Friday, May 22, 2015

Why Protecting Rio Grande Source Waters Trumps Destructive Development

Changing the subject for a moment.  Because this is down home and personal and since the struggle to save Wolf Creek's Alberta Park has reignited and I want to broadcast this information far and wide as possible.  Never know were help might come from.  

{major edit 5/22, 9:30 pm - touch up edits and added some links 5/23 morning.
Could say this was a work in progress, it's finished now.  Final edit 5/24/15 mid-day}

Up in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, below Wolf Creek Pass, an epic wetlands-preservation struggle has been going on.

The smoldering mess was reignited in May when the Rio Grande National Forest released its final decision regarding the Village at Wolf Creek Access Project. This decision allows the exchange of 205 acres of prime Rio Grande National Forest, including some 1500 feet of highway frontage, for 177 acres of difficult-to-develop and landlocked property owned by the Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture. Talk about a smooth poker play.

You may wonder, what's going on here? Well, it's the good old story: Money don't talk, it screams. At the heart of this battle is a Texan billionaire with a love for the real-estate poker game and a sick obsession with creating a fairytale Village at Wolf Creek. This so-called “village” would include condos, luxury-goods stores, and upscale restaurants – 10,000 people at 10,000 feet, it’s been dubbed. Sadly, his imagination is too filled with fantasies of thousands of rich and eager buyers flocking to the Colorado hinterlands to realize what he's holding in his hand.

Just uphill we have the family-run Wolf Creek Ski Area, which is nestled in a great sweeping bowl up against USA's Great Divide.  Here you'll find some of the deepest powder skiing in Colorado.  The land also happens to collect a vast quantity of source waters for the interstate and international Rio Grande River. The owners of the ski area have been on-again, off-again players doing their best to minimize exposure, while remaining savvy to opportunities.

Opposing Mr. McCombs and his sacred mantra of “Development Trumps All” are Colorado grassroots groups such as the Friends of Wolf Creek, San Juan Citizens Alliance and San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council  - all of whom have put up a spirited defense on behalf of the wetlands that have no voice. 

This struggle has been going on for over two decades now.

To understand the opposition, you must understand that the targeted "parcel" is in Alberta Park. And Alberta Park happens to be the keystone of this great Wolf Creek Pass watershed

It's where the land levels out and water seeps down deep on its short journey to the head waters of the Rio Grande. Alberta Park is an intricate wetlands of complex subsurface hydrology with thousand-year-old Fens (peat-moss landscape) laced throughout. This community  performs a myriad of biological functions while storing and filtering the water upon which the Rio Grande stakeholders depend.

Yet our developers' attitude towards this natural resource is one of disinterested contempt as they explain how drainage ditches and a small-scale water-treatment plant will compensate for the destruction of this natural water-purification complex and the wildlife habitat that comes with it.

In defense of Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas and his decision, it must be pointed out that his options were severely restricted by statutory requirements and also by being forced to abide by an odd interpretation of the "Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act" of 1980.  (Not to say there aren't serious questions and objections being raised regarding this most recent EIS process.)

Alaska wilderness 1970-80s, Colorado in the 2010s – what’s the connection? What's the reasoning here? Go fish... try finding a justification for that interpretation.

Why should ANILCA have standing in this particular Colorado situation? I believe a misuse of the law deserves being questioned. After all, the parcel was already landlocked within the long-established RGNF. The law was created to protect private lands within newly created Federal Land entities, thus I believe citizens have a right, if not a duty, to object to that interpretation.

In any event, now that the RGNF has decided to swap "parcels" and legal title goes to LMJV, the poker game moves on to the Mineral County Commissioners, located in Creede (population <500), the county's only town, and a comfortable 40 miles and across the mountains from this ground zero.

Hopefully it'll be different this time, because a decade or so ago, sorry to say, they were pushovers for the slick Texan with deep pockets.

Now it starts again and it's going to take a lot of informed and active citizens to oppose the power of those deep pockets as LMJV continues their single-minded pursuit of their atrocious Village at Wolf Creek pipe dream.

On Saturday June 20, there will be a celebration at Wolf Creek Ski Area called "Honor Wolf Creek" and it will focus on appreciating this wonderland through art, poetry and music. For details check out, hosts of the event.

I believe the event will help people from all over the state get acquainted and exchange ideas and perhaps come up with strategies on how to convince LMJV of the foolishness of their destructive development plan.

The ultimate goal is to return this priceless parcel back into the Rio Grande National Forest from whence it was torn. Can you join us?

Following are a few links dedicated to raising awareness and sharing information plus further links to various players and information:

Celebrating Alberta Park and Honoring Wolf Creek

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Rejecting the Village At Wolf Creek, list of go-to info and resources

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2015
Final decision released for Village at Wolf Creek Access Project, May 21, 2015

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2015
Questioning ANILCA and Village at Wolf Creek

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


What is "Reasonable Use" of Alberta Park at Wolf Creek, Colorado?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


(NO-VillageatWolfCreek.blogspot is my own website, 
I like to think of it as a kiosk of information for those wanting to 
understand why Alberta Park should remain unmolested by destructive development)



Friends of Wolf Creek
San Juan Citizens Alliance
San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council 
Saturday, June 20th, 2015 Honoring Wolf Creek at Wolf Creek Ski Area
 and Celebrating Alberta Park

A closer look at some of the real world details:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Assessment of Wetland Condition on the Rio Grande National Forest

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Inventory of Fens in a Large Landscape of West-Central Colorado

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Hydrology Of The Wolf Creek Pass Area,  November 7, 2014

The Village At Wolf Creek: Salesmanship Trumps Meteorology

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Rio Grande National Forest: Village at Wolf Creek Access Project
The Rio Grande National Forest is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the effects of the proposed Village at Wolf Creek land exchange.
Location Summary
The federal and non-federal parcels to be considered are entirely within Mineral County, Colorado
District: Divide Ranger District

Project Documents
Date Published
  1. Scoping
    1. Scoping Letter for the Village at Wolf Creek Land Exchange Proposal
    1. Figure showing the current private parcel surrounded by the Rio Grande National Forest
    1. Figure showing the proposed land exchange Federal and non-Federal parcels
    1. Figure showing potential access location from U.S. Highway 160
    1. Notice of Intent to prepare and Environmental Impact Statement for the Village at Wolf Creek Land Exchange Proposal

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Exhibit 3c: HotWhooper's "Seeps and SCAMS" a closer look at Lewandowsky et al 2015

Sou at HotWhooper has written three insightful posts regarding Lewandosky et al 2015 that belong in this WUWTW collection of exhibits for my eventual complaint/presentation to the SFSU administration...  

The following was copied verbatim from  Then I starting deleting it down to it's core points, my "cliffnotes" so to speak.  A couple long sections are complete, but most have been reduced.  Please read the full versions.

On Seeps and SCAMS Part I: Lessons for Climate Scientists
On Seeps and SCAMS Part II: Pat'n Chip'n David Fake a Debate
Seeps and SCAMS Part III: Richard Betts misunderstands (and misrepresents) a paper

I have added some paragraph breaks and highlights.  
I thank Sou for her excellent research and getting this information out there and tip my hat to HotWhopper's CC policy.

Highlights: HotWhopper's "Seeps and SCAMS" 

On Seeps and SCAMS Part I: 
Lessons for Climate Scientists
HotWhopper  |  Sou |  May 14, 2015

If you thought that dispassionate scientists, when doing scientific research, are immune from denialist propaganda you'd be wrong. It's not just when scientists talk about climate that they can demonstrate they've been influenced by denialists' campaigns. Even their scientific publications can be so influenced.

"About seepage - of denialist memes and framing - into the scientific community"

The paper is all about seepage. How denialists' talking points have "seeped" into the scientific community. The authors define seepage using two criteria. To be considered seepage the following two criteria must be met:
  1. the scientific community has adopted assumptions or language from discourse that originated outside the scientific community or from a small set of dissenting scientific voices. 
  2. those assumptions depart from those commonly held by the scientific community. 

Exhibit 3b: Lewandowsky responds to Betts critique re "Seepage" study.

For this exhibit #3b I'm reposting Prof Lewandowsky's response to Prof Betts (bio) prefaced by a comment and question I have for any takers.

What mystifies me to no end, is that although scientists thoroughly understand the physics of atmospheric greenhouses, the impression experts such as Professor Betts project is that until we achieve totally complete and absolutely correct measurements of every component of our Global Heat and Moisture Distribution Engine - we can somehow pretend greenhouse gases aren't doing their job 24/7/365 - specifically relentlessly increasing the heat and energy within our climate system.

What happened to our appreciation that the map is not the territory?

Can anyone explain how that rationale works?


Voices from the climate community on "seepage"

Professor, School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol
Posted on 14 May 2015
Our recent article “Seepage: Climate change denial and its effect on the scientific community” in Global Environmental Change, authored by me and Naomi Oreskes, James S. Risbey, Ben R. Newell, and Michael Smithson, has attracted a bit of attention over the last few days. I sample a few comments here and reply to a lengthy post by Richard Betts, Head of the Climate Impacts strategic area at the UK Met Office, that critiqued our paper.

A Critical Voice: Richard Betts on “seepage”

However, not unexpectedly, there are also some critical voices. We expected that our paper would evoke some spirited disagreement, and so Richard Betts’ critique of our paper is most welcome as it provides us with an opportunity to restate our argument and address some of the objections raised by Professor Betts. 

To facilitate discussion, I begin by noting that there is much in Betts’s post that we can agree with—for example, the increased role of social media, the increased focus by governments on the need for adaptation and hence decadal predictions. No disagreement there. But then again, none of those points pertain to the issue of seepage.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Invitation to debate Piers Corbyn's claims

My recent blogpost regarding Piers Corbyn offended the gent who's 700 word comment I mirrored, he accuses me of ignoring his facts and it's true my post focused on my discovering why Piers Corbyn is anything but a serious scientist, in fact, arguably from an objective legal standpoint he's a malicious fraud.

For those seriously curious about Mikeyp's talking points, or "facts" as he calls them, check out this wonderful resource geared to the layperson.

Global Warming & Climate Change Myths  
Here is a summary of global warming and climate change myths, sorted by recent popularity vs what science says. Click the response for a more detailed response. You can also view them sorted by taxonomy, by popularity, in a print-friendly version, with short URLs or with fixed numbers you can use for permanent references.

Given this morning's exchange with Mikeyp, I sense there's a genuine learning opportunity in all of this.  

That is why I'm formalizing my invitation to Mikeyp for a debate regarding my characterization of Piers Corbyn*, by mirroring our YouTube comments exchange where I invite him to send me a Guest Post which I'll publish unaltered in a standalone WUWTW post.  
(*Or the state of climate understanding for that matter.)   

I'm certainly no expert, but I dare say I know the basics pretty well.  Plus I have a leg up on climate science skeptical types, in that it's not my ego I'm defending.  I'm defending my understanding of the science as it is.  I fully appreciate that my understanding doesn't always agree with the reality.  I embrace being proven wrong as learning opportunities, even if it bruises my ego.

Meaning, my learning continues and is not confined to defending what an echo-chamber feeds me.  Mr. Landscapesandcycles runs and hides from a straight up debate, let's see if Mikeyp has more intellectual fortitude.

This exchange was inspired by my blogpost 
"A digression, the Piers Corbyn Story"

Then this morning at YouTube, and I quote:

(5/14/2015 - 4:30pm) citizenschallenge wrote:
I looked into your "realist" Piers Corbyn, you won't believe what I found.
(5/15/2015 - 8:23 am) Mikeyp wrote: 
As expected you switch off if you see something that you cannot comprehend. Your inability to consider the very real counter arguments to your chosen set of truths does weaken your case. I find your comments to be extremely dismissive without due cause. The Piers Corbyn presentation was obviously dumbed down so it could be understood by a wide audience (yes you), Have you ever considered that the jetstream is affected by a number of different things including magnetic forces,  sunspot activity etc?  {I took the liberty of linking those to some information regarding said claims.}

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A digression, the Piers Corbyn Story

I'm active on the internet, commenting and responding to responses.  Once in a while a dialogue comes along I feel needs to be shared over here because of it's text book quality example of disconnect and climate science denial.

Although I didn't have time for this, especially not today, I'm a sucker for chasing such bones and since the name Piers Corbyn rang a bell but I couldn't place him.  I found myself googling him.  Oh yeah, that guy, Mr. the CO2 story is over Corbyn and his mini ice age machinations.  Eventually, I found myself listening to his YouTube "Weather Action Meeting 27/2/12" video which turned out to be an epic example of Dunning-Kruger effect in action.

Since I wasted so much precious time on this joker I'm going to get something constructive out of it by posting my findings over here.  I'll begin with P.M.'s phenomenal 700 word gish gallop dodge of the Earth observation sources I was sharing, such as NASA's summation of the evidence.  Following that I look at Piers' "Weather Action Meeting 27/2/12." 

Then I share a most excellent documentary that looks at our global heat and moisture distribution engine's various components and how they interact, followed by a couple video shorts from a real expert on greenhouse gases Professor Richard Alley as he explains the reality of CO2.

This in turn is followed by a score of links spanning 2005 to a couple months ago - for those who are interested in learning more about this example of Unidirectional Skepticism Piers Corbyn.
M.P. wrote:

Exhibit Three: Lewandowsky et al. 'Seepage' paper and fabricated bias.

I've come to realize that my idea of getting San Francisco State University administration to take some action in response to Landscapesandcycles' Mr. Jim Steele's malicious slander and equally execrable misrepresentation of wildlife studies was naive and is dead in the water.  However, that doesn't mean I can't send SFSU Administration a well formulated complaint along with a learning experience regarding the ways of the con artist and how university administrations have an ethical obligation to proactively reject the active fabrication and dissemination of deliberate, and with malicious intent, lies and misrepresentations regarding the work of scientists.

Thus, my effort to collect, organize and support my argument will continue.  Serendipitously, yesterday the Hotwhopper blog alerted me to a new study by Lewandowsky, Oreskes, Risbey, Newell, and Smithson. It details something I've noticed for a long time, but haven't been able to enunciate.  

For my Exhibit #3 let me present 
Climate change denial and its effect on the scientific community 
Stephan Lewandowsky , Naomi Oreskes, James S. Risbey, Ben R. Newell, Michael Smithson  -  Global Environmental Change  -  Elsevier Ltd 2015 
Appeals to scientific uncertainty are often used to forestall action on climate change:
 *We examine the seepage of this contrarian discourse into the scientific community.   *We highlight psychological reasons for scientists’ susceptibility to seepage.  *We use the global warming ‘‘hiatus’’ as an example of the consequences of  seepage.   *We offer ways in which the scientific community can detect and avoid such seepage. 
From the abstract
 We show that although scientists are trained in dealing with uncertainty, there are several psychological reasons why scientists may nevertheless be susceptible to uncertainty-based argumentation, even when scientists recognize those arguments as false and are actively rebutting them.   
Specifically, we show that prolonged stereotype threat, pluralistic ignorance, and a form of projection (the third-person effect) may cause scientists to take positions that they would be less likely to take in the absence of outspoken public opposition.  
We illustrate the consequences of seepage from public debate into the scientific process…"
FYI, in the internet this is shaping up to be quite a kerfluffle that I intend to report on after I get caught up on all the action.  But, first it would be good to allow Professor Lewankowsky's to speak for himself, so with a tip of my hat to Professor Lewandowsky I'm reposting his description of the study - followed by links to HotWhopper's triple play, and AndThenThere'sPhysics' guest post by Prof. Richard Betts, who's the Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office and disagrees.

Voices from the climate community on "seepage"

Professor, School of Experimental Psychology and Cabot Institute, University of Bristol
Posted on 14 May 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

Question: Best liar wins? re CC/Steele Debate

I'll admit, regarding my little SFSU/Steele project, recently I've spent a lot of time spinning my wheels.  Seems no one wants to get close to the touchy question of professors/instructors having a duty to honestly represent the scientific work of others.  

Apparently outright lying about the work of scientists is considered a sacred part of the academic process.  I still can't get my mind around that logic.  Admittedly I'm on the outside of academia looking in, so if anyone within the process would care to correct me or enlighten my interpretation please (If not here at WUWTW, how about an independent venue).  After all, constructive learning is what this is supposed to be all about.

What I find even less comprehensible: 
How is it that maliciously slandering honest professional scientists falls under the same acceptance?  Or is it a blind eye?

So I've gone back to reviewing and learning some more while pondering the fundamental requirements for a constructive* rational debate - as opposed to the politicians lawyerly debate to win at all costs regardless of fidelity to the truth.

I have to wonder what the hell, has all of modern society accepted the myth that the best liar deserves to win?  

In any event, this morning I saw that Victor Venema (at his consistently thoughtful blog Variable Variability) wrote something that I believe fits right into this series of foundation laying "exhibits" in my continuing "Great CC/Steele Climate Science Debate."  

That's why, with a tip of my hat, I share his thoughts in this post.  But first, as learning goes, looking at related links led to other things and I was reminded of the following helpful chart by "Communicating the Science of Climate Change" and their effort to teach climate science communication skills. 

Communicating the science of climate change

It is urgent that climate scientists 
improve the ways they convey their findings 
to a poorly informed and often indifferent public.