Cooling the Yampa River
More trees are always a good starting place when looking at environmental solutions — a principle helping to guide an effort to cool chronically warm water temperatures along a 57-mile stretch of the Yampa River.
Aspen Journalism Water Desk Editor Heather Sackett traveled to Steamboat Springs recently to report a story, appearing in Wednesday’s Steamboat Pilot & Today, about an effort by the local wastewater treatment plant that could see more shade-providing trees planted throughout the watershed. The idea is to help keep the water cool in a place where recreational closures due to high water temperatures in the summer have become a common tool to support ecosystem health. While discharges from the plant are not the culprit for the watershed’s too-warm temperatures, officials are anticipating that state officials will want to see stronger efforts to support healthier water temperatures as part of the plant’s operating permit.
So the city and a group specializing in freshwater quality are looking at a “trading” program that would give the plant credit for wider improvements in the watershed. Check out the story for all the details.
Also this week, our data dashboard is keeping track of river flows, soil moisture and Lake Powell’s decline. Tracking the Curve continues to be our valley’s best resource for keeping tabs on COVID-19.
Thanks for reading and supporting Aspen Journalism.
— Curtis Wackerle, editor
Steamboat looks to new program to address high river temperatures
Water-quality trading on Yampa River and tributaries would create riparian shading
By Heather Sackett | September 28, 2021
Because the river is classified as impaired, city officials expect that when CDPHE issues a new discharge permit for the city’s wastewater-treatment plant, it will include more-stringent water temperature standards.
Data dashboard: Roaring Fork, Crystal rivers keep running below minimum instream flow
Dry soils at Sky Mountain Park and better air quality in Aspen
By Laurine Lassalle | September 28, 2021
• Crystal River at the Dow Fish Hatchery bridge running at 5.8 cfs.
• 2021 began the year with dry soils, which led to decreased runoff and streamflow in the spring.
• Lake Powell surface level drops another foot to 3,546.
Tracking the Curve
Documenting COVID-19 in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties
By Laurine Lassalle | September 28, 2021
Garfield County reported 41 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, Eagle County added 30 cases and Pitkin County reported eight cases.
In ‘Seeing Silence,’ National Geographic photographer Pete McBride documents the changing auditory landscape of the world’s most remote places
“‘I define silence as not void of sound, but void of mechanical sound,’ explained McBride. ‘If you’re immersed in nature, say a penguin colony that’s all squawking and singing, it can be mind numbingly loud in a really beautiful way.’”
Source: aspenpublicradio.org | Read more
Drought forces West to turn to fuels that helped cause it
“Powell sits about 58 feet above the minimum power pool level of 3,490 feet, and every foot of lake decline means about 3 megawatts of lost generating capacity at the lake’s 1.3 gigawatt Glen Canyon Dam. The bureau estimates a 3% chance Powell will dip below power pool in 2022, forcing its turbines to shut down. The likelihood rises to 29% in 2023.”
Source: news.bloomberglaw.com | Read more
Live Ptarmigan Fire updates: Evacuation order issued for upper Angler Mountain near Silverthorne
“‘We don’t want it to continue to move downhill into the housing development where our structures are at. So we’re really trying to work on this flank. The great thing about it is that is predominantly where a lot of the aspen is. We’ve got some grass and sage. So it is an area where we can start to engage the fire a little more aggressively.’”
Source:summitdaily.com | Read more
Glenwood Springs is still dealing with the effects of a long I-70 closure this summer. Federal aid is a lifeline.
“The bigger picture, McCuskey said, is the past couple years have laid bare the need to adapt to growing threats from wildfires and mudslides on local infrastructure like I-70 — threats worsened by climate change, climatologists say.”
Source: coloradosun.com | Read more
‘Suspect’ Pitkin County census count could cost millions
“Preliminary analysis of the geographical census blocks of data within the county indicates that some areas with known populations came in with ‘zero counts’ of residents, others with affordable housing blocks came back with ‘extreme undercounts,’ while two predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods ‘appear to have been undercounted,’ Lackner said Tuesday during the commissioners’ regular weekly work session”
Source: aspentimes.com | Read more
With $150,000 donation, Jackson-area realtors launch housing fund. Some say millions more needed for housing
“$200,000 is a great start, but we have to put a couple zeros behind that if we’re ever going to start effectively addressing our housing problem,” Schechter said. “And the most effective way to do that I can think of is to have a real estate transfer tax.”
Source: jhnewsandguide.com | Read more
Ancient footprints push back date of human arrival in the Americas
“The results, if they hold up to scrutiny, would rejuvenate the scientific debate about how humans first spread across the Americas, implying that they did so at a time when massive glaciers covered much of their path.”
Source: nytimes.com | Read more
The White Sands discovery only confirms what Indigenous people have said all along
“The academy’s interest in pinpointing the precise time and year that humans first set foot on these lands has drawn an immense amount of funding for digs and field sites, published studies and mainstream news stories, all while failing to even feign the slightest interest or concern of Indigenous people, and what we might have to say or think about the ivory tower’s confirmation of our ancestor’s existence.”
Source: hcn.prg | Read more
Michael Bennet, Mitt Romney see the effects of climate change during bipartisan float down Colorado River
“Romney asked about a pipeline moving water from the wet East, maybe from the Great Lakes region. Is it possible? Not really, said Mueller, noting the multi-state compact approved by Congress in 2008 that prevents Great Lake water from leaving the region’s watershed.”
Source: coloradosun.org | Read more
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