KDNK Community Radio and Aspen Public Radio teamed up to bring listeners this in-depth series looking at the threats to the region's water. Reporters from the two stations examined how population growth, climate change, the loss of agricultural land, developments and the energy industry all put strains on Colorado's limited resource. The demands on water that impact states like Arizona and California are moving upstream and are just decades away in Colorado.
The series is underwritten by the Colorado River District. This series is also brought to you by the Aspen Thrift Shop in collaboration with the Manaus Fund.
Bente Birkeland, Mathew Katz, Marci Krivonen, Mitzi Rapkin, Steve Skinner, Kristina Tabor and Conrad Wilson.
Alisa Barba, Co-Editor of Indie Edit
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Even though Western Colorado is still classified as "abnormally dry"... the heavy snowfall over the last week has been enough to push snowpack levels in the Colorado River Headwaters area up to around 120% of normal. KDNK's Eric Skalac spoke to Sarah Johnson of the Roaring Fork Conservancy to find out how the Roaring Fork Watershed is doing.
You can find up to date watershed and snowpack information on the Roaring Fork Conservancy's homepage.
Members of the Colorado Water Conservation District celebrated an historic water use agreement and discussed the state of Colorado's water at a meeting in Glenwood Springs this week. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh has more.
At June's monthly energy advisory board meeting, a small group of citizens, press and a class of high school students learned about new federal reports on local water. The studies drew on more than 50 years of data and sought to identify the quality of ground and surface water in the Piceance Basin. And as KDNK’s Marilyn Gleason reports, the studies apply to several watersheds in Western Colorado.
The groundwater and surface water studies are available on the U.S. Geological Survey's website.
And ear-piercing fire alarm interrupted Tuesday's Garfield County commissioner hearing about the proposed revisions to the county's land use code. In the thick of an extended conversation about water protections, a scheduled fire drill forced participants to evacuate the building. But as KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh reports, that didn't stop commissioners and conservationists from compromising on water body and wetland protections.
Related: Army Corps of Engineers biologist weighs in on Federal protection of wetlands and water bodies in GarCo, GarCo land use code revisions could mean big changes for county, GarCo revising county land use codes
Army Corps of Engineers biologist weighs in on Federal protection of wetlands and water bodies in GarCoJune 11, 2013
Garfield county Commissioners are in the process of revising the county land use code. Public hearings about Phase II of the revisions began in May. One section of the code pertains to county standards for wetlands and water body protections, which may be deleted if the current recommendations are approved, including the existing 35-foot construction setback. Commissioners say that state and Federal regulations are enough.
KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh spoke with Army Corps of Engineers biologist Leslie McWhirter about Federal regulations and found out that no setbacks are required.
Related: GarCo land use code revisions could mean big changes for county, GarCo revising county land use codes
Last week the group American Rivers published a report calling the Colorado the most endangered river in the country. KDNK's Ed Williams spoke with American Rivers regional director Matt Rice about the report.
On September 27th, the Roaring Fork Watershed Collaborative and Roaring Fork Conservancy hosted a Candidate Forum on Water for Eagle, Pitkin & Garfield county commissioner candidates at the Third Street Center.
Aspen Public Radio's Carolyne Heldman moderated the forum, which was composed of John Young and Steve Child of Pitkin County; John Martin, Sonja Linman, Aleks Briedis and Mike Samson of Garfield County; and Courtney Holm and Jon Stavney of Eagle County.
(Click through to listen to the forum)
Record temperatures and deadly wildfires across the West have made this year's drought one for the history books. But, the good news is: Palisade peaches are early - and better than ever. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh talked to growers at the Glenwood Springs Farmer's Market last week and has this report.
Wildfire isn't the only problem caused by this year's drought--there's also the issue of hot trout. As Heather Tattersall of the Roaring Fork Conservancy told KDNK's Eric Skalac, conservation groups are recruiting volunteers to monitor the temperature of area rivers and streams.
American Rivers ranked the Crystal River as one of the nation's most endangered waterways this year. But, have past designations led to any real changes? KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh spoke with citizens' groups across the West to find out if a place on the list makes a difference.
To listen to more interviews about the "endangered river" designation, click here.