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We took a short break from The Roundup last week due to the ongoing efforts related to our year-end fundraising, as the normal Tuesday send of our newsletter fell on Colorado Gives Day. We appreciate all of our subscribers for hanging with us through these efforts, which play a huge role in our year-round success — and to all of you who have made a donation, thank you. We are excited to share more about our progress in our next campaign email on Thursday, but safe to say the support from our readers and community has been strong, and the year to come is looking bright.
Today, we bring you stories we have published over the last two weeks, including a piece from Water Desk Editor Heather Sackett recognized as required reading ahead of this week’s Colorado River Water Users Association conference in Las Vegas, which Sackett is attending. The story explains a concept making the rounds in academic circles for amending water allotments spelled out in the 1922 Colorado River Compact so that they are tied to existing streamflows, not estimated water volumes that compact framers were using, but which do not physically exist based on recent hydrology.
Sackett the week prior highlighted the expansion of a water-quality monitoring project established in the wake of 2020’s Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon, which amounts to an early warning system to let water users downstream know when dirty water from mudslides is headed their way. The monitoring will help with problems experienced last summer in the Silt and Rifle areas, when mud and debris running off the fire’s burn scar during heavy rains filled the river and entered municipal and agricultural water systems.
Our Data Dashboard has the latest snowpack numbers, as well as the accelerating pace of winter lodge bookings in Aspen and Snowmass, and our Tracking the Curve project was the first to report on the upcoming effort led by the state of Colorado analyze wastewater samples from the Aspen Consolidated Sanitation District and the town of Snowmass Village to detect the presence of coronavirus.
And if you haven’t yet, check out the upcoming event Aspen Journalism is sponsoring on Sunday at the Wheeler Opera House with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and our board member Pete McBride, who will give a presentation on his recent “Seeing Silence” book project. I’ll be at a table in the lobby so if you happen to be at the event — tickets are just $12, and attendees must show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test — please come say hi. And look out for an article we are set to publish looking at the origins of McBride’s project and all the ways man-made sound — or the absence of it — defines our environment.
Thanks for reading and supporting Aspen Journalism!
— Curtis Wackerle, Editor and Executive Director
Working within Colorado River’s 1922 water compact for 21st century focus of annual meeting
Water managers talk about how to divide the waters
By Heather Sackett | December 11, 2021
He also pointed out that requiring the upper basin, where most of the river’s flows originate as snowpack, to contribute the same fixed amount each year despite declining flows means that the upper basin is unfairly bearing the brunt of climate change.
Glenwood Canyon monitoring project gets funding for second phase
Data could be useful for downstream water users in Silt
By Heather Sackett | December 4, 2021
The cascade of dirty water also had impacts to agricultural and municipal water users downstream in Silt, whose only source of water is the Colorado.
Data dashboard: Winter occupancy reaches pre-pandemic levels
Snowfalls boost watershed’s snowpack and brings down temperatures
By Laurine Lassalle | December 14, 2021
• As of Nov. 30, Aspen’s December occupancy exceeds 2019 by 16%.
• With recent storm, Indy Pass snowpack jumps to 86% of average for Dec. 12.
Tracking the Curve
Documenting COVID-19 in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties
By Laurine Lassalle | December 14, 2021
The Aspen Consolidated Sanitation District and the Town of Snowmass Village are working with the Colorado health department to participate in a COVID-19 wastewater surveillance program.
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