It is Time for Climate Action

Join CHC in the movement for a County-wide climate action plan before it’s too late!


Delta County’s average temperatures are rising, and precipitation is becoming more erratic. Yet, Delta County has not taken action to address the impacts caused by climate change. As these trends persist, and if the county continues to lack preparedness for a new climate reality, our community’s way of life will be imperiled.


CHC initiated a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Project to collect baseline emissions data to support needed actions and developed a climate action for Delta County.










Continue reading to find out what you can do.



Climate Change and Extreme Weather


Climate change is caused by a buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. 

Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, are naturally occurring elements in the earth’s atmosphere. However, the extraction and burning of fossil fuels has led to an unnaturally high concentration of these gases in the lower part of the atmosphere. When the sun’s energy reflects off of the surface of the Earth, it gets trapped in this lower atmospheric layer containing the greenhouse gases instead of reflecting back into outer space. This causes the Earth’s surface to warm at unnatural levels, impacting the balance of many natural cycles on Earth. Extreme weather events, including severe heat, drought, frosts, erratic precipitation, ice storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires, have become more prevalent with rising greenhouse gases.


Colorado reached record breaking temperatures in 2020, leading to one of the driest years on record. Delta County is currently experiencing Exceptional Drought conditions, which is the most extreme category of drought, recognized by the United State Drought Monitor (see map on the right). Under Exceptional Drought, water stores are weakened and soils become dehydrated as dust storms and loss of topsoil are increasingly widespread. These environmental conditions effect landscape aesthetics, agricultural productivity, and recreational opportunities, which all impact economic conditions.


To learn more about how human development activities contribute to the Greenhouse Effect please visit NASA’s webpage on climate dynamics.

How is climate change impacting Delta County?

Depletion of Water Resources

Imagine how your life would change without a steady and dependable supply of water. In Delta County, we depend on snow accumulation for our water supply. Snowpack stores water in high elevations and as it melts, it supplies ranchers, farmers, and recreationists with water throughout the entire summer and fall. As average annual temperatures in Colorado reflect warmer, dryer conditions, our snowpack is melting earlier and precipitation is more frequently falling in the form of rain. These trends are leading to less and variable amounts of water available to Delta County residents for a shorter amount of time. Artificially increasing snowfall through cloud seeding has recently risen as an option for maintaining a dependable snowpack. However, warmer conditions will still cause snowpack to melt earlier in the spring. Therefore, even as warmer springtime conditions lengthen the growing season, earlier melt and diminishing snowpack is reducing the amount and time our water supply is available.

Increased Stress to Agricultural Operations

Early and late season hard freezes, drought, and reduced snowpack are repercussions of climate change and are realities that Delta County is currently facing. In April 2020, a hard freeze devastated at least half of the Western Slope peach crop. This event was declared by Colorado Governor Polis and Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg a disaster and requested a USDA Secretarial Disaster Declaration relief package sponsored by the federal government to support local farmers. August 2020 was one of the driest and warmest years ever reported in Colorado. In Delta County, we dealt with the impacts as temperatures soared and our once annual monsoons never arrived. Wildfires raged in neighboring communities, draping our valley with smoke, while ranchers and farmers battled with the heat to keep crops and cattle thriving with limited water resources. Following record heat from the summer and early fall, vineyards across the Wester Slope were impacted by a surprise and damaging hard frost, damaging vines and fruit production with single digit temperatures. Although the extent of the damage to the 2021 crop and wine industry remains uncertain, Governor Polis and Commissioner Greenberg declared a second 2020 Disaster Declaration, requesting financial relief for vintners in Delta, Mesa, and Montrose counties. Concurrent to dramatic temperature swings, as of January 2021, the Colorado snowpack is already well below the average. Visible signs of reduced snowpack are apparent on the dehydrated slopes surrounding Delta County. These sights reminds us all of the challenges associated with reduced water availability and the adaptations that will be necessary for managing warmer, dryer, longer growing seasons with weakened water resources.

Increased Economic Burden to Our Community

Outdoor recreation, agriculture, and agritourism provide major economic contributions to Delta CountyNatural disasters, such as wildfire, drought, and erratic precipitation depreciate industry productivity, and the costs associated with repairing damages can be immense. Common recreational activities in Delta County include fly fishing and rafting. Warmer, dryer conditions means less water available for a less amount of time in the Gunnison river for these activities, thus fewer tourists contributing to the local economy. Lower river levels also means less water avalible for ranches, farms, and wineries. Across the West, ranchers are forced to sell off cattle herds due to insufficient water supplies. Note that the attached article is about Texas ranchers, but this trend, leading to immense financial burdens for ranchers, is mirrored in Colorado. Farmers battle not only parched soils, but spontaneous freezes as they strive to meet community demands and make a living. These are all current examples of climate change impact, which lead to increased financial stress to all of the major economic industries in Delta County. These stresses will increase if climate change is not addressed now.

What can be done?

Counties across Colorado, including, Gunnison, Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle, Summit, and Boulder, to name a few, are implementing actions directly dedicated to increasing energy efficiency, curbing emissions, and protecting regional air, water, and foodsheds. Delta County currently implements C-Pace, supports Solarize Delta County, and coal-mine methane capture. While these are important initiatives moving the county in the right direction, the County lacks a comprehensive plan that includes discouraging activities that contribute to GHG emissions and climate change, and lacks baseline data to track progress. Delta County must take more actions now to ensure our community is resilient, sustainable, and prepared for a future with a new climate reality.


What is a climate action plan (CAP)A CAP sets goals and policies for reducing emissions and increasing community-wide economic, social, and environmental resiliency.


1. Participate in local democracy by attending public meetings, contacting local representatives, and staying informed about issues that matter to you. Visit Delta County’s website to learn about upcoming public forums and other opportunities for your involvement. Make your voice part of the conversation.



2. Follow or join the Can You Hear Us campaign, which encourages youth & community-led climate action. Take the CYHU quiz & receive a personalized action plan, or to find local climate groups in your community!



3. Adopt water conservation methods into your daily life. Visit Water Use it Wisely or read The Homeowners Guide to: Household Water Conservation, compiled by the Colorado State University Extension, to learn how you can save water and reduce the impacts of drought and water shortages.

4. Join or start an Earth Guardian Crew. Crews are youth-led, inter-generational groups of impassioned leaders taking action for a regenerative future.

CHC is committed to advocating for a resilient and sustainable future for all in Delta County. Here is how we are contributing to resiliency actions across local, state, and federal levels:

Youth Rising Film Fest

CHC has partnered with Working Films and the Can You Hear Us? campaign to introduce the Youth Rising Film Fest to the Western Slope. This film series seeks to inspire North Fork Valley and Western Slope communities, particularly the youth, to engage in the climate action movement to protect our vital local ecosystems and ensure that they have a thriving, healthful, and promising future. Register and learn more about this virtual event series here.

Delta County Greenhouse Gas Inventory
Filed a lawsuit alongside climate organizations to challenge a Resource Management Plan that opens up thousands of acres in Southwestern Colorado to fossil fuel development.

CHC filed a lawsuit in August 2020 along with an amended complaint in October 2020 challenging the approval of the Uncompahgre Resource Management Plan (RMP) under the unlawful tenure of acting director of the Bureau of Land Management, William Perry Pendley. This action demonstrates CHC’s commitment to holding leadership bodies, like the BLM, accountable to laws and regulations and protecting not only our public lands, but climate and community health.

»Read the Press Release.

Engaging in Statewide Legislative Updates

CHC advocates for protection of NFV watersheds, wildlife, public and safety, organic and sustainable agriculture in State statutes and regulations. In particular, CHC works to ensure the strongest state laws and regulations for oil and gas operations, which are currently the largest contributors to GHG emissions in the State.

Don’t wait another day! Take Proactive Climate Action Now!

Learn more about climate dynamics, impacts, and actions by visiting our Facts & Resources webpage