On the importance of getting the boundaries right in water management and governance

I’m working this weekend on two talks, one a webinar Wednesday with Audubon and the other a lecture for UNM Water Resources grad students Thursday, that both touch on one of the fundamental challenges in getting water management right – the question of how we draw the boundaries, both geographically but also conceptually – around …

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on apocalyptic environmental discourse

Clearly, the apocalyptic imaginary is unlikely to disappear from the popular global psyche any time soon. Despite this, we must resist catastrophic hyperbole, including the increasingly alarmist discourses adopted by climate scientists in recent years. With the shock election of serial climate change denier Donald Trump to the Oval Office, the need for an effective, …

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Green versus green: removing Snake River dams

One of my University of New Mexico Water Resources Program colleagues frequently points out what they call “green versus green issues” – environmental tradeoffs that are often under-examined because our environmental discourse focuses on one set of values without sufficiently incorporating other values. Today’s inbox missive: removing dams from the Snake River in the U.S. …

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Why water markets are hard – what economists call “transaction costs”

Nathanael Johnson at Grist continues his excellent work digging past the noise to try to help us understand what’s really going on with California’s drought. Today it’s a deep dive into water markets, which includes this great explanation of why they’re so hard in practice: It’s tricky to show that the water you’re selling is …

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Getting nature right is hard, Episode XVII: restoring the Elwha

PORT ANGELES – The Elwha River is, as U.S. rivers go, a dinky thing. It rises in the Olympic Mountains, draining a basin of a bit more than 300 square miles and flowing north some 45 miles before dumping its cargo into Strait of Juan de Fuca just west of Port Angeles, Wash. By my …

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Stuff I wrote elsewhere – Anthropocene diaries: how much water for the minnow?

From the morning paper, the latest in the struggle to figure out how much water the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow needs: According to an analysis by the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, the river has only once since the 1990s, in 2005, had enough water to meet the Fish and Wildlife Service’s “conservation objective” …

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Anthropocene diaries: a fish story I wrote elsewhere

A forest burns down. Humans rescue fish, keep ’em alive in an Albuquerque warehouse. Maybe 80 years before the drainage that feeds their forest creek recovers. Maybe 200. This is life in the anthropocene: Angela James’ fish tanks don’t look much like Whiskey Creek. But for 68 imperiled Gila trout, the tanks in a northeast …

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