Best of the West: Lake Tahoe’s ‘March Miracle’, New Mexico and Nevada address opioids, Wyoming conservation project aids mule deer

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Water, The West

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting April 2, 2018, that you don't want to miss. Image: Kelsey Longerbeam / Nevada Appeal. Jeff Anderson, hydrologist for the Natural Resources Conservation Services, measures the snowpack on Mt. Rose. Tahoe Daily Tribune.

Lake Tahoe recorded its greatest March snow recovery in 27 years this week, with enough water in reserves to supply Reno for three years. Snowpack levels have improved to 93 percent of average in the area, easing concerns for northern Nevada water managers.

“Not only did the Sierra see a pretty great bump in the snowpack, but also the rest of Nevada did too… it's good news for all of Nevada," said Natural Resources Conservation Services hydrologist Jeff Anderson.

The news is not as good elsewhere in the West, as the Colorado River Basin is headed to one of its driest spring runoff seasons on record, according to forecasters. A factor in dwindling snowpack across the region is dust, which draws more solar energy and results in faster melting. Colorado scientists are measuring the amount of dust on snow surfaces to compare the impact of low and high dust-on-snow years.

Conservation Cohort: Following a 20-year decline in mule deer populations, a Wyoming collaborative is tracking the herd with radio collars to give scientists a closer look at their movements. Learn how the  five years of research has revealed some of the biggest threats and opportunities to protect the species.

Untapped Market: Craft brewers in South Dakota applauded a bill that will allow them to increase their annual production from 5,000 to 30,000 barrels annually. “This is an economic development win that will help our homegrown craft breweries grow and thrive,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. Learn about other brewing updates across the West.

Addressing the Opioid Crisis: New Mexico earned top marks for its policy efforts to reduce opioid related overdoses, according to a report by the National Safety Council. Nevada also met all the best practices criteria, which measured data collection and sharing, implementing guidelines for prescribers and more. 

Skiing Loses a Legend: Colorado resident and skiing patriarch Bob Beattie passed away this week at age 85. The former University of Colorado and Olympic coach was a co-founder of skiing’s World Cup tour in 1966, coached the U.S. Ski Team to its first Olympic medals, and enjoyed a successful career as a commentator and public figure into his 80s. Learn more about his life and influence on the sport.

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