ENVIRONMENT

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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iSeeChange
12:01 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

The Chorus of the Leopard Frogs

On thealmanac.org last week, Marilyn Stone noted that she hasn’t heard the chorus of leopard frogs she usually hears by this time of year, and wondered about the effect of a nearby wetlands that dried up last fall. KVNF’s Marty Durlin has some answers from a scientist who studies leopard frogs.

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ENVIRONMENT
2:17 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Brent Helleckson on "The North Fork Alternative Plan"

Brent Helleckson in his vineyard on Garvin Mesa
Credit Marty Durlin

For the past 20 years, Brent Helleckson and his family have been building a wine business on Garvin Mesa. They’ve constructed a home, a wine cellar a tasting room, and added to the vineyard. In those two decades, they also became a part of the North Fork community. When the Bureau of Land Management proposed 30,000 acres of leases for gas development in the North Fork Valley, Helleckson felt the threat to his winery as well as all agriculture and tourism-based industries.

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ENVIRONMENT
2:12 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Western Slope Skies 3/15/2013

Listen to Western Slope Skies, an astronomical report created by the Black Canyon Astronomical Society.

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ENVIRONMENT
12:10 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

The Plight of the Honeybees

Caren von Gontard holds one of her honey combs. She extracts the honey, then leaves the remaining wax out for the bees to clean up. With what's left she makes candles.
Marty Durlin

Here in the North Fork Valley, healthy bee colonies continue to swarm and thrive. But there are threats. Back on March 6th, fourth-grader Noah McDaniel reported to iSeeChange that he’d seen his first bee of the season during recess at Paonia Elementary. Now, a few weeks later at Caren von Gontard’s farm on Lamborn Mesa, the bees are – well, busy.

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ENVIRONMENT
12:45 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Active 2013 Mosquito Season Predicted in Delta County

2012 was a bad year for West Nile Virus in Western Colorado. Mesa, Montrose and Delta Counties accounted for nearly half the confirmed cases in the state. In Delta County, the 22 cases included the death of an 82-year-old man from Orchard City.

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ENVIRONMENT
4:21 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Commentary: Sandhill Cranes

Andrea Robinsong, who took these these photos at the Escalante State Wildlife Area west of Delta, has been reporting on the Sandhill Cranes in the area since they began arriving in early March. Both Andrea and Evelyn Horn have been counting birds at Fruitgrowers Reservoir in Eckert and the Escalante area where they rest and feed before flying north.

Evelyn has been keeping track of the numbers of cranes at the reservoir, and here is what she reports:

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