Posted on July 26, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
July 30 site visit gives public a chance to see progress in $3 million remediation project at abandoned mine in Summit County
Heavy metal pollution from upstream sources has killed most aquatic life in the Snake River, near Keystone, Colorado. bberwyn photo.
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FRISCO — With recent increases in levels of toxic metals in Peru Creek, the ongoing remediation work at the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine, near Keystone, Colo., takes on an even greater importance in the context of water quality in the Blue River Basin and the Upper Colorado.
The mine, which produced huge amounts of silver 100 years ago, has been pinpointed as one of the main sources of acid mine drainage. Water seeping through the rocky ground trickles into the old mine workings, picks up contaminants along the way, then percolates back into Peru Creek near the head of the beautiful alpine valley.
During the last couple of summers, scientists and engineers have been working to reduce the pollution, and this coming week (July 30) there will be a public field trip to the site, led by Jeff Graves of the Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety, as well as other members of the Snake River Task Force. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, rivers, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news, water, water quality | Tagged: abandoned mine cleanups, acid mine drainage, Environment, EPA, Pennsylvania Mine, Peru Creek, Snake River, Summit County News | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 10, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Colorado business community weighs in on water principles
FRISCO — Vail and Eagle County residents will have a chance to get up to speed on an emerging state water plan today (July 10), with a lunchtime briefing at Donovan Pavilion in Vail, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered work to begin on the statewide water plan in May 2013; a draft is due to the Governor’s Office no later than Dec. 10, 2014, with the final plan complete by December 2015.
Business leaders have developed statewide business community water policy principles to be part of Colorado’s Water Plan and are seeking regional input to finalize the principles. Working through local business chambers, this statewide initiative seeks local feedback on the principles, which address the business and economic development needs of Colorado.
- Tom Binnings of Summit Economics will discuss the economics of water from a statewide perspective.
- Linn Brooks of Eagle River Water & Sanitation District will share local water operations and policy, and discuss needs in the Eagle and Colorado River basins.
- James Eklund, executive director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board – the state agency tasked with drafting the Colorado Water Plan.
- Bryan Blakely of Accelerate Colorado and Mizraim Cordero of the Colorado Competitive Council will discuss the business community water policy principles.
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado River, Environment, politics, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado River, Eagle River, state water plan, Vail, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 19, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
EPA raises questions about compliance with Clean Water Act
Denver Water plans to increase transmountain diversions through the Moffat collection system is not drawing rave reviews, as numerous entities have expressed significant concerns about impacts to water quality. bberwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — For all the detailed information in the 16,000-page study for Denver Water’s proposed new water diversions from the Western Slope, there are still more questions than answers, according to formal comment letters filed in the past few weeks.
As currently configured, the proposal to shunt more water from Colorado River headwaters streams to the Front Range could worsen water water quality in many streams that are already feeling the pain of low flows, EPA water experts wrote in a June 9 letter. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado River, Environment, rivers, water, water quality, wetlands | Tagged: #Cowater, Colorado, Denver Water, EPA, Moffat Tunnel collection system expansion, water | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 10, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Air quality regs pay off, as New England lakes and streams bounce back from acid rain.
It’s simple: Cleaning the air improves water quality
FRISCO — Acid rain, once the scourge of freshwater ecosystems in the eastern U.S., is waning, and the health of New England lakes and streams is improving, scientists said this week after documenting declines in sulfate concentrations in snow and rain.
The data gathered by scientists working under the auspices of the NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, show that sulfate concentration in rain and snow declined by more than 40 percent in the 2000s. Sulfate concentration in lakes declined at a greater rate from 2002 to 2010 than during the 1980s or 1990s. During the 2000s, nitrate concentration in rain and snow declined by more than 50 percent and nitrate concentration declined in lakes. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: acid rain, air quality, New England, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 15, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
High alpine wetlands that aren’t directly connected with larger rivers will regain more protection under a proposed new federal rule. bberwyn photo.
New rule aims to clear up regulatory limbo for seasonal streams and isolated wetlands
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — A proposed federal rule would restore protection to hundreds of Colorado streams and big swaths of wetlands, including beloved alpine creeks and the sandy washes of the Front Range that only hold water seasonally.
The seasonal streams and disconnected wetlands long were covered under the Clean Water Act, but a pair of complex U.S. Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006 opened some loopholes the regulations. At the least, the legal limbo caused headaches for scientists and regulators trying to assess impacts of housing developments and new roads. In some cases, they weren’t sure if they even had authority to regulate filling or draining of some wetlands. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality, wetlands | Tagged: Environment, water quality, waters of the U.S., wetlands | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 10, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New NOAA-USGS study evaluates aquaculture cleanup potential
Oysters could help clear the water in the Potomac River estuary.
FRISCO — Degraded water quality in the Potomac River estuary could be improved with intensive cultivation of oysters according to a new NOAA and U.S. Geological Survey study published in the journal Aquatic Geochemistry.
As filter feeders, oysters could remove all of the nitrogen currently polluting the river if 40 percent of its river bed were used for shellfish cultivation. The researchers determined that a combination of aquaculture and restored oyster reefs may provide even larger overall ecosystem benefits. Oysters can clean an enormous volume of water of algae which can cause poor water quality, leading to unwanted algae blooms and dead zones. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, water, water quality | Tagged: aquaculture, Environment, Potomac River, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 15, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Abandoned mine cleanups can help clean up polluted streams, a new USGS study in Montana finds.
Water quality improving in Upper Clark Fork Basin
FRISCO — There are hopeful signs that the ongoing cleanup of abandoned mines around the West will pay off.
The U.S. Geological Survey, reported decreased levels of toxic heavy metals in the streams of Montana’s Upper Clark Fork Basin that have been targeted by remediation efforts. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: abandoned mines, Environment, rivers, The West, water quality | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 2, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. Map courtesy USGS.
FRISCO — Some Wyoming watersheds may be showing signs of wear and tear due to coalbed methane development, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study done on the Powder and Tongue river basins in northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana.
According to the USGS, three sites on the Powder River show a difference in water quality between the time before coalbed methane development and during the production period. But thirteen other sites, including mainstem and tributaries to the Tongue and Powder Rivers in northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana, showed few substantial differences in water quality between the two time periods. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: coalbed methane, fracking, Powder River, water quality, Wyoming | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 18, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Small changes from norm can have big impacts
New research to help inform river management.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — An in-depth U.S. Geological Survey study in the Tennessee River basin may help quantify how streamflow alteration changes aquatic ecosystems.
The research is based on community data collected by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and predictions of streamflow characteristics at more than 600 locations — and the findings indicate that even small deviations from natural streamflows can reduce fish diversity.
The study highlights the importance of the timing, magnitude, and variability of low streamflows and the frequency and magnitude of high streamflows as key characteristics critical to assessing how fish communities change in response to streamflow alteration. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water, water quality | Tagged: aquatic habitat, biodiversity, Environment, rivers, Streamflow, Tennessee River | Leave a comment »