Posted on November 3, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
High flow experiment planned for early November to restore aquatic and riparian Colorado River ecosystems downstream of Glen Canyon Dam
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Even with some bonus inflow in September, the past water year Oct 1, 2012 – Sept. 30, 2013) ended up as the fourth-driest on record for the Colorado River Basin as measured at Lake Powell — the key reservoir on the river that helps balance supply and demand between the upper and lower basins.
Overall water storage in the Colorado River Basin in the last 14 years has ranged from a high of 94 percent of capacity in 2000 to the present low of 50 percent at the start of the 2014 water year.
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Colorado River, Drought, Environment, global warming, rivers, water | Tagged: climate change, Colorado River, drought, Lake Powell, water storage | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Recovery team eyes White River Basin
The Colorado pikeminnow is one of four endangered species that could benefit from a proposed new plan to boost flows during critical seasons. Photo courtesy USFWS.
By Summit Voice
*More Summit Voice stories on the Colorado River native fish conservation program are online here.
FRISCO — State and federal biologists are considering some changes to the Colorado River Native Fish Recovery Program in the White River Basin after a discussion with stakeholders.
The endangered fish — colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, razorback sucker, bonytail — are already protected in the White River Basin, according to The Nature Conservancy. The changes would be a firming up of management expectations.
A similar approach has been used in other basins to ensure that current and future water needs are met for people and endangered fish. The White River management plan aims to:
- identify existing and some level of future water depletions;
- develop current hydrology and projected depletions to identify the effects of past and future water development on endangered fish habitat;
- identify the role of the White River in recovery of endangered fish;
- identify flow recommendations for endangered fish habitat in the White River; and
- identify a broad range of recovery actions to be carried out by the Recovery Program to support a recovered endangered fish population in the White River. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, public lands | Tagged: Colorado River, endangered species, endangered species act, native fish, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, White River Basin, Yampa River | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 5, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Native bird has nearly been extirpated from the West
Yellow-billed cuckoos are only found in a few isolated locations in Colorado.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The yellow-billed cuckoo, once common along streams throughout the West, may finally get some protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the brids, following a 2011 agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity to speed protection decisions for 757 imperiled species nationwide.
The flashy bird, with a long tail and white markings on it wings, has long been listed as a species of concern by Colorado wildlife biologists, as their numbers have dropped drastically since the early 20th century. Click here to read a Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory report on yellow-billed cuckoos in Colorado. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, Colorado River, endangered species, riparian habitat, yellow-billed cuckoo | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 22, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation groups concerned about impacts
A map included in a draft version of a water plan is reason for alarm, according river activist Gary Wockner, with Save the Poudre, who says Front Range providers are targeting additional diversions from West Slope streams.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A Front Range alternative for a statewide water plan ordered by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is drawing fire, as watchdog groups charge that the draft version puts too much emphasis upping diversions from Western Slope rivers.
“Just laying out this scheme of diversions and pipelines on a map enflames the political chaos around the Colorado River water supply crisis,” said river activist Gary Wockner director, of Save the Poudre.
According to Wockner, the draft plan being developed by the South Platte, Arkansas and Metro Roundtable could be an effort steer the state water plan toward more dams and diversions, at the expense of losing sight of the need for much more robust conservation measures. (more…)
Filed under: agriculture, climate and weather, Drought, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Colorado River, rivers, water, water shortabne. | 5 Comments »
Posted on August 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Glen Canyon Dam has fundamentally altered downstream ecosystems in the Colorado River. Photo courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
‘A shadow of pre-dam conditions … ‘
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — With all the focus on water quantity in the Colorado River Basin, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the installation of massive dams has fundamentally altered the river’s ecosystem.
But an in-depth three-year study done as part of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program offers a stark reminder of the changes wrought by drastically altering the river’s hydrological regime. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: aquatic ecosystems, Colorado River, dam impacts, Environment, Glen Canyon Dam, Grand Canyon | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 16, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A NASA satellite image of the Colorado River and Lake Powell in Utah and Arizona.
Federal water agency says it will cut deliveries from Lake Powell next year
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Colorado River water supplies are already stretched dangerously thin, and the faucet is about to get turned down, as federal water managers said they will probably have to curtail downstream deliveries from Lake Powell in 2014.
July inflow into Lake Powell was just 13 percent of average, following a spring runoff season during whic the river delivered only about a third of the average amount of water. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, Environment, rivers, Uncategorized, water | Tagged: Colorado River, Colorado River compact, Glen Canyon Dam, Lake Mead, Lake Powell, United States Bureau of Reclamation | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 28, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Potential oil shale and tar sands development areas in the Green River formation of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.
Conservation groups say BLM missed key step in environmental study
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — A federal plan to develop oil shale and tar sands across about 800,000 acres of public lands in the West is missing a key piece, according to conservation groups, who say the Bureau of Land Management should have consulted with federal wildlife biologists before finalizing a major environmental study.
At issue are 9 BLM resource management plans in the Green River Formation of the Colorado River Basin, spread across parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Several months ago, the BLM approved changes in those plans with a single programmatic environmental impact statement. The changes make 687,600 acres available for oil shale leasing and 132,100 acres available for tar sands leasing. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, global warming, oil shale | Tagged: Bureau of Land management, climate change, Colorado River, endangered species act, Environment, Green River Formation, oil shale, tar sands | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘Make every drop count’
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The Colorado River took center stage in Congress for a few hours this week, as the Senate Subcommittee on Water and Power focused on a recent Colorado River study that predicts a growing gap between what the demand for water and what the river can deliver.
The hearing was chaired Sen. Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat, who knows first-hand what is at stake, from the headwaters in the mighty Rockies down to the Gulf of California. Business as usual just won’t cut it, Udall said, advocating for a short-term focus on conservation, innovation and better management of supply. A video of the hearing, as well as the written testimony of the witnesses, is online here. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Colorado River, global warming, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado River, drought, global warming, Gulf of California, Mark Udall, United States Bureau of Reclamation, water | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Wildfire, weather, climate and the environment …
Summit Voice had readers all over the world the past 30 days, including page views originating in Greenland and Mongolia.
FRISCO — Coverage of the West Fork Fire Complex, which has grown to become the second-largest wildfire in the state’s recorded history, was the most-viewed story last week, but a water story focusing in Lake Powell and published just yesterday, quickly raced up the charts, followed by a story on the environmental impacts of using dispersants on oil spills.
Click on the headlines to read the stories and pass them along on your own favorite social media netwoks by using the share buttons at the end of each story.
Filed under: Colorado, endangered species, Environment, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: climate, Colorado, Colorado River, Environment, global warming, Lake Powell, West Fork Fire, Wildfires | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Advocacy group says research shows that maintaining Lake Mead at a higher level could save water, help restore Colorado River ecosystems
The water level in Lake Mead has been on a downward trend in recent years.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The porous sandstone along the shore of Lake Powell may soak up as much as 380,000 acre-feet of water each year — more than Nevada’s entire annual allocation of Colorado River water, according to a new study by hydrologist Thomas Myers.
The research, published in the Journal of the America Water Resources Association, supports the idea of reconfiguring the way water is stored in Lake Powell and Lake Mead with the overall goal of using the Colorado River in the most efficient way possible, according to Glen Canyon Institute director Christi Wedig.
“At a time of impending water shortages, it is imperative to maximize efficiency the Colorado River storage system,” Wedig said. “Dr. Myers’ study has confirmed that Lake Powell is a major source of water loss, and a potential source of major savings. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: Colorado River, Colorado River compact, Glen Canyon, Lake Mead, Lake Powell, water conservation | 1 Comment »