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Drought in the West

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What the drought means for ranchers

May 15, 2013
Drought conditions persist across Colorado despite last month's moisture. According to Friday's USDA Colorado Department of Agriculture Market News, high winds in the southeastern part of the state mimicked Dust Bowl conditions, damaging an estimated 100,000 acres of topsoil and dirt-covered pasture.

On this week's Drought News, KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh talks with Pat McCarty, agricultural agent for Garfield County's CSU Extension Office, about what the drought means for ranchers and their communities.
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Drought improving in some parts of the state

May 8, 2013
Snowpack levels for the Roaring Fork watershed as of May 7th were at 90 percent of the median and almost one thousand percent of this time last year. The drought seems to have loosened its grip in some parts of the state but it's too soon to tell if that means the end is in sight. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh has more.
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Dust storms having large impact on snowpack

April 30, 2013
Dust storms wreak havoc on mountain snow, attracting the sun which then makes the snow melt faster. But, the impacts don't stop there, says Chris Landry of the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies in Silverton, Colorado.
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Recent storms good news for grasslands

April 16, 2013
Colorado ranchers and farmers drew a collective sigh of relief this week as storms dropped much-needed rain and heavy, wet snow across the state. Statewide snowpack levels are at 77 percent of the median and 203 percent of last year.

It's difficult to say how this will impact Colorado water supplies later this summer but as KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh found out, it's great news for grasslands.
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Snowpack in the Roaring Fork Valley better, but state climatologist says we still need more

April 10, 2013
State snowpack levels are up 4% from March, According to the Natural Resource Conservation Service, as of April 1st, Colorado snowpack is 74% of the median and 130% of last year. The Roaring Fork Basin is 76% of the median and 141% of last year. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh has more.
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State climatologist says Colorado needs month of back-to-back storms

April 3, 2013
One of the worst droughts to hit the country since the 1950s still has Colorado in its grip. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh has this report about what the coming summer could look like and what will end the drought.
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Colorado snowpack still below "average"

March 15, 2013
It seems like Colorado has had more of a winter than than last year but the state's snowpack levels are still lower than average. But, what is the "average"? And, how do scientists who measure snowpack figure it out? KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh spoke with Mage Hulstrand of the National Resource Conservation Service and has this report.
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Spruce beetles on the rise

March 6, 2013
The spruce beetle is competing with the mountain pine beetle for headlines in the Rocky Mountain West. A Colorado Forest Service report on forest health released in January states that in 2012, acreage damaged by the spruce beetle surpassed that of the mountain pine beetle for the first time in recent years.

KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh spoke with Jan Burke of the White River National Forest about the difference between the two bugs and why spruce beetles are on the rise.
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Drought affecting avalanches

February 27, 2013
Ninety-one avalanches have been reported so far this season in the mountains surrounding the Roaring Fork Valley with two fatalities. And as KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh reports, drought conditions may be playing a role.
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Farming and ranching businesses challenged by ongoing drought

Farming and ranching businesses challenged by ongoing drought February 20, 2013
The record breaking drought of 2012 is shaping up to become the record breaking drought of 2013. KDNK's Ed Williams reports that last year's dry conditions hit farmers and ranchers particularly hard, and this winter's lackluster snowfall has many concerned about the upcoming 2013 growing season.

Click here for more KDNK News coverage of recent drought, including stories about a wildlfire burning through the winter and the drought's effect on local beekeepers.
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