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Saturday, February 16, 2019
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And the Drought Goes On
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The sheriff's department decided this week to move to Stage 2 Fire Restrictions for Pueblo County, following earlier Stage 2 Fire Restrictions for the San Isabel National Forest. On June 1, the Colorado City Metro District moved to Level 2 water restrictions, while run-off ditches and the Graneros River are reportedly dry. The line at the standpipe for hauled water is growing longer each day as wells run dry, and the cost for a bale of hay has doubled since last summer, going to $11-$12 per 50 lb. bale.

With just below two of the average 25 inches of rainfall expected annually for our part of the world and a winter that brought very little of the average 135 inches of snowfall, we checked in with local, and in some cases, very long-time livestock and land owners to gain perspective on our ongoing drought conditions.

Rye rancher, Austin Clennin, and his family have owned cattle and raised hay since 1947, when his family moved to the mountain area from Texas. Clennin said of the drought conditions, “This is the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime, and it has been going on since 2002. We have had a few years with water, but it hasn’t caught up to those without.” He added that the past winter was worse than the drought of 2002.

Clennin said that he and his dad, Richard, have learned a lot since that year. We move cattle around and rotate where they graze in attempt to leave some pastures alone for a year. “My grandparents did things differently. They could take more from the land, knowing it would replenish.”

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The Greenhorn Valley View is a weekly newspaper serving the communities of the Greenhorn Valley in Southern Colorado,
including Colorado City, Rye, San Isabel, Beulah and Hatchet Ranch.

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