Chronic Wasting Disease in Wildlife

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a disease of the brain that affects deer, elk, and moose and may be on the rise in our state.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife has recently convened a new advisory group to deal with the disease, which results show to affect as many as 16% of the animals tested.  To learn more about what CWD is, how to test for it, and what the State is doing to combat it, visit Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Chronic Wasting Disease webpage.  Our library also has some helpful publications about CWD:

Photo by David Hannigan courtesy of Colorado Parks & Wildlife


Time Machine Tuesday: Biodiversity

Did you know that today, May 22, is International Day for Biological Diversity? Biological diversity - usually shortened to "biodiversity" - refers to the variety of species and natural processes in an ecosystem.  As habitats are reduced by development and increased human habitation, some species of plants and animals are pushed out or become endangered, reducing a particular ecosystem's natural biodiversity. 

Biodiversity first became a buzzword in the early 1990s (in fact, this year is the 25th anniversary of the May 22 commemoration).  You may recall that was the time of heightened awareness about the destruction of rainforests and other natural landscapes.  Here in the US, over the course of the twentieth century our country shifted dramatically from mainly rural/agrarian to predominantly urban/suburban, bringing with it the awareness of a loss of many natural habitats for plants and wildlife.

In 1993 the Colorado Division of Wildlife published Biodiversity: The Big Picture, an illustrated publication for all ages meant to teach Coloradans about the variety of species in our state and what people can do to protect them.  This publication is part of the Division of Wildlife's "Colorado's Wildlife Company" series, which have all been digitized and made available online by our library.

Also in the early '90s the University of Colorado Law School's Natural Resources Law Center issued several publications about biodiversity and the legal protections available for natural resources conservation.  Titles include Conserving Biodiversity on Private Lands (1995) as well as a policy report about the US Forest Service's biodiversity sustainability efforts (1996). 

Also during this period, the Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP), established in 1979 under the name "Colorado Natural Features Inventory," changed its name and moved to its present home at Colorado State University in 1992-1994. Soon after, the Program began producing numerous publications on biodiversity across Colorado. "Biological inventory," "biological survey," and "assessment of critical biological resources" reports for counties, wetlands, conservation areas, and other natural areas across Colorado have been issued.  You can view over 250 of these reports, from 1993 to the present, in our digital repository.

Biodiversity awareness efforts didn't end in the '90s; they are still going on today. The Colorado Division of Wildlife (now known as Colorado Parks & Wildlife) and CNHP have continued to publish resources about the state's biodiversity, including CNHP's A Biodiversity Scorecard for Colorado (2008) and the Division of Wildlife's Wild Colorado: Crossroads of Biodiversity (2003).


May is Historic Preservation Month

All this month communities across the nation are celebrating their unique places and stories. What events are happening in Colorado? Check out History Colorado's list of Preservation Month events, including tours, lectures, festivals, workshops, and more.

Our library receives lots of questions about historic preservation in Colorado. Some of the most frequently asked questions include:

Q: I'm thinking of purchasing a specific property. How do I know if it is designated historic? or How do I designate my property as historic?
A: Check History Colorado's listings of state and national register properties.  This site also includes information on how to nominate properties. Properties can also be designated as local landmarks -- check with your county or municipality's planning office.

Q: How do I apply for historic preservation tax credits for my property?
A: See this publication from the Department of Revenue as well as this page from History Colorado.

Q: How do I apply for grants to restore my property?
A: Click here to learn about the State Historical Fund, a competitive grant program available to owners of designated historic properties.

Q: What are some of the economic benefits of designating structures as historic?
A: In addition to the resources listed above regarding tax credits and grants, see also History Colorado's 2017 publication Preservation for a Changing Colorado: The Benefits of Historic Preservation. Owners of commercial properties in small towns should also check out the Department of Local Affairs' Colorado Main Street Program.

To learn more about historic preservation in Colorado, and to access additional publications, see our library's historic preservation subject research guide.

Photo: Main Street, Silverton, Colorado. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons


Dual and Concurrent Enrollment

The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) recently released its annual report on concurrent enrollment for the 2016-17 academic year.  The report shows that nearly a third of 11th and 12th graders participate in dual/concurrent enrollment programs, which allow them to earn college credit while still in high school, with the courses also counting towards their high school graduation.  (For an explanation of the differences between concurrent, dual, and ASCENT enrollment, see this fact sheet.)  Credits earned are generally transferable.

You can find the annual reports back to 2010 on our library's website.  Visit the CDHE site for more information about dual/concurrent enrollment in Colorado. You can also find information about concurrent enrollment from the college or university of your choice:


Time Machine Tuesday: Native American Rock Art

Petroglyphs in Mesa Verde National Park.
If you are exploring the rural areas of western Colorado you may see some examples of rock art created by prehistoric cultures.  According to the Colorado Historical Society's 1984 publication Northwest Colorado Prehistoric Context,  "rock art sites are of two types: pictograph and petroglyphs.  Rock art panels can range in size from a small single figure or motif to very large panels consisting of dozens of figures. Both pictographs and petroglyphs can be found on the same panel. Representations can range from realistic to highly stylized." Pictographs are painted onto stone using natural pigments; usually they only survive in caves or other areas where they are protected from the elements. Petroglyphs, on the other hand, are scratched or carved into the stone.

One of the most famous collections of rock art in Colorado is the Shavano Valley near Montrose, which was inhabited as early as 1000 BC. The site features twenty-six panels of prehistoric rock art. Shavano Valley was inhabited by Ute Indians until about 1900 so it contains some more recent examples of rock art as well, along with many other archaeological finds from nearly three thousand years of habitation.

Another site with many examples of rock art is Dinosaur National Monument in northwestern Colorado.  In 1964-65 a team from the University of Colorado conducted a major archaeological excavation on the site, which spanned the Colorado-Utah border.  Their report, published by the University in 1970, is available to read online.

Rock art has also been found in the San Juans.  In 1922, a team of archaeologists excavated there and reported their findings in "Further Archaeological Research in the Northeastern San Juan Basin of Colorado, During the Summer of 1922," a two-part series in v.1, n.1 and v.1, n.2 of the Colorado Historical Society's Colorado Magazine, now available online.  

Conejos County in southwestern Colorado also has examples of petroglyphs.  See the Colorado Historical Society's An Archaeological Inventory in the Pike's Stockade Area, Conejos County, Colorado (2007) for information on some of the rock art discovered in this region. See also the Colorado Historical Society's Southwest Colorado Prehistoric Context publication.

A few isolated examples of rock art have also been found on the other side of the state, in southeastern Colorado. A 1930 archaeological survey of this part of the state "found only some thirteen sites with petroglyphs, as in most of the territory explored, fields, prairie, sand dunes, etc., there was no means for the Indians to produce pictographs on rocks." An article on their findings can be found in the January 1931 issue of Colorado Magazine.

For general information on Native American rock art in Colorado, including the methods archaeologists use to classify the art by cultures and periods, see the Colorado Encyclopedia's article "Rock Art of Colorado."  For a historical perspective on Colorado's earliest peoples see the chapter "Ancient Inhabitants" in the Colorado Historical Society's 1927 History of Colorado, which has been digitized by our library.  Our collection also contains some helpful resources available for checkout in hard copy, including
  • Archaeological Survey Along State Highway 139, Loma to Douglas Pass, published in 1986 by the Colorado Department of Highways, which contains an article about rock art.
  • In the Shadow of the Rocks: Archaeology of the Chimney Rock District in Southern Colorado (University Press of Colorado, 1993).
  • A Profile of the Cultural Resources of Colorado (Colorado Historical Society, 1996)
  • Colorado Plateau Country Historic Context (Colorado Historical Society, 1984)
  • Dinosaur National Monument Multiple Property Listing (Colorado Historical Society, 1986)
  • The Western San Juan Mountains: Their Geology, Ecology, and Human History (University Press of Colorado, 1996)
  • The Anasazi of Mesa Verde and the Four Corners (University Press of Colorado, 1996)

Want to see some rock art?  Many archaeological sites are not publicized in order to protect the artifacts; however, there are some places you can go to see rock art including Mesa Verde; the Canyon Pintado Rock Art Historic District near Rangely; and Vogel Canyon Petroglyphs near La Junta.  For information on these and other locations see History Colorado's Public Archaeology list.

Finally, if you are an archaeologist, or if you are a landowner with rock art on your property, be sure and read Recording and Caring for Rock Art from the Colorado Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation.  

Photo courtesy Wikimedia


Bears and Bird Feeders

Many Coloradans enjoy feeding birds, especially this time of year when hummingbirds are returning to the area.  But bird feeders can also attract hungry bears.  According to Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), "some studies show that over 80 percent of human-bear conflicts can be traced back to the bear's first encounter with a bird feeder...Once bears discover bird feeders, they'll often visit every home in an area looking for more."  For tips on how to safely feed birds while discouraging visits from bears, see CPW's publication Attracting Birds, Not Bears.

For additional CPW resources on avoiding human-bear conflicts, see the following resources:


What's In Your Drinking Water?

May 6-12, 2018 is National Drinking Water Week.  From lead to fluoride, from private wells to public water systems, there are many consumer issues related to the water you drink.  If you are interested in learning about drinking water in Colorado, start with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment's Drinking Water: Consumer Information webpage.  Here you can find links to information about how drinking water is treated, regulated and tested, and what substances can be found in your water.  For more resources, search our library's online catalog

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