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Environment

Environmental coverage

The effects of climate change are not far off problems for future generations. They are existential problems for everyone alive today.

That’s one big takeaway from the U.S. federal government’s latest roundup of climate science, the National Climate Assessment, now in its fourth iteration.

Early season snowfall in some parts of the Colorado River Basin have raised hopes of a drought recovery. But that optimism is likely premature.

In Colorado, higher than average snowfall in October and early November has allowed ski resorts to open early after a dismal start to last year’s season.

Colorado River water managers have plenty to argue about. But there’s one thing on which nearly everyone who relies on the southwestern river can agree. The foundational document that divvies up the water -- the Colorado River Compact -- has some big flaws.

Discussion on how to fix the compact’s problems is where that consensus breaks down, often with the invocation of one word: renegotiation.

Courtesy photo

As governments across the world work to address climate change, big businesses are doing the same. David Hone is Chief Climate Change Adviser at the energy company Shell. Hone is in Aspen this week, discussing the company’s plan to limit global temperature rise.

Bob Wick, BLM via Flickr

Last year, the Trump administration reduced the size of Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent. Now, the federal government is taking public comment on a draft management plan for the monument, and Thursday is the last day for feedback.

http://cwcb.state.co.us

The clouds responsible for snow storms can be pretty inefficient, as skiers and riders know well.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

The Colorado River District has an idea that could boost the Roaring Fork water supply. A proposal for cloud seeding goes in front of Pitkin County’s Healthy Rivers Board this week.

Courtesy photo

Communities looking to create less trash often turn to the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle.

One local company is trying to get a C for compost in there, too, and it’s getting some help from the state of Colorado.

Earlier this month, a federal judge ruled that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) needs to further analyze climate impacts as it plans for future use of public lands in the Colorado River Valley.

Courtesy of Katy Nelson, U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service says a new permit system at Conundrum Hot Springs is working to help protect the ecosystem. For the first time, backpackers had to make a reservation to camp at the popular spot.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

At the foot of Aspen Mountain, just off the Ajax Trail, several towering Douglas fir trees have turned brown-red and dropped their needles. They look like red ghosts in the evergreen forest.

www.pitkincounty.com/1103/Glassier-Open-Space

Eagle County’s open space program is asking for continued support this election. The program is funded through 2025; ballot measure 1A asks voters to extend the property tax through 2040.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County has committed to using science to protect wildlife and habitat on the 5,000 acres of open space property it owns, and last week, the Open Space and Trails Board recommended spending more than $200,000 studying area wildlife.

 

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.

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