science

Over 300 trout released in this year's Trout in the Classroom Release!

Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is a conservation-oriented, environmental education program for elementary, middle and high school students. Throughout the school year students raise their trout from egg to fry, monitor tank water quality, engage in stream habitat study, learn to appreciate water resources, grow to understand ecosystems and begin to foster a conservation ethic. At the end of each school year, TIC classrooms release their trout into a state approved stream.

In the state of Colorado, there are 12 schools that take part in this program with a total of 17 tanks. Each program is led by educators dedicated to growing the next generation of environmental stewards.

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On May 28th, Vanessa Grenader, a 5th grade teacher from Blackhawk, brought her students to Mayhem Gulch to release their 170 pet rainbow trout. Vanessa was accompanied by volunteers from the West Denver Chapter who talked with the students about water quality. Read more here.

On May 24th, Mike Sanchez’s high school class was joined by Bianca McGrath-Martinez of Colorado Trout Unlimited and Emma Brown of the Greenbacks for a release field trip at the Carson Nature Center in Littleton. The students were able to stock the South Platte with their trout, explore native plant species, and go on a nature walk.

On May 23rd, Todd Johnson set out on his first release field trip accompanied by the Denver Trout Unlimited chapter. Todd’s 3rd graders were able to release 60 trout — most of which have names.

What's in a drought? That which we call a drought.

Rafters enjoy floating down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Boating down the Colorado River below Havasu Creek in Grand Canyon National Park. NPS photo by Mark Lellouch.

Rafters enjoy floating down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Boating down the Colorado River below Havasu Creek in Grand Canyon National Park. NPS photo by Mark Lellouch.

A report published by the Colorado River Research Group takes a look at the word "drought" and why it might be time to retire its usage based on the data seen from the Colorado River Basin.

Drought: a period of dryness especially when prolonged; specifically : one that causes extensive damage to crops or prevents their successful growth
— Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Water is a hot commodity for ranchers across Colorado.  A sign advertising a water sale sits on a farm outside Del Norte, Colorado. Luke Runyon / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

Water is a hot commodity for ranchers across Colorado.

A sign advertising a water sale sits on a farm outside Del Norte, Colorado. Luke Runyon / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

According to that definition, a drought refers to a period of time which would mean there is a beginning and a foreseeable end. What we are noticing in Colorado is a drought that seems to have no end. That's why scientists from Arizona, Utah, California, Colorado, and Michigan are starting to label the changes we have seen in the Colorado River Basin as aridification. It's true that the word does not share the same one-syllable punch that drought delivers, but the research groups says that it better defines what is happening to the area.

aridification: the gradual change of a region from a wetter to a drier climate, often measured as the reduction of average soil moisture content
— Merriam-Webster Dictionary
A riverbed dried up along the Rio Grande.

A riverbed dried up along the Rio Grande.

What this study suggests is that the years upon years of weather patterns we have seen in Colorado are pointing to a larger trend that is simply more than just a temporary drought or warming. If you are interested in learning more, you can read the full report with the link below. As always, what do you think? Is it time to start calling a spade a spade?

Other topics addressed in the report include: 

  • Measuring the likelihood of future megadroughts in terms of low soil moisture
  • What studies say about the "dust on snow" phenomenon
  • What are two possible new normals based on climate models, trends, and Colorado population demand and growth

Read the Full Report here: 

When is Drought Not a Drought?  Drought, Aridification, and the "New Normal" (March 2018) 

P.S. Did you catch the Shakespeare reference?