Climate change is gripping Gunnison County with reduced snowpack, flagging river flows, dying forests, depleted reservoirs and irrigators looking forward to losing water rights junior to the Colorado River Compact. All of these environmental impacts of full-blown climate change are impacting the Gunnison Valley’s economy as last summer points the way to a dryer and hotter Southwest.

We saw a summer of 2018 with reduced run-off, a short irrigation season, hot dry winds that desiccated hay and other crops, wildland fire danger and forest restrictions. One only needs to look at Silverton’s economy that was reduced to pittance after a wildfire closed the town’s tourist railroad all summer.

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