Drought

ENVIRONMENT
8:01 am
Fri November 14, 2014

With Drought The New Normal, Calif. Farmers Find They Have To Change

California sheep rancher Dan Macon had to sell almost half of his herd because the drought left him without enough feed.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 9:37 am

Ask Northern California sheep rancher Dan Macon what this drought is doing to his pocketbook and he'll break it down for you real quick.

"It's like if you woke up one morning and lost 40 percent of the equity in your house," he says. "Our primary investment in our ranch is in these sheep and we just sold 40 percent of our stock."

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ENVIRONMENT
3:26 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Coping In A Drier World: California's Drought Survival Strategy

The San Luis Reservoir in central California is the largest "off-channel" reservoir in the U.S. It is currently at less than 30 percent of its normal capacity.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 5:44 pm

The past few years have been California's driest on record. Forecasters predict that punishing droughts like the current one could become the new norm.

The state uses water rationing and a 90-year-old water distribution system to cope until the rains come. The system is a huge network of dams, canals and pipes that move water from the places it rains and snows to places it typically doesn't, like farms and cities.

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ENVIRONMENT
9:44 am
Sun October 19, 2014

As Their Wells Run Dry, California Residents Blame Thirsty Farms

Many rural California residents rely on private wells for tap water — wells that are starting to dry up.
Jeremy Raff KQED

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 9:43 am

Imagine flushing the toilet and watching sand come up. That's what happened to Pam Vieira, who lives south of Modesto, Calif. Her water well has slowed to a trickle, and you can see the sand in the tank of her toilet.

"Sometimes we have brown water," Vieira says. "Sometimes we have no water."

Vieira is one of as many as 2 million rural California residents who rely on private domestic wells for drinking water.

Some of those people are among the hardest hit by the state's severe drought, as wells across the state's Central Valley farm belt start to go dry.

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HEALTH
11:54 am
Mon September 22, 2014

In California, Less Water Means More West Nile Virus

Low water levels, like at this reservoir near Gustine, Calif., bring birds and mosquitoes together and help transmit West Nile virus to humans.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 6:20 am

California's historic drought is partly to blame for the recent rise in West Nile virus infections, public health officials say. There have been 311 cases reported so far, double the number of the same time last year, and the most of any state in the country.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes. They contract the virus when they feed on infected birds, then spread it to the birds they bite next. A shortage of water can accelerate this cycle.

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ENVIRONMENT
2:53 am
Sat August 9, 2014

New Mexico's Northern Landscape Gets A New Burst Of Color

Thanks to unusually heavy monsoon rains, mesa land east of Ghost Ranch in New Mexico has erupted into vibrant green life — an unusual sight in this region.
courtesy Harvey Day

Originally published on Sat August 9, 2014 9:40 am

Much of the American West is suffering from extreme drought this year. California is running out of water and wildfires have raged through Washington, Oregon and Idaho. But there is a bright spot out West — or, rather, a green spot. In New Mexico, unusually heavy late-summer rains have transformed the landscape.

It's a remarkable sight. The high desert is normally the color of baked pie crust; now, it's emerald.

Kirt Kempter, a geologist who lives in Santa Fe, says this transformation is far from ordinary.

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ENVIRONMENT
1:46 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Drought-Stricken Colorado River Basin Drying Up Quicker Than Thought

The North Fork of the Gunnison River feeds into the Gunnison River, a tributary of the Colorado River, which supplies drinking water to millions of people in the West.

The drought-stricken Colorado River Basin is drying up faster than was thought, according to a recent study. 

NASA and the University of California, Irvine used satellite data gathered over a nine year period to track changes in the mass of the Colorado River Basin that has been experiencing severe drought since 2000.    

The scientists looked at monthly measurements between December 2004 and November 2013. They found the basin lost nearly 53 million acre feet of freshwater, that's nearly double the volume of Lake Mead, the nation's largest reservoir, during that period. The study said about 41 million acre feet of that lost water was groundwater.  

The basin provides water to millions of people in seven Western states: Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. It also supplies water to roughly four million acres of farmland. 

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NEWS
8:54 am
Thu October 31, 2013

KVNF Regional Newscast: Thursday, October 31, 2013

Headlines

  • Head of Oil and Gas Commission Praises Industry's Response to Flooding
  • State Department of Agriculture Still Investigating Case of Stolen Monkey
  • Drought Prompts Study of Gold-Medal Fishery Near Basalt
  • Delta County Residents to Vote on Ending More Term Limits
  • US Rep. Cory Gardner Criticizes "Brobamacare" Ads
NEWS
8:15 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Drought Prompts Study of Gold Medal Fishery near Basalt

Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff and volunteers "shock" fish every other year on the Fryingpan. The electrical current attracts the fish so the group can catch and count them.
Credit Marci Krivonen/Aspen Public Radio

This Fall, a local river conservation group is keeping a close eye on the Fryingpan River. This follows last year's drought that brought the levels on the river down. 

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NEWS
8:15 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Connecting the Drops: "Buy and Dry"

Caryle Currier, a 4th Generation farmer in Mesa County. He leases land that had been bought by a local water authority. The land didn't dry out because Currier has other water rights he can use on the land. That case is the exception.
Maeve Conran

Water has always been a source of conflict in the arid West, but in recent years the conflict between agriculture and growing cities has escalated as both entities compete for this limited resource.

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iSeeChange
9:07 am
Wed September 25, 2013

iSeeChange: Rain and Snow - Signs of a Wet Winter?

A dusting of snow on Mount Lamborn, as seen from McClure Pass just outside of Paonia.
Credit Travis Bubenik/KVNF

For this week's iSeeChange report, we looked into the recent flurry of rain and some snow, and what, if anything, it might tell us about the coming winter.

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Local Newscast
8:42 am
Mon September 23, 2013

KVNF Local Newscast: Monday, September 23, 2013

Headlines:

  • “Significant” Marijuana Patch Discovered in White River National Forest
  • House Passes Tipton-Led Bill to Increase Logging Activity, Prevent Wildfires
  • Class-Action Suit says Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is Unconstitutional
  • Vice President Biden to Visit Colorado, View Flood Damage
  • Hickenlooper: State Will Help Pay for Flood Recovery
  • Western Slope Water Storage at Normal Levels, Despite Floods
  • NFL Says Von Miller Tried to Cheat Drug Test
iSeeChange
9:28 am
Thu September 5, 2013

iSeeChange: The West is Getting Dustier

Beginnings of a dust storm
Credit Tee Poole via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA)

In late July, a massive dust storm in the Saharan Desert of Africa moved across the Atlantic, making for an interesting start to the hurricane season, or you could say a boring one.

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ENVIRONMENT
9:57 am
Tue August 20, 2013

iSeeChange: Local "Guru" Ryan Warwick on Mushrooms

Colorado pholiotas
Credit Sadie Miller/KVNF

Last week the Almanac saw a lot of talk about mushrooms – Steve Smith said they seem to be popping up in larger numbers than usual – Marilyn Stone wondered what factors affect mushroom numbers – and Amber Kleinman asked whether it’s possible to grow puffballs in a yard. 

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iSeeChange
9:33 am
Tue August 6, 2013

iSeeChange: Fall in August?

Yellowing Aspen trees along Kebler Pass
Credit Patty Kaech-Feder

Though we’re barely a week into August, some signs of fall have started to appear in western Colorado.

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NEWS
11:40 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Connecting the Drops: Water Shortages in the San Luis Valley

Karla Shriver standing by one of the many pivot sprinkler systems that she uses to irrigate her approximately 1,000 acres of potatoes, small grains, and hay on her farm, just north of Alamosa, Colorado
Maeve Conran

In early July, Colorado designated 14 counties "primary natural disaster areas" due to agricultural losses caused by the recent and ongoing drought.  Several of those counties are in the San Luis Valley in south central Colorado.  Farmers there are now eligible for low interest emergency loans, but as KGNU’s Maeve Conran reports, that may not be enough for this agricultural hub, which is facing a long term water crisis that could permanently affect the entire valley.  

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Local Newscast
8:35 am
Mon July 22, 2013

KVNF Local Newscast: Monday, July 22, 2013

Headlines:

  • Climber Found Dead at Capitol Peak
  • Mountain Village May Soon Require Recycling at Construction Sites
  • Colorado State Troopers Begin Special Training This Week
  • Colorado Lottery Criticized for Awarding Contract to Overseas Company
  • Former Ouray Mayor Pam Larsen to Fill City Councilor Vacancy
  • Colorado’s Drought Fueling More Water Disputes
Local Newscast
8:56 am
Mon July 8, 2013

KVNF Local Newscast: Monday, July 08, 2013

Headlines:

  • Rains Help Slow West Fork Fire; Holding at 110,000 Acres
  • Hay Prices and Horse Owners Affected by Severe Drought
  • New Laws Aimed at Protecting Pregnant Women Take Effect
  • Century Old Cemetery Uncovered at School Construction Site
  • North Fork Mosquito Abatement District Releases West Nile Update
  • Western Slope Skies – Summer Skies Mean a Bright Milky Way
Local Newscast
8:40 am
Thu July 4, 2013

KVNF Local Newscast: Thursday, July 04, 2013

Headlines:

  • Randy Udall Found in Wyoming, Deceased
  • Body Discovered Tuesday at Colorado National Monument Ruled a Homicide
  • 38 Drought-stricken Colorado Counties Declared Drought Disaster
  • Gov Appoints Panel to Help Implement State’s New Renewable Energy Law
  • State Recall Elections Good to Go
  • What’s Cherry Days Without a Carnival
Local Newscast
9:00 am
Mon July 1, 2013

KVNF Local Newscast: Monday, July 01, 2013

Headlines:

  • The Worst Hot and Dry in Decades
  • West Fork Fire Complex Grows to Over 96,000 acres
  • iSeeChange: Do Warmer Temperatures Equal Earlier Sunflowers?
  • Annual Fairview School Reunion Meets over the weekend at Pleasure Park
  • New Colorado Gun Regulations Take Affect
Local Newscast
8:54 am
Mon June 17, 2013

KVNF Local Newscast: Monday, June 17, 2013

Headlines:

  • DMEA annual meeting: Marston loses to Lund, Prendergast wins
  • Fracking plus drought equals no water for farmers across western states
  • Telluride restricts water usage
  • Wildfire Update
  • iSeeChange: The Colorado River Conservation District’s Dave Kanzer talks about the effects of climate change on the Colorado River

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