Stephanie Paige Ogburn

Stephanie Paige Ogburn has been reporting from Colorado for over five years, primarily from the Western Slope.

She was previously a reporter at ClimateWire, an editor at High Country News and a reporter at the Cortez Journal. Now based in Denver, Stephanie is enjoying the many amenities of city life, and getting used to traffic. When not reporting, she enjoys backpacking, mountain biking, growing food, cooking, and spending time with her family. 

The Environmental Protection Agency knew that a mine in Southwest Colorado contained a large pool of hazardous water, and was working to slowly remove that water when workers for the agency triggered a release Wednesday. The orange-hued plume is making its way down the Animas River and into the San Juan.

It’s May in Rocky Mountain National Park, but on a mountainside 10,829 feet above sea level, snow is falling. It’s pelting Jim Cheatham, a biologist with the National Park Service. Shrugging off the cold, Cheatham seizes a teachable moment. This snow, he said, holds more than just water.

“Chances are it’s carrying the excess nitrogen we’re talking about,” mused Cheatham.

For the past eight years, the biologist has spent most of his time thinking about how nitrogen pollution is changing the park’s forests, wildflowers, and alpine lakes. He’s also been looking for a way to stop it.

Parts of Southeast Colorado are experiencing a longer period of drought than the dry times that occurred during the Dust Bowl.

According to Nolan Doesken, the state climatologist, the past three years and eight months have been the driest stretch ever recorded for some parts of the state, including Rocky Ford, La Junta and Ordway.

"It was drier than the worst consecutive drought period of the 30s and of the 50s," said Doesken.