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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Frontier in Transition A History of Southwestern Colorado



The history of southwestern Colorado is based on the use and development of minerals and, later, agricultural lands. Because the region was isolated by the Rockies, development by European settlers did not occur until late in Colorado's history. The first recorded European visitors were Spanish explorers of the Dominguez-Escalante expedition of 1776. The little group only passed through and failed to leave any physical evidence of themselves. Later, during the early nineteenth century, fur trappers crisscrossed the San Juans in search of the elusive beaver. Antoine Robidoux established the first fur fort on the western slope along the Gunnison River, but by 1840 it was gone.

The second thrust of European penetration was by U. S. Army explorers. First, John C. Fremont, "the Pathfinder", attempted to cross the San Juans in search of a rail route to the Pacific. These efforts were dismal failures. The next try at a Pacific rail route came in 1853 when John W. Gunnison surveyed over Cochetopa Pass, through the Black Canyon and into Utah, where he lost his life in an Indian raid. The Gunnison route was discarded as impractical at the time, yet in 1880, the Denver and Rio Grande used the identical survey for its mainline to Salt Lake City.

The first mineral seekers were "overflow" from the 1859 Gold Rush along the Front Range. In 1860, Charles Baker discovered gold along the Animas River and a modest rush occurred. However, due to a lack of minerals, the venture was abandoned. The Ute Indians, occupants of the lands in question, also discouraged miners. The question of the Utes was key to southwestern Colorado's development. As long as the Utes controlled land and access to the area, Europeans were kept out. However, a series of treaties eroded Ute hold while more and more settlers trespassed the San Juans. By 1873, the Utes under the leadership of Chief Ouray, had surrendered most of their lands. Nevertheless, Europeans along the Front Range wanted full access to the San Juans. Their opportunity to displace the Utes came in 1879 when the White River Reservation Utes rose in rebellion and killed agent Nathan Meeker. The citizens of Denver cried "the Utes must go"; and by 1881 they were removed to reservations in Utah and far southwestern Colorado.

The removal of the Utes opened southwestern Colorado to European settlement  and the region blossomed. Mining, of course, was the prime motivator. The 1870's had seen a renaissance of the mining industry in the San Juans. New techniques of ore recovery provided the stimulus for further development of the dormant mines of the 1860's.

The mining industry, among others, suffered from the lack of rail transportation. In the early 1880's, the first railroads reached the San Juans, the Gunnison Valley. With cheap transportation available, the mineral industry boomed. Mills were erected to process the various ores that were pouring from the mines of the San Juans. Towns such as Lake City, Telluride, Durango and many others developed as supply centers for the mines. With the advent of mining and rail transportation in southwestern Colorado, agriculture became an important facet for the region. Miners needed food and as the mines played out  farmers and settlers began to take up the bottom lands along the valleys. The Gunnison, the Uncompahgre, the Dolores, the San Miguel, and other valleys provided the fertile lands for farming. Farmers not only supplied the mining communities but also exported goods. The cattle industry, born of Indian agency days, prospered in lush mountain pastures. Conflicts arose over the use of public grazing lands but both cattlemen and sheepmen eventually came to use the range together.

Date of Report: March 27, 2013
Number of Pages: 219
Order Number: G1315
Price: $5.95

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Birth of the Mountains: the Geologic Story on the Southern Appalachian Mountains



The Southern Appalachian Mountains include the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and Blue Ridge Parkway, several National Forests, and numerous State and privately owned parks and recreation areas. The region is known worldwide for its great beauty and biological diversity.

Why does this are have such beautiful scenery and a diversity of plants and animals that is greater than in all of Northern Europe? How do the Mountains, and the rocks and minerals of which they are made, affect the lives of people? How do people affect the mountains? To address these questions, we need to understand the geologic events that have shaped this region. We need to know how events that took place millions of years ago have influenced the landscape, climate, soils and living things we see today.

Date of Report: March 8, 2013
Number of Pages: 25
Order Number: G1313
Price: $5.95

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Guns, Excise Taxes, and Wildlife Restoration



M. Lynne Corn
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Jane G. Gravelle
Senior Specialist in Economic Policy


As a result of the recent debate over guns, gun rights, and gun-related violence, there has been a marked increase in sales of many weapons as well as ammunition. Through an excise tax on firearms and ammunition, such sales have a marked beneficial effect on funding for state wildlife programs through the Wildlife Restoration Program (also known as Pittman-Robertson or P-R). This report examines these taxes, their allocation, and their use. It also examines the effects of sequestration of this account, pursuant to the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA, P.L. 112-25).


Date of Report: March 12, 2013
Number of Pages: 6
Order Number: R42992
Price: $19.95

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Monday, March 18, 2013

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the 113th Congress: New and Recurring Issues



Eugene H. Buck
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

M. Lynne Corn
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Kristina Alexander
Legislative Attorney

Pervaze A. Sheikh
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Robert Meltz
Legislative Attorney


The Endangered Species Act (ESA; P.L. 93-205, 16 U.S.C. §§1531-1543) was enacted to increase protection for, and provide for the recovery of, vanishing wildlife and vegetation. Under ESA, species of plants and animals (both vertebrate and invertebrate) can be listed as endangered or threatened according to assessments of their risk of extinction. Habitat loss is the primary cause for listing species. Once a species is listed, powerful legal tools are available to aid its recovery and protect its habitat. Accordingly, when certain resources are associated with listed species— such as water in arid regions like California, old-growth timber in national forests, or free-flowing rivers—ESA is seen as an obstacle to continued or greater human use of these resources. ESA may also be controversial because dwindling species are usually harbingers of broader ecosystem decline or conflicts. As a result, ESA is considered a primary driver of large-scale ecosystem restoration issues.

Previous Congresses have conducted oversight hearings on the implementation of various federal programs and laws that address threatened and endangered species. This has ranged from addressing listing and delisting decisions under ESA to justifying funding levels for international conservation programs. The 113
th Congress may face specific resource conflicts involving threatened and endangered species, including managing water supplies and ecosystem restoration in San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Delta in California (i.e., Bay- Delta) and managing water supplies in the Klamath Basin. In the 113th Congress, resourcespecific issues may be addressed independently, whereas oversight on the implementation of ESA may be addressed in debates about particular species (e.g., wolves, polar bears, and salmon).

Major issues for the 113
th Congress likely include how to allocate funds to activities and programs seeking to assist species adaptation to climate change. Other major issues concerning ESA in recent years have included the role of science in decision-making, critical habitat (CH) designation, incentives for property owners, and appropriate protection of listed species, among others.

Authorization for spending under ESA expired on October 1, 1992. The prohibitions and requirements of ESA remain in force, even in the absence of an authorization, and funds have been appropriated to implement the administrative provisions of ESA in each subsequent fiscal year. Proposals to reauthorize and extensively amend ESA were last considered in the 109
th Congress, but none was enacted. No legislative proposals were introduced in the 110th, 111th, or 112th Congresses to reauthorize ESA.

This report discusses oversight issues and legislation in the 113
th Congress that address ESA implementation and management of endangered and threatened species.


Date of Report: March 5, 2013
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: R42945
Price: $29.95

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Historic Resource Study: Chesapeake & Ohio Canal



The purpose of this book is to present the biographies of the engineers who played a prominent role in the design and construction of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. By studying the background of these men, one will gain a better understanding of the skills and experiences which they brought to the construction of the Chesapeake & Ohio. A look at the activities of these men after they left the canal will also enable one to place their services on the canal in the context of their professional engineering careers.


Date of Report: March 12, 2013
Number of Pages: 850
Order Number: G1304
Price: $9.95

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