Posts tagged mountain
While 99 percent of Earth’s land ice is locked up in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the remaining ice in the world’s glaciers contributed just as much to sea rise as the two ice sheets combined from 2003 to 2009, says a new study led by Clark University and involving the University Colorado Boulder.
The new research found that all glacial regions lost mass from 2003 to 2009, with the biggest ice losses occurring in Arctic Canada, Alaska, coastal Greenland, the southern Andes and the Himalayas. The glaciers outside of the Greenland and Antarctic sheets lost an average of roughly 260 billion metric tons of ice annually during the study period, causing the oceans to rise 0.03 inches, or about 0.7 millimeters per year.
The study compared traditional ground measurements to satellite data from NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite, or ICESat, and the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, missions to estimate ice loss for glaciers in all regions of the planet.
“For the first time, we’ve been able to very precisely constrain how much these glaciers as a whole are contributing to sea rise,” said geography Assistant Professor Alex Gardner of Clark University in Worcester, Mass., lead study author. “These smaller ice bodies are currently losing about as much mass as the ice sheets.”
A paper on the subject is being published in the May 17 issue of the journal Science.
“Because the global glacier ice mass is relatively small in comparison with the huge ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica, people tend to not worry about it,” said CU-Boulder Professor Tad Pfeffer, a study co-author. “But it’s like a little bucket with a huge hole in the bottom: it may not last for very long, just a century or two, but while there’s ice in those glaciers, it’s a major contributor to sea level rise,” said Pfeffer, a glaciologist at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
ICESat, which ceased operations in 2009, measured glacier changes using laser altimetry, which bounces laser pulses off the ice surface to determine changes in the height of ice cover. The GRACE satellite system, still operational, detects variations in Earth’s gravity field resulting from changes in the planet’s mass distribution, including ice displacements.
GRACE does not have a fine enough resolution and ICESat does not have sufficient sampling density to study small glaciers, but mass change estimates by the two satellite systems for large glaciated regions agree well, the scientists concluded.
“Because the two satellite techniques, ICESat and GRACE, are subject to completely different types of errors, the fact that their results are in such good agreement gives us increased confidence in those results,” said CU-Boulder physics Professor John Wahr, a study co-author and fellow at the university’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.
Ground-based estimates of glacier mass changes include measurements along a line from a glacier’s summit to its edge, which are extrapolated over a glacier’s entire area. Such measurements, while fairly accurate for individual glaciers, tend to cause scientists to overestimate ice loss when extrapolated over larger regions, including individual mountain ranges, according to the team.
Current estimates predict if all the glaciers in the world were to melt, they would raise sea level by about two feet. In contrast, an entire Greenland ice sheet melt would raise sea levels by about 20 feet, while if Antarctica lost its ice cover, sea levels would rise nearly 200 feet.
The study involved 16 researchers from 10 countries. In addition to Clark University and CU-Boulder, major research contributions came from the University of Michigan, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, Trent University in Ontario, Canada, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies in Boulder, NASA’s ICESat satellite was successfully operated from the CU-Boulder campus by a team made up primarily of undergraduates from its launch in 2003 to its demise in 2009 when the science payload failed. The students participated in the unusual decommissioning of a functioning satellite in 2010, bringing the craft into Earth re-entry to burn up. ICESat’s successor, ICESat-2, is slated for launch in 2016 by NASA.
-CU media release-
New dog management regulations along mountain backdrop
The first in a series of changes to dog management practices in the West Trail Study Area (West TSA) will take effect on Monday, April 15. The following areas will be posted with signage reflecting the following changes:
- Fern Canyon Trail (from where it leaves the Mesa Trail heading west to Bear Peak – Dogs on this trail will now be allowed to be off leash with the proper use of voice and sight control
- Lower McClintock Trail (from the wooden bridge just below the Chautauqua Auditorium along the short distance heading west until the Enchanted Mesa Trail) – Dogs will no longer be allowed on this portion of the trail
- Boy Scout Trail (located at the Flagstaff Summit) – Dogs will no longer be allowed in this area
These changes are the result of recommendations made and approved in 2011after a rigorous public process that brought constituencies together in the form of a Community Collaborative Group to develop a set of best visitor activity and environmental protection practices for the valuable ecosystem in the west TSA. Generally speaking, the West TSA covers from Eldorado Springs Drive (south) to Linden Avenue (north) and from Broadway (east) to the west side of the Flatirons.
The group made these recommendations related to dog management, as well as others that are likely to take effect around May 1. These will include the following changes:
- Towhee Trail – Dogs will no longer be allowed on this trail
- Old Mesa Trail (from Lower Shadow Canyon down to Eldorado Canyon) – Dogs must be leashed and on trail
- The Homestead Trail – Dogs will continue to be permitted off leash with the proper use of voice and sight control except for when crossing the riparian corridor, where dogs must be leashed
Be sure to check http://www.osmp.orgfor the exact dates when these future changes will go into effect and for general information about the provisions. If you have additional questions about these changes, please contact Dean Paschall at 720-564-2050.
Public hearings to begin April 18
Boulder County, Colo. – Local, state, and federal land-management agencies, to include the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Boulder County, City of Boulder, and City of Longmont are partnering to develop a long‐term, multi‐agency master plan for a network of access points and travel corridors for non‐motorized users in the foothills and mountains of Boulder County.
What: Regional Mountain Trails Master Planning
When: Meetings will be held from mid-April to mid-May, the first meeting will be held on April 18, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Eleven locations throughout the county, the first meeting will be held at the Boulder County Courthouse, 1325 Pearl Street, 3rd floor
The goal of the Regional Mountain Trails Master Plan is to connect communities and recreation areas in the mountains and foothills to regional trails in the plains. The plan will emphasize linking existing trails and trail systems.
“We are excited to collaborate with the community and our fellow land managers on this plan for trails that will direct our work as individual organizations toward a common goal for trails over the coming years,” said Justin Atherton-Wood, Resource Planner for Boulder County Parks and Open Space. “This plan will be drafted in a manner that is sensitive to the resources and values unique to this part of the region, and one that contributes to a more sustainable future for Boulder County.”
To help define the many unique opportunities and challenges of this effort, the partners are initiating a period of public outreach this spring to gather comments on the community’s needs, expectations, and concerns with the project. It is anticipated that this initial phase will result in a set of principles and community values that will guide the remainder of this year-long planning process.
For more information about the project and upcoming meeting dates and locations visit the project website:www.RegionalMountainTrails.com. Or contact Garry Sanfaçon, Public Outreach Coordinator, at 720-564-2642 or email@example.com.
CU-led study shows pine beetle outbreak
buffers watersheds from nitrate pollution
A research team involving several scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder has found an unexpected silver lining in the devastating pine beetle outbreaks ravaging the West: Such events do not harm water quality in adjacent streams as scientists had previously believed.
According to CU-Boulder team member Professor William Lewis, the new study shows that smaller trees and other vegetation that survive pine beetle invasions along waterways increase their uptake of nitrate, a common disturbance-related pollutant. While logging or damaging storms can drive stream nitrate concentrations up by 400 percent for multiple years, the team found no significant increase in the nitrate concentrations following extensive pine beetle tree mortality in a number of Colorado study areas.
“We found that the beetles do not disturb watersheds in the same way as logging and severe storms,” said Lewis, interim director of CU’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. “They leave behind smaller trees and other understory vegetation, which compensate for the loss of larger pine trees by taking up additional nitrate from the system. Beetle-kill conditions are a good benchmark for the protection of sub-canopy vegetation to preserve water quality during forest management activities.”
A paper on the subject was published in the Jan. 14 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“The U.S. Forest Service and other agencies have established harvesting practices that greatly mitigate damage to forests caused by logging, and they deserve credit for that,” said Lewis. “But this study shows just how important the survival of smaller trees and understory vegetation can be to stream water quality.”
In waterways adjacent to healthy pine forests, concentrations of nitrate is generally far lower than in rivers on the plains in the West like the South Platte, said Lewis. Nitrate pollution is caused by agricultural runoff from populated areas and by permitted discharges of treated effluent from water treatment facilities.
“In Colorado, many watersheds have lost 80 to 90 percent of their tree canopy as a result of the beetle epidemic,” said Lewis, also a faculty member in CU-Boulder’s ecology and evolutionary biology department. “We began to wonder whether the loss of the trees was reducing water quality in the streams. We knew that forestry and water managers were expecting big changes in water quality as a result of the pine beetle outbreak, so we decided to pool our university and federal agency resources in order to come up with an answer.”
Study co-author and CU-Boulder Research Associate James McCutchan of CIRES said the new results should help forest managers develop more effective ways to harvest timber while having the smallest effect possible on downstream ecosystems. “This study shows that at least in some areas, it is possible to remove a large part of the tree biomass from a watershed with a very minimal effect on the stream ecosystem,” he said.
Understory vegetation left intact after beetle outbreaks gains an ecological advantage in terms of survival and growth, since small trees no longer have to compete with large trees and have more access to light, water and nutrients, said McCutchan. Research by study co-author and former CU undergraduate Rachel Ertz showed concentrations of nitrate in the needles of small pines that survived beetle infestations were higher than those in healthy trees outside beetle-killed areas, another indication of how understory vegetation compensates for environmental conditions in beetle kill areas.
The researchers used computer modeling to show that in western forests, such a “compensatory response” provides potent water quality protection against the adverse effects of nitrates only if roughly half of the vegetation survives “overstory” mortality from beetle kill events, which is what occurs normally in such areas, said Lewis.
Other study co-authors included Leigh Cooper, Thomas Detmer and Thomas Veblen from CU-Boulder, John Stednick from Colorado State University, Charles Rhoades from the U.S. Forest Service, Jennifer Briggs and David Clow from the U.S. Geological Survey and Gene Likens of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y.
The severe pine beetle epidemic in Colorado and Wyoming forests is part of an unprecedented beetle outbreak that ranges from Mexico to Canada. A November 2012 study by CU-Boulder doctoral student Teresa Chapman showed the 2001-02 drought greatly accelerated the development of the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
The researchers measured stream nitrate concentrations at more than 100 sites in western Colorado containing lodgepole pines with a range of beetle-induced tree damage. The study area included measurements from the Fraser Experimental Forest near Granby, Colo., a 23,000-acre study area established by the USFS in 1937.
The new study was funded by the USFS, the USGS, the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Park Service. CIRES is a joint research institute between CU-Boulder and NOAA.
Boulder County, Colo. – All county administrative offices will be closed according to the following schedule:
- Monday, Dec. 24 at noon
- Tuesday, Dec. 25 ALL DAY
- Monday, Dec. 31 at noon
- Tuesday, Jan. 1 ALL DAY
County services that will not be available during the holiday closures include County Courts, Motor Vehicle, Property & Records, Public Health & Human Services, and all Administrative functions.
Emergency response and law enforcement functions, along with designated county services such as the jail and on-call road maintenance, will continue to work a regular schedule. The jail, however, does not permit public visitations on holidays, including the full four days listed above.
County open space properties are open to the public from sunrise to sunset daily, including holidays. Visit:www.BoulderCountyOpenSpace.org for a list of properties.
For recycling services and mountain trash transfer station hours, visit: www.BoulderCountyRecycles.net.
Happy Holidays from Boulder County!
Monday, December 03, 2012
On Monday, December 03, 2012 at 12:00 p.m., Sheriff Joe Pelle enacted a fire ban for;
The mountain corridor of Boulder County. The mountain corridor includes all unincorporated areas west of Highway 93 and Highway 36 (North and South Foothills Highways and Broadway Avenue in the City of Boulder) including Rabbit Mountain Open Space.
A new University of Colorado Boulder study shows for the first time that episodes of reduced precipitation in the southern Rocky Mountains, especially during the 2001-02 drought, greatly accelerated development of the mountain pine beetle epidemic.
The study, the first ever to chart the evolution of the current pine beetle epidemic in the southern Rocky Mountains, compared patterns of beetle outbreak in the two primary host species, the ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine, said CU-Boulder doctoral student Teresa Chapman. The current mountain pine beetle outbreak in the southern Rockies — which range from southern Wyoming through Colorado and into northern New Mexico –is estimated to have impacted nearly 3,000 square miles of forests, said Chapman, lead study author.
While the 2001-02 drought in the West played a key role in pushing the pine beetle outbreak into a true regional epidemic, the outbreak continued to gain ground even after temperature and precipitation levels returned to levels nearer the long-term averages, said Chapman of CU-Boulder’s geography department. The beetles continued to decimate lodgepole pine forests by moving into wetter and higher elevations and into less susceptible tree stands — those with smaller diameter lodgepoles sharing space with other tree species.
“In recent years some researchers have thought the pine beetle outbreak in the southern Rocky Mountains might have started in one place and spread from there,” said Chapman. “What we found was that the mountain pine beetle outbreak originated in many locations. The idea that the outbreak spread from multiple places, then coalesced and continued spreading, really highlights the importance of the broad-scale drivers of the pine beetle epidemic like climate and drought.”
A paper on the subject was recently published in the journal Ecology. Co-authors on the study include CU-Boulder geography Professor Thomas Veblen and Tania Schoennagel, an adjunct faculty member in the geography department and a research scientist at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. The National Science Foundation funded the study.
Mountain pine beetles are native insects that have shaped the forests of North America for thousands of years. They range from Canada to Mexico and are found at elevations from sea level to 11,000 feet. The effects of pine beetles are especially evident in recent years on Colorado’s Western Slope, including Rocky Mountain National Park, with a particularly severe epidemic occurring in Grand and Routt counties.
Chapman said the most recent mountain pine beetle outbreak began in the 1990s, primarily in scattered groups of lodgepole pine trees living at low elevations in areas of lower annual precipitation. Following the 2001-02 drought, the outbreak was “uncoupled” from the initial weather and landscape conditions, triggering a rise in beetle populations on the Western Slope and propelling the insects over the Continental Divide into the northern Front Range to infect ponderosa pine, Chapman said.
The current pine beetle epidemic in the southern Rocky Mountains was influenced in part by extensive forest fires that ravaged Colorado’s Western Slope from roughly 1850 to 1890, said Chapman. Lodgepole pine stands completely burned off by the fires were succeeded by huge swaths of seedling lodgepoles that eventually grew side by side into dense mature stands, making them easier targets for the pine beetles.
“The widespread burning associated with dry years in the 19th century set the stage for the current outbreak by creating vast areas of trees in the size classes most susceptible to beetle attack,” said Chapman.
Veblen said a 1980s outbreak of the pine beetle centered in Colorado’s Grand County ended when extremely low minimum temperatures were reached in the winters of 1983 and 1984, killing the beetle larvae. But during the current outbreak, minimum temperatures during all seasons have been persistently high since 1996, well above the levels of extreme cold shown to kill beetle larvae in laboratory experiments.
“This implies that under continued warming trends, future outbreaks will not be terminated until they exhaust their food supply — the pine tree hosts,” said Veblen.
Chapman said there has been a massive and unprecedented beetle epidemic in British Columbia, which also began in the early 1990s and has now has affected nearly 70,000 square miles. “It is hard to tell if this current beetle epidemic in the Southern Rockies is unprecedented,” she said. “While warm periods in the 16th century may have triggered a large beetle epidemic, any evidence would have been wiped out by the massive fires in the latter part of the 19th century.”
Veblen said while the rate of spread of the mountain pine beetle in lodgepole pine forests has declined in the southern Rocky Mountains during the past two years because of a depletion of host pine population, U.S. Forest Service surveys indicate the rate of beetle spread in ponderosa pine forests on the Front Range has increased sharply over the past three years. “The current study suggests that under the continued warmer climate, the spread of the beetle in ponderosa pines is likely to grow until that food source also is depleted,” Veblen said.
“Our results emphasize the importance of considering different patterns in the population dynamics of mountain pine beetles for different host species, even under similar regional-scale weather variations,” said Chapman. “Given the current outbreak of mountain pine beetles on the Front Range, their impact on ponderosa pines is certainly something that needs further study.”
A 2012 study by CU-Boulder Professor Jeffry Mitton and graduate student Scott Ferrenberg showed some Colorado pine beetles, which had been known to produce only one generation of tree-killing offspring annually, are producing two generations per year due to rising temperatures and a longer annual warm season. Because of the extra annual generation of beetles, there could be up to 60 times as many beetles attacking trees in any given year, according to the study.
In addition, a 2011 study led by CU-Boulder graduate student Evan Pugh indicated the infestation of trees by mountain pine beetles in the high country across the West could potentially trigger earlier snowmelt and increase water yields from snowpack that accumulates beneath affected trees.
The University of Colorado at Boulder has been awarded $1.4 million for a new study on how changes in land use, forest management and climate may affect trans-basin water diversions in Colorado and other semi-arid regions in the western United States.
The grant, part of the National Science Foundation-U.S. Department of Agriculture Water Sustainability Climate Program, was awarded to Assistant Professor Noah Molotch of the geography department. Molotch and his team will be identifying thresholds, or “tipping points,” of change in land use, forest management and climate that may compromise the sustainability of the policies and procedures that dictate the timing and quality of water diverted from Colorado’s West Slope to the Front Range.
Molotch said that in Colorado and semi-arid regions around the world, trans-basin water diversions that redirect water from areas of surplus to areas of demand are based on policy agreements and infrastructure operations made under climatic and land use conditions that may differ considerably from conditions in the near future. Measurements over the past 50 years, for example, suggest a broad-scale reduction in snowpack water storage in the western U.S. because of regional warming temperatures, a trend due in part to a shift from snowfall to rainfall, he said.
In addition, land-cover changes associated with population growth, fire suppression and mountain pine beetle outbreaks have altered the hydrology of mid-mountain ecosystems in the West, said Molotch, who also is a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. CU is teaming up with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder on the NSF-funded project.
The NSF award comes on the heels of a May 2012 agreement between water managers in Summit and Grand counties on Colorado’s West Slope and in the Denver area on how best to share water from the Colorado River basin. “This is a great example of communities that historically battled for water resources coming to the table in a good faith effort to find solutions to water allocation issues,” said Molotch. “These groups have no pretenses about the potential impacts of climate change and realize we can’t afford to bury our heads in the sand on this issue.”
Collaborators on the project include Patrick Bourgeron and Mark Williams, fellows at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, and David Gochis, Kathleen Miller and David Yates of NCAR.
A study led by Molotch published Sept. 10 in Nature Geoscience tied forest “greenness” in the western United States to fluctuating year-to-year snowpack. The study indicated mid-elevation mountain ecosystems — where people increasing are building second homes and participating in a myriad of outdoor recreational activities — are most sensitive to rising temperatures and changes in precipitation and snowmelt.
“We found that mid-elevation forests show a dramatic sensitivity to snow that fell the previous winter in terms of accumulation and subsequent melt,” said Molotch, also a fellow at INSTAAR. “If snowpack declines, forests become more stressed, which can lead to ecological changes that include alterations in the distribution and abundance of plant and animal species as well as vulnerability to perturbations like fire and beetle kill.”
As part of the new award, Molotch and his team will evaluate regional climate models in the mountain West developed at NCAR in an attempt to make temperature, precipitation and snowpack projections “more robust,” Molotch said. While the efficiency of water in trans-basin diversion projects in the western U.S. has in the past been enhanced by the natural storage of moisture in mountain snowpack that allowed for a slow, steady delivery of water into the system, warming temperatures are already causing this beneficial “drip effect” to be greatly reduced, he said.
If the winter temperatures are hovering around 15 degrees Fahrenheit and the climate warms by a few degrees, for example, there will be negligible impact on snowpack, Molotch said. But if temperatures hover near freezing, slight temperature increases can trigger earlier snowmelt, and precipitation that used to be in the form of snow turns to rain, significantly affecting trans-basin water diversion activities.
“One of the most interesting aspects of this project to me is the changes we are seeing in the ‘wildland-urban interface,’ particularly in Colorado,” he said. “There is some irony that Front Range people who have built second homes in Summit County, for example, may actually start to have an effect on the water they have relied on to be piped through the Continental Divide to the Denver area.”
In addition to providing land and water resource decision makers with projections on how future water supply and demand will change in the future, the NSF-funded project will provide a unique educational experience for graduate students, Molotch said.
“We have climate change, snowpack, changes in land use, all feeding into the pipeline that is bringing water to Colorado’s Front Range,” he said. “As the two main stressors, climate change and land use increase, there is the possibility of pushing the systems into an unsustainable state.”
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Boulder, CO 80302
A new University of Colorado Boulder-led study that ties forest “greenness” in the western United States to fluctuating year-to-year snowpack indicates mid-elevation mountain ecosystems are most sensitive to rising temperatures and changes in precipitation and snowmelt.
Forests where people live and play to be hit hardest
Led by CU-Boulder researcher Ernesto Trujillo and Assistant Professor Noah Molotch, the study team used the data — including satellite images and ground measurements — to identify the threshold where mid-level forests sustained primarily by moisture change to higher-elevation forests sustained primarily by sunlight and temperature. Being able to identify this “tipping point” is important because it is in the mid-level forests — at altitudes from roughly 6,500 to 8,000 feet — where many people live and play in the West and which are associated with increasing wildfires, beetle outbreaks and increased tree mortality, said Molotch.
“Our results provide the first direct observations of the snowpack-forest connections across broad spatial scales,” said Molotch, also a research scientist at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. “Finding the tipping point between water-limited forests and energy-limited forests defines for us the region of the greatest sensitivity to climate change — the mid-elevation forests — which is where we should focus future research.”
While the research by Molotch and his team took place in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, it is applicable to other mountain ranges across the West, he said. The implications are important, since climate studies indicate the snowpack in mid-elevation forests in the Western United States and other similar forests around the world has been decreasing in the past 50 years because of regional warming.
Forests are drying and becoming more vulnerable
“We found that mid-elevation forests show a dramatic sensitivity to snow that fell the previous winter in terms of accumulation and subsequent melt,” said Molotch, also a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “If snowpack declines, forests become more stressed, which can lead to ecological changes that include alterations in the distribution and abundance of plant and animal species as well as vulnerability to perturbations like fire and beetle kill.”
A paper on the subject was published online Sept. 9 in Nature Geosciences. Co-authors on the study include Ernesto Trujillo of INSTAAR and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, Michael Golden and Anne Kelly of the University of California, Irvine, and Roger Bales of the University of California, Merced. The National Science Foundation and NASA funded the study.
Molotch said the study team attributed about 50 percent of the greenness in mid-elevation forests by satellites to maximum snow accumulation from the previous winter, with the other 50 percent caused by conditions like soil depth, soil nutrients, temperature and sunlight. “The strength of the relationship between forest greenness and snowpack from the previous year was quite surprising to us,” Molotch said.
The research team initially set out to identify the various components of drought that lead to vegetation stress, particularly in mountain snowpack, said Molotch. “We went after snowpack in the western U.S. because it provides about 60 to 80 percent of the water input in high elevation mountains.”
The team used 26 years of continuous data from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, a space-borne sensor flying on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite, to measure the forest greenness. The researchers compared it to long-term data from 107 snow stations maintained by the California Cooperative Snow Survey, a consortium of state and federal agencies.
In addition, the researchers used information gathered from several “flux towers” in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range, which measure the exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapor and energy between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere. Instruments on the towers, which are roughly 100 feet high, allowed them to measure the sensitivity of both mid-level and high-level mountainous regions in both wet and dry years — data that matched up well with the satellite and ground data, he said.
“The implications of this study are profound when you think about the potential for ecological change in mountainous environments in the West in the not too distant future,” said Molotch, an assistant professor in the geography department. “If we take our study and project forward in time when climate models are calling for warming and drying conditions, the implication is that forests will be increasingly water-stressed in the future and thus more vulnerable to fires and insect outbreaks.
“When you put this into the context of recent losses in Colorado and elsewhere in the West to forest fire devastation, then it becomes something we really have to pay attention to,” he said. “This tipping-point elevation is very likely to migrate up the mountainsides as the climate warms.”
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Tomorrow (August 31, 2012) at 12:00 p.m., Sheriff Joe Pelle will enact a fire ban for the mountain areas of unincorporated Boulder County. Colorado is currently experiencing one of the driest summers in history. The fire danger has been increasing rapidly over the course of the last several weeks, and the moisture content in large fuels, (logs and trees), has fallen to dangerous levels. The forecast continues to call for high temperatures and minimal precipitation.
Public asked to help identify indecent exposure suspect
Police in Boulder have released a sketch of a male who witnesses say exposed himself to them outside Macy’s, located at 1900 29th Street, on August 24, 2012. The incident happened around 1:00 p.m.
The two victims are females, 22 and 23 years old. They told investigators that they were sitting on a bench outside the department store when they noticed a male locking his bike at a bike rack near the parking garage. They say he stared at them as he walked up the stairs of the parking garage, and reappeared on the second floor where they could see him masturbating. They say he fully exposed himself to them. (The case number is 12-11459).
Police are trying to identify the male suspect. He is described as:
- White male
- 5’8” – 5’9” tall
- 130 lbs. – 160 lbs.
- Short, dark hair
- Between 20-and-24 years old
- “Scruffy” facial hair
- Wearing a gray shirt & either blue shorts or blue jeans, and carrying a backpack
- Riding a mountain bike
The mountain bike has been recovered by police and is being processed for evidence.
Another incident involving a similarly-described suspect occurred on August 18 in the 2600 block of Mapleton. Investigators are looking into the possibility that the two cases are related. (The Mapleton case number is 12-11092).
In the Mapleton incident, a female resident reported that a male suspect, riding a mountain bike, exposed himself while masturbating as she was doing yard work at 5:45 p.m. The suspect fled the area on the bike. In this case, the suspect was wearing a white shirt and long, checkered, light-colored shorts.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Ruth Christopher at 303-441-1850. Those who have information but wish to remain anonymous may contact the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-444-3776. Tips can also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers website at www.crimeshurt.com. Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 from Crime Stoppers.
USA Pro Challenge cycling race coming to Boulder County on Saturday
Race will prompt road closures and create limited parking in areas; spectators advised to prepare for changing weather and possible hazards
Boulder County, Colo. – Stage 6 of the USA Pro Challenge cycling race begins Saturday morning in Golden and, after traveling through the city of Boulder, towns of Nederland and Lyons, and the mountain communities of western Boulder County, finishes atop Flagstaff Mountain on Saturday afternoon.
The race will impact state highways, county roads and city streets. Safety patrols will be facilitating rolling closures as the race moves through Boulder County. Major roadways to be impacted include U.S. 36 and state highways 7, 72, 93 and 119. Visit www.COTrip.org for up-to-date road closure information.
Parking and Transportation
Paid on-street parking is available as well as paid event parking in city garages and parking lots and at the University of Colorado campus. Residents are encouraged to use alternate transportation on race day, as large crowds are expected. Increased bus service is available to and within Boulder. Visitwww.USAProBoulder.com for details on parking, bus and bike routes, and bike corrals.
Spectators, especially those watching the race in the mountain areas of western Boulder County, are advised to be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions and the potential risk of lightning and flooding. Check weather forecasts prior to heading outdoors and bring warm and rain-proof clothing in addition to sun protection and drinking water. Wildfires also remain a risk in the foothills and mountain areas, so stay alert to any emergency notifications during the race.
For more on the race, including an interactive stage map, schedule of events and information about the finish on Flagstaff Mountain, visitwww.USAProBoulder.com.
Boulder County and Foothills United Way to host two free insurance workshops
Boulder County, Colo. – Recent fires all along the Front Range have served as catastrophic reminders of the need for foothills and mountain dwellers to make sure they are adequately insured before disaster strikes.
Now is a critical time for mountain residents to check their insurance policies and ensure their homes are adequately covered and to take some easy steps to prepare for any disaster.
Foothills United Way and Boulder County are holding two free educational workshops to help residents make sure they are properly insured and to learn how to be prepared for any natural disaster:
- Nederland – Monday, July 23, 7-8:30 p.m.
Nederland Community Center, 750 Highway 72
- Boulder – Tuesday, July 24, 6:30-8 p.m.
Commissioners’ Hearing Room, Boulder County Courthouse, third floor, 1325 Pearl St.
The workshops will cover several topics, including:
- Lessons learned from Fourmile Canyon Fire Survivors
- Tips from United Policyholders’ ‘Roadmap to Preparedness’ Program (www.uphelp.org)
- How to ensure your insurance policy accurately reflects the real cost of rebuilding in the mountains west of Boulder
- Practical ways your family can be prepared in the case of a natural disaster
Often, the cost to rebuild, especially in the mountains, exceeds the amount of coverage policyholders carry for their homes and other property. Adding to this problem is the homeowner’s lack of awareness that the policies they carry are inadequate.
“One of the hard lessons of the Fourmile Canyon Fire was that more than 60 percent of property owners were underinsured,” said Garry Sanfaçon, Boulder County’s Fourmile Fire Recovery Manager. “These workshops will give people the tools they need to make sure they are adequately covered.”
uesday, July 10, 2012
Today, July 10, 2012, Sheriff Joe Pelle will amend the current fire ban by allowing open burning on the plains of Boulder County. The ban will continue to prohibit open burning in the mountains, with the exception of campfires and charcoal grills in permanent and maintained fire pits in campgrounds and on private property. The sale and use of fireworks will continue to be banned in the mountain areas of Boulder County. The new amendments to the fire ban will take effect at noon today.