Environment

Stories on our natural world, parks, resources, environmental issues, animals, water, fracking, mining, impacts and wilderness.

S. Habbal, M. Druckmüller and P. Aniol / NASA

The last time a total solar eclipse was visible to most of the continental U.S., Richard Nixon was president and the Beatles had just released ‘Let It Be’ in the U.K. The 2017 total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 follows a long tradition of captivating people’s imaginations that’s been going on for thousands of years.

Oral and written histories tell us of fear and trepidation at the sight of a comet or meteor, while other cultures celebrated the same sight with dancing and feasts. But the disappearance of the sun or the moon -- an eclipse -- was an exceptional event.

SNOWTEL / Natural Resources Conservation Service

After a very dry fall, Colorado’s snowpack has bounced back. Statewide, the snowpack is at almost 160 percent of normal, with the state’s historically snowiest months still to come.

“To have our snowpack where it is right now for the state is a really good position to be in going forward for water supplies into the spring and summer,” said Brian Domonkos, Colorado snow survey supervisor and hydrologist.

The good news extends to cities and reservoirs downstream of Colorado, like Lake Mead in Nevada which has experienced record lows.

Photo by Jeremy Swanson, Colorado Ski Country USA

The avalanche danger in Colorado's mountains is very high as more snow falls, blown by gusty winds. Crews from the Colorado Department of Transportation are out in force, working to reduce the danger for motorists traveling in the high country.

Chris Ford / Flickr

On Wednesday, Jan. 4, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for most of Northern Colorado. Going into Thursday, the alert has been canceled for some Front Range counties, but southern and mountain communities continue to see large accumulations. Temperatures are expected to stay in the single digits for most of Thursday, with a drop below zero after dark.

3 Things To Know About The Future Of Federal Lands

Dec 27, 2016
Barbara Witmore, BLM New Mexico. / Flicker.com

In the west, the debate about how to manage vast swaths of federal land is ongoing. In 2016, a standoff in an Oregon national park lasted for a month, and included the shooting death of one of the occupiers. Many of the same resistors were part of the Nevada-based Bundy ranch standoff in 2014, which still hasn’t been fully resolved.

With a new president entering the White House, the question has become whether or not these lands should return to state management. NPR’s Kirk Siegler has been on the road researching the topic.

Here are 3 things Siegler has uncovered so far.

_чaѕaмιnе.м / Flicker.com

Recycling options vary for North Colorado residents. Fort Collins and Windsor, for example, offer a combination of city and private options, depending on the recycled material. Greeley was forced to close its downtown recycling center in 2014 because of high operating costs and a lack of participation, but it may be coming back.

 

That’s what Brad Mueller and the city of Greeley hope to find out. The city has sent out postcards to about a quarter of households to gauge how much people would be willing to pay for better recycling.

 

Town of Estes Park

By just one vote, Estes Park’s board of trustees narrowly approved a controversial plan to create a traffic loop through the downtown area in order to combat increasing tourist gridlock. The 4 to 3 vote was a culmination of four years of project evaluations and discussions that divided the community on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. But bulldozers won’t appear any time soon. It will be five years before construction begins on the Downtown Estes Loop.

Protesters Say Pipelines Are Dangerous. Are They?

Nov 21, 2016
Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

Demonstrators protested all around the country this week, in opposition to a controversial crude oil pipeline, with chants like, “We stand with Standing Rock,” and, “Water is life.”

City of Fort Collins

Larimer county officials are hoping to take the sting out of encountering closed trails with a new online map. NoCoTrailReport.org covers trails managed by Larimer County Natural Resources, City of Fort Collins Parks, and City of Fort Collins Natural Areas. The stoplight colors indicate closed, caution and open trails across the county.

Gilbert Sopakuwa / Flicker.com

Colorado is set to receive $61 million from German car maker Volkswagen as part of a nationwide settlement over the company’s violation of emission control laws. Environmental groups are pushing for a portion of that money to be used create a network of charging stations for electric cars.

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