MOFFAT COUNTY, Colorado (CBS4) – After reviewing the mudslide damage in Glenwood Canyon on Wednesday, Gov. Jared Polis met with officials in northwest Colorado to discuss the ongoing drought. Earlier this summer, the governor declared a drought emergency in western Colorado.
Polis was joined on Wednesday by Kate Greenberg, Colorado’s agriculture commissioner, and Dan Gibbs, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. They traveled to Elkhead Reservoir in Craig to discuss coordinated flow releases for drought relief and recovery of endangered fish.
Polis also visited the site of an affordable housing community project at 28750 US-40 in Steamboat Springs, as well as the town’s Community Agriculture Alliance Shop.
Recent heavy rains have helped ameliorate the drought situation in western Colorado, but they have also increased the risk of mudslides, especially in areas of scorch. Interstate 70 was closed for 13 days via Glenwood Canyon due to mudslides. Polis said on Wednesday that he hopes to partially reopen the highway on Saturday.
According to the August 5 Drought Monitor, areas of the state experiencing exceptional drought fell from 15% to 6%. Areas of extreme drought fell from 27% to 21%, an improvement of 6%.
The severe level decreased by 3% while the moderate drought decreased by 5%. However, in northeast Colorado there is a slight increase in abnormally dry conditions.
The Colorado Drought Task Force, Agriculture Impact Task Force, and Municipal Water Task Force stand ready to address drought concerns throughout the year.
âWhile Colorado may face a series of statewide shortages each year, the cumulative impacts of drought stress our landscapes, reservoir storage, wildfire hazards and the ability to fuel. many water-dependent economies recovering from the impacts and debts of the previous year, âthe governor’s office said in June. âWe continue to work with our neighboring states to implement interstate agreements and consider additional potential solutions. “
To stay informed about Colorado drought issues, sign up for the state’s drought updates or visit the Colorado Water Conservation Board website.