It’s Monday, July 10, 2023.

Happy Monday, Boulder. We’re back, and there’s lots going on.

For today, I cover Boulder’s urban canopy and the worrisome trajectory it’s on. Thanks to the Emerald Ash Borer, roughly 70,000 trees are either dying or soon will be. This matters because as the climate warms, trees can help offset some of that additional heat. But not if they’re no longer alive.

Jenna Sampson also covers a forthcoming trail linking north Boulder with Left Hand Canyon. Following the path of a would-be railroad, the singletrack will offer an alternative to cyclists who want to avoid braving 36 on their way to the cycling havens north of town.

Finally, make sure to fill out our election survey, also flagged further down. It’s our way to ensure we cover what’s important to you this coming November. Thank you so much to those who already responded.

Have a lovely day.

— Tim, reporter

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Featured stories

Boulder’s trees are dying: Ash borers wreak havoc on urban canopy

Tree deaths have exceeded tree planting every year for nearly a decade, a city-commissioned State of the Forest report finds. The culprit is an invasive species with much destruction still yet to come. Continue reading…

New North Sky Trail marks rare addition to city’s trail map

New trails in Boulder are rare events. Before finishing the Anemone Loop last year, the city’s trail map had remained unchanged since 2015, when Lion’s Lair was completed. Cyclists are particularly happy with this addition as it connects Boulder to some of the most popular areas designed for bikes. Continue reading…

This week in Boulder: Pearl Street Arts Fest, Hanuman Yoga Festival and a ‘secret’ comedy show

Other events include self-realization at the Museum of Boulder, the Louisville Street Faire and tonight’s Boulder Concert Band show. Continue reading…

Boulder Reporting Lab is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit news organization that empowers our community through non-partisan, locally focused journalism that informs and connects.

In other news

Hot and dry

Summer decided to show up. Ninety degrees and above make up the first part of this week with barely a chance of precipitation. Friday will bring some relief, with temps dropping all the way down to 85.

Independent police monitor finalists announced

The City of Boulder has selected four finalists in the search for an independent police monitor to replace Joey Lipari, who resigned back in September 2022. The independent police monitor will play a key role in overseeing how the city’s police department handles complaints of officer misconduct. It will also help revise the 2020 ordinance that created the Police Oversight Panel, the board of volunteers that reviews investigations into complaints of officer misconduct. The monitor is a liaison between the city and the panel. This is the second round of finalists: City officials determined three finalists announced in January lacked the skills and experience needed for the job. 

The finalists are Sherry Daun, currently serving as director of investigations for Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability; Chris Duerr, a former deputy executive director and chief of investigations at the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board; Tonya McClary, the police monitor and director of the Dallas Office of Community Police Oversight; and Dwight White, the inspector general for the City of Sacramento. The community will be able to attend a candidate forum on Tuesday, July 11, where each candidate will introduce themselves and answer questions submitted by community members. The event also will be livestreamed on YouTube. Read our previous reporting on the city’s lengthy search for a monitor.

$4M approved for Boulder County households affected by Gross Reservoir construction

The Boulder County commissioners have given their approval to distribute $4 million in direct payments to eligible households from the Gross Reservoir Impact Mitigation Fund. Approximately 400 eligible property owners will receive payments, with amounts varying based on impacts. Payouts will average roughly $10,000, though could be as high as $26,000. Checks will be distributed to recipients who have completed the necessary paperwork starting in August and September.

Fatal fall on E.M. Greenman Trail

A 63-year-old Boulder resident fell while scrambling off-trail near the E.M. Greenman Trail. Despite rescue attempts by multiple agencies, including the City of Boulder Open Space Mountain Parks Rangers and Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, the man was pronounced dead at the scene. The incident is under investigation by the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office and the Boulder County Coroner’s Office to determine the cause and manner of death. No foul play is suspected.

Lyons tubing ban lifted

The tubing ban on the North Saint Vrain and Saint Vrain Creek was lifted as of July 6. The ban, imposed on June 7 due to high water flow from snowmelt, covered the creeks from Apple Valley Road/County Road 71 to North Foothills Highway, including the stretch through the Town of Lyons.

Although water levels have receded, make sure to still be careful while having fun in the water. Wear a life jacket and a helmet for water sports in shallow or unknown areas.

The ban lifts just before Boulder’s Tube to Work Day on July 14. Starting in Eben G. Fine park at 7:15 a.m., with tubing beginning at 8 a.m., commuters will go to Central Park in Boulder where hot coffee awaits. There’s still time to register if you’re interested.

The otherwise playful event comes weeks after the community experienced two tragic deaths on Boulder Creek. There have been eight water deaths statewide since the beginning of June. Last year was the most deadly year on record for water deaths in Colorado — with 42 deaths, up from 22 the year before.

June 12 flood highlights need for forthcoming projects

According to a recent Hotline post by Joe Taddeucci, Boulder’s Utilities director, the thunderstorm that flooded many of the city’s underpasses on June 12 was a 10-year storm — meaning it had a 10% chance of happening in any given year. The storm also showed inadequacies in the city’s stormwater conveyance system, and seemed to validate forthcoming projects that would protect the area not just from 10-year storms, but 100-year storms. Climate change is expected to make this infrastructure even more important. This June was the fourth-wettest on record in Boulder, following a May that was also the fourth wettest.

Taddeucci likely felt the need to show the necessity of such projects, as one stretch of the city’s $40 million Upper Goose Creek flood mitigation plan has faced significant pushback from residents. The city will also soon present to city council its storm infrastructure plans, including $25 million for stormwater and drainageway improvements.

Flooding at 9th and Alpine from the June 12 thunderstorm. The pond is mostly in North Boulder Park. Courtesy of City of Boulder

A survey for election coverage

Thank you to those who filled out our election survey. For those who missed it, we’re seeking input from readers on how we can best cover the upcoming November election. With Boulderites directly electing their mayor for the first time and several city council seats up for grabs, we want to ensure we’re asking candidates the questions you want answered about the topics you’re invested in. So go ahead, tell us what’s important to you.

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Tim Drugan is the climate and environment reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering wildfires, water and other related topics. He is also the lead writer of BRL Today, our morning newsletter. Email: