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I’m dreaming of snowpack, lots of it

Posted by Andrea Smith on March 12, 2018 in Uncategorized, Water Quality

Click picture to enlarge the snowpack levels data as of February 27, 2018

This winter we have been bombarded with countless news reports and articles warning Coloradoans about the harrowing levels of snowpack we are seeing this year. We too are guilty of broadcasting the doom and gloom, but it’s because we are also feeling nervous about the amount of water that will be available during the warmer months. We know that our mountains act as storage for our water by collecting feet upon feet of snow that will slowly feed our streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. So, when scientists and reporters are both saying that certain parts of Colorado are averaging at about half or less their usual snowpack levels – that’s an issue.

The word snowpack is part of every Coloradoans common vocabulary because we pretty much use it as a way to measure the well-being of our state. It determines whether Colorado will have successful seasons in skiing, rafting, fishing, and hunting. Not to mention our ranchers and farmers depend heavily on that snowpack for their livelihoods. Snowpack levels affect almost every outdoor business in Colorado.

A new clip from the short film, The End of Snow, addresses those issues that we are having in the west as they relate to snowpack. In Colorado, you meet the “Snow Guardian” a man who has lived in the mountains for years – collecting snow data to pass the time. That data has become a living testament to the changes in climate that scientists have been piecing together. Jane Zelikova, “ecologist with a Ph.D. from CU Boulder has an active project at the University of Wyoming [that] looks at the impacts of dust deposition on snowpack and in her film, The End of Snow, she focuses on the effects of dust deposition in mountainous regions.” [1]

The message that the “Snow Guardian” clip emphasizes is one of adaptation. It’s much harder and practically impossible to just reverse the path we are on and we probably will end up falling down. But, if we do fall, we must land on our butts because falling face first is much harder to get back up from. Collaboration and adaptation are how we will be able to address the changes in our climate and ultimately Colorado’s outdoor economy.

The Snow Guardian from Day’s Edge Productions on Vimeo.

 

 

Resources

[1] 303 Magazine Article about the Film

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