Posted on September 1, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Water experts to discuss role of agriculture in Colorado River puzzle
Can ag water save the Colorado River?
FRISCO — A new $11 million effort to keep water flowing in the Colorado River to Lake Powell could up the pressure on Colorado farmers and ranchers to sell or lease their water.
In fact, agriculture is in the crosshairs in Colorado, according to the Colorado River Water Conservation District, which represents western Colorado water interests. Low water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead — the key storage buckets on the Colorado — have prompted measures to put more water in the river.
The CRWCD’s annual water seminar (Sept. 19, Grand Junction) will focus on what that means for western Colorado, with panel discussions and presentations on ag efficiency, the worth of ag efficiency and how ag efficiency works with the chief goal of sustaining ag as a viable industry. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Colorado, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: agriculture, Colorado River, drought, Lake Powell, water | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 22, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Winter tule fogs in decline; no rest for the orchards
A peach orchard in Palisade, Colorado in full bloom.
FRISCO — The winter tule fog in California’s Central Valley may be fading with climate change, threatening part of the region’s multibillion dollar agricultural industy, according to a new study by University of California, Berkeley researchers,
High-value crops like almonds, pistachios, cherries, apricots and peaches all need a winter dormant period that is triggered and maintained by cold temperatures, but those are becoming less reliable as the global climate warms. The new study, published May 15 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found a 46 percent drop in the number of fog days between the first of November and the end of February during the 32-year study period. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, global warming, seasons | Tagged: agriculture, Central Valley, climate change, global warming, tule fog | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
UK researchers track flower preferences
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Diversity in urban gardens can play a key role in sustaining pressured bumblebee populations, ecologists in the UK said this week, explaining the results of a study that measured bumblebee preferences for both native and non-native plants.
The most common species of bumblebee is not picky about a plant’s origin when searching for nectar and pollen. But other species, including long-tongued bees, favor plants native to the UK and Europe. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Environment | Tagged: agriculture, bees, bumblebees, Environment, gardens | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Many journalists spread their dip pretty thin when writing about climate
By Bob Berwyn
Chipotle’s guacamole is threatened by global warming. Or not, depending what you choose to believe.
Immediately dubbed the “Guacalypse” by some climate pundits, the news that Chipotle acknowledged potential global warming threats in a formulaic report to investors raised a stir.
You can melt the Arctic ice cap, raise sea level by 20 feet, but don’t mess with my guacamole, some would-be climate warriors said. But by the next day, NBC news was — almost snarkily — reporting that there’s no immediate threat to the world’s supply of avocados — at least not yet. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: agriculture, climate change, global warming, guacamole, journalism | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 9, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘Stewardship objectives may be strong, but they can be trumped or complicated by other economic, social, and environmental drivers’
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Working with farmers on adopting realistic best management practices may be the best way to reduce the Gulf of Mexico dead zone, according to recent research from scientists at the University of Illinois. The researchers said that a 12-year action plan to improve conditions in the oxygen-starved area has shown few results, so they set out to identify some of the biophysical and social barriers. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment | Tagged: agriculture, Environment, Gulf of Mexico dead zone, Mississippi River, ocean hypoxic zones | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A bumblebee forages in the Colorado high country.
Researchers look to track bees with tiny transmitters
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — With honeybee populations dwindling, bumblebees are becoming increasingly important as agricultural pollinators. To help gain a better understanding of bumblebee activity, researchers with Oregon State University want to track the insects with tiny sensors that will reveal how these native pollinators search for pollen, nectar and nesting sites.
The information will help researchers better understand how these insects assist in the production of crops that depend on pollination to produce fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, tomatoes and dozens of other staples.
“Lack of pollination is a risk to human food production,” said Sujaya Rao, an entomologist in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and an expert on native bees. “With our sensors, we are searching for answers to basic questions, such as: Do all members of one colony go to pollinate the same field together? Do bumblebees communicate in the colony where food is located? Are bumblebees loyal as a group?” Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: agriculture, bumblebees, Colony collapse disorder, honeybees, pollinators | Leave a comment »