If someone is caught camping in a restricted area of Montezuma County’s national forests, he doesn’t need to worry. Sheriff Spruell has told his deputies not to cite citizens for violating this or other regulations which he views as illegitimate.
As part of a 2005 federal mandate for travel management, the Forest Service is closing roads and trails in the San Juan National Forest. But local conservatives—the sheriff included— are fighting the closures, saying the federal government doesn’t have jurisdiction over forest lands.
Many of the roads being closed were originally built for logging or mining. Others are the result of ATV’s veering off established trails. These now-popular r have seen significant use since then.
Dissenters have been protesting at the local Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management offices over the past few weeks. Many cite an 1866 law, which they say gives local authorities jurisdiction over roadways. Others say the protesters are misinformed.
The road closure issue is one part of a larger debate about local versus federal jurisdiction of forest lands in the southwestern corner of Colorado.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but for some city dwellers it’s hard to get apples in the first place.
“Urban food deserts” are cropping up because local grocery stores are either too far away or too expensive. This is in partly due to suburban migration. As people leave city centers, grocery stores go with them. Meanwhile, as city property gets more expensive, the remaining grocery stores tend to target urban-dwellers with higher incomes, making fresh foods less affordable. To track these trends, professors from Michigan State University in Lansing set out to map their city’s “food deserts.”
Professors Phil Howard and Kirk Goldsberry used GIS or Geographic Information Systems technology to collect data on store locations as well as the selection and prices of healthy foods. They compiled this information to create a visual representation of food access issues in Michigan’s capital city, calling it, “a nutritional CAT scan at the urban scale.”
They found that less than 4 percent of Lansing’s population lives within a 10-minute walk of a supermarket. Having a car helps, but it increases the cost of getting to the healthy food. And such challenges may not be unique to Lansing—the authors warn that urban food deserts are increasing throughout the United States.
A study published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that outbreaks of mad cow disease in Europe have triggered a chain of events in the past 40 years that ultimately benefitted grassland birds here in North America.
Here’s how it happened. After European outbreaks of mad cow disease, Europe imported cattle from North America. That meant North America had fewer cattle. Ranchers needed less cattle feed, so farmers harvested less hay. As cities and farms have displaced huge swaths of native prairie, hayfields have become critical habitat for grassland birds -- especially unmowed hayfields.
The Ontario scientists who conducted the study looked at data from 1966 to 2007, and they say the benefits to birds from living in unmowed hayfields didn’t show up right away. But three years after the increase in standing hayfields, 85 percent of grassland bird species had higher populations.
The scientists say their study demonstrates that socioeconomic issues in one region of the world may have profound effects on biodiversity in another. Here in the U-S, as agricultural conservation easements face the budget chopping block, this Mad Cow study may prove to be a cautionary tale for our grassland birds, for many of those easements that might not get funded involve land full of unmowed hay.
Scientists are now looking at a little-known pollutant that has big implications for Colorado air quality
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched a study Tuesday to test nitryl chloride levels in the Front Range’s atmosphere.
This little known pollutant originates from salts, and was therefore thought to be most common near the ocean’s salty waters.
But in 2008, large quantities of the compound were discovered by accident in the air above Boulder. Scientists were testing instruments built to measure nitryl chloride when they found that levels here were comparable to those on the coasts.
The concentration is particularly high in the winter, when there is less mixing in the atmosphere.
Nitryl chloride forms at night, when pollutants from vehicles and power plants combine with chlorine in the air.
In the morning, the sun hits the nitryl chloride and breaks it down. This kickstarts a chain reaction that eventually produces smog and greenhouse gases like ozone and methane. Nitryl chloride is therefore thought to be an important precursor to climate change.
A 1,000-foot tower, built for weather studies in the 70’s, will now serve as the home base for a month-long study of this pollutant. Thirty researchers will take turns spending the night on top of the tower, kept company by more than a ton of testing equipment.