#Colorado outdoor recreation industry = $28 billion per year economic impact

Bicycling the Colorado National Monument, Grand Valley in the distance via Colorado.com

From The Denver Business Journal (Monica Mendoza):

Outdoor recreation in Colorado is a $28 billion-a-year industry with more than 70 percent of the state’s residents participating every year.

That’s according to a report today from the Outdoor Industry Association, a Boulder-based trade association and title sponsor of the twice-a-year Outdoor Retailer trade shows.

Their report says that 229,000 jobs are tied to the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado, and all of that recreating contributes $2 billion in state and local tax revenue…

The report, which was completed by Florida-based Southwick Associates, says that the 229,000 jobs tied to the outdoor recreation industry meant $10 billion in wages and salaries.

The firm tracks annual spending by Americans in pursuit of outdoor recreation in 10 activity categories, including camping, fishing, bicycling, water sports, hunting and snow sports. It will release reports on all 50 states July 26 at the summer Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah…

Across the country, outdoor recreation in a $887 billion industry creating 7.6 million jobs, according to Southwick Associates.

Outdoor recreation is a powerful economic sector, said Luis Benitez, director of Colorado’s Office of Outdoor Recreation. In comparison, the oil, gas and mining sector had 58,000 jobs in Colorado…

The report was commissioned to increase advocacy for government programming on outdoor recreation.

For example, in Colorado, the report is calling on lawmakers to develop and plan urban areas in a way that means every citizen can get outside and recreate within 30 minutes of their home and support policies that encourage people to start an outdoor recreation business.

Edwards said the state-by-state reports are meant to jumpstart discussions with policy and lawmakers in hopes that outdoor recreation is top of mind when doing urban planning or renewal and when recruiting new businesses to the state.

@UNC_Colorado Receives $1 Million Grant for Inclusive STEM Initiative

Photo credit: @CoIIegeCampuses

Here’s the release from the University of Northern Colorado:

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute awarded the University of Northern Colorado a five-year, $1 million grant to develop a classroom model and establish a new center to engage more students, from all backgrounds, in the sciences.

UNC is one of 24 colleges and universities selected out of 511 that submitted pre-proposals in the first round of the Inclusive Excellence initiative sponsored by HHMI, the largest private, nonprofit supporter of science education in the United States.

As part of the award, UNC faculty will research student experiences in their STEM classrooms to better understand the conditions that support intrinsic motivation among students. Faculty will then analyze the data and implement instructional practices to help achieve student success —in particular among STEM majors from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, families in which the student is the first to attend college, low socioeconomic backgrounds in addition to students who transfer, or are military veterans or who identify as LGBTQ.

One of the project’s goals is to increase retention and graduation rates of these traditionally underserved students. The grant will also establish the new Center of Inclusive Excellence in STEM, which will provide infrastructure and leadership to continue STEM faculty development and expand this professional development across campus.

“Our goal is for this work to lead to a culture at UNC where STEM inclusive excellence is the norm and where conversations about improving conditions for intrinsic student motivation and success are commonplace.” said the grant’s principal investigator Susan Keenan, professor and director of the School of Biological Sciences.

HHMI expects that the Inclusive Excellence grants will produce useful models for other schools that might share similar contexts and challenges.

For more about the initiative, click here.

About the Grant

  • Project Title: Improving Classroom Culture to Support Intrinsic Motivation as a Pathway to STEM Inclusive Excellence
  • Grant award: $1 million, September 2017-August 2022
  • Funding Agency: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Researchers: Project Director Susan Keenan (professor and director of Biological Sciences), Co-Project Directors, Lori Reinsvold (acting director of UNC’s Mathematics and Science Teaching Institute) and Jodie Novak (professor of Mathematics), and Investigator Cassendra Bergstrom (assistant professor of Psychological Sciences)
  • Of note: Over multiple stages of peer-review by scientists and science educators, HHMI identified 24 schools out of 511 that applied for Inclusive Excellence 2017 awards.
  • Oil and gas operators deliver inspection data to the COGCC

    Oil and gas development on the Roan via Airphotona

    From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):

    Energy companies have inspected thousands of local oil and gas flowlines near homes and provided the state with an inventory of the lines following an order to complete those tasks, and now face a second deadline to test those lines.

    The companies are responding to a directive by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission after investigators determined that an April explosion that killed two people in a home in Firestone was caused by gas emitting from a flowline from a nearby oil and gas well. The line had been abandoned but never was disconnected from the well or capped, and was somehow severed near the home. Flowlines connect oil and gas wells to tanks, larger gathering lines that collect gas from multiple wells, or other equipment.

    Based on a directive from Gov. John Hickenlooper, the oil and gas commission required that by Tuesday of this week, companies inspect any flowlines and other pipelines within 1,000 feet of a building unit and provide the commission with flowline inventory and location data.

    Companies also had to take steps including making sure that all flowlines not in use, regardless of distance from buildings, are marked and capped.

    Under the second phase of the order, with a June 30 deadline, companies must pressure-test all lines within 1,000 of buildings, and take steps including properly abandoning or removing any lines not in use, or putting them back in use after testing them.

    Laramie Energy, with close to 1,300 producing wells in western Colorado’s Piceance Basin, identified about 900 flowlines closer than 1,000 feet from buildings. Local Laramie official Chis Clark noted by email that the definition of flowlines under the order “was very broad and included lines which normally would not be accounted for such as water lines and low pressure dump lines.”

    He said that in addition to a gas flowline, a typical well may have an additional four to six lines “for produced liquids, fresh water, fuel gas or chemical treatment lines.”

    He said of 899 lines identified under the inventory, 43 will be abandoned or removed by the June 30 deadline, and the rest pressure-tested.

    A number of the Laramie lines within 1,000 feet of buildings are in the Collbran or Rifle areas. But Bob Hea, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Laramie, said the company’s holdings are still generally in fairly rural areas, and not near towns.

    Terra Energy Partners submitted inventories to the state Tuesday on more than 2,700 flowline segments meeting the criteria for building proximity under the first phase of the state’s order.

    Terra is the largest gas producer in the Piceance Basin, operating several thousand wells.

    Complying with the state’s order has been no small task for Terra or Laramie.

    “The large quantity of flowlines in our inventory required a substantial effort on the part of Terra employees to meet the deadline and was only possible by beginning with an already well-maintained database,” said Terra spokesperson Susan Alvillar.

    She said Terra has more than 15 crews working to comply with the phase-two requirements.

    “We meet challenges from a regulatory standpoint every day in our work and this effort is no different,” she said.

    Hea said Laramie has hired contractors to help it with its compliance effort. He said the company began work within a day or two after the order came out and worked some long days to meet the first deadline.

    He said the second phase will be a different kind of challenge. The company ordered digital pressure gauges that can record data, which will help it in carrying out pressure tests and providing results to the state. Doing the tests will probably involve an even greater workload than the first phase of the state’s order did, he said.

    “Some lines require 15-minute tests, some lines require one-hour tests, and you can only do so many at a time,” he said.

    He said the first-phase work turned up no surprises with the company’s lines. Most are fairly new, and either were put in by Laramie, or involved wells that it purchased from companies whose local employees it ended up hiring, so it already knew about most of the lines.

    Don Simpson, a vice president with Ursa Resources, said it’s already nearly finished with the second phase of the required flowline work.

    “We found no problems with any of our pipelines or anything like that,” he said.

    He didn’t know offhand how many of its lines fell within the 1,000-foot building threshold. Ursa has fewer wells than some other local energy companies but has drilled closer to homes in places such as the Battlement Mesa area.

    Much of Ursa’s drilling in that area is fairly new, so it had a lot of its flowlines identified already, Simpson said.

    It also has wells in the Silt area, including ones that it acquired when it bought Antero Resources’ Piceance Basin assets years ago. While some of the Silt-area wells are older, Simpson said Ursa doesn’t have abandoned wells or abandoned flowlines, such as the line at issue in the Firestone explosion.

    Information wasn’t available from the oil and gas commission as of late afternoon Wednesday about the level of compliance by companies with the first phase of the flowline order.