Colorado River

Your Morning News - December 12th, 2014

Dec 12, 2014

Parking Scam Investigation Nets Big Numbers, Many Cards

More than 4,000 debit cards were used in a massive Aspen parking fraud scheme between September 2013 and November 2014. Aspen’s Police Department has released an update on the case. According to a credit card processing company, nearly 200 of the cards had more than a $1,000 worth of charges used to get free parking in downtown Aspen. Police Spokeswoman Blair Weyer says investigators are using the new information to pinpoint who was gaming the system.

Marci Krivonen

A Basalt-based conservation group is putting some science behind water problems on the Crystal River. A drought in 2012 made clear the need to improve the river’s health, when stream flows dropped to a trickle. 

The problem with the Crystal River that runs through Redstone and Carbondale, is sometimes there’s not enough water and too much dirt. Heavy sedimentation can smother fish and aquatic insects. In 2012, American Rivers named the river one of the most endangered in the country.

The Roaring Fork Conservancy wants to do more than just raise awareness, so it created a management plan. Right now, the group’s gathering data about the riverbed. Heather Tattersall is with the Conservancy.

"So (we’re) making a computerized model of what the Crystal River looks like, as far as where there are pools, where it’s flat, where it’s deep. So we’ll be able to take that model of the river and say, ‘Ok, if we add this much water to it, how much fish habitat do we create? If we take water away from it, where does it get hurt?’"

Once the modeling is complete, the Conservancy may take steps like restoring the river bank or narrowing a river channel.

Colorado River Water Conservation District

NOTE: In the on-air version of this story we incorrectly stated the date of a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announcement about Colorado River cut-backs to lower basin states. That announcement happened in 2013, not this year. (8/26/14)

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced this month water releases from Lake Powell to Lake Mead will increase next year, after historically low releases in 2014. Lake Mead has reached record low levels this summer. The Colorado River supplies these large reservoirs. At a water conference in Snowmass Village last week, drought and the Colorado River were discussed. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

Colorado River Water Conservation District

Colorado candidates running for state and federal office are in Snowmass Village this week, talking about water.  Seven candidates spoke on Wednesday including Representative Scott Tipton and his challenger, Abel Tapia. Senator Mark Udall also made an appearance, as did his opponent, Congressman Cory Gardner. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen was there and filed this report.

High water on the Crystal River has forced the Gunnison County Sheriff’s office to call off a search for a missing kayaker.

Rivers in the Valley are dangerously high. One stretch of the Colorado River is too full to float, so a commercial rafting company changed its route.

A local photographer is back from the Colorado River Delta, where he witnessed the Colorado River reconnect to the sea.

Jimmy Carter and Amory Lovins are a few guests set to speak at this summer’s American Renewable Energy Day in Aspen - we’ll have a preview.

And, more than a dozen new art sculptures were installed on Carbondale’s busy streets this week.

Finally, we’ll take you to Hunter S. Thompson’s old homestead for a cookout hosted by a marijuana advocacy group.

That’s all coming up on Mountain Edition... right now.

Marci Krivonen

This winter’s mega snowpack in the mountains is melting and filling reservoirs and rivers around the state. For whitewater rafting companies the big flows are good for thrills. But, some stretches are river are too full to float. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

Longtime rafting guide Bob Morse is giving his safety spiel to a small group preparing to board a bright yellow raft. For some, it’s their first time rafting.

"I’m excited. Today’s my 34th birthday," says rafter Ellie Burnett.

Pete McBride

Last month the Colorado River met the sea for the first time in about two decades thanks to what’s called a “pulse flow.” Local photographer and filmmaker Pete McBride was there to see it. He was taking photos for an upcoming article in Outside Magazine. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen spoke with him this week, about the experience.

Peter McBride

The Colorado River is expected to reconnect with the sea today, for the first time in several years. Two months ago, water officials sent water down the expansive delta to improve habitat. The last stretch of the river has been dry for decades thanks to overuse. It’s used to supply drinking water, irrigate farmlands and generate power. In 2011, photojournalist and Basalt resident Pete McBride documented the dry delta in his film Chasing Water.

Colorado River Water Conservation District

The public is weighing in how to solve the problem of less water in the future. People offered suggestions for Governor Hickenlooper’s Colorado Water Plan at a town hall meeting in Aspen Thursday. A growing population and climate change are straining the resource in Colorado, and an enormous water gap is projected, between how much water Colorado has and how much it needs. The Water Plan will use information collected by nine basin roundtables organized around various watersheds. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with Jim Pokrandt.

www.colorado.com

A new list names the Upper Colorado River basin the second most endangered stretch of water in the country. The conservation group American Rivers released its annual “top-10” list Wednesday and local rivers like the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan are part of basin that’s threatened.

"All of these rivers have potential targets on them for more diversions," says Ken Neubecker, a coordinator for American Rivers.

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