Friday, February 28, 2014

Water And Energy Progress

The folks of the Sheridan 6 LEMA, were honored this week at the first annual Water and Energy Progress luncheon award ceremony that took place in Topeka on February 28th, 2014.   Governor Sam Brownback presented the awards to the recipients and spoke highly of the conservation efforts that had been displayed by these individuals and families.  Many thanks to the incredible staff of the Climate and Energy Project as well as all those involved in the Water and Energy Progress Steering Committee.  The picture below shows Roch Meir from Hoxie Kansas, receiving an award on behalf of the entire Sheridan 6 LEMA of Sheridan County Kansas.  His lovely wife Marilyn was also in attendance for this exciting event.  Congratulations to all award recipients and lets keep up the good work, what a privilege it is to work with you!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

They're Setting Up Hubs!

This week the Obama Administration announced that they would be engaging in the creation of "Climate hubs" which will provide information to rural communities that are currently facing extreme weather conditions such as drought and flooding.  The hubs will be sponsored through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and will provide scientific information for farmers, ranchers etc to tap into when facing the risks associated with climate change...

"For generations, America's farmers, ranchers and forest landowners have innovated and adapted to challenges," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilasack said.  However, he said, rural communities face more complex challenges today because of climate change.  "USDA's Climate hubs are part of our board commitment to developing the next generation of climate solutions so that our agricultural leaders have the modern technologies and tools they need to adapt and succeed in the face of changing climate," Vilsack said. 

The Hubs will be in Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico.  Additional "sub-hubs" will be set up in various other states, including Michigan and California.  I am curious as to the roles that these hubs will play, reports have indicated that they will be working with state and local governments before making their "suggested adaptions." Not sure about this one folks.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It's Freezing...Even in South Georgia

Polar Vortex: "Is a persistent, large-scale cyclone located near either of a planet's geographical poles.  On Earth, the polar vortices are located in the middle and upper troposphere and the stratosphere.  They surround the polar highs and lie in the wake of the polar front.  These cold-core low-pressure areas strengthen in the winter and weaken in the summer due to their reliance upon the temperature differential between the equator and the poles.  They usually span less than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) in which the air is circulating in a counter-clockwise fashion (in the northern hemisphere)."

Much of the United States has been experiencing extremely cold temperatures this past week and it has caused quite an alarming media response.  For a nation founded with covered wagons and pioneering survival tactics, we sure have lost our touch through the years when it comes to withstanding the cold.  This is an argument I have heard several times over the last few weeks but to be fair, these temperatures have also not been seen in decades if ever in history.  In the city of Chicago, a record low temperature of -11 Degrees F had existed until the bone chilling -16 Degrees F hit the metropolis with an added wind chill that took Chicago down to -34 Degrees F.  This Polar Vortex has forced even residents in south Georgia to learn what its like to have frozen pipes in their homes and businesses.  There also have been several instances where fire emergency systems have frozen over or have been broken due to pipes bursting, causing a security hazard for many large functioning agricultural and industrial facilities.  Between the current freeze, and the South Dakota blizzard in 2013, mother nature is sure reminding us how powerful frozen moisture can be.




Monday, December 23, 2013

Water Water Everywhere


Far above our heads, there are currently astronauts working away in attempt to repair the International Space System's cooling station .  Currently the space station in operating on only one cooling system which would leave the astronauts vulnerable to being left without a working system should the current cooling unit fail.  After a seemingly successful mission on Saturday, astronaut Rick Mastracchio discovered something interesting in his spacesuit, water had gathered in his suit's sublimator which is a device that's designed to dissipate excess heat.  Usually the suits have water based systems in them that remove moisture, and cool the astronauts.  But it is unusual for the water to accumulate.  The spacewalk on Saturday consisted of a 5 hour and 28 minute mission removing a faulty coolant pump module, this mission will continue tomorrow December 24th and no further issues are expected to arise.  This unfortunately is not the first time that water has been a problem is space.  In July an astronaut's suit malfunctioned causing him to nearly drown inside his suit.  NASA officials have declared that the two problems are not related and they believe the suits to now have a "clean bill of health" although they have added makeshift snorkels and absorbent pads to the suits as a precaution.  Water water everywhere, even up there.



Friday, December 6, 2013

LEMA Awards presented by 'Water +Energy Progress'



    With a busy year coming to a close for Groundwater Management District No. 4, so does an equally busy year for the producers of the Sheridan-6 LEMA.  As many of you may know, a LEMA, or Locally Enhanced Management Area is crafted on the community level, giving producers and community members an opportunity to discuss ways in which they may hope to extend the life of the Ogallala Aquifer by reducing their water usage over a set period of time.  For the Sheridan-6 LEMA, this time period consisted of 5 years and an approximate 20% water reduction.  Many years of hard work and dedication went into this LEMA, from the initial idea, to working with both the Kansas Legislature and local Ag producers, and finally to the implementation of the first LEMA in the Sheridan-6 High Priority Area.  GMD4’s now retired Manager Wayne Bossert, Assistant Manager Ray Luhman, and countless others, contributed so very much in to making this incredible dream a reality.  The kind people at the Water + Energy Progress organization, which is in association with CEP(the Climate and Energy Project) have decided to honor the efforts of these SD-6 Producers by featuring their efforts on the organization’s website in an extensive article featuring two of the producers from the SD-6 LEMA.  Recognizing such a forward thinking tool, which has so successfully brought people together to discuss future water concerns and hopes is truly Inspiring.  I encourage anyone to visit the link below in order to read further information provided by the Water+ Energy Progress organization.  The appreciation of this recognition is, I am sure very great by many.

 http://www.waterandenergyprogress.org/case_studies.php?id=9

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It's Not Just Happening to Us...

Several years of dry winters and unusually hot summers have left Canada's subarctic regions in serious trouble, causing severe and worrisome desiccation of the regions' lakes.  After the exclusive study of 70 lakes near Old Crow, Yukon and Churchill, Manitoba it became apparent that most of the lakes had become less than a meter deep, with dead vegetation banking the shores.  The problem comes primarily from a decline in "melt-water" that usually supplies the lakes.  For example, from 2010 to 2012 the average winter precipitation in Churchill decreased by 76mm when compared to the average that had been recorded between the years 1971 and 2000.  "With this type of lake, precipitation in the form of snow represents 30% to 50% of the annual water supply," explained the study's lead author, Frederic Bouchard.  Clearly, a lack on snow fall will rapidly and drastically affect the water levels and viability of the lakes.  With several ecological and environmental concerns buzzing through the air researchers have become increasingly concerned, in addition to the realization that this decline has not been seen in the 200 years of its observation.  So folks, back here in the USA we surely are not the only ones feeling the pressure and concern associated with water resources and conservation.  Just one of the many issues concerning water around the globe.

   

Monday, November 18, 2013

Reduced Ethanol??

On November 15th 2013 USA Today came out with an article explaining the changes in recent Ethanol use regulations and how this once championed bio-fuel law of 2007 has not been working as had once been expected.  In fact for the first time, officials are planning to reduce the amount of ethanol in the US's fuel supply.  At the beginning, the law had hoped to address climate change concerns while encouraging homegrown bio-fuels that would burn cleaner than gasoline.  The ethanol cut back, would require approximately 3 billion gallons less ethanol to be used.  The variable that had not been considered during the initial bio-fuel discussions, was the possibility for such fuel economy improvements as what has taken place over the last several years.  "Bio-fuels are a key part of the Obama administration's 'all the above' energy strategy, helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, cut carbon pollution and create job," stated EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.  This proposed ethanol reduction could bring some flack, when reflecting on statements of the past.  In addition the ethanol mandate has caused quite a stir amongst both oil companies and environmental groups.  As the market continues to fluctuate and technology undoubtedly progresses, what will be the future of bio-fuel vehicle use?