Magazine
What Happened to Winter?

April 18, 2005

Scientists are struggling to understand winter in the West: the effects of the unusual weather on water and wildlife, and whether the changes are linked to global warming Also in this issue: Recently released e-mails show that federal employees falsified information about the safety of the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev.

Feature

What happened to winter?
An unusual winter sends ripples through the West's water and wildlife systems, and leaves scientists wondering whether global warming is the cause.

Sidebar

Drought and spring rains portend an explosive summer
The Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies brace for a fierce fire season, and desperately seek the resources to fight it.
Troubled — and shallow — waters on the West's largest river
The Columbia River Basin's serious drought means a hard choice between fish and hydropower

Editor's Note

On the trail of global warming
This winter’s weird weather has everybody talking, but nobody wants to tackle the big question: Is global warming finally hitting the West?

Uncommon Westerners

A mountain of books becomes a library of the land
Jeff Lee and Ann Martin of Denver are working to turn their huge personal library into a "land-study" center and residential library, the Rocky Mountain Land Library

Essays

Death Valley wakes up with a bang
The greatest wildflower bloom of a generation hits Death Valley, and people come from all around in search of the beauty of "Bloomstock"

Writers on the Range

Montana tells the federal government to butt out
Montanans are rebelling against the federal government, angry at the Recreation Enhancement Tax, the Patriot Act, and the loss of their National Guard to Iraq

Book Reviews

The artist, her caretaker, and eight years of letters
Maria Chabot – Georgia O’Keeffe: Correspondence 1941-1949 tempts with its glimpse into the life of a famous painter but finally fascinates with its portrait of Chabot and her life in Abiquiu, N.M., during World War II
No room for democracy on California farms
In The Conquest of Bread, Richard Walker takes a sweeping, skeptical look at the history of agriculture in California
The World's Water 2004-2005: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources
The World’s Water 2004-2005, edited by Peter Gleick, is the fourth installment of an annual report that covers water issues that span the globe
Cronies: Oil, the Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, America's Superstate
In Cronies, Robert Bryce takes on the state of Texas and its enormous political power, tracing the network of "cronies" that brought both George Bushes to the White House
The Western Confluence: A Guide to Governing Natural Resources
In The Western Confluence, Matthew McKinney and William Harmon try to find practical ways to solve the West’s endless struggles over water and resource management

Heard Around the West

Heard around the West
Strange tales from the California Highway Patrol; "Foo Foo Coffee" vs. gas prices; tumbleweed chic; advice for migrants; dumb laws; Gov. Dave Freudenthal is a colorful maverick

Dear Friends

Dear friends
Dave Foreman on "Nature’s Crisis" and what HCN is doing wrong; kids these days; visitors; clarifications

News

Follow-up
EPA will investigate allegations that bunk science led to approval of hydraulic fracturing; racketeering lawsuit against environmentalist dismissed; ACLU sues over BLM’s decision to Wyoming’s Martin’s Cove historic site to Mormon Church
A chemical cocktail pollutes Western water
A recent study from the U.S. Geological Survey finds traces of pharmaceuticals, pesticides and personal care products in Colorado’s streams and groundwater
Skiing, or wheeling and dealing?
Ski resorts become a tool for real estate speculation and development across the West.
Surprise bequest to protect Columbia Gorge
The Friends of the Columbia Gorge, a small conservation group based in Portland, Ore., has received a $4 million bequest from Norman Yeon
Climate model may help farmers know what to grow
A high-tech climate model will give farmers in Washington’s Yakima Valley a kind of crystal ball for predicting weather, choosing which crops to plant, and dealing with drought and global warming
D-Day for dam decommissioning approaches
Preparations have begun to bring down a century-old dam on Fossil Creek in central Arizona
Farmers and ranchers say city is stealing water
In New Mexico, Alamogordo’s plan to build a desalinization plant and tap the Tularosa Basin aquifer has area ranchers and farmers worried
'Sound science' in doubt at Yucca Mountain
Recently released e-mails show that federal employees falsified information about the safety of the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev.

Letters

High Country News Classifieds
  • DIRECTOR OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
    This newly created position with The Nature Conservancy's Colorado River Program will play a key role in the development and implementation of strategies to achieve...
  • PROGRAM OFFICER, INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES, NOVO FOUNDATION
    The Foundation NoVo Foundation acts from the original meaning of philanthropy: the love of humanity. The Foundation is dedicated to catalyzing a global social transformation...
  • ARMY OF THE DOG
    A new generation of monkey wrenchers hits the Front Range?
  • ANNIE CLARK TANNER FELLOWSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES
    The Tanner Humanities Center and the Environmental Humanities Program of the University of Utah seek an environmental writer to offer classes in Utahs Environmental Humanities...
  • ALASKA STATE DIRECTOR
    The Wilderness Society works to protect Wildlands and inspire Americans to care for our public lands. We seek to hire a strategic, experienced leader who...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) seeks an individual to lead this 45-year-old organization as executive director, to carry on ICLs work as Idahos leading voice...
  • IDAHO RIVERFRONT:
    2+ acres, 400+ feet on Snake River, 2800 sf residence, NWF-certified wildlife habitat, excellent hunting, fishing, birdwatching, stargazing, sunsets & panoramic views. In the heart...
  • WILDEARTH GUARDIANS IS EXPANDING - THREE JOB OPENINGS
    Guardians is expanding and looking for a few great people to join us in protecting and restoring the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health...
  • SUNNYSIDE MARKET SEEKS NEW PROPRIETOR
    Organic grocery/cafe at Glacier Bay needs a vibrant leader. Love good food, community, and Alaska? Join us!
  • NO INDIVIDUAL HEROES: OURAY MOUNTAIN RESCUE TEAM
    Ouray County, Colorado, a popular tourist destination, has dramatic mountains and amazing winter ice climbing. Challenging terrain and high altitude can push visitors to their...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM ASSOCIATE - TAHOE AREA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Associate-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM COORDINATOR - TAHOE AREA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Coordinator-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM MANAGER - TAHOE AREA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Manager-Tahoe Area. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • CALIFORNIA PROGRAM ASSOCIATE, SOUTHERN CA
    National conservation organization seeks a regular, full-time California Program Associate-Southern CA. Position works closely with California-based program staff and National Forest Foundation staff to provide...
  • THE BOOK OF BARLEY -
    Collector's Item! The story of barley, the field crop. 50 years of non-fiction research. www.barleybook.com
  • TEMPORARY ASSISTANT EDITOR
    Are you a climber and a writer who is passionate about mountain literature? Do you love searching through old alpine journals for stories of esoteric...
  • OWN YOUR OWN CANYON - 1400 SF STRAW-BALE ECO-HOME ON 80 ACRES - 3 HOURS FROM L.A.
    1400 sf of habitable space in a custom-designed eco-home created and completed by a published L.A. architect in 1997-99. Nestled within its own 80-acre mountain...
  • GRASSROOTS LEADERSHIP DIRECTOR
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a full-time grassroots leadership director to oversee all aspects of the Grassroots Leadership Program. This includes ongoing development of...
  • RIVER TRIP LEADER & EDUCATOR
    Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a growing nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...
  • RIVER GUIDE AND EDUCATOR
    Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a growing nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...