Good day and welcome back to The Roundup — which we were excited to announce earlier in the week took home first-place honors in the best newsletter category in the annual Colorado Press Association awards. Building up this weekly newsletter from an automated RSS feed to a channel for deeper engagement with our audience has been one of my favorite aspects of the job since I signed up at Aspen Journalism over two years ago, and we appreciate the positive feedback we get — from you as well as our peers in the business. Three of Aspen Journalism’s news stories, capturing some of our best reporting in 2021, and two of our in-house data visualizations also won awards in the CPA’s Better News Media Contest — a reminder of how lucky we are to be able to do this work in a place we love, thanks to our readers and supporters.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming, Water Desk Editor Heather Sackett’s report from the recent Bureau of Land Management Northwest Resource Advisory Council meeting in Glenwood Springs broke the news that officials have opted to add an extra layer of public outreach to the standard permitting process required under the National Environmental Policy Act, forthcoming for the proposed Wolf Creek reservoir project. The council’s move came amidst speculation that the project, which has a water right allowing 66,700 acre-feet of stored water from the White River near Rangely in Rio Blanco County, will attract its share of controversy. That was a given before the historic challenges facing other reservoirs in the Colorado River basin.
Our Data Dashboard — home to the award-winning data visualization of Laurine Lassalle, AJ’s Data Desk Editor — this week continues keeping tabs on local streamflows, which got a bump from recent rainfall. Tracking the Curve is keeping you up to date not just on new-case incidence rates and hospitalization data, but also when the mobile vaccination bus might be visiting your neighborhood.
As always, thank you for reading, and supporting, Aspen Journalism’s award-winning reporting.
– Curtis Wackerle
Editor and executive director
BLM overseeing process
By Heather Sackett | September 21, 2022
Some pointed out that the Wolf Creek project is sure to get lots of scrutiny and, perhaps, national attention, especially with the current spotlight on the declining reservoirs of the Colorado River system.
Awards announced at a ceremony at Coors Field in Denver on Sept. 17
By Aspen Journalism Staff | September 21, 2022
Each of Aspen Journalism’s reporters and editors, as well as two freelance journalists, took home first-place awards.
Air quality in Aspen was improved last week after being impacted by smoke from out-of-state wildfires
By Laurine Lassalle | September 22, 2022
• The Fork ran at 103% of average below Maroon Creek and at 97% of average at Emma on Sept. 18.
• Lake Powell’s elevation has lost about one foot since last week.
• Air temperatures are dropping and air quality was mostly clean last week.
Documenting COVID-19 in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties
By Laurine Lassalle | September 20, 2022
Pitkin County has reported 11 new COVID-19 cases since Thursday and Garfield County has added eight cases. Eagle County has recorded three cases since Thursday.
“Staff and volunteers with a nonprofit organization called HistoriCorps started what will be a multi-year process to preserve a shop, outhouse, roadhouse and dam keeper’s cabin in the scenic valley affectionately known as Aspen’s backyard. The work is being funded by the Aspen-based Hunter Creek Historical Foundation and it was approved by the White River National Forest.”
Source: aspendailynews.com | Read more
“The projected gap is widest in transportation, where state estimates put 2025 carbon dioxide emissions essentially unchanged from current levels if stronger new policies are not added. State air pollution control officials have estimated Colorado needs to cut 10 million tons of annual carbon emissions from transportation to meet legislated goals of 26% cuts from 2005 levels by 2025.”
Source: coloradosun.com | Read more
“‘We’ve now drained Blue Mesa, we’re draining Flaming Gorge as we speak, and we have no plans for how we’re going to handle this when those reservoirs are dropped. We can’t keep doing this,’ he said. Among Mueller’s recommendations, he called for the federal government to demand the Lower Basin states to account for evaporation and transit losses in their annual water use.”
Source: eenews.com | Read more
“‘It’s a complex issue,’ Bunyan admits, ‘and while there is likely no simple solution, the first step—as with any issue—is an acknowledgment that there is a visitation problem and that the park does not have an infinite capacity for tourism growth. Banff is in the unfortunate position of being the primary tourism driver in Alberta and the powerhouse for Parks Canada’s own internal revenue generation. So even a simple acknowledgment of the issue of limits to tourism growth is stymied by various levels of government politics and segments of the business community. We cannot move forward on a suite of solutions until there is an acknowledgment of the issue.’”
Source: thedailybeast.com | Read more
“DiSalvo is seeking his fourth four-year term as sheriff. In 2010, he amassed 79.2% of the vote in his first election win, which came against Patrick Leonard, who had law-enforcement experience in Florida and New York. DiSalvo ran unchallenged in 2014, and, in 2018, he easily fended off opponent and then-Aspen police officer Walter Chi by garnering 78.5% of the vote. Buglione is the third lawman DiSalvo will face in the general sheriff’s election — but the first one who is the sheriff’s former brother in-law.”
Source: aspentimes.com | Read more
“Since launching its public safety mission in the 1980s, the division has closed or protected about 10,000 sites out of around 23,000 known abandoned mine openings across the state. With so many other mines hidden or undiscovered, Crosby suspects the actual total could be twice high. ‘There’s still a lot more out there, too,’ she said. ‘It’s shocking.’”
Source: cpr.org | Read more
“‘The prevailing system for allocating water in the western United States is known as prior appropriation,’ Womble said. ‘And this is a priority-based system where older, more senior water rights get their entire water allocation before newer, more junior water users get any water. (Diamond Valley) is the only place where a groundwater system that is only implementing that priority-based water-rights system has transitioned to a different allocation scheme that shares shortage.’”
Source: kunr.org | Read more
“‘It’s easy to get caught up in sexy small stuff like garden projects, but the main chunk of emissions in Aspen comes from buildings, and that’s why we have to do the grunt work on building efficiency and electrification,’ she said. ‘We need to electrify everything, and that electricity needs to come from clean power. Aspen Skiing Co is making new buildings all electric, and working with Holy Cross Energy to reach 100% clean energy by 2030. And, it’s not enough for our community to do these things. We need to tell the stories of this work to create political pressure for systems, building codes and utilities to change.’”
Source: aspentimes.com | Read more
“This month, the company, in control of some of the state’s oldest Colorado River rights, filed for bankruptcy, citing the drought and an inability to access water from the lake. It is the latest sign of the far-reaching consequences revealed by the unfolding crisis on the Colorado River, which has seen its reservoirs quickly drop due to overuse and aridification, driven by climate change.”
Source: thenevadaindependent.com | Read more
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