SOUTH FORK, COLO., (May 20, 2015) — This summer, residents and visitors in the Upper Rio Grande will have better access to National Weather Service radio transmissions and alerts.  The improved reception will be the result of a project to increase transmission from 100 to 300 watts at the communication site on Aqua Ramon Mountain northwest of South Fork.

“We have tested our Emergency Communication Strategy at two different exercises.  These upgrades significantly improve our systems,” says Jerry Dennis, emergency manager for Rio Grande County and a member of RWEACT’s Core Team. 

The three counties of Mineral, Hinsdale, and Rio Grande – along with the Office of Emergency Management and RWEACT – are working to improve communication infrastructure, increase monitoring of conditions for early warning and a system for notification, and train volunteers for “eyes on the ground.”  In addition to the improved wattage at Aqua Ramon, other communication projects include the temporary Doppler radar installation and a series of rain and stream gauges for ground truthing.

RWEACT (Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team) -- together with the Rio Grande National Forest and funded through the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Department of Local Affairs, and the Office of Emergency Management – works to promote partnerships and actions that provide for public safety and resiliency of communities and watersheds of the Rio Grande Basin. More information can be found at www.rweact.org