River designations. While there’s much to be thankful for, the bill still has a number of shortcomings. In this blog, we break down the funding and policy highlights. 

On December 20, appropriators released the highly anticipated fiscal year 2023 omnibus spending package which includes modest environmental and conservation funding increases. Overall, the bill would fund the government at $1.7 trillion for most of 2023 – $858 billion toward defense and $772.5 billion in domestic spending.  

The omnibus spending bill funds federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Interior (DOI). The EPA received a $576 million increase from current levels to support the agency’s science, environmental, and enforcement work. The bill also includes $14.7 billion for DOI programs, an increase of $574 million above fiscal year 2022. 

These funding increases support river restoration and river health goals across the country.  

Key Takeaways From The Omnibus Spending Package: 

  • General increases to EPA, DOI, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
  • Additional supplemental funding for National Park Service to restore 500 of the 3,000 staff positions that have been lost over the past decade 
  • $40 billion for disaster recovery and drought 
  • $600 million to address water issues in Jackson, Mississippi. 
  • $682 million for EPA’s geographic program including $92 million for Chesapeake Bay Program and $368 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 
  • $1.67 billion for EPA’s Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds 
  • $50 million for EPA’s Sewer Overflow & Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program 
  • $65 million for Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART grants 


AgencyProgramFY 23 Rec. from 
American Rivers
Omnibus Spending bill 12/20/22About the Program
EPAReducing Lead in Drinking Water$100M$25MReduces the concentration of lead in drinking water.
EPASewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants Program $280M$50M Manages combined sewer overflows, sanitary sewer overflows, and stormwater flows. 
USBRDam Safety Program $200M $210.2M Ensures Reclamation dams do not present unreasonable risk
USBRKlamath Project $25M $34.8M Provides funding to improve water supplies in the Klamath River Basin. 
USBRLower CO Operations Program $45M $46.8M Implements the Drought Contingency Plan and the Lower Colorado Multi-species Conservation Program. 
USBRYakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project $30M $50.3M Enhances streamflows and fish passage for anadromous fish in the Yakima River Basin. 
CorpsUpper MS River Restoration $55M $55M Ensures the viability and vitality of Upper Mississippi River fish and wildlife. 
CorpsEngineering with Nature $12.5M $20M Aligns natural and engineering processes to deliver economic, environmental, and social benefits 
FEMAFloodplain Mgmt. & Mapping $200M $206M Improves floodplain management, develops flood hazard zone maps, and educates on the risk of floods 
FEMANational Dam Safety Program $92M $9.65M Reduces the risks to human life, property, and the environment from dam related hazards. 

Policy Wins for Wild and Scenic Rivers, Western Water 

In addition to the funding noted above, American Rivers is very pleased to share that key provisions supporting river restoration are advancing. We applaud the hard work championed by Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and many others on the Hill to make this omnibus spending bill a bipartisan effort. Though we are disheartened that we didn’t get to see the bipartisan, bicameral public lands and water package, we can celebrate two new Wild and Scenic River designations: the York River in Maine and Housatonic River in Connecticut. Together these bills would designate more than 70 river miles. Two Wild and Scenic River studies from Florida were also added. 

Upper Mississippi River, IA. Photo credit: American Rivers

Several western water bills made it into the omnibus spending bill which will improve drought resilience, boost water supply, and support wetland conservation. For example, the Colorado River Basin Conservation Act (S. 4579/H.R. 9173) would allow DOI to continue to partner with Upper and Lower Basin states alike, to keep more water in the Colorado River and its reservoirs, by incentivizing voluntary water conservation projects at the user level.  

Shortcomings in the Omnibus Spending Bill 

The omnibus spending bill falls short of meeting bold river health goals that are grounded in advancing scientific efforts, supporting enforcement, and directing growth in river communities that could have benefited from additional funding. While we noticed gains in WaterSMART, Dam Safety Program, Yakima, and Klamath Projects under Bureau of Reclamation, American Rivers noted less than optimal funding levels for the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund in California and the Columbia and Snake River Salmon Recovery Project in the Pacific Northwest. 

Ansel Adams The Tetons and the Snake River (1942) Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the National Park Service. (79-AAG-1). By Ansel Adams – This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=118192

The Army Corps of Engineers programs such as Engineering with Nature, Floodplain Management Services, Sustainable Rivers Program, and the Upper Mississippi River Restoration programs did not suffer significant cuts. Nor did NOAA programs specifically Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund. However, we acknowledge small reductions in funding to the Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Program (RiskMAP). 

Another item American Rivers noticed is large money carve outs for “Community Project Funding Items” also known as earmarks. When taken out of the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRFs) capitalization grants, it leaves the EPA programs with less than half of what these programs received in Fiscal Year 2021. The long-term viability of the SRFs is in question and American Rivers will work hard to ensure its success in future years so high-priority projects are not delayed or increase the risk to public health and the environment. 

We’re disappointed the sweeping omnibus legislation did not boost more funding to protection, restoration, and enhancement of fish and wildlife, but are hopeful that the focus in drought resilience in the Southwest, water infrastructure in Jackson, Mississippi, as well as modest increases to Corps, DOI, NOAA and EPA programs will continue to place a focus on water quality and quantity.