Colorado drought is drying up ranchers’ cattle

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Colorado drought is drying up ranchers’ cattle

Narraguinnep Reservoir is down to the minimum pool, the lowest it has been in recent memory. Reservoirs across Southwest Colorado are suffering because of the weak winter snowpack and persistent drought.

Colorado drought is drying up ranchers’ cattle

Narraguinnep Reservoir is down to the minimum pool, the lowest it has been in recent memory. Reservoirs across Southwest Colorado are suffering because of the weak winter snowpack and persistent drought.
Western Slope feels biggest pinch in drought as some cities begin to enact water restrictions

Colorado’s drought monitor shows some improvement in central Colorado this week, but the western side of the state still needs moisture.
Douglas, Teller and El Paso counties saw the largest increase in moisture around the state. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports those counties received between 1 and 4 inches of rain in the last couple weeks. The additional precipitation brings some areas in those counties from “moderate drought” to just “abnormally dry.”
However, about 65 percent of the state was still under “severe drought” or worse. Last year at this time, 83 percent of the state was in no sort of drought monitoring at all. Most of the drought is growing in the north and west along the Western Slope.
Some of the ranchers are selling their calves two months early. But the calves are about half of what they normally weigh. That has a big impact because ranchers make money by the pound.
In May, extreme drought only went as far north as Pitkin County. It now spreads clear up to the southern portion of Moffat County, the drought monitor shows.
In Southwest Colorado – Montrose, San Miguel, Dolores, Montezuma, La Plata, Hinsdale, San Juan, and Archuleta counties – are under the most extreme classification of drought. Parts of Custer, Saguache, Alamosa, Costilla, and Huerfano counties are also in that category.
Grand Junction implemented mandatory water restrictions Tuesday. Aspen also declared water restrictions for the first time in its history. And Yampa River fish are stressed and in hot water.
Despite drought growing to the north and west, it has dissipated a little in southeastern Colorado. The drought monitor forecasts up to 2 inches of rain to begin falling Tuesday in western Colorado.

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