The Rocky Flats Paradox

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By Sara Cottle, Alex Feltes, Julia Medeiros

The Rocky Flats Paradox is a multimedia story that explores the controversy surrounding the Rocky Flats Plant, which manufactured the cores of U.S. nuclear weapons during the Cold War, becoming a National Wildlife Refuge by looking at the complex and troubled history of the site from operations through clean-up and hearing from voices of the past and the present.

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Kid Logic: a podcast

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Coloradans care about the coast

When you choose a package of shrimp at the grocery, what you won’t see on the label is the staggering amount of other fish harmed in the capture. Local organizations and restaurants in Colorado strive to bring this reality to forefront of consumer’s decision making process.

Bycatch is the unintentional capture of any species that was not the targeted fish in a fishing operation. This can include a wide variety of fish as well as seabirds, dolphins and turtles. These non-targeted species, often times injured or dead from the capture, must then be tossed back into the ocean.

“If you care about ocean health and habitat protection, then going with a sustainable approach is really the only way to go,” said Vicki Goldstein, founder and Executive Director of the Colorado Ocean Coalition, which partners with chapters in other states to form the Inland Ocean Coalition. This organization aims to raise awareness about the ways residents in inland states can participate in ocean conservation.

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This graphic represents estimates of the bycatch of fish only and not marine mammals or seabirds. The fisheries included in this estimate can be found in the National Bycatch Report. Graphic: Julia Medeiros

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The disappearing squeak

Within the southern Rocky Mountains, above 8,000 feet, lives an animal whose population decline could give scientists insight into how climate change will affect Colorado: the pika.

The American pika is a furry herbivore that is about the size of the average human fist. They are closely related to rabbits and make their home underneath broken piles of rock called talus. In the early 2000s, researchers began to notice population decline in some areas possibly due to climate change. One current model of future temperatures predicts that the species will disappear from the Rocky Mountain National Park within this century. However, their tiny stature, territorial nature and high-altitude habitat makes gathering widespread population data difficult. Continue reading

Retiring from CU Boulder, Jack DeBell Helped Put Recycling on the National Stage

As University of Colorado Boulder students cheered during CU’s football game against the University of California on Folsom Field, Jack DeBell led another group of students sorting the recyclables and compost of the game. Continue reading

For the West, Prescribed Burns Cost Money But Fire Suppression Costs Are Increasing

Putting out every wildfire for the last 100 years along with a warming and drying climate is making wildfires in the West more intense and the fire season longer. Starting controlled fires, which are intentionally set for a specific purpose, may help but for the West where it’s most needed, it costs money. Continue reading

Climate Change in Our Backyard Is More Than Melting Glaciers: Think Economics

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View towards Arapahoe Glacier from Niwot Ridge, a research station on the Front Range of the Southern Rocky Mountains. | Photo by Sara Cottle

“How do you best recommend people like us spread awareness about climate change?” a Girl Scout asked as the last question during the ‘Climate Change in Our Backyard’ event at Fiske Planetarium on Thursday, September 20. Continue reading