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Roaring Fork Conservancy

Aspen Public Radio News

The City of Aspen hosted an open-house discussion last week about its water rights to build reservoirs on Maroon and Castle creeks, but interested locals still have a lot of questions.

Marci Krivonen

Dry February weather melted snow in the high country, but snowpack levels are still substantial. A healthy level of snow up high is important for everyone down low, particularly farmers and ranchers. A crew of snow surveyors and high-tech systems are already sending readings about snowmelt. Marci Krivonen explains.

It’s a calm and sunny February day at 8700 feet above sea level. Snow surveyor Derrick Wyle plunges a long metal tube into deep snow on McClure Pass, south of Carbondale.

Hunter Baar

 

Results are in from testing done after a release of water from Grizzly Reservoir last month turned the Roaring Fork River a dirty yellow.

The discoloration happened in mid-August after a dam problem forced the release of between 10 and 20 acre feet of water from Grizzly Reservoir on Independence Pass. The water flowed into Lincoln Creek and eventually into the Roaring Fork River. It raised alarm because of its color.

High river flows good for bugs, wildlife

Jun 22, 2015
Cornelia Carpenter

Bugs and wildlife are benefiting from higher-than-normal rivers in the Roaring Fork watershed. Heavy rain and snowmelt have boosted flows to flood stage in some areas. It’s positive for the river ecosystem.

River flows are above average on the Roaring Fork, Frying Pan, Crystal and Colorado rivers. It’s good news for water quality and wildlife habitat along the riverbanks. The flows knock away dirt buildup in the spaces between rocks on the riverbed. Rick Lafaro with the Roaring Fork Conservancy says that’s where bugs live.

Roaring Fork Conservancy

  Cattle Creek has a problem. The stream crosses under Highway 82 at the Cattle Creek intersection southeast of Glenwood Springs, and there are signs it’s not healthy. Heather Lewin is Watershed Action Director with the Roaring Fork Conservancy. The organization recently started a study to figure out what’s wrong in the creek. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher talks with Heather Lewin.

Snow, precip totals for March close to average in Aspen

Mar 31, 2015
Marci Krivonen

After a dry start to the year, the month of March brought much needed moisture to the Aspen region. 

Your Morning News - February 9th, 2015

Feb 9, 2015

West Slope Back On Drought Index

In the dry month of January, snowpack levels in nearly every river basin in Colorado declined. In the Roaring Fork Valley, not only did the amount of snow diminish but drought conditions returned. 

The U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday puts the Western Slope in the “abnormally dry” category, including the majority of Eagle and Pitkin Counties and all of Garfield County. “Abnormally dry” is the least severe of five categories.

Plan Aims To Improve Health Of Crystal River

Dec 4, 2014
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.

Creative Commons/Flickr/USFWS Mountain Prairie

Educators in Colorado are taking an inventory of environmental learning and finding gaps where more is needed. A Colorado Environmental Education Plan is being drawn up to evenly spread these kinds of lessons to students across the state...and two local non profits are involved. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Colorado Trout Unlimited

The Thompson Creek watershed that flows through the contested Thompson Divide area, received a special designation this week. On Tuesday, the state’s Water Quality Control Commission approved an “Outstanding Waters” designation for several branches of Thompson Creek, near Carbondale.

To win approval the stream has to meet several high quality standards and, the designation prohibits certain pollutants from being discharged into the water. Aaron Kindle is with Colorado Trout Unlimited, which fought for the designation. He says it protects fish.

Marci Krivonen

A top administrator in the EPA’s Office of Water was in the Roaring Fork Valley on Wednesday, touring local rivers and drumming up interest for a proposed Clean Water Act rule. Acting Administrator Nancy Stoner says the so-called “Waters of the U.S.” rulemaking clarifies what types of waterbodies get federal protection. Before she discussed the rule with local residents, she traveled up the Frying Pan river. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen was along for the ride, and filed this report.

www.roaringfork.org

Spring runoff in the Roaring Fork Valley typically starts around this time, in early to mid-April. It peaks later in the spring. This year mountain snow is plentiful and once it melts, river flows are predicted to be higher than average. But, the timing of the melt is important. Aspen public Radio's Marci Krivonen spoke with Sarah Johnson, the Outreach Coordinator for the Roaring Fork Conservancy. She says the snowpack in the Roaring Fork watershed is well above average.

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.

Google Image/suehess.com

As the state prepares a statewide water plan, a local non profit wants to make sure our rivers and streams in the Valley are protected. Basalt-based Roaring Fork Conservancy is pinpointing environmental values, so, as the state searches for more water to fill growing needs, local waterways stay full. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

In his State of the State address earlier this month Governor Hickenlooper touched on water.

"Now, if words were water, the state would never run dry," he said.

Drought Prompts Study of Gold Medal Fishery near Basalt

Oct 30, 2013
Marci Krivonen

This Fall, a local river conservation group is keeping a close eye on the Fryingpan River. This follows last year's drought that brought the levels on the river down. The low flows affected fish, aquatic insects and possibly the local economy. The Fryingpan is considered Gold Medal fishing waters. It draws people from around the world to fly fish there. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

The Roaring Fork Conservancy

More than 100 people jumped into rafts on Saturday for an annual float down the Roaring Fork River. Only, this float wasn’t just an excuse to cool off on a hot day. It was meant to be a learning experience or a classroom on water. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

Alongside the river in Glenwood Springs, volunteers lug a big raft full of people to shore. They’re part of the Roaring Fork Conservancy’s 9th annual River Float. The non profit fills more than a dozen boats with participants and an ambassador who talks about the in’s and out’s of the river.