Ladies in Boulder in search of a prince now have new options if they’re looking in Boulder County open space.
Northern leopard frogs have been spotted in four different locations.
Here’s a bit from Laura Snider:
The speckled green frogs have already been discovered on open space land owned by the city, especially in the southern grasslands, but this is the first time that the springy amphibians have been documented on county lands.
Read more about these cute little hoppers at the Daily Camera: Now-rare northern leopard frogs found on Boulder County open space.
A friend of mine was walking across what shall remain an unnamed expanse of space in Boulder the other day, when he overheard two individuals in a state of bewilderment.
“What’s ‘landfill’ mean?” person #1 asked person #2 as they walked past a set of three labeled disposal containers. She was holding something she needed to throw away.
“I don’t know,” person #2 replied. “Just throw it in recycling.”
Did you just gasp as loudly as I did?
Let’s start here, with a definition of landfill. According to dictionary.com, a landfill is a “low area of land that is built up from deposits of solid refuse in layers covered by soil.” According to me, Courtney Holden, a landfill is a stinky expanse of garbage that goes on and on and on.
And it’s important that we all know the difference because throwing garbage into the recycling bin can actually do a lot of damage. Don’t believe me? Take a tour through the Boulder County Recycling Center (don’t worry, you don’t have to leave your chair) by checking out this video: Single Stream Recycling at the Boulder County Material Recovery Facility (MRF).
Hall Ranch is about to get bigger. The favorite hiking and biking destination southwest of Lyons will grow by 577 acres, the county commissioners decided Tuesday.
The property is just one of a bunch on the county’s wishlist — which until Tuesday, county staff weren’t sure they’d have the money to buy.
But it looks like voters have passed Issue 1B, a sales tax that will bring in more than $5 million a year for the next 20 years so the county can buy more land.
Just over half of Boulder commuters drive alone to get to work. Compared to the rest of Colorado, that’s pretty impressive, we’re also built better for it in the city, so we probably should be comparing ourselves to other cities that are bike- and bus-friendly.
The other number that sticks out on this data from the 2009 U.S. Census American Community Survey is our work-from-home number — but we already knew that.
Here’s some of the relevant data:
|Location||Drive alone||Carpool||Public transportation||Bike||Walk||Work from home|
In Amsterdam, they take more trips by bike than by car. Consider that!
In Portland, bike traffic constitutes 20 percent of the traffic on some roads, leading to bikejams.
Until we’re having bikejams — or until I have to stand up for part of my bus commute — it seems like there’s still a lot of education to be done. (But please don’t cut bus service to artificially make this happen. Here’s a great post from our neighbors to the south on that line of thinking.)
Note: When I lived on the Skip line, I did have to stand up — often.
President Barack Obama has recently announced a federal loan guarantee to Abound Solar, a Loveland-based company that has a manufacturing facility in Longmont.
The company, which employs 360 people in Colorado and manufactures thin film solar panels, will nearly double its employee base in the state, Abound Solar spokesman Mark Chen said.
He said it’s not yet clear exactly how the new jobs will break down between Abound Solar’s Longmont production facility, its headquarters in Loveland and its research lab in Fort Collins.
But he said Longmont would most likely be the biggest beneficiary since the bulk of production is done in the city. The company will be able to add two production lines to the one it already has in Longmont as a result of the loan guarantee, Chen said.
The White House said the project marks the first time this new manufacturing technology for Cadmium-Telluride panels will be deployed commercially anywhere in the world.
It will produce photovoltaic panels using an innovative process in which thin films of Cadmium-Telluride are deposited onto the glass panels, according to the White House. The technology reduces overall product costs.
Abound Solar is a member of PV Cycle, an organization dedicated to creating “truly sustainable energy solutions that take into consideration the environmental impacts of all stages of the product life cycle, from raw material sourcing through end-of-life collection and recycling.”
Learn more about the Abound Solar expansion in Longmont and the federal loan guarantee at the Camera.
Boulder County has suspended its popular, voter-approved ClimateSmart Loan Program, which lets you borrow money from them (at relatively low interest rates) to make energy-efficient improvements to your home like adding solar panels or blowing in some more insulation.
There are, apparently, a couple of problems that came out last week. One is a set of new rules from the DOE that govern loans like ClimateSmart — though that one will likely be no that big of deal. The second, which is more of a problem, is a letter from mortgage-buying giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The letter implies that the government-sponsored agencies won’t buy mortgages for houses that have ClimateSmart liens on them.
“Every program in the country — in Colorado the programs that are just getting set to launch in Eagle County — are going into neutral and saying, ‘We’ll continue developing programs,’ but nobody is going to issue any additional financing until there’s clarification of the letter,” Commissioner Will Toor told the Camera on Thursday.
“The timing here in Boulder County is very unfortunate because we had a round of residential loans that would be closing tomorrow and we were looking at a bond sale in a few weeks,” he said. “There are a bunch of property owners and a bunch of contractors who were hoping that this would move forward.”
How do you solve a problem that nearly everyone knows exists, but no one will talk about? Or at least no one with any political power will talk about?
That seems to be the case with the Colorado River. The annual demand on the river by the seven basin states and Mexico — just more than 15 million acre feet — is more than the average annual flow. (And if you live anywhere in Boulder County, you’re part of the “demand.” About 20 percent of the city of Boulder’s water is pumped from the Colorado River’s watershed over the continental divide. If you live in most other towns in the county, your percentage is far higher.)
So something’s got to change. Which, like I said, everyone seems to know. But, then, why doesn’t it seem like anyone’s getting serious about a change? Maybe it’s because talking about changing the rules of the Colorado River is a big political landmine.
Take John McCain. Remember when he told the Pueblo Chieftan in August 2008 that the 1922 Colorado River Compact — which divvies up the river water between the seven states — should be renegotiated? If you do, you might also remember the immediate outrage from Coloradans like Ken Salazar, whose immediate reaction was, “Over my dead body” will the contract be renegotiated.
Now a handful of lawyers from the University of Colorado are looking at what rules govern the river (and this means picking through a web of complicated treaties, compacts, state laws and court rulings) and what should be changed to create a sustainable mangement plan. With no political horse in the race, the lawyers hope that their suggestion for improvements can be picked up later by politicians…. making it a safer topic to discuss. (“Hey,” the politician could say, “this wasn’t my idea… I’m just looking into this report from these lawyers.” Then after gauging the public response, he or she could say, “Hey, this was kind of my idea.”)
You get the picture. Read more about CU’s yearlong project at DailyCamera.com.
Perhaps you recognize the northern leopard frog from the dissection tray in your high school biology class?
But have you seen one (alive) lately?
The northern leopard frog used to be easy to find across 19 states, including Colorado — and they were one of the key species fried up for frog legs.
But over the last few decades, the species has been on the decline.
Now the feds are out counting the small frog to see if the spotted amphibian needs protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The leopard frog is known to live in Boulder County. A 2006 study by the city’s open space department scoured 32 wetlands (which included ponds, intermittent streams and irrigation ditches) and found 172 leopard frogs.
Federal biologists believe leopard frog populations are currently undergoing a dramatic decline from vast areas of its historical range in the western United States and Canada. Read more
Boulder County workers are coming to your door, and they’re armed (with low-flow showerheads and CFL light bulbs)
If you want to save energy (and water), you probably know what you should do. But maybe, you just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Boulder County is taking that kind of good intention (but lack of action) to task. The county is launching the Energy Corps, which will pay young adults to go door to door, educating those who need it, and then doing what needs to be done (in the energy sense, of course) right then and there.
The new program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will work with community groups such as homeowners’ associations to target willing neighborhoods.
“The goal is to do a new neighborhood every Saturday,” said county spokesman Dan Rowland. “If your HOA contacts us and says, ‘OK we’re going to do this,’ we’ll have the whole team out in the neighborhood. They’ll crank through 15 or 20 houses that are already signed up.”
Individual houses will be scheduled for two-hour energy assessments, during which corps members will install compact fluorescent light bulbs, low-flow showerheads, programmable thermostats, weather stripping and clotheslines free of charge. Energy Corps members will also help homeowners save energy by adjusting thermostats, refrigerators, freezers, water heaters and furnaces.
Read the full story at DailyCamera.com, or to get your neighborhood on Energy Corps’ to-do list, contact Beth Beckel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-441-3502.
Earlier this year, Boulder County launched the ClimateSmart Loan Program, which gives low-interest loans to property owners who want to give their buildings an energy face lift.
The loans (which are attached to the property, not the owner, and stay with the house even if the owner moves) can be used for insulation, new windows, ground-source heat pumps, solar panels… pretty much anything that will lower a building’s energy use.
The program has been wildly popular, and since the program launched in May, more than 600 homeowners have borrowed nearly $10 million for their projects.
The loans are made possible by bonds that voters approved last November, and this November, the county is asking voters to double the available funding from $40 millino to $80 million.
Read more about the request to double ClimateSmart on November’s ballot at DailyCamera.com, or learn more about how to get a loan at www.ClimateSmartLoanProgram.org.