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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.

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) announced Thursday that it is lifting some fishing restrictions, and increasing others.

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On Monday, the state approved Xcel Energy’s plan to close two coal-fired power plants, which is expected to bring more renewable energy to Colorado.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Earlier this month, Aspen City Council declared a stage 2 water shortage, restricting outdoor irrigation and water use. But several city properties are exempted from the rules.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

As fires burn in Colorado and across the west, Roaring Fork communities have frequently been under health advisories for air quality because of smoke.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

 

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows Pitkin County is now experiencing severe-to-extreme drought and, on Monday, city council agreed to implement Stage Two water restrictions. It's the first time the city has taken this step, which is meant to protect area rivers and preserve the city’s water supply.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

It’s been a few weeks since the Lake Christine Fire tore along the hillsides above Basalt and El Jebel. The flames are gone, but the evidence of the fire is clear on the blackened landscape. It’s a haunting change from the usual green or gold slopes; newspaper columnists have called this a "hellscape."

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On Thursday, the Trump administration announced rollbacks to the Clean Car Standards, which set guidelines for vehicle emissions, but Colorado officials are preparing a workaround.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

As the Lake Christine Fire continues to burn along the upper stretches of Missouri Heights, a handful of firefighters watched pink clouds of smoke billow on the hillside across from Spring Park Reservoir.

Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is looking for public input as it starts planning what to do with land it acquired near Carbondale last year.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

The Pitkin County community survey is used to measure the public’s satisfaction with government services and identify areas for improvement. On Tuesday, the commissioners will consider also asking the public to weigh-in on water issues.

On Friday, an Aspen-based organization awarded $250,000 to 10 groups working on solutions to climate change.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

For centuries, humans’ relationship with animals has been related to use and utility. Scientists are now delving into more complex understanding of our fellow creatures. Seeing birds of prey up close offers a chance to appreciate both the evolutionary science — and the emotional beauty of raptors.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Inspectors at Ruedi Reservoir have spotted invasive mussels on two boats so far this summer, and officials think there are more to come.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

On Tuesday, officials from Pitkin County will host a public meeting where they are the ones listening. The forum in Carbondale is meant to gather public input on a major trail proposal in the Crystal River Valley.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Communities of color and those living in poverty are more likely than others to be exposed to air pollution, toxic waste and water contamination than others in the United States, and studies show the impacts of climate change will also hit these communities harder. Environment reporter Elizabeth Stewart-Severy recently spoke with two men who have spent their lives deeply engaged in fighting for civil rights and are now tackling climate activism.

 

COURTESY OF THE OFFICE OF GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper recently signed an executive order that requires that Colorado adopt low-emission vehicle standards, following a model set by California. It’s part of your plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

The federal government has reached a settlement in an ongoing legal battle over drilling in the Thompson Divide area of the White River National Forest.

 

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Off-road vehicles like ATVs and dirt bikes have long been banned on public roads in Colorado, but Pitkin County is only starting to enforce the law this summer.

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Low river flows and hot weather could be particularly tough on area fish. A local organization is asking boaters and anglers to chip in on a science project aimed at protecting trout.

Courtesy of Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

In 2016, the world’s largest investment firm issued a report saying that climate change must be a factor in money management. On Wednesday, BlackRock Vice Chairman Philipp Hildebrand will discuss sustainable investing.

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