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The Current e-Newsletter
Alyssa is a Master’s candidate in Watershed Science in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at CSU. Prior to her graduate studies, she received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences with a minor in Sustainability from California State University, Chico. Her current research—which was recently awarded at Hydrology Days—focuses on linking snow persistence and biogeochemistry in mountain regions and understanding the associated impacts of climate change on catchment hydrology.
Alyssa is currently working on a project to determine how climate warming directly affects snowpack dynamics in the western United States, and how it results in decreased snow cover and earlier snowmelt. The goal of her research is to understand how the duration of snow persistence affects soil moisture across an elevation gradient and how this gradient in snowpack affects soil water nitrogen. She is working at three research sites in the Colorado Front Range to monitor snow, soil moisture, and soil water nitrogen. Her hope is that this research will increase our understanding of how changes in the duration and quantity of snowpack affect the supply of soil water nitrogen in these mountain regions.
May Staff Spotlight: Cary Weiner
Cary Weiner is the State Energy Specialist for Colorado State University Extension and Director of CSU’s Rural Energy Center. He works with Extension agents and other partners across the state to determine and meet educational needs related to sustainable energy. His work includes making public presentations on home energy, farm energy, and electric vehicles; conducting community energy assessments; hosting a Local Government Energy Academy; developing web content and online decision tools for sustainable energy; and conducting economic feasibility assessments for on-farm solar.
In a recent USDA-sponsored project called Farm Assessments for Solar Energy (FASE), Cary and his team conducted 60 economic feasibility assessments for irrigated farms, feedlots, and other agricultural operations in Colorado—many of which are rely on water. One participant has installed a solar array to reduce energy use for pumping water, while other participants are now applying for grants to do the same. With the cost of solar dropping significantly in recent years, a federal tax credit for solar, and federal and state grants for on-farm renewable energy projects, the project aimed to give agricultural producers an estimate of their returns on investment from solar. Cary is driven to identify opportunities like these where local economic benefits could be gained while reducing climate impacts. Learn more about Cary and his efforts at ruralenergy.colostate.edu, and visit CSU Extension’s Your Energy Colorado website for more information about sustainable energy in Colorado.