Snow pack surveys beginning

snow on mountains

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — Each year the researchers for the Natural Resources Conservation Service put on snow shoes on and begin a series of snow-pack surveys which will continue until May of 2014.

There was concern about the manual surveys being cut this year, but suppliers and Congressional reps got involved and the NRCS was able to shift funds around so the surveys done by hand could continue.

“We know these manual surveys augment the automatic surveys taken by the some 120 monitoring stations around the state,” said William Shoup. “We use these hands on surveys to confirm the data gathered by the sites on mountains around the state.”

Data is compared with years past.  In some places, like Berthoud Pass, the NRCS has records dating back to the 1930s.

The NRCS said Friday that data matched numbers gathered last year meaning snow pack on the pass is 100 percent of normal, which bodes well for water users on the Front Range.

Getting to the survey site is a challenge for sure.

You have to go almost straight up 11,000 feet with gear.

We managed to find the snow course set up in summer. Here crews sink calibrated poles into the snow to measure depth and water content to determine how much water will be around for users this summer.

These surveys will be conducted each first of the month thru May 2014.