Environment

Environmental coverage

Today on CrossCurrents, Wilderness Workshop is presenting Untrammeled! Wilderness in the Human Era tonight at Paepcke Auditorium.

Guests are Will Roush, conservation director for Wilderness Workshop, Dave Foreman, director of the Rewilding Institute, and Jamie Williams, president of the Wilderness Society.

About the Wilderness Workshop (from the organization's website):

The Wilderness Workshop is the conservation watchdog of nearly 3 million acres of public lands in western Colorado. Using science, the law and grassroots activism, WW works to keep the White River National Forest and nearby BLM lands more or less “as is” and, where possible, to restore wildness to this nationally important landscape.

Founded in 1967, the Wilderness Workshop has earned a national reputation for passionate advocacy, grassroots effectiveness, and scientific authority.

WW is the only nonprofit organization that’s devoted to protecting these particular public lands on a full-time basis. No other local group has the expertise and standing to participate effectively and consistently in the arcane bureaucratic processes that decide the fate of these lands; no state or national organization can devote as much time to our particular area.

We don’t represent any user group; rather, we provide a voice for nature on our public lands. We’re a community of people who enjoy and cherish wild places, and believe that wildlands and wildlife should be protected for their own sake (and for ours).

Although focused on the White River National Forest region, our work is part of a visionary movement to reconnect wildlife habitats and “rewild” landscapes on a continental scale. Thus we frequently partner with other local, state, regional and national groups on projects.

Western Water Assessment

There are lots of reports about climate change these days-- and a recent one takes a close look at how rising temperatures could affect water in Colorado. The report finds temperatures are likely to go up by several degrees by 2050… and that likely means less water. The findings come as water experts across Colorado are already planning for a future with less water. Locally, nonprofits are tracking temperature changes in the Roaring Fork Valley. Jeff Lukas is the lead researcher on the latest water and climate change study. He’s with Western Water Assessment, a CU Boulder program funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Lukas talks with APR’s Elise Thatcher about what temperature changes could mean for rain and snow in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Women Target for Hunting & Fishing Skills

Jul 17, 2014
Lynn Waldorf

The number of women who are hunting and fishing is growing and in some years is outpacing the number of men who receive hunting licenses.  This trend hasn’t been missed by Colorado’s Division of Parks and Wildlife which relies heavily on license sales to fund its management of wild lands.  Earlier this week, Parks and Wildlife hosted a free hunting and fishing clinic for women in Basalt.  Dorothy Atkins went along and filed this report.

damnationfilm.com

  What happens when an outdoor clothing company makes a film? Fish, dams, and a conservation message are front and center. The movie is titled DamNation, and shows in Carbondale this weekend at the Five Point Film Festival. It’ll be the first showing in Colorado.

David Blume of Blume Distillation along with Chip Comins of the American Renewable Energy Institute on the technology of alcohol as fuel and its possible applications here in the Roaring Fork Valley.

http://www.blumedistillation.com/

Local Group to Study Fryingpan River/Ruedi Impact

Mar 27, 2014
http://www.flyfishingconnection.com/

The Roaring Fork Conservancy is taking a look at what a healthy Fryingpan River means to the local economy. The Fryingpan Valley Economic Study is underway and will continue into next year according to the Basalt based organization. The group says the study aims to understand visitor use and spending related to recreational activities on the Lower Fryingpan River and Ruedi Reservoir, and the river’s economic importance. The final result will give people an idea of what a healthy river means to the local economy. The Conservancy believes the report will also aid in helping to keep the river healthy. Colorado State University and Colorado Mountain College are assisting with the study that is funded in part by the town of Basalt, Eagle County, the Aspen Skiing Company Environment Foundation and other private donors. Over a decade ago the Conservancy conducted a similar study and found the Fryingpan Valley's recreational activities contributed an estimated $1.8 million annually in total economic output to Basalt's economy. Updated numbers are expected to be greater.

www.puma-net.org

 

     Insects and disease continue to assault forests across Colorado  The biggest growing threat is a beetle that's attacking high altitude trees. In the Roaring Fork Valley, the danger for private landowners comes from an insect that's been ravaging the state for much longer. It attacks lodgepole pines. That’s according to a new report by the Colorado Forest Service. To learn more, Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher spoke with Colorado Forest Service Ranger Kelly Rogers. 

 

Garfield County

   The Thompson Divide Coalition announced yesterday that Garfield County is supporting proposed legislation to protect the Thompson Divide. Hours later, the County denied that description… and said Commissioners said no such thing. 

 It was a day of dueling press releases. Around eleven A.M., the Coalition announced that commissioners with Pitkin, Gunnison and Garfield Counties are making a plea... to Republican Representative Scott Tipton to support pending legislation that would limit oil and gas development on the Thompson Divide. 

Basalt Snow Birds

Feb 7, 2014
Roger Adams

Backyard bird feeders are especially popular and well-attended when the snow is deep.  Birds spend the majority of their waking hours in the search for food.  These photos were taken this week at feeders in my yard in Basalt.

The New Wheat Behind Whole Grain White Bread

Dec 23, 2013

A new wheat variety may have cracked the code to marry the fluffiness of white bread with whole grain nutrition.

Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife

Most hunting seasons are winding down, but things are just getting busy at the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife. The agency is starting up its annual survey of animals across the state, which can require something called “net-gunning.” Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher talks with Division Spokesman Mike Porras.

 

 

Elise Thatcher

There’s a small army of citizen scientists just over the mountains from Carbondale. Residents in the Paonia area are donning special backpacks for twenty-four hours at a time, to collect real time data for scientific study of air pollution.  The aim is to measure what might be getting into the air from nearby oil and gas wells.

Editor's note: Below is a transcript of reporter Elise Thatcher's story. 

Alison Gannett: “Bluebell!”

Portfolio Hardcover

At least one former resident of the Roaring Fork Valley has played a part in the dramatic fracking boom in the last decade. He’s one of several characters examined in a book exploring how fracking started… and there’s an odd connection to restaurants and even the OJ Simpson trial.

 

US Fish and Wildlife Service

The Greater Sage Grouse is in trouble. The bird looks like a large chicken and has an elaborate mating dance… and it's habitat across the West has been under siege for several decades. There’s been big effort to help the bird. Now, Garfield County officials are watching closely as the federal government decides how closely to protect a big chunk of its Colorado habitat. There’s disagreement about how to do that... and huge restrictions on private and public land are at stake if officials get it wrong. The BLM is taking comments on its habitat plan for the Greater Sage Grouse.

Elise Thatcher

Colorado has a problem with air pollution… levels of ozone have been going up, and that can cause health problems. So the state is taking a look at tightening up air regulations for drilling companies. But, some say much is being done already. 

CU Boulder

Large swathes of spruce forests in the Northern Colorado mountains are dying due to the Spruce Beetle. Now, researchers are linking these massive beetle outbreaks to drought. The beetles’ impact on forests has the potential to be more devastating in Colorado than the mountain pine beetle. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with Sarah Hart, the lead author of the study. She says her team went over 300 years of drought data.

Peter Holy/University of Michigan

For several years, researcher Tom Painter has been examining what happens when dust gets on snow. At the same time, on a much larger scientific level, there research on European glaciers… and why they started melting in the mid 1800’s.

Tom Painter: “It’s funny on public television I heard somebody talking about the end of the little ice age in the Alps around 1850 and that’s when temperatures started going up. And I was yelling at the television ‘NO! That’s not when temperatures were going up!’ ”

Flickr (Creative Commons)/Nurpu

In most years, summertime thunderstorms in Colorado give way to clear skies in mid-September. But, not this year. Colorado State Climatologist Nolan Doesken says one of the unique parts of the torrential rains that flooded the Front Range last week is the pattern. Storms bringing heavy rain simultaneously over multiple places. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with him about the storms.

Stephen Ausmus / US Department of Agriculture

Bees around the world have been having a rough time for several years. Populations are going down, even completely disappearing in some places. Researchers haven’t fully figured out what’s wrong; pesticides are among one of the possible culprits. 

Now some good news from the Front Range about what’s called the Western Bumblebee. More and more are showing up in a multi-year study near Boulder. CU Boulder Professor Carol Kearns says it’s easy to spot them, because they have, well, white “butts,” or part of their abdomen. Kearns talks with Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher.

Moose Population Healthier Than Ever in Colorado

Aug 22, 2013
Anda Rojs Smalls

Unlike other Western states, Colorado’s moose population is growing. It’s healthier than ever with an estimated 2300 moose across the state. While other states are grappling with why their herds are shrinking, Colorado is studying the population’s fast growth. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen has more.

Pages