Water

3:12pm

Sun March 2, 2014
The Salt

Even In A Desert, Drought Spells Trouble For Ranchers

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 5:09 pm

No snowpack, no hay: In the northern Nevada, cattle feed is getting hard to come by, as sources of water diminish in supply.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

In northern Nevada, a place famous for its wide, open spaces and expansive cattle operations, ranchers are in a bind due to the historic drought.

Much of the state is desert, so when people talk about drought, they're really talking about the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. It's at barely 20 percent of average.

This is a huge concern for farmers and ranchers like Julie Wolf, because the mountains store the snow that melts and feeds rivers and reservoirs. These bodies of water then allow the desert to bloom with grass and alfalfa for her cattle.

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1:21am

Fri February 28, 2014
The Salt

Drought Could Dry Up Nevada Dairy Farmers' Expansion Plans

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 1:13 pm

There are about 2,000 dairy cows on Pete Olsen's fifth-generation farm in northern Nevada. A new milk processing plant is now putting pressure on Olsen and other dairy farmers to expand the size of their herds. But with the ongoing drought, farmers are struggling to get enough feed for the cows they already have.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

When Pete Olsen talks about drought on his fifth-generation dairy farm in Fallon, Nev., he's really talking about the snowpack 60 miles to the west in the Sierra Nevada.

The Sierras, Olsen says, are their lifeblood.

That is, the snowmelt from them feeds the Truckee and Carson rivers and a tangle of reservoirs and canals that make this desert bloom. Some of the highest-grade alfalfa in the world is grown here. And it makes perfect feed for dairy cows, because it's rich in nutrients.

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4:03pm

Fri February 7, 2014
Olympics

Boulder Nonprofit Sounds Alarm On Sochi’s Environmental Woes

A Sochi road during construction of the 2014 Olympic venue.
Environmental Watch on North Caucasus

As the world focuses its attention on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Boulder-based Global Greengrants is raising environmental and civil liberties concerns about the event.

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2:09pm

Wed February 5, 2014
The Salt

California Is So Dry, Some Diners Won't Get Water Unless They Ask

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 3:39 pm

In California, some restaurants are changing their policy to serve water to patrons only upon request.
iStockphoto

California's drought is getting very serious — so serious that even those water refills you didn't ask for at restaurants are now under scrutiny.

"We have not had this dry a time period in all of California's history since we've been keeping records — that's how bad it is," Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., who represents a district in the Central Valley, told reporters on Tuesday.

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5:00am

Fri January 24, 2014
Environment

What Happens In The Colorado Basin Affects The West

Latest drought monitor issued January 23, 2014. No changes for the West.
Credit National Weather Service on Twitter

2014 is shaping up to be an “average” year for the Colorado River watershed, which provides water to 7 western states. That’s not good news, however, for states like California and Nevada which are already experiencing drought conditions.

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