Environment

Environmental coverage

EcoFlight

The Aspen Skiing Company has given a combined fifty thousand dollars to organizations working to prevent oil and gas drilling in the Thompson Divide. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher has more.

The Earth's wettest regions are likely to get wetter while the most arid will get drier due to warming of the atmosphere caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, according to a new NASA analysis of more than a dozen climate models.

Is Fracking Getting Greener?

May 2, 2013

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has just revised its estimate of the amount of greenhouse gas that leaks everyday in oil and gas drilling fields.  The EPA says that as much as 20 percent less methane gas is leaking from drilling operations than it had previously thought.  The announcement comes as good news for the oil and gas industry and is an acknowledgement, says David Ludlam, of big strides in engineering.

Photo by Colorado River Water Conservation District

As the demand for water grows in the West, there may come a day when water rights at ski areas will be worth more than lift tickets or real estate. Forest Service officials want to make sure those rights aren’t sold--but a previous attempt was struck down in court late last year. A judge decided, among other things, the agency didn’t get enough public input. This week saw the first of three public meetings... it’s the only one in Colorado. Denver Post reporter Jason Blevins was there.

http://www.fryingpananglers.com/Photos-2013/fly-fishing-photos-4-April-1Jason.html

Recent snow showers have boosted local snowpack levels much higher than at this time last year. Yesterday the snowpack in the Roaring Fork Watershed registered 107 percent of normal. It’s good news for anglers who dealt with warm and dry conditions last year.

The latest “Fishing Report” on the Frying Pan Anglers website reads, “...this last week has put us in the best position all year, with the best water in the entire state.”

Owner Warwick Mowbray wrote that entry. He says recent storms paint a good picture for the upcoming fishing season.

Photo by Elise Thatcher

Most residents in the Roaring Fork Valley probably won’t be surprised to hear

there’s more snow in the mountains. Drought conditions are in the area again this year... but while the snow is helping... it’s cold temperatures that are making the biggest difference.

Wendy Ryan is with the Colorado Climate Center. She says the snowpack in the Roaring Fork Valley is at 87% of what’s normal.

"It’s way better than we had been just a few weeks ago, so April has brought us some really good moisture, mainly along the northern tier of the state."

Residents in the town of Parachute, and other area communities, are angry and worried about a nearby hydrocarbon spill. That’s a word for a substance like light natural gas, that seeped out from a pipe valve earlier this year. Officials say there isn’t any more leaking out, and they feel like they’ve got a good handle on the clean up. But many at a public meeting on Monday, April 29th, were skeptical. Aspen Public Radio's Elise Thatcher reports:

Photo by Dale Atkins/RECCO

This week is a tough one for many in Colorado’s backcountry community. Friends and family are getting used to the idea that five men died in an avalanche near Loveland Pass last weekend. Its the worst event of its kind in Colorado in a half a century.

Adam Schmidt is editor in Chief at Snowboard Colorado Magazine. He was good friends with one of the victims, Gypsum resident Joe Timlin. Schmidt got the call Saturday night that Joe was gone, killed in the avalanche.

“My first reaction was disbelief. Um. I was hoping it was a terrible joke.”

Marci Krivonen

Last month the Obama Administration laid out a plan to help plants and animals deal with the impacts of climate change. Already, polar bears are losing sea ice and waterfowl are flying south weeks later than decades before. The plan lays out strategies on how to help animals survive these changes.

In Aspen, a group of citizen scientists hope to do the same thing. They’re getting trained on how to recognize and record changes to the environment. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is behind the effort. The group hopes to make it easier to track changes.

Marci Krivonen

There’s a house in Old Snowmass unlike any other home in the Roaring Fork Valley, or in the world for that matter. The home Amory Lovins shares with his wife doesn’t have a furnace and it creates more energy than it uses.

Lovins is a scientist who founded Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy and environmental think tank. He’s become one of the world’s foremost thinkers on energy efficiency. And, he gets some of that inspiration from what he calls the “Banana Farm." Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

 

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