designated a national monument by President Obama | by Alyssa Hurst
A thousand years ago, members of the Chaco civilization chose Chimney Rock as the site of a village of more than 200 homes. Today, the ruins of their village draw thousands of visitors, and the unusual way that the moon rises between the two sandstone pinnacles of the Chimney Rock, as visible from the site’s Fire Tower, continues to impress. After a five-year-long effort by the national trust, President Obama officially declared this southwestern Colorado site a national monument. The effort had the bi-partisan support of Colorado Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Mark Udall (D) and Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez), the Native American community, local businesses and other stakeholders.
Located in the San Juan National Forest and near the Southern Ute Reservation, Chimney Rock National Monument has the potential to double both the number of jobs required to run the site and the revenue derived from tourism to the area each year.
Perhaps more important to the Native Americans who look to Chimney Rock as a place of spiritual significance is the fact that the site will now receive increased protection.
New national survey
reveals voter’s feelings on global warming | by Alyssa Hurst
Though there were few voters who marked global warming as the “single most important” issue of this election, 61 percent of undecided voters say climate change policies will be among the issues they consider when voting for president, according to a study released by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.
“Undecided voters lean towards pro-climate action and will be considering the candidates’ positions on global warming when they vote in November,” Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University said in a press release. “The fact that Undecideds look remarkably similar to Obama voters on climate change could prove important on election day.”
Seven percent of American voters remain undecided about how they will vote in this year’s presidential election.
According to the survey, a majority of Obama voters and undecided voters agree that global warming is happening, is human caused, and that President Obama and Congress ought to be “doing more” in regards to global warming. The study also points out that 85 percent of likely Obama voters, 83 percent of undecided voters and 73 percent of likely Romney voters agree that the U.S. should use more renewable energy resources.
New conservation area
established in Sangre de Cristo Mountains | by Alyssa Hurst
A 77,000-acre donation of private land in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains has been designated the newest conservation area in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
“This newest treasure in our National Wildlife Refuge System links together a diverse mosaic of public and private lands, protects working landscapes and water quality, and creates a landscape corridor for fish and wildlife unlike any place in the world,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said, according to a Sept. 14 press release from the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Louis Bacon, a proponent of landscape and wildlife conservation, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service, donated the conservation easement, the bulk of his 81,400-acre Trinchera Ranch.
The area will be monitored and supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with Colorado open lands. The agreement is one of the first of its kind as it marks collaboration between a private landowner, private land trust and the federal government.
Bacon is also in the process of donating 90,000-acres of a conservation easement on his Blanca Ranch, permanently protecting nearly 170,000 acres. Together, the two conservation easements mark the largest donation to ever be received by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.
Arctic sea ice
reaches record low | by Adelina Shee
This year’s warm and dry temperatures in the lower 48 were one for the books, but another set of records that has drawn attention worldwide is melting Arctic sea ice.
Reports show that the Arctic sea ice reached its minimum extent for the year in September at 1.32 million square miles. That record is 293,000 square miles lower than the past recorded low from September 2007.
According to the director for the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Mark Serreze, if the rate of its melting continues as it is, there is a possibility that summer sea ice cover could be gone in the Arctic in a couple decades.
The loss of Arctic sea ice cover affects the global heat engine, the system our planet uses to transport heat from the equator to the poles. Serezze says the absence of the sea ice cover changes the temperature difference between the latitudes. This upsets the system and causes the Arctic to become warmer. It also affects weather in the rest of the world. Recent winters in Colorado, with slower moving storms and heavier precipitation, may be in part due to what is happening in the Arctic.
Melting Arctic ice could also increase carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The absence of the thick sheet of ice exposes buried carbon, increasing the greenhouse effect of our planet.