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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.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Up high in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, there’s an abandoned metal snow fence — well, there used to be. A diverse group of volunteers joined a team of mules and horses to haul tons of rebar out of the backcountry last month. Pack strings are one of the few ways to get heavy work done in protected wilderness areas, but their future is uncertain.

Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service

Hundreds of thousands of people visited Hanging Lake last year, and the U.S. Forest Service says too much traffic has caused damage to the sensitive ecosystem. On Friday, the agency released its final decision to require hikers to get permits to visit the popular spot.

Courtesy photo

Astronomer and educator Dr. Jeffrey Bennett believes we can find consensus on one of the most divisive issues of our time. In a presentation Thursday, he aims to break down political barriers surrounding climate change.

Courtesy of Natural Resources Conservation Service

A winter with low snowpack and a dry, hot summer combined to create the second-worst water year on record for Colorado.

Courtesy of Christy Rose

Only one river in Colorado is designated Wild and Scenic, the nation’s highest protection for rivers. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which ensures that designated rivers remain free-flowing, celebrates 50 years today.

 

The Lake Christine Fire tested how prepared Eagle County is for natural disasters, and now the county is updating its hazard mitigation plan.

Courtesy of Christy Rose

A small wildfire broke out Thursday in the Holland Hills area near Basalt. Officials believe it started because of an electrical issue.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Roaring Fork Valley native Pete McBride is a photojournalist whose latest work “The Grand Canyon: Between River and Rim” is being released Wednesday. It chronicles his 800-mile hike through the entire canyon and highlights developments that threaten to change the landscape.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Local and national wildfire experts are gathering in the Roaring Fork Valley this week for a series of panel discussions.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Tuesday, Aspen City Council will hear an update on the city’s progress on reducing its carbon footprint. The focus is on curtailing the demand for fossil fuels.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Filoha Meadows Nature Preserve is tucked between steep mountain cliffs and the Crystal River; the open space is a flat expanse of wetlands. On a recent brisk fall morning, plant ecologists Rea Orthner and Denise Wilson lead the way across the swampy meadow. We’re here because of the stream orchid, which blooms in penny-sized flowers in mid-summer.

Aspen Public Radio

While most local rivers are flowing at levels far below average, the Fryingpan is the exception. Releases from Ruedi Reservoir are supplementing low flows downstream, in the Colorado River.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County is working to update its rules about hauling trash and recyclables, and a proposed ordinance aims to expand recycling in a challenging market.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Developers in Pitkin County have not yet embraced renewable energy as the go-to source.

 

Courtesy photo

This week, scientists are gathered in Aspen to discuss “flash droughts,” which last under 30 days. Dr. Roger Pulwarty, a climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will be giving a public lecture Tuesday as part of the workshop put on by the Aspen Global Change Institute.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

A decade-long battle over oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide area near Carbondale has ended.

Courtesy photo

Basalt Town Council member and Aspen Skiing Company vice president Auden Schendler has been appointed to a state commission on air quality.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

On Friday, officials will lift all fire restrictions across the upper Colorado River area, including the Roaring Fork Valley.

Aspen Skiing Company

Aspen Skiing Company announced Wednesday that it is once again stepping into the political arena with its latest advertising campaign; this season’s marketing focuses on climate change.

City of Aspen

Aspen wants to cut traffic without adding more lanes or changing the s-curves. In an experiment called "Shift," which is slated for next summer, the city will test out a variety of programs aimed at giving people options to get out of the car as they commute into town.

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