|BASIN News is an outreach effort of the Boulder Area
Sustainability Information Network, a partnership of various public and
private organizations in the Boulder area. BASIN News offers updates on
water and related environmental topics that are of interest to the local
community and does not necessarily reflect the views of any of its partners.
(See http://basin.org/adm/contributors.html for more on BASIN partners.)
In this issue we cover:
Researchers studying the aftermath of the Walker Ranch fire, which burned 1,100 acres on Boulder County open space in the mountains west of Boulder in mid-September, are finding minimal damage to fish and am- phibians in South Boulder Creek. Fresh water entering the streams helped clean and dilute pollution.
A variety of interested groups have joined together in mitigation efforts for the Walker Ranch fire. Representatives from almost 20 agencies met to discuss erosion control and water quality monitor- ing of the damaged area.
For more information about mitigation efforts, call Therese Glowacki, Boulder County Open Space, at (303) 441-3952.
To read the USGS slurry report, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/aviation/retardant/USGS_report.htm
At the end of the summer, Clear Creek in Golden, Colo. was damaged twice in a matter of weeks as Coors Brewing Company accidentally discharged 2,500 barrels of Coors beer and wastewater into the creek killing over 10,000 fish. About a week later, a Mesa Oil truck rolled over and dumped 3,200 gallons of used oil into the creek harming more aquatic life.
A fourth spill incident occurred on Boulder Creek in September. A chlorine spill was discovered between 28th Street and Foothills Parkway, which killed 365 Brown Trout and 80 suckers. Walsh Environmental Scientists and Engineers, an environmental firm hired by the city of Boulder, discovered that the source of the fish kill originated from a pipe leaking chlorine-rich water connected to the Scott Carpenter Swimming Pool, located at 30th and Arapahoe. The leaked contents seeped through cracks in the nearby pool maintenance building foundation and into the floor drain. The Boulder County Health Department and the city's Public Works Water Quality staff worked together to evaluate the impacts to the creek. Ned Williams, Assistant Director of Public Works for Utilities stated, "It’s unfortunate that a large number of fish were killed in this incident. However, there is not any threat to public health or safety from this spill." A copy of the Walsh report is available on the city Web site at http://www.ci.boulder.co.us/comm/pressrelease
These spills were costly for the aquatic life as well as for the responsible parties. Phil Aragon of the Colorado Division of Wildlife estimated that a fine would total $15,575, since according to state law each fish can be worth up to $35. Citizens should be aware that storm drains funnel directly into local waterways, therefore, hazardous materials should be disposed of properly. A spill can violate water quality regulations, health regulations, and wildlife regulations. Tina Youngwood from the Colorado Division of Wildlife advises citizens to report spills as soon as possible before contaminants travel downstream. Persons wanting to report spills into Boulder's creeks should contact the Boulder Regional Communications Center at 303-441-4444. For additional information about water quality, call the city's water quality hotline at 303-441-4H2O or go online at www.ci.boulder.co.us/publicworks.
At the conference, McCaffrey delivered a presentation entitled: "BASIN.org: a case study on the use of information technology in developing local water networks." The Symposium was organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (at http://www.siwi.org) and Professor Malin Falkenmark a renown Swedish water scientist who for decades has helped steer Sweden to take a lead in addressing the spectrum of water-related issues around the globe.
During the various workshops and breakout sessions participants had an opportunity to listen to presentations and participate in discussions on a wide range of general topics– water efficiency and effectiveness, balancing technical and social concerns, education and public outreach, water security, and human rights issues.
Awards were given out to students working on water projects. Ashley Mulroy of the United States was announced as the winner of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. Ashley, a student at the Linsly School in Wheeling, W. Va., examined water quality of a local creek and discovered that small amounts of chemicals, in this case antibiotics from the runoff from livestock feedlots, can cause e coli bacteria to become resistant to the drugs.
BASIN has recently been nominated for the 2001 Stockholm Water Prize that honors outstanding achievements that help protect the world’s water resources. The winner will be announced on March 22, 2001, the United Nations World Water Day.http://www.stewardshipinitiatives.com), with support from the Environmental Protection Agency. The gathering discussed ideas for statewide watershed organizing. Participants broke into groups to brainstorm and discuss a series of questions. Many of the watershed groups agreed on their goals and mission statements: to enhance watershed health, to help create swimmable waters in Colorado, and to create a water literate culture through environmental education. They also shared the same obstacles such as lack of funding, lack of public support and political barriers.
In voicing these common thoughts and concerns, the groups identified certain advantages which a statewide entity could bring. The overriding idea was that a statewide entity could improve networking between the many watershed groups in Colorado, create a common voice, and help provide a variety of resources.
The watershed assembly ended with commitment from members from the different watershed groups to continue to work on a process to create an entity to support watershed groups. A second assembly is scheduled for February 2001 to start implementing a state-level organization. Contact Larry MacDonnell at 303-545-6467 for more information.
The BASIN Web site has also recently undergone a major upgrade. Communications Coordinator, Mark McCaffrey, notes that "developing the BASIN Web site has been a work in progress, and we’re very grateful to the volunteers with the Boulder Community Network who have been instrumental in developing the design of the site and helping maintain and upgrade the content. We also appreciate the contributions of many local writers who have shared their expertise with the community through BASIN --Pete Palmer and Al Bartlett’s essays on sustainability, Joanna Sampson’s piece on South Boulder Creek, and Elizabeth Black’s accounts of flash floods." The Web site includes an online search engine and bibliography to help users locate information within and beyond the BASIN Web site.
"In many of the poor, developing countries, water shortages could become a severe problem, writes Lester Brown, author of "The world is running low on H20." Water tables are already falling on every continent, thanks in large part to powerful pumping technology developed in the last 50 years which allows humans to deplete aquifers faster than they can be replenished by precipitation. Water shortages could turn into food shortages, since it takes roughly 1,000 tons of water to produce one ton of grain and far more water to produce meat. Brown argues that governments can work to avert catastrophe by limiting population growth and raising the price of water to encourage efficient use. Brown, who was the keynote speaker at this year’s Stockholm International Water Symposium, offers alerts on these and related issues via http://www.worldwatch.org/alerts
Information included in this newsletter was drawn
from BASIN, Boulder Daily Camera, city of Boulder’s Open Space Department,
Colorado Water Newsletter, EPA Homepage www.epa.gov, EPA’s Waternews, Grit
News, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Northern Colorado
Water Conservancy District.
Invitation to participateWould you like to help build BASIN? See the BASIN invitation at: http://bcn.boulder.co.us/basin/main/invitation.html to get involved.
The BASIN team maintains a list of specific tasks we are currently staffing. This will give you an idea of some of the opportunities available. We also welcome folks with their own ideas for the web site.
We'd love to have you.
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