Berkeley Lab

July 8 – Virtual Site Visit

Field work activities have started to ramp up considerably within the watershed having been delayed by a cool, wet spring and persistent high elevation snow. The rivers in the greater East River watershed continue to run very high and cold and “in stream” work is still considered extremely hazardous and should be avoided for at least another couple of weeks.

To get a sense of the current river conditions at the Pumphouse and specifically “Meander A” you’ll find a July 1st Virtual Site Visit here:

Recent emails to the group and the last Science Community call highlighted the significant avalanche activity this winter / spring in the Elk Mountains. While some of you have now personally seen the outcome of such slides in the vicinity of Gothic and the Judd Falls trailhead, I wanted to share a drone video of debris associated with a truly massive avalanche on the north-facing side of the Elk Mountains in the Conundrum Creek drainage. For those with an interest in avalanches and forest (re)structuring, this video really highlights the connection between the two. It also presents the value of forward-thinking engineering design in avalanche country. Very impressive.

For our long-standing Rifle community members, I wanted to pass along a recent story in the New York Times that highlights some of the recent work of Prof. Derek Lovley’s lab. It’s quite well done and it’s great to see that work highlighted nationally. Derek and his partners from Innosense, LLC are currently engaged at East River tied to a DOE SBIR project developing novel biosensors, so the NYTimes piece is both timely and a nice way to remind the Science Community of his ongoing role in the watershed.

Lastly, I wanted to send a reminder about the critical importance of running field experimental plans through both Jennie Reithel the RMBL Science Director, and myself well in advance of undertaking them. While we’ve generally done a good job with this, it’s imperative to remember that should your planned field dates shift, you need to notify Jennie (and myself) of this shift, as it may impact other field projects or overlap with periods of time in the East River that are heavily impacted by tourists etc. This is especially true this year, as persistent snow in the high country is consolidating visitors to a handful of lower elevation sites, such as Snodgrass. Our Science Community is part of a much bigger community of East River stakeholders — including local citizens and visitors — and we need to be cognizant of how our activities are perceived beyond just our immediate team. Jennie is a critical component for ensuring we present the best version of ourselves as scientists to this broader community, so again please do run all planned field activities through her in advance and notify her of dates changes in your plans should they occur.