Coyote Gulch


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  Saturday, April 14, 2007

Global warming: The Earth is a beautifully complex system
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NewMexiKen: "Black Sunday: It was on this date 72 years ago that the largest of the dust storms of the 1930s swept the western plains."

"2008 pres"
11:22:42 AM     

2008 Democratic National Convention
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Labor leaders are being asked to submit names of people willing to work on labor issues around the 2008 Democratic National Convention, according to the Rocky Mountain News. From the article, "The local host committee for the 2008 Democratic National Convention has asked union leaders to recommend multiple candidates to serve on a "labor outreach" panel that will work on union issues. 'The situation is delicate so we'd like input,' Denver Host Committee CEO Mike Dino said. 'It's just a matter of getting buy-in from the labor community on who they'd like to see' in those positions. At meetings with convention officials this week, labor leaders questioned why unions had no voice in the planning process for next summer's confab. They also laid out their concerns about the labor climate in Denver."

"2008 pres"
8:38:33 AM     

Brush Creek restoration: The fish habitat has been vastly improved
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There are development success stories out here on the rooftop of America. Here's an article about the Eagle Ranch from the Summit Daily News "reg". They write, "Today, Brush Creek as it runs through Eagle Ranch looks natural. Steep dirt banks have been replaced with gradually sloping creek sides lined with mid-sized boulders that keep the banks stabilized. It's natural appearance is one of the big success stories of the project. 'The Corps of Engineers is so excited about it they even think it could be a model,' says [Kent Rose, Eagle Ranch construction manager]. 'The fish habitat has been vastly improved.' It cost approximately $170,000 to correct a century's worth of agricultural damage to the creek. According to Bill Heicher, open space coordinator for the town of Eagle, the mitigation fund picked up approximately $100,000 of that price tag with the Division of Wildlife's Fishing is Fun program contributing a $60,000 grant. The remaining money came from Eagle Ranch and in-kind donations. 'It's very natural looking,' says Heicher of the work. 'After a growing season, you can hardly tell anybody's been out there. The Corps of Engineers is very impressed.' So are the fish, and by association, the fishermen of Brush Creek."

"colorado water"
8:16:54 AM     

Northern Colorado water outlook
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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan, "Area farmers will get a boost from Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, which set its water quota for shareholders at 80 percent Friday. The quota means allotees in the district, which manages the Colorado-Big Thompson Project to bring water from the Western Slope to the eastern part of the state, will get eight-tenths of an acre-foot for every unit of C-BT water they own. The quota will also bolster the city of Fort Collins' water supply. The city gets about 40 percent of its water from the project."

"colorado water"
8:04:42 AM     

Arkansas River Basin Water Forum
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Here's a report about Thursday's Arkansas River Basin Water Forum, from the Pueblo Chieftain. They write, "The managers of the Arkansas Valley's three largest conservancy districts gathered Thursday at the Arkansas River Basin Water Forum to talk about how their agencies are dealing with growth issues.

"Jim Broderick, executive director of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, stressed storage and cooperation.

"Terry Scanga, executive director of the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, also spoke about the importance of storage and better planning, along with new concepts the district is exploring such as underground storage and water banking.

"Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, discussed the importance of working out a solution to Fountain Creek and formation of a 'Super Ditch' that allows farmers to keep water rights while leasing to cities...

"The Colorado Water Conservation Board's Statewide Water Supply Initiative identified an 18 percent gap in future municipal needs in the Arkansas Valley, but assumed two major projects, the Southern Delivery System and Preferred Storage Options Plan, would occur. 'The need will shift dramatically, because the storage to put water in the Arkansas Basin is missing,' Broderick said. 'The gap could be in the upper 20s to 30 percent. Where's that 30 percent going to come from? We need a firm supply.' Broderick added that conservation, water reuse and other ways to reduce water use are needed and being implemented by cities. If solutions are not found cooperatively, more transfers from agriculture are likely, he said...

"On Friday, the forum heard from Colorado Supreme Court Justice Greg Hobbs and John Stulp, director of the Colorado Department of Agriculture, standing in for Gov. Bill Ritter, who was unable to attend."

"colorado water"
7:57:14 AM     

Uranium mining in Weld County?
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Nuclear power is one of the technologies being mentioned to help with global warming. An essential element of nuclear power is uranium for fuel. Guess what state is seeing activity around uranium exploration? From the Greeley Tribune "reg", "Powertech Uranium Corp. sent a letter to homeowners in October 2006 informing the couple of its intent to drill for uranium on their land. 'I looked at that letter and thought this has got to be joke,' Robin Davis, 42, said. 'We moved out here for the focus on our horses and riding lessons,' said Robin Davis. 'This is a nice place to do that sort of thing. There's no traffic on the road, and it's close enough to centralized locations like Fort Collins and Greeley.' Since area property owners do not own the mineral rights on the land, Powertech can drill when and where needed. In December, a representative from the company stopped to talk to Robin Davis. She informed him that she was busy giving a riding lesson but would take his card and contact him when she was free. That's the last she heard directly from a representative of Powertech, but she said her neighbor across the road is talking about selling his property to the mining giant. According to the company's Web site, the Centennial project includes 5,760 acres of uranium mineral rights in Weld County with more than 3,000 drill holes totaling approximately 1 million feet of drilling already completed.

"Richard Blubaugh, president of environment, health and safety for Powertech said the mining process the company will be using at the Centennial site is called in-situ recovery, a process that is safer and used for surface-mining techniques. The process is done by injecting a bi-carbonate solution that will mobilize the uranium. Some residents in Weld say the process will destroy their drinking water. 'We are not using an acid solution,' Blubaugh said. 'The industry doesn't use that type of solution in this country. To date, there is no confirmed uranium in-situ operation contamination to drinking water supply. There are allegations, but that doesn't mean they're true.' Uranium mining is not new to Weld County. Uranium test sites were done in 1979 in the Grover and Keota area. According to Carol Shwayder's book on Weld County history, the Wyoming Mineral Corp. of Fort Collins operated a leaching plant at the site. A year ago, Powertech bought the mineral rights for 5,780 acres of land from Anadarko Petroleum Corp. Blubaugh said the company before Anadarko -- Rocky Mountain Energy Co. -- tested sites in northern Colorado and found uranium deposits throughout. He said the drilling should be a couple of hundreds of feet deep and will create some noise but not as much as an oil-drilling site, which drills thousands of feet below ground level. Lane Douglas, project manager of the Centennial site, said this is just the beginning stages of accessing the minerals in northern Colorado. 'We're very early in the process,' he said. 'We're years away from opening the mine. We're a long way off.'[...]

"Public meetings planned: In Larimer County: A public meeting will be from 6-9 p.m. at the Leeper Center, 3800 Wilson Ave., in Wellington on April 21; In Weld County: A public meeting will start at 6 p.m. on May 2, at the Nunn Town Hall, 185 Lincoln St."

"2008 pres"
7:44:26 AM     

Clouds are the 800 pound gorilla
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Here's a look at the cloud science from Casper Star Tribune. From the article, "The cloud research [Gerald Mace, research meteorologist] does has grown in importance in the past few decades as concerns over global warming have increased. Global climate models -- complicated computer simulations that are a key tool in assessing climate change -- don't always represent clouds well. 'Clouds are that 800-pound gorilla,' he said.

"Condensing the essence of clouds into numbers that can be plugged into computer models is a serious challenge. Because it's so difficult, different models treat clouds in different ways, resulting in global temperature predictions that vary widely. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report issued Friday reminded meteorologists of the need for more work in this area. Decades of research already have yielded many fundamental facts about clouds -- such as that they are made up of water droplets and ice crystals. But many questions linger...

"Some of those questions include:

"-- Researchers need a better understanding of how clouds interact with the planet's energy budget. Clouds act to both cool and warm the Earth. High clouds can reflect radiation away from the planet, while they can also act to trap heat in the atmosphere.

"-- Cloud droplets can last for less than a second, while whole clouds live out their lives in minutes or days. These short-time scales can be tough to put into a model that simulates decades of weather patterns.

"-- Small clouds, which can cover the area of a city park, can be tough to represent in models that divide the world into boxes up to 60 miles on a side...

"Cirrus clouds are of particular interest. 'It's been argued whether cirrus clouds amplify or act as a brake' on global warming, [Tim Garrett, a U. meteorologist] said. 'The answer to that question is affecting the future of temperature on this planet.' Another question revolves around cloud brightness, which determines how much heat clouds reflect. U. researchers last year worked as part of a team in Australia to help answer some of these questions. Researchers spent several weeks with planes, radars and satellites studying cloud systems moving across the country. The project involved special planes flying through high altitude clouds to photograph ice crystals, said Lis Cohen, a meteorology grad student who worked with Mace...

"Steven Krueger, a U. meteorologist, said limits in computing power hurt realistic cloud modeling in these global simulations. 'If we had big enough computers, we could run models that would be much more accurate,' he said. In addition, current climate models do not represent features such as the Rocky Mountains well, he said, and that must improve because mountain ranges contribute to some types of cloud formation. Statistics must be added to the program to mimic the effect of mountain ranges in certain locations. Krueger said future models, coupled with more powerful computers, should better represent geographical features that influence cloud formation. A final problem with computer simulations that continues to irk Mace and other researchers is that clouds are sometimes manipulated to achieve certain benchmarks. For each model to prove its meteorological worthiness, it has to predict conditions in the upper atmosphere from a certain date in the past. When versions of the model are off, programmers tweak the clouds in order to reach the right conditions. 'My goal in my professional life is to take the tuning knobs out of the climate modelers' hands,' Mace said."

"colorado water"
7:26:59 AM     

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