Apr 5

WEBINAR SERIES: Social-Ecological Resilience and Changing Landscapes

Join us during Spring 2017 to explore activities and tools that facilitate effective adaptation and build social-ecological resilience in the context of changing landscapes. For additional information, visit the series website or contact Laurie Yung (laurie.yung@umontana.edu) at the University of Montana W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation . All webinars are Wednesdays Noon-1:00 pm (Mountain Time) and are completely FREE and open to the public!

Log-in to the webinar through AdobeConnect at https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/sac. You will be prompted to download a plug-in the first time you access AdobeConnect. There is no password for the webinar meeting room. Audio for the webinar is available through the conference line 1-888-844-9904, passcode 2453228#.

This webinar series is sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, North Central Climate Science Center, University of Montana W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, United States Geological Survey, The Nature Conservancy, Mountain Studies Institute, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Western Water Assessment, University of Colorado, and NOAA.

2:30 pm14:30

ARC Forum

Presentation Topic: Rory Cowie, MSI's Water Resource Program Director will speak on Surface and Groundwater Interactions in mining impacted mountain watersheds

12:00 pm12:00

Understanding the Views of Decision-Makers


Part of the Social-Ecological Resilience and Changing Landscapes series.

Follow this link to learn how to participate in the webinar.

Presented by: Laurie Yung (University of Montana) and Katie Clifford (University of Colorado)

Next week’s webinar (Wednesday, February 22nd, Noon-1:00 PM (MST)) will focus on Understanding the Views of Decision-Makers on Climate Adaptation.  Effective adaptation at the landscape-scale requires action on the part of a range of decision-makers, from agency staff to local ranchers and tourism operators.  This webinar will describe social science tools that can be employed to better understand what decision-makers think about projected climate impacts and the opportunities and challenges that they face with regard to adaptation.  As an example, we will discuss how we used landscape-scale climate scenarios in Southwest Colorado to engage decision-makers in thinking about potential responses to climate change, variability and uncertainty, barriers to effective adaptation, and engaging the public.  In addition, the webinar will examine how to identify decision-makers in different contexts and what can be learned from different methods.  This webinar will be presented by Laurie Yung (University of Montana), Katie Clifford (University of Colorado, Boulder), and Carina Wyborn (Luc Hoffmann Institute). 

12:00 pm12:00

Webinar: Developing Scenarios for the Landscape-Scale


Part of the Social-Ecological Resilience and Changing Landscapes series.

Follow this link to learn how to participate in the webinar.

  • Presented by Imtiaz Rangwala (Western Water Assessment) and Renee Rondeau (Colorado Natural Heritage Program)

Next week’s webinar (Wednesday, February 8th, Noon-1:00 PM (MST)) will focus on Developing Scenarios for the Landscape Scale. Scenarios are increasingly used to help decision-makers think about projected changes and how to make decisions under uncertainty. The webinar will outline a process for developing landscape-scale scenarios, building on an example from southwestern Colorado. Presenters will explain how they selected three model projections to represent a range of plausible hydroclimatic futures for 2035. They will then describe how to choose decision-relevant climate attributes and focus in on specific ecological impacts. Finally, they will talk about how to translate this information into narrative scenarios that are accessible to the public and utilize communication strategies that make projected changes relevant and tangible, including the use of historical benchmark events (e.g. a recent drought) and climate analogues (e.g. in 2035 town A will have a climate similar to the current climate of town B). This webinar will be presented by Imtiaz Rangwala (Climate Scientist, Western Water Assessment and NOAA) and Renee Rondeau (Conservation Planning Team Lead, Colorado Natural Heritage Program). 

This webinar series is sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, North Central Climate Science Center, University of Montana W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, United States Geological Survey, The Nature Conservancy, Mountain Studies Institute, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Western Water Assessment, University of Colorado, and NOAA.    



7:00 pm19:00

Nile Project Panel: "Music, Citizen Engagement and Water Resource Management"

Time - 7:00-8:00 PM 

Location - Fort Lewis College Community Concert Hall

Theme: Human life depends on the availability and quality of water to sustain our health, grow our food, power our homes with electricity, and stimulate our economies. However, due to overpopulation, increased demand for food, climate change andpollution, as much as two thirds of the worlds citizens may face water stressed conditions severely impacting the living and economic conditions of communities, countries, and regions by 2025. Without water, we cannot survive. How can we, as individuals, become more involved in the management of this precious and limited resource?


We will begin with 2-3 minute introductions, ending with Mr. Girgis, who will give some background about the Nile Project.

The primary question is: How can we, as individuals, become more involved in the management of this precious and limited resource?

We will follow with: How does the Nile water region parallel or diverge from the water stresses in Durango and the Four Corners?

We will then allow the conversation to head in the direction it naturally moves. The panel will last from 60 to 90 minutes.

Nile Project background

Using music to spark cultural curiosity, the Nile Project engages audiences to learn about the world’s longest river and understand its largescale social, cultural, and environmental sustainability challenges. The Collective’s collaborative model offers a blueprint for new ways Nile citizens can organize themselves to make the Nile more sustainable. In an evolving series of interlocking programs that spring from the concert experience, the project hopes to inspire, educate and empower young people worldwide to contribute to Nile sustainability.

From its debut concert, captured live on the 2013 release entitled ASWAN, it was clear that the Nile Project was something completely new. National Public Radio named the recording one of five “Must Hear International Albums.” Fast forward a few years — through tours in Africa, Europe, the US and UAE — and almost all major media outlets agree that the Nile Project is much more than just a band. The New York Times described it as “a committed, euphoric international coalition.” Afropop Worldwide calls it “seductive and beautiful […] nothing short of revolutionary.”

More information can be found HERE


Dec 7

Colorado Gives Day!

Have you heard of ColoradoGives?  It is just TODAY!  All of Colorado will join in 24 hours of giving to non-profit organizations across the state that are dedicated to making Colorado a stronger, healthier and increasingly beautiful place to call home. 

We at MSI strive to continually expand the understanding of our incredible San Juan Mountain environment and meaningfully apply science to foster a resilient and sustainable future.  Our accomplishments are a direct product of your generous support, and we thank you.
Please join the rest of Colorado for this one big push. 
Support the San Juan Mountains.
ColoradoGives to MSI!

The more we raise, the greater our impact.  The $1 Million Incentive Fund will match our donations if MSI is able to raise 10% of all ColoradoGives contributions.  There is no better time to support MSI and the San Juan Mountains!

With deepest gratitude and in common passion for our San Juan Mountain home-

The Mountain Studies Institute staff

7:00 pm19:00

Beyond the Gold King Mine Spill

  • Fort Lewis College

Mountain Studies Institute has monitored water quality and ecological health of the Animas River before, during, and after the Gold King Mine release 

4:00 pm16:00

Educator Workshop: Using Data Analysis and Infographics in the Classroom

  • Animas High School

Please join us on for the "Using Data Analysis and Inforgraphics in the Classroom" Workshop!

We will explore "citizen science journalism" as a tool to engage and encourage young people to find personal, social, and scientific relevance in today's world.  

For more information on STEM Literacy through infographics, please visit: science-infographics.org

This workshop is targeted for middle school and high school educators. 

Please plan to bring your laptop in order to participate in the workshop.

Please feel free to bring a brown bag dinner due to the late hour of this workshop.

See you there!

Please Register by emailing Amanda@mountainstudies.org


Capturing Fire: photo essay and discussion on the phenomenon of wildland fire
6:30 pm18:30

Capturing Fire: photo essay and discussion on the phenomenon of wildland fire

There is a mystique to fire that runs deep in our DNA, we are drawn to it, and we fear it because it is a phenomenon that exceeds our control. It is simply bigger than us. We've placed ourselves in it's habitat in the wildland urban interface and so we must become more fire-adapted. Photographs take abstract concepts that come from verbal descriptions and give them a visceral reality. We understand it more when we see it.

The photo essay will be followed by a screening of Unacceptable Risk: Firefighters on the Front Line of Climate Change and a panel discussion with wildfire and mitigation.

Location: The Lyceum, Center for Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College

Time: 6:30 - 8:00 pm

Oct 15

Forest Health Citizen Science Opportunity in Pagosa Springs


What IS a Healthy Forest?

Join San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership, FireWise, and Mountain Studies Institute on OCTOBER 14 & 15 for an opportunity to Discuss forest health and Mark a proposed project area scheduled for thinning.


Evening Event:

October 14, 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Borde Rio

Enjoy Beer from Riff Raff Brewing, Appetizers from Borde Rio, and a presentation from Forest Managers

Field Event:

October 15, 9:00am to 2:00pm

Meet at the Pagosa High School Parking Lot at 8:30 am

Get out in the woods and apply your new knowledge. Help spray paint on trees in a proposed project area and learn how to select which trees should stay and which should go.

5:00 pm17:00

Groundwater and the Oil & Gas Industry

Air.Water.Energy Event:

Groundwater and the Oil & Gas Industry

Powerhouse Science Center 

5 - 7 pm

Join MSI, local professionals, and academics from CU Boulder for a casual evening of discussion about the benefits of monitoring groundwater, for both homeowner and the oil and gas industry. Learn about the science-based framework for evaluating the effects of oil and gas production on water quality. See a demonstration of groundwater testing. The public will have an opportunity to ask questions to industry professionals and researchers. 


Oil and Gas Production and Potential Effects on Groundwater
Jessica Rogers - Graduate Research Assistant
Environmental Engineering Department - University of Colorado at Boulder

The oil and gas boom, facilitated by technical advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, is bringing energy production activities closer to densely populated areas and raising concerns on the potential contamination of drinking water resources. This talk will give an overview of two possible risks to groundwater resources: contamination by oil- and gas-related organic compounds and the occurrence of methane or "stray gas." Results of ongoing research by the AirWaterGas Sustainability Research Network studying groundwater impacts in Colorado will be presented.

Baseline Groundwater Sampling Programs: Peace of Mind for Landowners and Industry
Ashley Ager, M.S., P.G. - Senior Geologist, LT Environmental, Inc.
Durango, Colorado
Ashely Ager will discuss the most important rule governing baseline groundwater sampling in Colorado, Rule 609. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) issued Rule 609 in 2013 in order to establish baseline the conditions in groundwater aquifers within close proximity to planned oil & gas production prior to drilling. This rule also includes the continued monitoring of the groundwater for a specified period of time following well completion. The intent of the rule is to satisfy landowners that drinking water supplies are being protected as oil & gas development expands. A critical component of these programs, as demonstrated in case studies, is the liability protection for the oil & gas operators, landowners, and associated water users in an environment becoming increasingly sensitive to impacts from oil and gas production.
"Know your Groundwater- Training for Homeowners"
Katya Hafich - Outreach Hydrologist
Colorado Water and Energy Research Center
AirWaterGas Sustainability Research Network
University of Colorado-Boulder.

Learn about how to develop plans for developing  baseline water quality data for your domestic water well: what constituents to test for, how often and what time of year to test, how to interpret your results, and how to find opportunities for free testing.

Panel Discussion - Ask the Experts!
Karen Spray, PG
Southern Ute Indian Tribe – Growth Fund
Department of Energy
Exploration & Production Manager

Brian Devine
Water Program Manager – San Juan Basin Health Department

Kyle Siesser
Cottonwood Consulting

6:00 pm18:00

"Racing Extinction" - Film and Dinner at Fort Lewis Tonight!!

The film will be followed with 3 brief, TED style talks by local experts that provide our audience with a snapshot of a climate-change issue in our region and one way that citizens can plug in to effect it RIGHT NOW.


For those folks who are really excited to get their hands dirty, we will be carrying the message of the film forward and co-hosting a River Clean Up and Action Day the following Sunday, April 17th. Free local, organic dinner and beer available!


When: Thursday, April 14, Doors open at 6 pm; Screening opens at 6:30 pm

Where: FLC Student Union Ballroom

Cost: Your tickets includes includes entrance to the movie and a FREE local, organic dinner! $12 advance; $15 at the door. $5 for children 12 & under. Pre-purchase tickets here or at Maria's Bookshop


All proceeds benefit the Environmental Center at Fort Lewis College. Thank you!

5:00 pm17:00

San Juan Air Quality Forum

Air.Water.Energy Event:

San Juan Air Quality Forum

Powerhouse Science Center

5 - 7 pm

Join us on Thursday, April 7!

Powerhouse Science Center
1333 Camino del Rio  Durango, CO
5 pm - 7 pm

MSI is partnering with CU Boulder to bring you the Air.Water.Energy series! Join with citizens, experts, and agencies to understand current air quality trends and policy for the region. Learn air quality basics. Hear about San Juan National Forest’s monitoring program. Find out about monitoring equipment available for citizen-based monitoring programs from University of Colorado. Ask the questions that you've always wanted to know from the experts and learn what is myth and what is fact about air quality!



Atmosphere 101
Dr. Rob Milofsky
Professor of Chemistry, Fort Lewis College

Dr. Milofsky will walk us through the basics of atmospheric chemistry - and what we need to know about air quality!

Air Quality Monitoring on the San Juan National Forest
Kelly Palmer
Water and Air Program Manager, US Forest Service

Kelly Palmer will inform us about the San Juan National Forest's efforts to monitor air quality on public lands.

Citizen-Based Monitoring Efforts
Joanna Casey
University of Colorado at Boulder
Mechanical Engineering, Graduate Research Assistant

Joanna Casey will tell us about low-cost air quality monitors that are used to measure air quality in the Four Corners and how they can opportunities for education.
Over the last few years, the Hannigan Lab at CU Boulder has been working to develop low-cost air quality monitors that utilize small sensor technology.  Among other projects, these tools have been used in two studies in the Four Corners region.  One study focused on measuring indoor air quality on the Navajo Nation in homes using different fuels for heating.  Another study explored the spatial and temporal variability of several atmospheric trace gases that can be influenced by natural gas extraction in the San Juan Basin. 

These air quality monitors are also being made available to schools and community groups for educational purposes.  

Panel Discussion - Ask the Experts!
Ask everything you've ever wanted to know about air quality! 

Dec 16

Telluride Gives is TODAY!

Top five reasons to give to MSI:
5. Where else can you get Science People Can Use?
4. We look to understand the things you love
3. We provide broad, diverse science knowledge
2. If we don’t know it, we know someone who does!
1. Best emergency response team in the science biz’

Dec 5

Pub Science - Animas River

pub science

MSI will be presenting on the Animas River at Pub Science hosted by the Power House Science Center on December 4th. More information to come

5:30 pm17:30

Jack Frost Celebration and Friendraiser at the Powerhouse Science Center!

You’re invited— and bring a friend!

This year, MSI’s Jack Frost Celebration will be in conjunction with our presentation for the Pub Science series at the Powerhouse Science Center, 1333 Camino Del Rio, Durango, CO

Friday, December 4, 2015

5:30    Animas High School poster session Chemistry 101 + Animas River Quality

6:30    Pub Science talk*  ‘MSI responds to the Gold King Mine Spill’

7:30    Jack Frost Celebration + Friendraiser

live auction, music, libations, appetizers

RSVP by Dec 2 to double your chances to win a prize. 
*Bring this invitation for free admission to Pub Science talk

12:00 pm12:00

Animas River Celebration

November 1st

Animas River Celebration

La Plata County Fairgrounds 12-2 pm


The event will be in an open house format to provide information to our community members to answer questions they have surrounding the impacts of the Gold King Mine Spill.



o   Fishery/aquatic life

o   Drinking water

o   Surface water and sediment quality

o   Agriculture

o   Recreation

o   Mine remediation

8:30 pm20:30

Liver Down the River at the Animas City Theatre




HOMETOWN THROW DOWN to end the Liver Down The River EP Release Celebration Tour

Tickets $10/$12

Tickets available at Southwest Sound & http://www.durangomassive.com/
The first 20 paid through the door a signed copy of the new EP.

Doors: 8pm
Silent Auction 8:30pm - 9:30pm
Show Time: 9pm
Support Pants Party 9pm - 9:30pm
Liver Down The River 10:30pm - 11:45pm
Liver Down The River 12:00am - 1:15am

Liver Down The River
Liver Down The River is a six-piece jam style bluegrass group from the beautiful mountains of Durango, CO. The band incorporates elements of funk, rock, celtic, and Irish music into their sound. Their story began in the fall of 2012, when mandolin/harmonica player Patrick Storen met lead vocalist/guitar player Matt Granzow. The pair had an impromptu jam session in the Bader Snyder Dorm room of Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Together they began experimenting with bluegrass music, and incorporated their eclectic styles on traditional Grateful Dead tunes. That day spawned a lifelong friendship between the pair, and before long they were picking every afternoon.

Patrick Storen (Harmonica, Mandolin)
Emily Aguirre-Winter (Fiddle, Viola, Vocals)
Matt Granzow (Guitar, Vocals)
Derek Abt (Bass, Vocals)
Tyler Rice (Banjo, Vocals)
Carter Colia (Drums, Washboard)

Pants Party
You're invited to the Pants Party. A funk dance band that is sure to even make your grandma get down. Hailing from Durango, Colorado, Pants Party is a high energy musical experience. Consisting of four greatly talented musicians that play original, new and old school funk for your booty shaking pleasure. At the core, Mark Shriver on keyboards, Sam Kelly on alto-sax, Spencer Church on bass, and Joe Colomb on drums, have all played together in varying bands and have toured the Rocky Mountains and the southwest. Wherever they go, Pants Party invites local musicians to join in and fatten up their infectious grooves to solidify there connection to the local audience and to make each show a unique and funky experience.

5:30 pm17:30

Feature Film Showing & Water Management Discussion

Join MSI at the Durango Arts Center for a film and panel discussion about water in the West, brought to you by the Water Information Program. 

Feature film: The Great Divide - The Destiny of the West is Written in the Headwaters of Colorado.

Management of Water in the West discussion to follow.

The Great Divide, a feature length documentary film from the Emmy award winning team of Havey Productions, in association with Colorado Humanities, will illustrate the timeless influence of water in both connecting and dividing an arid state and region. From Ancient Puebloan cultures and the gold rush origins of Colorado water law to agriculture, dams, diversions and conservation; the film will reveal today’s critical need to cross “the great divide,” replacing conflict with cooperation.