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Shifting Currents - Part Two

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Rancher Scott Chew looks over his dry corn fields in June, near the end of a long workday. Chew, 51, is worried that his crop will be stressed because of a dry, hot spring and a broken irrigation system. But like most ranchers, Chew has little time to spend worrying. He spent the day loading cattle onto trailers for the seasonal move to family ranches near Clark and Maybell. Photo by Tyler Arroyo

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A farmer west of Maybell uses large, rolling sprinkler systems - or circle pivots - to efficiently water his crops. Photo by Tyler Arroyo

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Dean Rossi clears an irrigation ditch used to spread water across a hayfield on his land between Phippsburg and Yampa. The ditch carries water from the Yampa River. Photo by Tyler Arroyo

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On the north side of the Yampa River near Maybell, water is diverted to the Maybell Ditch, which is used by residents and ranchers. Photo by Tyler Arroyo

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Graphic by Jayme Elrod

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Rancher Dean Rossi installed a modern headgate system to replace an older one on the Yampa River south of the town of Yampa. The new headgate better monitors the flow of water to area ranches. Photo by Tyler Arroyo

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Nicole Derwent, 7, and Colten Zippay, 10, play in muddy water that overflows from the Stafford Ditch just north of Yampa on land owned by rancher Dean Rossi. Photo by Tyler Arroyo

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Laura Chew stands on a family ranch in Jensen, Utah, where she spends most of her time. The Chew family also owns ranches in Clark and Maybell. Photo by Tyler Arroyo

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Longtime rancher Dick Palmer holds court in the kitchen of his south Yampa home. He and his wife, Kay, have lived on their 1,200-acre ranch for 36 years. Photo by Tyler Arroyo

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South Routt rancher Dick Palmer returns from checking irrigation ditches on his 1,200-acre ranch outside Yampa. Photo by Tyler Arroyo

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Large sprinklers water a seeded berm at the Duckles Gravel Pit west of Steamboat Springs. Photo by Tyler Arroyo

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Elvis Iacovetto, water commissioner for much of South Routt County and part of Steamboat Springs, studies the flow of the Bear River below Yamcolo Reservoir on a June morning. Iacovetto meets with John Yurich, superintendent of Yamcolo and Stillwater reservoirs, at 7 a.m. most days during the spring, summer and fall to determine how much reservoir water to release downriver. Photo by Tyler Arroyo

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Elvis Iacovetto walks to a large headgate on the Bear River below the Yamcolo Reservoir. The water he releases will be used by more than 100 downstream ranchers. Photo by Tyler Arroyo

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