Bat-killing fungus spreads west to Oklahoma

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Bat-killing white-nose syndrome has spread west in Oklahoma. Photo via USFWS.

Are western bats at risk?

Staff Report

FRISCO — A bat-killing fungal disease that has wiped out millions of the winged mammals has spread west into Oklahoma, reinforcing concerns that bats across the country are at risk from white-nose syndrome.

Three tricolored bats in a cave in Delaware County tested positive for the fungus, according to Oklahoma wildife biologists. This early detection is likely a precursor to the appearance of the full-blown disease in two to three years, according to conservation biologists with the Center for Biological Diversity. Continue reading

Public lands: Grant helps Rocky Mountain National Park boost green transit efforts

Every little bit helps!

A computer-generated split-screen image a split-image simulates the average 20 percent best (left) and 20 percent worst 20 percent (right) visibility at the Long’s Peak vista based on an average of monitored data for years 2000-2004.

A computer-generated split-screen image a split-image simulates the average 20 percent best (left) and 20 percent worst 20 percent (right) visibility at the Long’s Peak vista based on an average of monitored data for years 2000-2004.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A $167,000 grant has helped Rocky Mountain National Park boost environmental efforts.

The 2013 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities National Parks Initiative supports alternative transportation projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and educating park visitors about the environmental benefits of reducing our dependence on petroleum.

Through the partnership, the park purchased two electric sedans and one hybrid pickup truck, installed two electric charging stations, launched an idle reduction campaign and enhanced the parks education and outreach efforts toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing sustainable operations.

Colorado: Big flows expected in Blue River

Good news for boaters

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Healthy streamflows and good boating in the Blue River Basin. @bberwyn photo.

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Blue River snowpack still growing.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Late-season storms have helped boost snowpack in the Blue River to near last year’s level, promising healthy runoff and flows in Summit County, according to Denver Water.

The effects of the steady barrage of spring storms is already showing up the Lower Blue River, where flows are increasing due to increased releases from Dillon Reservoir, according to Denver Water, which won’t be diverting water through the Roberts Tunnel until mid-July at the earliest. Continue reading

Climate: Is this the Antarctic tipping point?

Study shows widespread, simultaneous ice shelf melting

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Satellite data shows sudden shift in ice shelf dynamics along the southern Antarctic Peninsula. @berwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Along with studies showing dramatic changes in individual ice shelves in Antarctica, new research shows widespread changes in the region since 2009. Up until then, the Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change.

But suddenly, multiple glaciers along a vast coastal expanse, measuring some 750km in length, suddenly started to shed ice into the ocean at a nearly constant rate of 60 cubic kilometers, or about 55 trillion liters of water, each year. This makes the region the second largest contributor to sea level rise in Antarctica and the ice loss shows no sign of waning. Continue reading

Nevada Supreme Court rejects Las Vegas water grap

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Pipeline dreams stumble at Nevada Supreme Court.

Ruling marks another win for activist network opposing the massive groundwater pumping and pipeline plan

Staff Report

FRISCO — A bid by Las Vegas to drain groundwater from distant valleys took another hit this week, as the Nevada Supreme Court blocked the latest legal maneuver by the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Nevada State Engineer, who petitioned the court for writs of mandamus.

The ruling is a win for critics of the SNWA pipeline project, including White Pine County, the Great Basin Water Network and local Native American tribes, who say the plan will dry up springs and groundwater needed by local communities, as well as wildlife that relies on scarce sources of water in central and eastern Nevada. Continue reading

New push for Colorado wilderness expansion

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New wilderness is in the works for Eagle and Summit counties, in the mountains of Colorado.

Congress Jared Polis introduces land protection measure

Staff Report

FRISCO — A proposal for new Colorado wilderness areas is back on the political table in Washington, where Congressman Jared Polis introduced a new bill that ‚ if passed, would add more than 39,000 acres of land to the wilderness roster.

“The areas that stretch along the Continental Divide in Summit and Eagle counties are the iconic playground of our state,”  Polis said. “They are where Coloradans and out-of-state tourists alike go to ski, hike, mountain bike, hunt, and fish … and this bill will ensure they are preserved for future generations to enjoy,” he added. Continue reading

Morning photo: High Plains

Onward to … Nebraska?

FRISCO —A reporting trip on the Colorado water plan led me to the far northeastern corner of the state the past couple of days, and while I spent most of the time in a conference room, I did manage to escape for a while to track the South Platte, Colorado’s workhorse river, to where it exits the state, near Julesberg. I don’t get out into the flatlands  very often, and it was a bit on the gray and dreary side, but those wide open spaces were still quite astounding and evocative, and as a bonus, I got a decent shot of a red-winged blackbird, which has, for some reason, been a challenge for me.

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