Western Slope

Maeve Conran / Connecting the Drops

It's been almost a century since the Colorado River Compact was created, divvying up the resources of this mighty waterway between seven states and Mexico. That means almost 40 million people are dependent on the river in some way. Traditionally, the economic value of the river was based on what the water could be used for when extracted—things like agriculture, mining, and industry. Now, more people are pointing to the economic value of keeping water in the river itself.

Greg Owens / National Park Service

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison just became Colorado’s first International Dark Sky certified National Park, and the ninth in the nation. The Western Slope park was recognized for its exceptional night sky views, as well as its efforts to preserve those views and educate people about the value of a dark night sky.
 

Ranger Nick Myers leads the astronomy program at the park. He says they’ve worked to reduce bright lights that can drown out the stars.

Monday Newscast, 8/31/15, 5:32 PM

Aug 31, 2015

Newscast for Monday, August 31, 2015, 5:32 PM:

  • The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says it's looking to take nearly 170 horses off land in western Colorado and move them to long-term holding in Canon City next month.
     
  • A group of Colorado water managers agreed this week on guidelines for discussions about Western Slope water transfers, which will be incorporated into the state's water plan.
     

Friday Newscast, 8/21/15, 5:32 PM

Aug 21, 2015

Newscast for Friday, August 21, 2015, 5:32 PM:
 

  • Construction is underway in Pueblo County large solar array that will generate enough electricity to power around 30,000 homes.
     
  • Colorado’s apple orchards are bearing less fruit this year.

Thursday Newscast, 7/23/15, 5:32 PM

Jul 23, 2015

Newscast for Thursday, 7/23/15, 5:32 PM:

  • A committee of state lawmakers studying water issues is wrapping up a tour in Durango, Montrose and Craig this week. The goal is to hear from local communities about the Colorado water plan and other water issues. Bente Birkeland has more.
     
  • High winds have caused the closure of some recreational areas on National Forest land in Douglas County.
     
Flickr / Creative Commons

The new aerial fire fighting research center in Rifle opened this week with a ribbon cutting.  Melissa Lineberger is the director of the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting, and recently spoke with KDNK’s Amy Hadden Marsh about her experience with wildfires and her vision for the program.
 

The Bureau of Land Management, environmentalists, and the energy industry have reached an agreement on a proposal to drill for oil and gas on the Roan Plateau. The new plan cancels 17 out of 19 oil and gas leases that were issued in 2008. Two previous leases at the top of the plateau, and a dozen at the base will remain in place.

"These measures allow us to protect the plateau but harness some of the energy resources," said Governor John Hickenlooper.

The Shoshone Power Plant: "A Big Dog on the River"

Dec 9, 2013
Maeve Conran

A complex series of agreements govern the distribution of water throughout the state.  Along the Colorado River, farms, cities & towns, and the recreation industry are all big players.  But everyone takes a backseat to a tiny hydroelectric plant that’s over one hundred years old.  It’s the Shoshone Generating Station, and it plays a critical role on the Upper Colorado.

Marci Krivonen

While Manitou Springs continues its cleanup process after recent flooding, the Western Slope is dealing with issues of its own.  Strong winds yesterday whipped up flames on a wildfire burning south of Glenwood Springs. The Red Canyon Fire grew to 350 acres and mandatory evacuations forced 15 families from their homes. The fire is burning in rugged terrain, in a Pinyon/Juniper forest. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen was with firefighters when the blaze blew up and started creeping toward them. She filed this report.