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It starts at the top: The intertwined fates of water and ecosystems in the climate crisis

March 14 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Precipitation in Colorado’s high country has a big effect on the lives of Front Range residents, whether plant, animal, or human. Snowpack feeds local creeks, lakes, and ditches and moistens the soil for plant communities. Climate change is altering the amount and timing of snow and rain, the runoff of melting snow, as well as the chemistry of the water sent downstream. Greater variability in precipitation will also increase the frequency of drought, flood, and wildfire. Other environmental changes of the Anthropocene Era are also affecting water chemistry and in turn the biological communities in our lakes and streams. Speakers will address questions such as, What changes to our water supply are observed now and predicted for the future? How do scientists measure and model these changes? And what are the consequences for our local ecosystems, both terrestrial and aquatic?


Lineke Woelders, Western Water Assessment, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado Boulder, “Changing Climate, snowpack and streamflow in the Front Range.”

John Crawford, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado Boulder, “From acid rain to acid drainage: Surprises in the water quality of alpine streams”

Sarah A. Spaulding, US Geological Survey and INSTAAR, University of Colorado Boulder, “Ecological change in high elevation lakes of the Rocky Mountains”

Noah Molotch, Associate Professor in Geography, Fellow of INSTAAR, and Director of the Center for Water, Earth Science, and Technology (CWEST), “Slower snowmelt in a warmer world: Exploring the hydrological and ecological implications of earlier snowmelt on Niwot Ridge, Colorado”

Jeremy Sueltenfuss, Faculty member at the Warner College of Natural Sciences, Colorado State University, “Colorado’s wetlands in the face of water scarcity”

Panel discussion: “Responding to the climate crisis: Strategies at the intersection of water and ecosystems”
– Jeremy Sueltenfuss, CSU: wetlands restoration
– A representative from Colorado Water Trust: water rights for the environment
– Heather Yocum, North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center : adaptation science &
community work

More information:


March 14
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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Note: As the status of events is rapidly changing, please check event links for the lastest information.