Bike to Work Day draws double number of participants
Roughly 200 people participated in Summit County’s Bike to Work Day on Wednesday, June 24.
Matthew Madsen, healthy-families program manager for the Family and Intercultural Resource Center, said 177 people registered at the six aid stations around the county that provided cyclists with coffee, food and local bike mechanic services between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.
That’s about two and a half times more participation than in 2014, he said.
Then 98 people attended the event’s mixer, or two times more than last year, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Island Grill in Frisco.
Madsen said support from the county, towns, local businesses and organizations helped make the event a success.
The event was organized by PANTS, or the Physical Activity and Nutrition Team of Summit, and was held the same day as Bike to Work events throughout Colorado.
Madsen said he hoped the event encouraged people to incorporate bike commuting into their normal days or weeks to benefit the environment as well their mental and physical health.
Lake Mead water level drop called early warning signal
On Tuesday, June 23, Lake Mead’s surface elevation dropped below 1,075 feet, a new all-time low and a level that will have substantial implications for Colorado and the other six states sharing water from the Colorado River.
The Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the Lake Mead reservoir, does not automatically reduce water allocations when the 1,075 level is hit, but it is a strong indication that — unless things change dramatically — shortages are soon on the way.
Bart Miller, Healthy Rivers program director with the conservation group Western Resource Advocates, said the Colorado River’s over-allocation is stressing communities, agriculture, river ecosystems and the recreational economy.
“The 1,075-foot level in Lake Mead is an early warning signal — and one that reflects over-allocation of the Colorado River’s limited water supply, delivering more water to communities and agriculture than the river can sustain. The drought and climate change are exacerbating the situation,” he said. “Even several good years of rain and snow won’t get the system back into balance.”
He encouraged immediate action on solutions that include urban and agricultural water conservation, increased water efficiency and recycling, and compensated sharing of water between cities and agriculture.
Agreement to lower pollution harming Southwest’s national parks, Navajo people
The National Parks Conservation Association and other clean-air advocates reached an agreement Wednesday, June 24, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the owners of New Mexico’s Four Corners Power Plant to reduce the plant’s pollution and improve the health of surrounding communities and national parks.
“For far too long, the irresponsible management of Four Corners has denied the Navajo people the basic human right to clean, healthy air in our communities,” said Lori Goodman, board member of Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment (Diné CARE). “Now with this settlement, Four Corners will have to take steps to stop poisoning our air and start moving toward a healthier future.”
In 2011, NPCA, Diné CARE and To’ Nizhoni Ani filed a lawsuit asserting that the plant violated the Clean Air Act by increasing emissions, without also installing best pollution controls.
According to the NPCA and Earthjustice, an environmental law organization that represented the groups, the Four Corners Power Plant on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico is responsible for dirtying the air in Grand Canyon and 15 other national parks in the Southwest. Over the last 30 years, the owners of the plant made changes that resulted in more pollution.
Under the consent decree, the plant will reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide — major contributors to both respiratory health problems and haze in the parks. The owners will also pay $1.5 million in civil penalties and $6.7 million in health-care and other mitigation costs for the affected communities.
“This legal victory represents a relentless and inspired fight led by members of the Navajo Nation and concerned local leaders, who refused to give up on the health of their community,” said Mary Whittle, an Earthjustice attorney. “It’s a shame it takes a legal battle to hold the operators of this dirty coal plant accountable, but we’re glad to see action to clean up the air around Four Corners.”
Bear bite closes campground near Glenwood Springs to tents
After a bear bit a man sleeping inside his tent Wednesday, June 24, the U.S. Forest Service temporarily restricted use of Dearhamer Campground, southeast of Glenwood Springs at Ruedi Reservoir, to hard-sided campers.
The camper told Colorado Parks and Wildlife that he, his wife and 1-year-old child were awoken at about 3:30 a.m. after the woman heard scratching, then noticed paws on their air mattress.
At the same moment, the man said he felt a bite on his left forearm and was able to shake the animal off by hitting it with his free arm. The animal ran away, jumping over the tent in the process, and the man was treated at a hospital for two puncture wounds and released.
“There were coolers full of food and freshly caught fish, trash and other attractants that had been rummaged through,” said Matt Yamashita, district wildlife manager. “It’s another example of less than ideal campsite conditions leading to a bear conflict.”
In June 2014, the White River National Forest prohibited the storage of food or refuge in campsites except in bear-resistant containers or locked vehicles. The campers did not use a bear-proof bin at the campsite.
Because this bear bit a person, learned to find food in human campsites and will likely continue this behavior, CPW officers will try to trap the animal and put it down.
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