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John Stewart

Colorado River Basin Study Projecting Major Imbalances in Water Supply and Demand Released

Comprehensive study developed by Interior and seven basin states looks at water supply and demand over the next 50 years; includes range of proposed strategies from stakeholders to mitigate projected imbalances

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the release of a study – authorized by Congress and jointly funded and prepared by the Bureau of Reclamation and the seven Colorado River Basin states – that projects water supply and demand imbalances throughout the Colorado River Basin and adjacent areas over the next 50 years. The Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study, the first of its kind, also includes a wide array of adaptation and mitigation strategies proposed by stakeholders and the public to address the projected imbalances.

The average imbalance in future supply and demand is projected to be greater than 3.2 million acre-feet by 2060, according to the study. One acre-foot of water is approximately the amount of water used by a single household in a year. The study projects that the largest increase in demand will come from municipal and industrial users, owing to population growth. The Colorado River Basin currently provides water to some 40 million people, and the study estimates that this number could nearly double to approximately 76.5 million people by 2060, under a rapid growth scenario.

"There's no silver bullet to solve the imbalance between the demand for water and the supply in the Colorado River Basin over the next 50 years – rather, it's going to take diligent planning and collaboration from all stakeholders to identify and move forward with practical solutions," said Secretary Salazar. "Water is the lifeblood of our communities, and this study provides a solid platform to explore actions we can take toward a sustainable water future. While not all of the proposals included in the study are feasible, they underscore the broad interest in finding a comprehensive set of solutions."

Authorized by the 2009 SECURE Water Act, the study analyzes future water supply and demand scenarios based on factors such as projected changes in climate and varying levels of growth in communities, agriculture and business in the seven Colorado River Basin states of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

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John Stewart

County Public Lands Policy To Be Discussed

Please read this entire message as there is an important opportunity on Monday, December 3rd, for the public to address the Lyon County Board of Commissioners (BOC) regarding wilderness areas in Lyon County.

Since our last eAlert the BOC met on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 and they are proposing that two elements of the current Public Lands Policy be rescinded.  First, rescind the "No additional Wilderness Areas shall be designated in Lyon County" language and second, rescind all "penalty" statements (related to violations of the Public Lands Policy).  The BOC will decided the fate of this proposed action at their December 6, 2012 meeting (agenda not yet published).  Obviously, passage of this proposal will mean the BOC would be released from past decisions and commitments to "no wilderness" as contained in County Code Title 10 Chapter 13 and past resolutions.

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John Stewart

Beargrass, a plant of many roles, is focus of new report

Report finds that disturbances are shifting within beargrass habitat

PORTLAND, Ore. November 19, 2012. Beargrass is an ecologically, culturally, and economically important plant in the Western United States and, for the first time, landowners, managers, and harvesters now have a comprehensive report about the species.

The report, Natural and Cultural History of Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax), published by the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, identifies critical knowledge gaps and areas for future research. It also documents how changes in disturbance, including fire, may affect the species across its range.

“Beargrass is emblematic of a web of natural and cultural diversity in the West,” said Susan Stevens Hummel, a research forester at the station and lead author of the report. “This means that organisms and processes—like people, plants, and pollinators—are interrelated.”

Original author: Press
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John Stewart

North Atlantic Storms: Medieval Warm Period vs Little Ice Age

In the words of Trouet et al. (2012), "an increasing number of high-resolution proxy records covering the last millennium have become available in recent years, providing an increasingly powerful reference frame for assessing current and future climate conditions," and, as might be added, for assessing the validity of the climate-alarmist claim that warmer conditions typically lead to increases in the frequency and/or ferocity of stormy weather. In the present study, therefore, Trouet et al. searched the scientific literature for evidence pertinent to their climate modeling concern, which also happens to be pertinent to the concern about global warming and what it does or does not imply about concurrent storminess. So what did the search reveal?

Original author: NIPCC


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John Stewart

Little Change in Drought Over 60 Years

A new paper out in the current issue of Nature finds little evidence to support claims that drought has increased globally over the past 60 years. The authors write:

Drought is expected to increase in frequency and severity in the future as a result of climate change, mainly as a consequence of decreases in regional precipitation but also because of increasing evaporation driven by global warming. Previous assessments of historic changes in drought over the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries indicate that this may already be happening globally. In particular, calculations of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) show a decrease in moisture globally since the 1970s with a commensurate increase in the area in drought that is attributed, in part, to global warming. The simplicity of the PDSI, which is calculated from a simple water-balance model forced by monthly precipitation and temperature data, makes it an attractive tool in large-scale drought assessments, but may give biased results in the context of climate change6. Here we show that the previously reported increase in global drought is overestimated because the PDSI uses a simplified model of potential evaporation that responds only to changes in temperature and thus responds incorrectly to global warming in recent decades. More realistic calculations, based on the underlying physical principles that take into account changes in available energy, humidity and wind speed, suggest that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.

What does this mean?

Original author: Roger
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John Stewart

Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project News

Monthly Status Report:  October 1-31, 2012

The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR) and in New Mexico on the Apache National Forest (ANF) and Gila National Forest (GNF).  Non-tribal lands involved in this Project are collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA).  Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf.  Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting http://www.azgfd.gov/signup.  This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose.  The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).

Original author: Arizona
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