Since our last edition of The Roundup last week, we’ve published three stories at Aspen Journalism.
Included in the mix is the debut of a new reporting partnership with longtime local journalist Rick Carroll, now the managing editor of Aspen Daily News, who’s working with Aspen Journalism on a freelance basis. The idea is that about once a month, we’ll publish a deeper dive into a topic on his radar than he typically wouldn’t be able to get to as part of his daily duties. His first effort fits the bill, as he unpacked the public record on file with New York state courts involving a lender’s dispute with an Aspen business group led by a local family, which has ensnared multiple downtown Aspen properties and a local real estate brokerage. Representatives of the family are fighting in New York courts to prevent an auction of their Aspen assets, which could negatively impact hundreds of people whose employment is tied to the Souki family’s Ajax Holdings.
Also this week, Water Desk Editor Heather Sackett took us inside an effort to get a number of local creek segments designated under the state’s Outstanding Waters program — a status reserved for bodies of water with extremely high water-quality and scenic attributes. While the program is little known among the general public, and the protections it offers appear to be mostly untested, advocates see attaining the status as a valuable tool to protect against future, perhaps as-yet-unknown, threats. And who would disagree that the reaches up for consideration along Woody, Hunter, Avalanche and Middle Thompson creeks — all which will require a series of public hearings convened by the state health department — are indeed outstanding?
Finally, Data Editor Laurine Lassalle brought us a check in on the state of local soil-moisture levels, a data point that we have become increasingly familiar with in recent years, as the lack of it has helped fuel decreased streamflows and wildfire. As Lassalle explains, the primary driver of soil-moisture conditions in the spring and going forward is how saturated the ground is in early winter — conditions that help set up how much snowmelt will reach rivers and streams. This year, based on those November and December 2022 conditions, soil moisture as measured by a network of monitoring stations throughout the Roaring Fork basin is reading at moderate levels. Compared to a runoff year like 2021, when a dry fall in 2020 helped sap the streamflow potential held in the snowpack, that bodes well for the watershed.
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Editor and executive director
Aspen Valley Ranch also facing foreclosure in legal battle playing out in Colorado, New York courts
By Rick Carroll | June 5, 2023
The assets owned by Ajax Holdings, which is controlled by the Souki family and affiliates, also are on the line. The lenders have hired Dallas-based commercial property firm CBRE to solicit bidders and administer a public auction set for the end of the month, according to court records.
Water samples collected on upper reaches of Woody, Hunter, Avalanche and Thompson creeks
By Heather Sackett | June 7, 2023
The Outstanding Waters designation can be awarded to streams with high water quality and exceptional recreational or ecological attributes, and the intent is to protect the water quality from future degradation.
Spring runoff influenced by last fall’s turf conditions
By Laurine Lassalle | June 2, 2023
Looking across the Roaring Fork Basin, soil moisture on Nov. 2, 2022, measured 70% of average for the higher elevations sites and 100% of average at lower elevations. That is wetter than in November 2020, when soil moisture was mostly between 50% and 70% of average.
By Laurine Lassalle | June 8, 2023
Aspen Journalism is compiling real-time streamflow information. Users can hover on each graph to get the most current streamflow information for the selected station.
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