April 13, 2015

Mighty Rio Grande Now a Trickle Under Siege -- The New York Times

On maps, the mighty Rio Grande meanders 1,900 miles, from southern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico. But on the ground, farms and cities drink all but a trickle.

In a region that has replumbed entire river systems to build cities and farms where they would not otherwise flourish, the drought is a historic challenge, and perhaps an enduring one. Many scientists say this is the harbinger of the permanently drier and hotter West that global warming will deliver later this century. -- 4/13/2015

Resources cited:

1938 Rio Grande Compact

Elephant Butte Irrigation District

Texas v. New Mexico and Colorado, Pending petition.  SCOTUS Blog

West-Wide Climate Risk Assessment: Upper Rio Grande Impact Assessment. US Bureau of Reclamation


Studies question wisdom of thinning forests to stop fires -- Santa Fe New Mexican

Santa Fe officials are now considering joining a collaborative brought together by The Nature Conservancy to thin and burn thousands of acres over the next 20 years in mountain ranges that drain water into the Rio Grande. The partnership hopes the plan will reduce the kind of catastrophic wildfires that wreaked havoc in the West over the last several years.

New studies question how, and where, fire and tree thinning in Western forests should be used to restore forest health and protect watersheds. The studies, and the move toward treating forests across large landscapes, are fueling some old debates over the best way for people to manage forests that have been dramatically altered during decades of fire suppression, logging and overgrazing. -- 4/12/2015

Resource cited:

Odion DC, Hanson CT, Arsenault A, Baker WL, DellaSala DA, et al. (2014) http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0087852http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0087852. PLoS ONE 9(2): e87852. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087852


Net neutrality rules get published -- let the lawsuits begin -- CNET.COM

The Federal Communications Commission's rules for a free and open Internet were published Monday in the Federal Register, putting them one step closer to reality -- and officially subject to lawsuits.

The publication of the 400-page Net neutrality order in the federal government's journal of regulations starts a 60-day clock before it takes effect (on June 12). But it also means companies can officially take the FCC to court over the rules. And they didn't waste any time.

Under the new rules -- approved by the FCC in February and then released to the public in March -- Internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are not allowed to block lawful content, slow down applications or services, or accept fees for favored treatment. The rules essentially provide a framework for all Internet traffic to be treated equally. To do so, the FCC has reclassified broadband in a way that places providers under the same strict regulations that now govern telephone networks.-- 4/13/2015

Public input sought on Los Alamos stormwater proposal -- Santa Fe New Mexican

The public has until Thursday to weigh in on a proposed stormwater permit for Los Alamos National Laboratory and urban areas of Los Alamos County.

The Environmental Protection Agency made a preliminary decision in March that pollutants draining off parking lots, streets, roofs and other developed areas at the lab were contributing to Clean Water Act violations in streams. -- 4/12/2015