Coyote Gulch


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  Sunday, April 29, 2007

Decommission Glen Canyon Dam?
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It's likely that Lake Powell will never fill again. How should we manage the asset? Some would create Glen Canyon National Park and let nature restore Glen Canyon to it's natural glory. Here's a Denver Post perspective that looks at the Glen Canyon Institute and the role the think tank has had in changing the conversation around the future of the dam, Glen Canyon and the Grand Canyon.

Read the whole article. Here's a short excerpt: "As support for changes in the Glen Canyon Dam operation grew, clarity of purpose became paramount for the institute. Many members of the public, and even members of the institute, never quite understood what 'decommissioning' meant, and most assumed the group was advocating the removal of Glen Canyon Dam. In reality, that option just didn't make sense, for financial and many other reasons.

"'Originally, we wanted to simply reopen the old diversion tunnels made when the dam was built,' said Pam Hyde, a Flagstaff attorney and the first executive director of the Glen Canyon Institute. '[Richard Ingebretsen] was having dinner one night in 1997 with Floyd Dominy, the head of the Bureau of Reclamation when Glen Canyon Dam was built, and he mentioned this possibility to Floyd. Floyd told Rich, [that after construction they] 'filled those tunnels with concrete and rebar and they'll take forever to drill out. Here's how to do it.'

"'It was one of those moments,' Ingebretsen now says. 'Neither one of us had anything to write on, so Floyd grabbed a napkin, and sketched out the place to drill new diversion tunnels through the soft Navajo sandstone. I kept the napkin and now have it framed in my office.'

"Ten years later, the conversations around the future of Glen Canyon and the Colorado River have changed dramatically. The Glen Canyon Institute and other groups are now advocating for establishment of a Glen Canyon National Park. Others support restoration of Glen Canyon and the Colorado River. An international coalition is making headway on restoration of the Colorado River Delta in Mexico, and several indigenous organizations are actively working on water supply, energy and environmental justice issues."

More Coyote Gulch coverage of Glen Canyon here.

"colorado water"
1:25:19 PM     


William F. Buckley (via the National Review): "It is simply untrue that we are making decisive progress in Iraq. The indicators rise and fall from day to day, week to week, month to month. In South Vietnam there was an organized enemy. There is clearly organization in the strikes by the terrorists against our forces and against the civil government in Iraq, but whereas in Vietnam we had Hanoi as the operative headquarters of the enemy, we have no equivalent of that in Iraq, and that is a matter of paralyzing importance. All those bombings, explosions, assassinations: we are driven to believe that they are, so to speak, spontaneous."

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for the link.

"2008 pres"
10:03:38 AM     

2007 Denver Municipal Election
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Denver Politics: "Turnout remains light for the 2007 Denver municipal election. Mark Mehringer of Colorado Confidential reports that with 2 business days left to vote, only 55,820 official ballots have been received. 29.5% of active voters (or 15.4% of the total voter registration list) have fulfilled their civic duty. Where are the rest of you?"

Here's the list of drop off locations for ballots.

"denver 2007"
9:59:32 AM     

2008 Democratic National Convention
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Colorado Confidential: "Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean is coming to Denver on May 10th for a Democratic Convention update with his staff and the Denver Host Committee. Dean told Colorado Confidential during his last visit that he plans on dropping into Denver almost every month leading up to the Convention. The DNCC staff will be moving to Denver full time by July."

"2008 pres"
9:53:07 AM     

? for President?

Gary Hart (via the Huffington Post): "Before you qualify to criticize Democrats, Mr. Giuliani, you must account for your preparation of your city for these clearly predicted attacks. Tell us, please, what steps you took to make your city safer. Until you do, then I strongly suggest you should keep your mouth shut about Democrats and terrorism. You have not qualified to criticize others, let alone be president of the United States."

Thanks to TalkLeft for the link.

"2008 pres"
9:44:13 AM     

Hickenlooper for mayor?

Here's a look at Mayor Hickenlooper's first term from the Rocky Mountain News. They list some of his accomplishments and some items that still need work.

"denver 2007"
9:30:11 AM     


From the Denver Post, "The relocation of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to Greeley will help cut into the county's gang problems and ease jail crowding, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck said Friday. 'The cavalry is coming,' said Buck, a longtime proponent of the ICE office. ICE agents investigate crimes allegedly committed by illegal immigrants and help in deportation.

"But some Latino activists - who fought the ICE proposal more than a year ago - say the office's presence will fuel racism. 'It feels like a punch in the gut,' said Susanne Villarreal, a critic of ICE."

"2008 pres"
9:26:46 AM     

Water on a nano scale: Viscosity of molasses?
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Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have discovered an interesting property of water at the nano scale, that is, that it becomes very viscous. From the article, "A Georgia Tech research team has discovered that water exhibits very different properties when it is confined to channels less than two nanometers wide - behaving much like a viscous fluid with a viscosity approaching that of molasses. Determining the properties of water on the nanoscale may prove important for biological and pharmaceutical research as well as nanotechnology...

"In its bulk liquid form, water is a disordered medium that flows very readily. When most substances are compressed into a solid, their density increases. But water is different; when it becomes ice, it becomes less dense. For this reason, many scientists reasoned that when water is compressed (as it is in a nanometer-sized channel), it should maintain its liquid properties and shouldn't exhibit properties that are akin to a solid. Several earlier studies came to that very conclusion - that water confined in a nano-space behaves just like water does in the macro world. Consequently, a number of scientists considered the case to be closed.

"But when Georgia Tech experimental physicist Elisa Riedo and her team directly measured the force of pure water in a nanometer-sized channel, they found evidence suggesting that water was organized into layers. Riedo conducted these measurements by recording the force placed on a silicon tip of an atomic force microscope as it compressed water. The water was confined in a nanoscale thin film on top of a solid surface."

Thanks to the Science Bog for the link.

"colorado water"
9:07:13 AM     

Repairs for Clear Creek Reservoir
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Colorado Central Magazine reports, "Colorado's best-known Clear Creek rises in the mountains due west of Denver and flows through Golden. Our Clear Creek starts in the Sawatch Range northwest of Granite, and flows through Winfield and Vicksburg before joining the Arkansas River just south of the Lake-Chaffee county line. It does not flow freely, however; near its mouth is a dam that creates Clear Creek Reservoir, which is owned and operated by the City of Pueblo. Pueblo has started draining the 11,500-acre-foot reservoir, and plans to have it nearly dry by mid-August so that the city's water department can perform repairs and maintenance on the reservoir's outlet. After the snowmelt peaks this spring, releases will be timed to help maintain flows on the Arkansas for recreation through Aug. 15. Then the repair crew goes to work. Refilling is scheduled to start in November, and the reservoir should be filled to capacity again by the end of the summer of 2008."

"colorado water"
8:53:55 AM     

Good news for the Rio Grande sucker
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Sometimes there is good news to report about endangered species and conservation. It seems that the Rio Grande sucker has gotten a boost in numbers recently, according to an article in this month's Colorado Central Magazine. From the article, "There isn't one born every minute, but things are looking up for a few suckers in the San Luis Valley -- the Rio Grande Sucker fish. Once abundant, the numbers of these little brown Colorado native fish deteriorated so much, they were placed on the state endangered species list in 1993.

"Since then, Division of Wildlife biologist John Alves has been working to preserve and grow the last remaining populations of the inconspicuous algae eating fish. These fish are found nowhere else in the world besides the Rio Grande river drainage in Colorado and New Mexico. Human activities have been hard on the suckers, which grow up to four to six inches in length. 'In this age of irrigation, diversion of water and fragmentation of habitat, it's hard to find a place, a stream that still has native fauna intact,' said Alves. Introduction of non-native species like white suckers and northern pike, plus destruction of habitat were part of a nearly fatal equation for the native fish.

"During the last year and a half there have been a few positive additions to that equation. The first came in the fall of 2005, when Alves and two assistants splashed through the cold waters of Crestone Creek in the newly designated Baca National Wildlife Refuge in the San Luis Valley, netting and counting fish. As they surveyed the twisting channels that flow from the rugged Sangre de Cristos and cut through acres of grasslands on the Valley floor, they discovered a previously unknown population of Rio Grande suckers. This was an unexpected boon for Alves' work and he was pretty happy about it. 'We've been struggling over the last ten years to keep the populations growing in Colorado, so it doesn't become a federally listed fish,' he said.

The good news continued last fall when the DOW team took their buckets, nets and scales and headed further upstream on Crestone Creek to inventory fish. Much to Alves'surprise they found more Rio Grande Suckers higher up in the drainage. Water levels had been low during periods of drought, so no one knew if the fish could have survived in those sections of creek. Alves said, 'I've always wondered what was over here on this big tract of land. When it was private we didn't have access, now that it's public we're exploring and seeing what we can find.'"

Read the whole article - there is a lot of good detail.

"colorado water"
8:38:16 AM     

Start of fill at Green Mountain Reservoir
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From email from the Bureau of Reclamation (Kara Lamb), "We have officially announced that...April 27, is our 'start of fill' at Green Mountain Reservoir. What that means is, it's time to fill the reservoir up--and we are projecting that we will physically fill the reservoir this year. That's good news. In order to do this, though, we obviously have to cut back on our releases. Our first change in releases came this afternoon. We'll cut back again tomorrow morning by another 125 cfs. That should put us around 100 cfs by lunch, Friday. We started out at 350 cfs. Total reductions in flow to the Lower Blue are about 250 cfs."

"colorado water"
8:30:09 AM     

HB 1036
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Here's an update on HB 07-1036: Concerning Restrictions on the Ability of Governmental Bodies to Acquire Specified Water Rights through the Exercise of the Power of Eminent Domain, from the Sterling Journal Advocate. From the article, "Republican Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling is calling Democratic Sen. Brandon Shaffer of Longmont a 'turncoat' for refusing to request a conference committee on their bill aimed at banning the use of eminent domain to obtain water rights. 'I spoke with the senator on Monday and he said he was content with not assigning conferees to the committee and allowing (the bill) to die on the calendar,' Sonnenberg said. 'That makes me angry that the Senate sponsor has turncoated on agriculture and rural Colorado.' Contacted Thursday, however, Shaffer said he hasn't finally decided whether or not to seek a conference committee to resolve House and Senate differences on House Bill 1036. 'I'm still trying to figure out what the best resolution is,' Shaffer said. 'There could still be a conference committee. There is still time.' The 2007 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn Wednesday, May 9, but there is increasing speculation the lawmakers could go home as early as next Friday, May 4...

"The House passed Sonnenberg's bill Feb. 26 with a 34-30 vote, over strong objections from the Colorado Municipal League and Denver Water. They claimed the bill unconstitutionally restricts the rights of home-rule cities to obtain water through condemnation. The Senate voted 32-3 on April 2 to pass a much weaker bill that called only for a study of the issue by the Legislature's interim Water Resources Review Committee. Sonnenberg refused to accept the Senate version and asked that a conference committee be appointed to work out the differences with the Senate. Sonnenberg and Democratic Reps. Kathleen Curry of Gunnison and Mary Hodge of Brighton were named the House conferees on April 3...

"Shaffer said the Senate is unlikely to accept anything more than an interim committee so a compromise would not be possible if Sonnenberg is unwilling to accept anything less than his original bill. 'I just don't know if (a conference committee) is the best way to go,' Shaffer said. Sonnenberg is not a member of the interim water committee, but said he would be attending most of the meetings anyway because water is so important to his House District 65. 'Quite frankly, it doesn't matter to me if the interim committee takes up my bill because I'm going to bring it back to the Legislature next year anyway,' he said."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

"colorado water"
8:23:52 AM     

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From, "The latest report by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has received considerable attention recently, in part because of its dire predictions concerning the consequences of global warming (though even these may be overly optimistic). If the IPCC is right, we may begin to feel these effects surprisingly soon here in the American West, and in particular the Southwest (New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California).

"We may be feeling them already."

Read the whole article, Mr. Acks includes some good detail along with 10 ways to conserve water.

More Coyote Gulch coverage of the IPCC reports here. The article Mr. Acks quotes from The Nation is here.

"colorado water"
8:12:51 AM     

Happy first birthday Cloudsat
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Happy first birthday to CloudSat and CALIPSO, one year old yesterday. Here's a short article commemorating the event from They write, "CloudSat, a satellite mission conceived by Colorado State University scientist Graeme Stephens, will celebrate its first anniversary on Saturday as the world's most sensitive cloud-profiling radar in orbit. Since launching 438 miles above Earth on April 28, 2006, CloudSat has made 5,307 orbits around the Earth, snapped 162 million vertical profiles of clouds and distributed more than 6 terabytes of data to the international science community, according to the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, or CIRA, which is based at Colorado State and is responsible for the satellite's data collection...

"The CloudSat spacecraft is flying in orbital formation as part of a constellation of satellites, including NASA's Aqua and Aura satellites, the French Space Agency (CNES) PARASOL satellite and the NASA-CNES CALIPSO satellite. This is the first time that five research satellites are flying together in formation."

"colorado water"
8:01:42 AM     

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e-mail John: Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.