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News Release

Idaho NRCS Snow Survey Introduces New Team Members

Contact:
Mindi Rambo, Public Affairs Specialist, 208.378.5720

BOISE, Nov. 25, 2020 – The new water year has started, bringing with it the first snows of the season. While its Snow Telemetry system (SNOTEL) is busy collecting data about the snow (depth, weight, etc.), the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Snow Survey team in Idaho is hard at work, making sure everything is in order. Equipment is operating, presentations are scheduled and systems are on-line. That way, they are ready to begin crunching the SNOTEL data and producing the monthly Water Supply Outlook Reports (WSOR). WSORs track Idaho’s snowpack and share what that information will likely mean for the 2021 irrigation season. The first one will be released at the beginning of January.

The Water Year is a lot like a baseball game. Each inning (month) is different, and any one of them can change the outcome. That’s why it’s always a good idea to stay tuned in until the final Water Supply Outlook Report is released at the end of the snow season.

Each year snow statistics are tracked, posted, and reported and presented on by the NRCS Idaho Snow Survey team. Returning members are Hydrologist-Data Collection Officer Danny Tappa, Hydrologist Earl Adsley, Hydrologist Cody Brown, Hydrologist Peter Youngblood and Electronic Technician John Wilford. They will be joined by new Snow Survey Supervisor Corey Loveland, Water Supply Specialist Erin Whorton and Hydrologist Mark Robertson. We also have several NRCS employees strategically assisting with Snow Survey measurements.

“We are excited to add these new members to our existing Snow Survey roster,” said Curtis Elke, NRCS State Conservationist for Idaho. “Their experience and their wide-ranging expertise are going to make a great team even better. Our customers in Idaho, and parts of Wyoming and Utah who rely on the valuable data provided by Snow Survey are going to greatly benefit.”

“For example, Corey Loveland came to NRCS Idaho from the National Weather Service’s North Central River Forecast Center, near Minneapolis, Minn.,” Elke continued. “He was a Service Coordination Hydrologist and worked with individual National Weather Service-Weather Forecast Offices for flood forecasting on the upper Mississippi River basin. Big snow years can lead to ‘big water’ years, and someone with Corey’s experience will help us to better inform our customers and other water users here in Idaho.”

In addition to recruiting new staff members, Idaho Snow Survey has been working locally and with its national leadership on improving its tools, techniques and outreach efforts. Old data reporting technology is giving way to a new, more efficient method. Web pages have been updated and streamlined. And, Loveland and his team are exploring different ways to share snow information on a variety of platforms including social media and YouTube.

“It’s going to be a thrilling year for Snow Survey, said Mindi Rambo, Public Affairs Specialist for NRCS Idaho. “The public is going to get to see more of the program, the team and the work than ever before.”

Meet the Line-Up

Corey Loveland: Supervisory Hydrologist-Snow Survey Supervisor and Program Manager for the Idaho NRCS Snow Survey. He oversees Snow Survey’s budget, purchasing, planning, media and outreach, partnerships, guidance and staffing. He has been in this position approximately 4 weeks.

Danny Tappa: Hydrologist-Data Collection Officer/manager. Tappa has been with the team for 4 years, making him the longest tenured hydrologist on Idaho Snow Survey. He has data management and operations oversight.

Erin Whorton: Hydrologist-Water Supply Specialist (backfilling Ron Abramovich). She is an ice and glacier expert, with additional training in backcountry first aid, media and outreach, remote sensing and partnerships. Whorton came to Idaho Snow Survey from the U.S. Geological Survey where she was doing glacier and snow depth research. She has been on the team for about 2 months.

Earl Adsley: Hydrologist. He serves as the eastern Idaho SNOTEL data manager (upper Snake), as well as tower climbing trainer and database manager. He loves the field work.

Cody Brown:  Hydrologist. Stationed in Coeur d’Alene, he is the northern Idaho SNOTEL data manager. He also works in the Snow Survey shop and serves as a field-going Hydrologist and site maintenance lead there. He does mapping/GIS, as is part of the telemetry working group. He started at the beginning of the summer. Previously Brown had worked with Idaho Snow Survey as an intern.

Pete Youngblood: Hydrologist. He is the southern Idaho SNOTEL data manager. He manages snow course data, programming/development. Youngblood has experience with temperature gradients in snowpack, avalanche hazards and electronics. Duty stationed in Coeur d’Alene, he been on the team for a year now.

Mark Robertson: Hydrologist. He is the central Idaho SNOTEL data manager (Boise, Salmon, Lost, Wood and Payette Rivers). He is also a software guru (programming) and radar snow depth specialist. Robertson came to Idaho Snow Survey from the USDA-Agricultural Research Service at the beginning of the summer.

John Wilford: Electronic Technician. He keeps the equipment working smoothly from the Boise Snow Survey Shop. He is also a fieldwork and vehicles lead.

Email contact: IDBOISE-NRCS-SNOW@usda.gov

To access current and historic Idaho Snow Survey data and to learn more about what kind of data SNOTEL collects, visit the webpage at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/id/snow/ .


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