Environment News

The environment desk at Aspen Public Radio covers all things environment in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout the state of Colorado. Issues include, but are not limited to, water use and quality, impact of recreation, population growth and oil and gas development.  APR’s environment reporter Elizabeth Stewart-Severy heads the desk.

Courtesy of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails

July in Aspen is peak tourist season. As part of a monthly series on Roaring Fork wildlife, Elizabeth Stewart-Severy checked in on some visitors from the south who are in the middle of some critical work this summer. It’s time for migratory birds to stretch their wings.

Courtesy of Conservation Colorado

Colorado’s rivers received their first-ever report cards from an environmental organization last week, and it’s a mixed bag.


Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Earlier this week, Aspen City Council heard an update on studies of the town’s risk for water storage.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

The late June heat above Carbondale is dry and sneezy. Butterflies flutter through the sagebrush, stalked by teams of net-wielding students and scientists.

Courtesy of instagram.com/govofco

On Tuesday, Colorado became the latest state — and the first in the Rocky Mountain region — to commit to fighting climate change.

Courtesy of waltonfamilyfoundation.org

A billionaire family with ties to Aspen is concerned about the health of one of the region’s crucial bodies of water. The Walton Family Foundation will donate $20 million toward conservation programs aimed at keeping water in Colorado River. Grants were awarded to the National Wildlife Federation, American Rivers, Western Resource Advocates, the Environmental Defense Fund and other organizations.

Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service

Businesses across Colorado have penned their support of public lands in a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

courtesy of www.aspenrecreation.com

Aspen City Council will be hearing several updates regarding water storage this week. It comes nine months after council asked staff to explore alternatives to reservoirs on Castle and Maroon Creeks. Elizabeth Stewart-Severy has been following this story and talked with Christin Kay about what consultants have found.

Courtesy of Upper Colorado River Fire Management Unit

Stage 1 fire restrictions are now in effect for the White River National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, and across six counties in the Colorado River Basin. This means no fireworks or other explosives, no smoking outside near dry vegetation and no fires outside of developed areas. Campfires are allowed only in grates — a rock campfire ring is not acceptable. Click here for more information.

Courtesy of www.instagram.com/outdoorretailer

Denver is the new home for the Outdoor Retailer Show, and the move from Salt Lake City has both symbolic and economic implications.


Organizers estimate that the three annual outdoor industry trade shows — including winter and summer markets, as well as a Snow Show — will bring a total of $110 million each year to Colorado and draw 85,000 attendees.

Courtesy of www.aspenmusicfestival.com

Pitkin County and the City of Aspen are re-visiting the process that could bring a bicycle trail to a short segment of Castle Creek Road.

Courtesy of nps.gov

As scientists work to understand and address a changing climate, some are exploring creative and unusual approaches. Environment reporter Elizabeth Stewart-Severy sat in on a discussion about “climate moonshots” at last week’s Aspen Ideas Festival. She talked with producer Christin Kay about why some scientists want to resurrect wooly mammoths.

Courtesy of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails

As Pitkin County Open Space and Trails staff works to design a trail up the Crystal River Valley, a local conservation organization wants to make sure wildlife is protected.


It’s been over a month since the Aspen area has seen significant rainfall, and the smaller grasses and brush present fire danger. Aspen Fire Marshall Parker Lathrop said that’s why there will be no fireworks over Aspen Mountain to celebrate Independence Day this year.

Courtesy of coloradowildpubliclands.org

The nonprofit Colorado Wild and Public Lands is suing the federal government over a land exchange. It’s the latest step in years of debate over the Sutey property.

Michael Brune is the executive director of the Sierra Club, the conservation organization founded by John Muir 125 years ago. Environment reporter Elizabeth Stewart-Severy caught up with Brune at the summit for the American Renewable Energy Institute (AREDAY).

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Winds pushed smoke from several wildfires in Utah, Arizona and California into the Roaring Fork Valley Thursday. The smoke is likely to stick around Friday as well.


Courtesy of Aspen Skiing Company

Aspen Skiing Company and the U.S. Forest Service have finalized plans for an expansion of summer activities at Snowmass Ski Area.


Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen’s summer season officially kicked off last weekend with the Food and Wine Classic. It’s an iconic event — and one that also sets the bar for how to manage the far less glamorous side: taking out the trash.


Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

American Renewable Energy Day (AREDAY), has grown from a one-day expo to a nearly week-long summit. This year’s event kicked off yesterday in Snowmass. Environment reporter Elizabeth Stewart-Severy was there and shares what she learned with news director Carolyn Sackariason.