Recently at Aspen Journalism, we visited the Maybell Ditch, which is the most significant diversion drawing water out of the Yampa River in a remote corner of northwest Colorado, to learn about a multimillion-dollar project to improve irrigation infrastructure spearheaded as an environmental initiative. By modernizing the antiquated headgate and improving how the river channels its water into the 18-mile ditch system known for how flat it is, the project is expected to make the river better for boaters and fish. A total of $3.5 million has been raised so far, but the project will likely require more funding.
Meanwhile, our Data Dashboard counted the number of late-summer days affected by less-than-stellar air quality compared to last year while keeping tabs on shrinking river flows. And Tracking the Curve showed a mild increase in Pitkin County’s new case incidence rate over a two-week stretch.
Thank you for reading, and supporting, Aspen Journalism.
– Curtis Wackerle
Editor and executive director
Maybell project addresses problems for irrigators, boaters, fish
TNC has secured about $3.5 million to modernize headgate, diversion structure
By Heather Sackett | September 9, 2022
According to Camblin, it was the federal Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program that first pushed the district to take a look at where it could manage its water better.
Data dashboard: Smoke from out-of-state wildfires impacts local air quality
Local streams are flowing below average. Lake Powell’s elevation is only five feet above critical level.
By Laurine Lassalle | September 14, 2022
• The Fork above Aspen ran at 75% of average Sept. 11 as Cameo call returns.
• Lake Powell’s elevation is down to 3,530 feet or five feet above critical level.
• Air quality in Aspen was “moderate” for three consecutive days last week due to smoke coming from out-of-state wildfires.
Tracking the Curve
Documenting COVID-19 in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties
By Laurine Lassalle | September 13, 2022
Pitkin County’s COVID seven-day new-case incidence rate increased from 86 per 100,000 on Aug. 28 to 115 on Sept. 12. The county’s test-positivity rate remains around 15-16%.
Frisch says Boebert was ‘grasping at straws’ during Saturday’s debate
“Frisch, who couldn’t address the remarks because Boebert’s closing statement ended the debate, said he believes Boebert was referring to the Aspen City Council’s emergency moratorium that paused development projects in commercial zones starting in March 2016 — a time when numerous high-end residential projects had the effect of limiting space for commercial enterprises.”
Source: aspendailynews.com | Read more
City expects ‘influx’ of interest in STR permits when moratorium ends
“As of Dec. 8, when the moratorium took effect, the existing 1,319 STR permits comprised 18% of all residential units in the city, according to Community Development. Adjusting that number to reflect only free-market residences would be roughly 28%, said Hart and Phillip Supino, director of Community Development.”
Source: aspentimes.com | Read more
The cannabis industry has a waste problem and the solutions could change packaging norms beyond marijuana
“‘When you landfill them, or if they become litter, biodegradable plastics will eventually *quote, unquote* ‘Biodegrade’ in that they will break down and seemingly go away and disappear. Which might sound great, but now we’ve introduced an even greater polluting threat to the environment because while the plant-based polymers biodegraded and disappeared the petroleum-based elements didn’t biodegrade, they’re still there and are now microscopic microplastics.'”
Source: news.kgnu.org | Read more
Lauren Boebert is part of a dangerous religious movement that threatens democracy, experts say
“The end goal for certain sects of Christian nationalism, which subscribe to so-called Dominion theory, is to conquer what are called the ‘seven mountains’ or seven areas of influence, Gorski said. They are family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government. ‘Once they do, that will trigger the second coming of Christ,’ Gorski said, citing their prophecy.”
Source: denverpost.com | Read more
Aurora commits to water-conservation measures, reducing “nonfunctional turf” by 30%
“The ordinance aimed at conserving water dictates where and how much ‘cool-season turf’ or grasses, including Kentucky bluegrass and Fescue, can be placed in new developments. Ornamental water features would also be banned.”
Source: denverpost.com | Read more
Farming, water and Wall Street on Colorado’s Western Slope
“Mueller said the larger concern is that while the River District and the state examine these kinds of water savings programs from a public interest perspective, other entities might not, and that a program could attract ‘unscrupulous outside investment which doesn’t share the same values about protecting ag.’”
Source: coloradosun.com | Read more
How Vermont’s media helps keep the state together
“A functioning community, almost by definition, is a place where people take an interest in things that don’t directly affect them, where they worry about the schools even if they don’t have kids. That interest can be shown in divisive fashion—attacking ‘woke’ school librarians—or it can be done gently. If the former reduces community trust, the latter, right down to broadcasting high-school hoops, increases it.”
Source: thenewyorker.com | Read more
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