Miscellaneous Facts

Water Conservancy Districts

Water conservancy districts were authorized by the Water Conservancy Act of 1937. Prior to 1937, various agencies dealing with water distribution and ownership usually operated on a single use basis (e.g., irrigation only, municipal only, etc.). The advent of large multiple use developments, however, prompted the need to create a central local authority that could acquire and distribute water for any beneficial purpose. There are currently over 45 conservancy districts in the state of Colorado, covering nearly every major drainage area and numerous minor basins.

New Colorado River Website

According to a new U.S. Interior Department website (www.doi.gov/water/owdi.cr.drought/en/index.html), the Colorado River and its tributaries:

-  Are directly linked to nine National Parks and seven National Wildlife Refuges, which support over $1 billion in tourism revenue each year.

What is Reservoir Turnover?

A turnover is when water basically flips in a body of water. Turnovers in reservoirs are from temperature stratifications and can cause taste and odor issues with the water. A turnover can be caused by high temperatures during the day and low temps at night, such as what southwest Colorado experienced in August at both the Vallecito and Town of Bayfield reservoirs. They also can take place later in the fall or early in the spring when air temperatures match the water temperature. When the surface temperature of the water cools below 50 degrees, the water on the top grows heavier, so it goes down to the bottom of the reservoir, and the water on the bottom rises to the top.

Imagining Mountains All Wrong

It turns out mountain ranges don’t just come in the familiar pyramid form—in fact, most of them have a different shape entirely. New research published in a May edition of Nature Climate Change reveals a surprising discovery that not only changes the way we think about mountains but could also have big implications for how we understand, monitor, and protect the organisms that call them home.

What Creek Connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans?

The Panama Canal is not the only water line connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. There's a place in Wyoming—deep in the Teton Wilderness Area of the Bridger-Teton National Forest—in which a creek splits in two. Like the canal, this creek connects the two oceans dividing North America in two parts. Yes. You read that right: North America is divided in two parts by a single water line that—no matter how hard you try not to—you will have to cross to go from North to South and vice versa. The creek divides into two similar flows at a place called the Parting of the Waters. To the East, the creek flows 3,488 miles to the Atlantic Ocean via Atlantic Creek and the Yellowstone, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers. To the West, it flows 1,353 miles to the Pacific Ocean via Pacific Creek and the Snake and Columbia Rivers. Of course, unlike the Panama Channel, you can't navigate these waters—unless you are a fish. At Parting of the Waters, water actually covers the Continental Divide such that a fish could safely swim from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean drainages. In fact, it is thought that this was the pass that provided the immigration route for Cutthroat Trout to migrate from the Snake River (Pacific) to Yellowstone River (Atlantic) drainages.

The United States of Watersheds, Courtesy of the Washington Post

John Wesley, the 19th century geologist and explorer, who navigated the Colorado River in 1869 and 1872, realized that the limited water in the arid West would eventually lead to conflict between the states. Therefore, he suggested the boundaries of Western states be determined by watersheds—the topographical basins that funnel surface water to a single exit point. John Lavey thought that was a pretty good idea. So Lavey, a land use planner at the Sonoran Institute in Bozeman, Montana, set about to recreate Powell’s vision—but this time, instead of stopping in the West, he crossed the Rocky Mountains. Sticking with a maximum of 50 states, here are the boundaries Lavey drew, dictated by North American watersheds:

A Tree's Biography is Written in its Rings and Music

According to a July news article, it turns out tree rings can be played on a turntable. For background, not only can growth rings reveal its age, but they also offer glimpses into how trees grow based on different environmental conditions such as droughts, floods, fires, and even solar flares. In 2011 artist Bartholomäus Traubeck devised a way to play tree rings as if they were vinyl records.

Facts: Utility-Associated Metals Theft

Since we are growing increasingly aware of the water and energy interrelationship, we thought you might be interested in the following electric utility facts:

Pagosa Springs Geothermal Hotsprings

Did you know that Southwest Colorado, Pagosa Springs to be precise, is home to the world’s deepest geothermal hot springs and is now liste

Special Districts

According to the Census of Governments, a tally of local governments by the U.S. Census Bureau every five years, 885 special districts have been created since 2007. The country's 38,266 special districts make up more than 40 percent of all local governments, and operate with significant autonomy performing services ranging from cemetery maintenance and mosquito abatement to fire protection.

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