Water

Shifting Gears

In 2008, Dr. Will Evans interviewed Lakota Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe. For part two of this interview, click here.

A new study in the journal Science says that human-driven climate change is pushing the American West into a megadrought, and into its driest period in more than 400 years.

 


Shifting Gears

Local Tyler Lindsay returns on Shifting Gears to continue a cross-generational conversation with Will Evans about our relationship to this planet mounting uncertainty. This is part 3 of a 3 part series.

Coal-fired power plants are closing, or being given firm deadlines for closure, across the country. In the Western states that make up the overallocated and drought-plagued Colorado River, these facilities use a significant amount of the region's scarce water supplies.

With closure dates looming, communities are starting the contentious debate about how this newly freed up water should be put to use.

A warming climate is already causing river flows in the Southwest’s largest watershed to decline, according to a new study from federal scientists. And it finds that as warming continues it’s likely to get worse. 

Middle Colorado Watershed Council

This month on For Land's Sake, Bill Kight features the Middle Colorado Watershed Council with updates from Board President Morgan Hill about projects including a new activity and learning center in Rifle. The Wild & Scenic Film Festival will return with a showing at the Vaudeville in Glenwood on Thursday, April 2nd and a showing at the Ute in Rifle on Saturday, April 4th.

Every time thick, dark rain clouds move over the deserts that surround Las Vegas, there's an anticipatory buzz. Flora and fauna alike begin preparing for the rare event, lying in wait for the first few drops.

Todd Esque is usually waiting for them too from his office in Henderson, Nevada. He knows how much desert life depends on their arrival. So when they do come, he's smiling.

Today was the third annual Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit. Students from six local schools met at Third Street Center in Carbondale to share presentations on topics like Health of the Roaring Fork River, Impacts of Snowmaking, Hydro Power, Grey-Water Use and more. Sarah Johnson is the director of the Youth Water Leadership Program, the group that organizes the event. She spoke about what makes this year’s summit stand out.

Shifting Gears

Local Tyler Lindsay returns to talk about his pursuit of flow and relationship with source water on Shifting Gears. Click here for part one.

As climate change continues to sap the Colorado River’s water, some users face serious legal risks to their supplies, according to a new analysis by researchers in Colorado and New Mexico. 

Declining flows could force Southwest water managers to confront long-standing legal uncertainties, and threaten the water security of Upper Basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico.

John Ciccarelli / BLM

A review of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s most recent oil and gas leasing data shows that since 2017, more than 60 percent of oil and gas leases were offered in water-stressed areas. KDNK’s Lucas Turner has more.

In A Revived Arizona River, A Wildlife Oasis Is Remade

Nov 19, 2019

Much of the Santa Cruz River is a dry, desert wash, only flowing after heavy monsoon rains. As Tucson Water hydrologist Dick Thompson and I walk along the river south of Starr Pass Boulevard, he points out how brown the vegetation looks.

Bill Kight

Local rancher Bill Fales talks with Bill Kight about protecting the watershed, the risks of wolf reintroduction, and other changing conditions in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Climate change has been called the new normal. But residents in some parts of the Southwest say after living through the last two years, there’s nothing normal about it. 

Communities in the Four Corners -- where the borders of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona meet -- have been bouncing between desperately dry and record-breaking moisture since the winter of 2017, forcing people dependent on the reliability and predictability of water to adapt.

The Endocrine Disruption Exchange

Theo Colborn is credited with identifying damage to human reproductive health caused by small doses of toxic chemicals called endocrine disruptors. Theo also explains why lack of public health protection of air and water is a concern to residents of the Colorado Drainage. Will Evans interviewed Theo in a three-part series in 2011. For parts 2 and 3 of their conversation, click here.

Finding a river in the West that still behaves like a Western river -- one that rises and falls with the annual rush of melting snow -- is tough. 

Many of the region’s major streams are controlled by dams. Their flows come at the push of a button. Instead of experiencing dynamic flows, dammed rivers are evened out. Floods are mitigated and managed, seen as a natural disaster rather than an ecological necessity. 

One hundred and fifty years ago, a group of explorers led by Civil War veteran John Wesley Powell set out to document the canyons of the Green and Colorado Rivers. It was the first trip of its kind. To commemorate the journey, a group of scientists, artists and graduate students from the University of Wyoming called the Sesquicentennial Colorado River Exploring Expedition has been retracing his steps this summer. 

Wells built to bring underground water supplies to the surface are being dug deeper to tap into dwindling aquifers, according to a new study.  

The drive behind a massive water development project in southwestern Utah, the Lake Powell Pipeline, shows no signs of slowing even after the Colorado River Basin states signed a new agreement this spring that could potentially force more conservation or cutbacks.

Paul Hempel

Paul Hempel returns to Shifting Gears to explain the value of source water education in the introduction of the “keep it clean, cause were all downstream” program extending from Vail to Rifle to Aspen.

It's late May in Wyoming. It snowed last night, and more snow is predicted. That's why it's good that Big Piney Rancher Chad Espenscheid is behind the wheel of the truck. The roads are sloppy and Middle Piney Creek is running high.

Nara Bopp was working at a thrift store in Moab, Utah the morning of March 4 when her desk started moving. 

“I immediately assumed that it was a garbage truck,” Bopp said.

Groundwater pumping is causing rivers and small streams throughout the country to decline, according to a new study from researchers at the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Arizona.

One morning in mid-February, David Herz went to turn on the faucet in his farmhouse outside the small western Colorado town of Paonia, and nothing came out.

“I thought, ‘Oh, f---. We got a problem,’” Herz said.

The Colorado River is short on water. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at a slate of proposed water projects in the river’s Upper Basin states of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

The river and its tributaries provide water for 40 million people in the Southwest. For about the last 20 years, demand for water has outstripped the supply, causing its largest reservoirs to decline.

Sustainable Settings

The fruit growing on the apricot tree at Sustainable Settings this spring affirmed for Brook LeVan the benefits of his long-standing, friendly relationship with the wild.

nfvcra.org

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund is bringing its Democracy School to Paonia in October. Raleigh Burleigh spoke with Lesandre Holiday of the group North Fork Valley Community Rights Advocates at the recent Community Fair and Solutions Expo in Paonia Town Park.

Snowpack in every part of Colorado’s high country is sporting layers of dust, according to a new statewide survey of the state’s winter accumulation.

“This is a low frequency dust season,” wrote Jeff Derry, head of the Colorado Dust on Snow Program, in a post about the survey results. “But may be a high consequence snowmelt season.”

Will Evans

 

Dick Lamm,

 

38th Governor of Colorado,

 

reflects as an elder

 

on the

 

“Law of Unintended Consequences”

 

and our relationship

 

with

 

Avery Ecological Design

In August of 2018, following months of intense drought in Colorado, water specialist Avery Ellis shared permaculture practices and strategies with Living Permaculture.

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