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Archive for June, 2012

Colo. firefighters make progress on large wildfire

(June 20, 2012)

Associated Press/ Denver Post

Firefighters are making progress on a 93-square-mile wildfire in northern Colorado that has destroyed more homes than any other in state history.  However, it could be weeks, or even months, before it is completely contained, and more residents have been warned of the possibility for evacuation.  This article covers the High Park Fire, as well as summarizing others across Colorado and the entire country.  Current fires burning can be found on the Forest Service’s Active Fire Mapping Program here.

The Heat is On: U.S. Temperature Trends

(June 20, 2012)

Climate Central

Warming trends have been shown for every state across the US, but the rate of warming differs greatly between states.  This page and interactive map summarizes research findings and presents the rate of change for each state individually by clicking on the states.

Report shows climate change, growth will strain state’s water supply

(June 15, 2012)

Yakima Herald-Republic

A combination of population growth and climate change will threaten Washington’s water supply over the next 20 years, according to a report released by the state’s Department of Ecology.  Water needed for irrigation and public use will be strained, as well as stream flows that support fish in the Columbia River and its tributaries.

Western senators propose to double bark beetle funding

(June 13, 2012)

EE News Daily via Redlodge Clearinghouse

A group of Western senators is trying to double the farm bill’s funding for U.S. Forest Service efforts to fight the bark beetle.  Funding spent on fighting the infestation would go to $200 million from the current $100 million spent annually.  Senate leaders have not yet reached an agreement on how amendments to the farm bill will be handled or which ones would get a vote.  Western senators have also proposed amendments that would allow the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to partner with state foresters to carry out forest health projects.

Climate change will boost number of West’s wildfires

(June 12, 2012)

Reuters

New research shows that climate change will make wildfires in the West more frequent over the next 30 years, and that almost all of North America and most of Europe will see an increase in wildfires by the year 2100.

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Gov. John Kitzhaber releases draft of Oregon’s 10-year energy plan

(June 5, 2012)

The Oregonian

“Gov. John Kitzhaber has released a new draft of his 10-year energy action plan that outlines a host of regulatory and legislative measures to boost conservation and renewable energy and transform Oregon’s transportation sector to use less fuel and emit less greenhouse gases.  The plan calls for meeting 100 percent of Oregon’s electricity demand growth during the next 10 years through expanded conservation and efficiency programs”

Are bark beetles contributing to air pollution?

(May 30, 2012)

Red Lodge Clearinghouse/ Greenwire

A  new study shows that the mountain pine beetles that have been boring their way through western forests since the 1990s are also contributing to air pollution in forested areas.  This is because the beetles cause the trees to release up to 20 time more volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which combine with nitrogen oxides to create smog and can contribute to the formation of particulate matter.  The tunnels created by the beetles allow VOCs to be released from tree trunks when they normally would not be, contributing to haze, and further affecting climate.

Drought is ‘extreme’ in part of the Colorado River Basin

(May 28, 2012)

Vail Daily

According to the US Drought Monitor, 96% of Colorado is experience some level of drought, with drought intensity in the NW part of the state (7.2% of it) extreme.  A warmer and drier winter, together with a warm spring and earlier melting snowpack have caused streamflow levels to drop 5-15% across the state since April 1st.

Clear-cut the rules, beetle foes say

(May 15, 2012)

The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, CO

Witnesses testified before a congressional field hearing that USFS land managers need more latitude of the mountain pine beetle epidemic it to be repelled, or at least contained.  Witnesses stated that currently forest managers are hobbled by contradictory regulations and competing agencies, and are not able to keep pace with the fast-moving beetle.  Suggestions were for consensus-building and collaboration to help forest managers create treatment plans that don’t draw challenges.

Climate Projections FAQ’s

(May 11, 2012)

USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station

To help simplify the complexity of climate change adaptation, the U.S. Forest Service has published a series of questions for land managers working to manage land on a changing landscape.

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Late summer streamflows decreasing, says University of Montana study

(May 16, 2012)

Missoulian

“A University of Montana study published in the international journal Climate Change discovered that late-summer streamflows have decreased in the western United States over the past half century because of higher air temperatures and earlier spring runoff.”  The trend is beyond normal variability expected.

Carbon debt and carbon sequestration parity in forest bioenergy production

(May 11, 2012)

Global Change Biology: Bioenergy

This study suggests that the best strategy for using forests to curb climate change, is to leave them alone.  The collection of wood for energy could significantly reduce carbon stocks in forests, accelerating the pace of climate change in the near term.  “It takes more than 100 years for forests that lose trees to biomass energy to recover that carbon “debt” in most scenarios”, the lead author of the report stated.  The report looked only at whole-log biomass production, and not production using forest thinnings or residues.

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