Posted on August 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Feds map critical habitat for yellow-billed cuckoo
Will yellow-billed cuckoos make a comeback in Colorado?
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The long endangered species odyssey of the yellow-billed cuckoo may be one step closer to resolution, as federal wildlife officials this week proposed designating more than half a million acres of critical habitat for the birds, sometimes known as rain crows for their habit of singing before a storm.
The bird was once common along most rivers and streams in the West, but the decline of the species, eyed for protection since 1986, shows how much human activities have degraded riparian riverside habitat. Yellow-billed cuckoos are neotropical migrants that winter in South America and nest along rivers and streams in western North America. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, Colorado, endangered species, Environment, riparian habitat, rivers, yellow-billed cuckoo | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Early morning kayaking near Frisco, Colorado.
New handbook to help guide management and development of launch sites
FRISCO — Hoping to stay ahead of the growing and diversifying demand for boating opportunities, the National Park Service is partnering with the River Management Society to help develop guidelines for new launch sites and access points.
Under the collaboration, the park service announced publication of Prepare to Launch as a resource to help river managers, planners, boaters and water trail leaders plan for and build access to waterways.
“‘Prepare to Launch!’ will help water resource managers provide safe and sustainable launches that strengthen connections to the nation’s waterways,” said National Park Service river programs manager Joan Harn. “By collaborating with the River Management Society and our state, local and national partners, we can expand everyone’s capacity to access and enjoy America’s rivers and waterways.” Continue reading
Filed under: boating, national parks, public lands, recreation, rivers | Tagged: national parks, public lands, recreation, rivers | 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 February 24, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Widespread western drought continues
Much of the West has been very dry during the first four months of the 2014 water year.
By Summit Voice
As California experiences its worst drought in more than a century, it’s probably not surprising that some stream gages in the northern part of the state are showing all-time record low readings, with 2013 in the record books as the driest calendar year in the state’s 119-year recorded history.
Low streamflow affects water availability for agricultural, municipal, and industrial uses, water quality, water temperature, recreational opportunities, and the maintenance of fish populations.
Recent precipitation has resulted in some increases in streamflow, snowpack, and reservoir levels, but severe drought conditions remain. Without significant additional precipitation, prior conditions will quickly return leaving most streams in the state at less than 10 percent of normal for this time of year. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, Environment, rivers, water | Tagged: California drought, climate, Colorado River, drought, Lake Powell, rivers | 2 Comments »
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 »
Posted on December 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
NRCS snow surveys help water managers plan ahead.
Temporary budget fix ensures program through August 2014
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — For decades, hydrologists have been tromping through the high country of Colorado and around the West to make detailed snowpack measurements. Together with data from automated SNOTEL sites and other tools, the monthly snow-course readings help water managers develop accurate projections of spring stream flows, and how much water will be available for irrigation and storage.
The information is critical in arid regions, which rely on the winter snowpack as the ultimate reservoir. Federal budget cuts have threatened the program, raising concern among western resource managers, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week that it has found a way to maintain funding for the Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting Program — at least through the end of Aug. 2014. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: climate, Colorado, drought, Natural Resources Conservation Service, rivers, SNOTEL, snow surveys, weather | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 13, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Climate projections include more droughts and floods
In the summer of 2013, New Mexico’s Elephant Butte Reservoir dwindled to its lowest level in forty years. By late July, despite the arrival of monsoon rains, the reservoir was still virtually empty. Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory. Click on the image for more information.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Warmer temperatures and earlier spring runoff will cut water supplies by 25 percent in some key parts of the Upper Rio Grande Basin, according to a new report by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
According to the projections used by the agency, temperatures will rise about 4 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century and even though there won’t be a big change in total annual precipitation, the snowpack and runoff will shrink, and there will be more frequent and intense droughts and floods.
“This report uses the most current information and state of the art scientific methodology to project a range of future supply scenarios in the upper Rio Grande basin,” said U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle. “It is a great first step and a call to action for water managers and users in the basin and the partner federal agencies to move forward and develop adaptation to the challenges this study brings to light.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, rivers, water | Tagged: global warming climate change, Rio Grande, rivers, water | Leave a comment »