Colorado voters narrowly approved a ballot initiative directing wildlife officials to reintroduce gray wolves west of the Rocky Mountains. It was the first time in U.S. history that voters mandated the reintroduction of a threatened species. “The ballot initiative was the final Hail Mary approach to get this done, to break the stranglehold that the livestock industry has had over this for decades,” said Rob Edward, president of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund, the organization behind the initiative. (No paywall)
Colorado voters will decide on Nov. 3 whether the gray wolf, nearly hunted to extinction a century ago, will have a home west of the Continental Divide in their state. If they approve Inititiative 114, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission would be charged with planning for and carrying out the reintroduction of the gray wolf by the end of 2023, including the possibility of compensation for livestock lost to wolves.
Several states are considering country of origin labeling (COOL) proposals, which would require that beef products be labeled as imported or domestic products. The state proposals follow several years of attempts by rancher groups to revive federal law that would require country of origin labeling for beef.
A bill in the Colorado legislature would require that raw beef sold in the state be identified as either “USA Beef” or “Imported Beef,” says Drovers. The bill’s House sponsor says it would boost cattle prices in Colorado.
Wildlife Services, the branch of the USDA that controls so-called problem wildlife, will no longer use “cyanide bombs” to kill coyotes on public lands in Colorado.
A decade or more ago, farmers in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado began to run out of irrigation water. The solution, after years of court cases and finger-pointing, was an agreement to raise the price of water, says the NPR blog The Salt.
A first-of-its kind program in the Colorado River basin is paying ranchers and farmers to forgo their water rights in order to conserve the region’s rivers and lakes. Launched in 2014, the $15-million “money-for-water program” was funded “by the four largest municipal water providers in the Colorado River basin (which includes Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and California), along with the Bureau of Reclamation,” says High Country News.
Thinly populated Saguache County in southwestern Colorado finished at the bottom of a FiveThirtyEight analysis of national broadband usage. According to the report, in Saguache County, “only 5.6 percent of adults were estimated to have broadband.”
By the same 2-1 vote as last November, Boulder County commissioners approved a new version of their plan to phase out genetically engineered corn and sugar beets on county-owned farmland.
Colorado State University has appointed former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his wife, Christie, as strategic advisors for three years in launching new initiatives, including the National Western Center in northern Denver, said the Denver Post. The university intends to turn the site of the National Western stock show into a university-like setting for innovators to tackle global water, food and population issues.