ENVIRONMENT

iSeeChange
9:25 am
Wed September 18, 2013

iSeeChange: Signs of Floods to Come?

Flooding along Boulder Creek in Boulder, CO
Credit JGColorado via Flickr (CC BY-NC)

In the wake of the historic Front Range Floods, many climate experts and researchers admit that while they’ve known of the potential for dangerous flooding in the Boulder area for some time now, hardly anybody could’ve predicted such a large-scale disaster.

We decided to look into what the floods might tell us about the future of massive storms, and whether the events of last week might change our definitions of "rare" weather events.

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Western Slope Skies
8:15 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Western Slope Skies 9/13/13

The sun rises in the east each day in our western slope skies and appears to shine with constant brightness. However, we shouldn’t take the sun for granted, because the sun’s energy sustains most life on Earth.  And, in this age of widespread, complex technology, the sun can impact our daily lives. 

The sun, in fact, is not constant, and we need to pay attention to our active, local star.  

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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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Western Slope Skies
10:16 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Western Slope Skies 8/16/13

As August began, all of the bright planets were visible in our western slope skies. Since all of our solar system planets orbit the sun, the visible planets change from night to night. 

As of today’s program, we have already lost Mercury from view for the rest of this month. It was visible in the early dawn for the first two weeks of the month. However, we still have Venus shining low on the evening horizon. Saturn will end the month just a little higher than Venus. Jupiter rises well after midnight, followed by Mars even later.

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ENVIRONMENT
2:37 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

iSeeChange: Colorado Fruit Growers Harness Wind, Water, and Fire to Save Harvest

Allie Goldstein and Glenn Austin pet the Austin family dog while riding around the orchard via golf cart
Credit Kirsten Howard/Allie Goldstein

iSeeChange had the great pleasure of meeting two climate adaptation storytellers this summer, Kirsten Howard and Allie Goldstein. 1 car, 2 girls, and 3 months to travel across America and tell stories about the Great American Adaptation to climate change. After reading iSeeChange posts about frosts on the Almanac, they set out to talk to fruit farmers in the North Fork Valley. Here's what they found.

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Paonia & Hotchkiss, CO

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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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ENVIRONMENT
8:15 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Bird Tracking with Jason Beason

Jason Beason of the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
Marty Durlin/KVNF

As the special monitoring projects coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, Jason Beason has surveyed yellow billed cuckoos and monitored the breeding sites of great blue herons, snowy egrets and other water birds. KVNF’s Marty Durlin spoke to Jason at the farm he owns with his wife Kerry near the North Fork of the Gunnison. 

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iSeeChange
10:09 am
Tue July 30, 2013

iSeeChange: The Outlook for Western Slope Water Supplies

Credit Eli Nixon (CC BY-NC-SA)

Afternoon clouds and occasional rains have dotted the Western Slope in the past few weeks, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t still worried about their water.

Last week Matthew Harris posted on the Almanac that the water he gets from German Creek was called on by a senior rights holder for the first time in the eight years he’s lived in Paonia. His creek’s just one of many that snake across the North Fork Valley, but if it’s been that long since that senior rights holder felt like they needed more water, should other residents and farmers be concerned? 

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iSeeChange
8:15 am
Tue July 23, 2013

iSeeChange: Bird Watching on the North Fork of the Gunnison

A birdhouse on Rain Crow Farm where four tree swallows nested this year for the first time, eating mosquitoes
Marty Durlin, KVNF

On the Almanac last week, P Kaech reported seeing snow on the top of Mt. Baldy near Crested Butte, and Andrea Lecos noticed that monsoon rains have brought up mosquitoes and other insects. Humans may hate the bugs, but birds are feasting on them. 

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iSeeChange
11:51 am
Tue July 16, 2013

iSeeChange: Eyes of the Storm - Monsoon Forecasting

Norvan Larson, Forecaster at the National Weather Service Forecasting Office in Grand Junction
Credit Travis Bubenik, KVNF

If you've followed the weather for even the past few days, daily whether predications have been pretty, well, predictable: sunny in the morning, cloudy in the afternoon, a chance of rain as the day wears on and the sun starts to drop.

The Monsoon season has arrived in Colorado, the annual time when hot, high pressure in the atmosphere moves east across the Continental Divide and cool, moist air comes trailing in behind it. It's a reliable weather pattern, but exactly how reliable? 

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iSeeChange
10:08 am
Tue July 9, 2013

iSeeChange: Where Have All the Wasps Gone?

View from behind Maria Hodkin's home. Under the dirt lies the Stewart Ditch, a previously-exposed water source now flowing through an enclosed pipe.
Credit Travis Bubenik, KVNF

For this week’s iSeeChange report, we explore concerns about ditch lining in the area, and whether these manmade environmental changes (much like the ditches themselves) may alter their surroundings.

Last week on the Almanac, Stewart Mesa resident noticed fewer numbers of wasps around her house. She says usually by this time of the summer, her front porch is practically overrun with wasps. But this year they seem to have disappeared. 

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iSeeChange
9:37 am
Mon July 1, 2013

iSeeChange: Do Warmer Temps Equal Earlier Sunflowers?

Credit "P Kaech" via thealmanac.org

Last week, users on the Almanac reported seeing the summer's first sunflowers. One user was surprised to see the flowers were blooming already. 

University of Maryland Biology Professor David Inouye says the early blooming season probably has to do with the warmer weather as of late. Inouye spends his summers studying flowers at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory near Crested Butte. His current project involves looking at how the timing of flowering and abundance of flowering at changing. 

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iSeeChange
8:15 am
Mon June 24, 2013

iSeeChange: The Rising Threat of Wildfires

East Fork Fire, June 2013.
Credit USDA Forest Service

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, May 2013 was the third-warmest May on record for the planet, and the earth's temperature has been above its 20th century average for 339 straight months - more than 28 years. 

Hugh Carson has been fighting fires for more than 40 years, and although he’s retired now, he was in the thick of things last year when he coordinated aircraft to battle the High Park Fire near Fort Collins. Over the years, he’s seen some changes.

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iSeeChange
8:15 am
Mon June 17, 2013

iSeeChange: Making Every Drop Count

The Colorado RIver
Credit jessstryker.com

The consensus on iSeeChange last week was…it’s hot! Too hot for this time of year. Too hot and too dry. If climate change experts are right, this will only get worse. KVNF’s Marty Durlin spoke to Dave Kanzer, senior water resources engineer for the Colorado River Conservation District, about the effects of a hotter, dryer world.

 

The biggest part of Dave Kanzer’s job is to help us conserve water – a job that only gets bigger as the drying effects of climate change are felt across the Colorado River basin.

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Local News
5:39 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Study Ordered to Establish Baseline for Groundwater in Delta County

Credit North Fork Merchant Herald

Delta County Commissioners recently approved a $15,000 study to be performed by Ken Kolm Hydrologic System Analysis that will provide a baseline for the state of groundwater in the North Fork Valley.

Environmental Health Director Ken Nordstrom presented a contract for commissioners to sign, launching the second phase of a groundwater study for the county. The first phase covered the Oak Mesa area and the second will address the North Fork.

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ENVIRONMENT
1:03 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

iSeeChange: Birder Evelyn Horn

Evy Horn with the book she wrote on birding.
Credit Marty Durlin

Nearly 500 species of birds make their way through Colorado or live here year-around – and chances are local birder and author Evelyn Horn knows them. In the second report of a two-part series, KVNF’s Marty Durlin talked to Horn about the general decline of birds in a world where human population and activity is on the rise.

 

 

I asked her what she could say about the state of birds, whether climate change is impacting them, and certainly human activity as Evy has talked about. How would she characterize their condition?

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iseechange
8:29 am
Mon May 20, 2013

iSeeChange: A Better Year for Birds

Mallards, the first ducks to come to Hart's Basin in the spring.
Marty Durlin

May 11 was Colorado’s Migratory Bird Day, celebrating the nearly 500 species that live in the state or pass through it. Local naturalist, birder and author Evelyn Horn has spent the past twenty years or so focused on birds. In 1989 she and her husband Al moved from Las Vegas to Eckert and settled near Hart’s Basin, or Fruitgrowers Reservoir, which is controlled by the Orchard City Irrigation District (OCID). People had just been banned from the reservoir because of e-coli, and the absence of human activity made it more attractive to birds.

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iSeeChange
10:11 am
Sun May 19, 2013

iSeeChange Featured on This American Life

Julia Kumari Drapkin

KVNF's beloved Julia Kumari Drapkin has produced a feature for the popular radio program, This American Life, which can be downloaded and podcasted started Sunday, 5/19/2013 at 6pm. 

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iSeeChange
9:00 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Journal Sheds Light on North Fork of Yesteryear

Amber Kleinman's house in Apple Valley, Paonia
Amber Kleinman

Paonia resident Amber Kleinman has been reading through the daily journals of William Beezley, an orchardist and farmer who lived up Steven’s Gulch in the first half of the 20th century. Recording selected entries for thealmanac.org and comparing them to current weather and conditions, Kleinman – a small-acreage farmer who keeps a journal herself -- has gained a new perspective.

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