Happy Wednesday, Boulder. I hope you’re well.

For today, I cover an update on Boulder’s water situation. Despite the national conversation on the Colorado River and its drying, Boulder is doing pretty well, at least for this year. With our two local basins — North Boulder Creek and Middle Boulder Creek — filled thanks to a good snowpack, and our allotment from the aforementioned Colorado coming in as average, we should avoid any restrictions on water use, in 2023.

Also, Longmont just expanded its ban on public camping in town. The expansion comes as more homeless people are sleeping in public parks and on private land. Yet unlike Boulder’s ban, Longmont’s does not disallow blankets or sleeping bags.

Finally, with the weather reverting back to a touch of dreariness, remind yourself what the summer will be like. On those 100 degree days, memories of the gloomy 40s might be the thing that gets you through.

Enjoy the day. I’ll see you Friday.

— Tim, reporter

What to know today

  • Some rain coming from some clouds: 50s today, 40s tomorrow, clouds and rain sprinkled throughout. Though we bopped up to the 80s for a spell, the foreseeable forecast foretells weather much more suited to spring: 50s and 60s with daily drizzles.
  • Police Oversight Panel member girds for legal fight over potential ouster: A civil rights lawyer representing Lisa Sweeney-Miran, a member of the city’s police watchdog panel who is facing expulsion due to allegations of bias against police, claimed in a letter to the city attorney that it would be illegal under city code for the Boulder City Council to remove her from the post. “Among other problems,” the letter said, “if the City Council were to accept the Special Counsel’s recommendation, it would expose the City to a claim for violating Ms. Sweeney-Miran’s First Amendment rights.”
    • The letter, written by Dan Williams of the Boulder-based firm Hutchinson Black and Cook, is a response to a recommendation by a special counsel hired by the City of Boulder that Sweeney-Miran resign from the Police Oversight Panel or be removed by the Boulder City Council due to her “real or perceived bias” against police. The investigation was prompted by a code of conduct complaint filed by a Boulder resident concerned about Sweeney-Miran’s prior involvement in a lawsuit against the city’s police chief over Boulder’s camping ban and her social media posts, among other issues.
    • Williams, who is involved in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the city’s camping ban, alleges Douglas, a former city attorney, “inaccurately quotes” Sweeney-Miran, “failed to conduct an effective investigation” by not interviewing certain people, and came to an “incorrect legal conclusion” about her role in the camping ban lawsuit.
  • Stay tuned — Boulder City Council is planning to discuss the special council’s report during its meeting on Thursday: Whatever the councilmembers decide, the debate is likely to rekindle a tension in Boulder over police reform and public safety, an issue that is likely to be prominent in this year’s local election for city mayor and for four councilmembers.
  • Longmont updates its camping ban: The Longmont City Council last week approved an ordinance that expands its prohibition on sleeping in public spaces to include private property and more city-owned land. The change is a response to more homeless people sleeping in parks and on private land, according to city officials.
    • The ordinance reads much like the one in the City of Boulder, which was adopted in 1980 and is currently being challenged in the Boulder County District Court on grounds it violates state constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment. One notable difference is that, unlike Boulder’s law, Longmont’s will not prohibit blankets or sleeping bags.
    • In a recent memo to the Longmont City Council, officials said the new rules will also prohibit the city from enforcing the ban on sleeping on city property when there are not shelter beds available in Boulder County. This is a response to recent court rulings on other city camping bans, according to officials.
  • Boulder represents at Boston Marathon: Hellen Obiri, who is from Kenya and moved to Boulder last year with her family, won the women’s marathon with a time of 2:21:38. Though an Olympic medalist in other running events, the Boston Marathon was just her second marathon competition.
    • “It’s a surprise to me,” Obiri told the New York Times after her win. “Obiri said her daughter motivates her, and often peppers her with questions like, ‘You can’t be number one? So I try to make them happy,’ Obiri said, ‘because sometimes I don’t want to go, but something tells you to try to keep on fighting. So I kept on fighting.’”
    • Also from Boulder was fifth-place women’s finisher Emma Bates, who put in a time of 2:22:10. On the men’s side was Scott Fauble with a time of 2:09:44. Fauble came in as the first American and was seventh overall for the third year in a row.

Go Deeper…

Boulder’s water supply situation: Wet winter brings relief amid lingering drought concerns

By Tim Drugan

April 18, 2023

Each May, Boulder’s water resource managers determine whether water restrictions will be needed in the coming year based on snowpack and reservoir levels. Despite some persistent drought conditions, it seems unlikely that Boulderites will face any such restrictions this year. The reservoirs in Boulder’s Middle Boulder Creek basin are already at above-average levels, and the North Boulder Creek basin reservoirs are expected to fill up when the snow melts. Yet that doesn’t mean drought conditions have resolved. Like always, Boulder would benefit from getting more efficient in its water use.

Continue reading…

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Get involved

🌎 Celebrate Earth Day: As Earth Day approaches on April 22, the City of Boulder is hosting various events and activities to promote environmentalism and sustainability. One of the events, the Earth Day in Boulder Bash, will take place at Nude Foods Market on Walnut Street on April 22 from noon to 3 p.m. Attendees can enjoy free zero-waste snacks, vendors selling plant-based products, and participate in a hard-to-recycle materials drive.

🌳 Also on April 22, a biodiversity hike will be held at Gregory Canyon Trailhead: Participants can celebrate Earth Day with a short hike and learn about the diverse life in the area.

🌱Additionally, though not in one day, the city’s forestry team is planting about 500 trees in public spaces: It’s also giving away around 350 tree seedlings. Resource Central, provider of the Garden in a Box program, is hosting a webinar to teach participants how to care for pollinators in their gardens. Visit the city’s website for all offerings.

For ideas on what else to do, check out BRL’s Local Events page.


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: tim@boulderreportinglab.org.