Coyote Gulch


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  Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Coyote Gulch outage

Coyote Gulch is going under the knife today. Our orthopaedist hopes to repair our little finger - left ugly and twisted from too many hours on the basketball court and fronting a soccer goal. We can't say when we'll be back to typing and posting. Hopefully tomorrow.

7:22:54 AM     

Dolores River Dialogue: Correlation Report
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The Dolores River Dialogue has released a report on managing the Dolores River below McPhee reservoir, according to the Cortez Journal. From the article, "Over the years, fish have been slowly disappearing in the lower Dolores River below the McPhee Dam, a 62-page draft document titled the 'Dolores River Dialogue Correlation Report' states. The report was put together by the Dolores River Dialogue, a group of people intent on improving the environment of the Dolores River below McPhee Dam, while protecting or enhancing human uses of the Dolores River. The Correlation Report, which should be available to the public today, details the biology of the river and ways to manage and enhance it. The native flannelmouth sucker has been nearly eliminated from the Lower Dolores, according to the report. Other native species, such as the bluehead sucker, have been rapidly disappearing from the river. The number of trout has declined, too. The population of green sunfish, a non-native species, has been increasing, according to the report...

"The report indicates the number of trout per acre that are larger than 14 inches has decreased over the years. In 1995, just downriver from McPhee Dam, 25 trout per acre were longer than 14 inches. Ten years later, that average dropped to about four trout...

"The Correlation Report suggests the following changes to the operations of McPhee Reservoir to improve habitat, fish and recreation: Management will not focus solely on white water rafting when it comes to releasing water from the dam; In the past, reservoir releases have peaked over Memorial Day weekend - mimicking the inflow would allow flexibility to time peak releases for ecological purposes rather than recreation ones; Instead of releasing 800 cubic feet per second for a long as possible, use a 10-14 day spring flow of 400 cubic feet per second. This would allow for fish surveys."

"colorado water"
7:18:31 AM     

Summit Reservoir fishery restoration
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Here's an article about restoring the fishery in Summit Reservoir down by Dolores, from the Cortez Journal. From the article, "A silent invader lurks at the bottom of Summit Reservoir, between Mancos and Dolores. The invader - the white sucker fish - has been advancing on the placid reservoir for years, destroying habitat and the natural balance in the lake. Over the years, the bottom-feeding, non-native fish has multiplied, pushed out other fish species and managed to make the reservoir cloudy and murky, said Jim White, an aquatic biologist with the Colorado Division of Wildlife...

"Because the white suckers have basically taken over the reservoir, they have created what White calls a monoculture, making it difficult for any other fish or even plants to grow in the lake. So the Division of Wildlife plans to poison the reservoir in August and kill all the fish, with the goal to rid the water of the non-native white suckers. Then wildlife officials will restock the lake with fish that will thrive and restore the lake's natural balance...

"The Division of Wildlife will use rotenone, a poison derived from the roots and stems of tropical plants that is highly toxic to fish but not to mammals. The substance will kill all the fish in the reservoir within minutes, White said. The effort will take the cooperation of the irrigation district at Summit Ridge, to get the water level down, and about 30 people to administer the poison...

"The suckers are bad for Summit Reservoir because they stir up the clay silt on the bottom of the lake, White said. The silt tends to stay suspended, which makes it difficult for light to get through. With reduced light, native plants and algae have trouble growing. White suckers, which hail from the Eastern Slope of the Rockies, are not a desirable species for anglers, either. Josh Rank, an avid fisherman who lives near Summit Reservoir, said he has fished at the reservoir a few times but has only caught very small bass. He has noticed that the lake is cloudy. This isn't the first time Summit Reservoir has had to be treated, White said. All the fish were killed in the lake for a similar reason in 1983. In the meantime, White said he is going to try to track down where the nonnative, white suckers came from, so the DOW can prevent them from taking over the reservoir again. They might have been introduced to the reservoir during stocking, he said."

"colorado water"
7:10:03 AM     

Summit county water picture
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Here's the water outlook up in Summit County via the Vail Daily News "reg". From the article, "Boaters could soon be enjoying one of the best seasons in recent years on the lower stretches of the Blue River. Denver Water will soon start pumping more water out of the Dillon Reservoir. With average snow and rain the next few weeks, the boating season could last for a month. During some recent dry summers, boating the Lower Blue wasn[base ']t even an option...

"As of April 1, Dillon Reservoir was 95.6 percent full, only 3.5 feet below the level of the spillway, caretaker Dave Fernandez said. That's the highest level for that date since 1984 and the fourth-highest ever, [Denver Water's] Waage said. Denver Water's entire storage system is at 90 percent of capacity, the highest April 1 storage figures since Dillon Reservoir was built, he said. 'We actually gained storage during the winter for the first time ever,' Waage said. Heavy Front Range snows led to record winter stream flows in the South Platte. So the Roberts Tunnel, which carries water from Dillon Reservoir to the Front Range, was off all winter, Waage said. 'Obviously, we'll easily fill the reservoir,' Waage said...

"...the snowpack is holding near average, with the Blue River Basin at Hoosier Pass, Fremont Pass, Copper Mountain and Grizzly Peak reporting between 95 and 100 percent of average. In Breckenridge, March snowfall totaled 22.5 inches at the downtown location where Rick Bly measures precipitation for the National Weather Service. That's fairly close to the historic average of 25.6 inches. The March snowfall melted down to 1.79 inches of water, or about 85 percent of the average 1.91 inches."

"colorado water"
7:02:44 AM     

Tamarisk beetles for control
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Tamarisk leaf beetles are being used in the fight against tamarisk. Here's a report from the Glenwood Springs Post Independent "reg". From the article, "Beetles are chewing up tamarisk trees at some sites near Moab 'like crazy,' said Dan Bean, who oversees a Colorado project that unleashes tamarisk leaf-eating beetles on the non-native trees. Beetles may be chowing down in Grand Junction later this year. Originally from Asia, tamarisk trees now proliferate throughout the Southwest, and are notorious for sucking up huge amounts of water and crowding out native species, such as cottonwood and willow trees, said a specialist in tamarisk. For example, the 'state currently loses to tamarisk trees the equivalent of 75 percent of what the Denver Water Board uses each year. Denver provides water to more than a million people,' said Tim Carlson, executive director of the Tamarisk Coalition -- a local nonprofit working to restore riparian lands. U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologists went to northwestern China to retrieve the tamarisk leaf-eating natural predators (Diorhabda elongata). In experimental release sites in Pueblo, Nevada and Utah, researchers are finding the insects are doing a good job of defoliating the trees. The Tamarisk Coalition hopes to release beetles this year at sites in Fruita and in Grand Junction, along the Colorado and Gunnison rivers."

"colorado water"
6:54:59 AM     

Northeastern Colorado water outlook
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Here's a report about the water picture up in northeastern Colorado from the Sterling Journal-Advocate. From the article, "So is the drought that plagued Colorado in 2006 over yet? Nature is sending mixed signals. Precipitation here is a little above average. The mountain snowpack looked really promising -- but it is melting fast. And North Sterling Reservoir, the county's largest, is far from filled. For the moment, northeast Colorado is ahead of the curve for the amount of precipitation that has fallen in 2007. The Sterling area received approximately 1.23 inches in March, much of it coming in one major rainstorm. This compares to the 30-year average of .86 inches and is about double last year's March precipitation, which was .66 inch...

"Mountain snowpack is shrinking fast. A month ago, the snowpack in the South Platte River Basin, source of much of Logan County's summer water supply, was estimated at 123 percent of normal. By March 21, the latest date for which figures were available, the extra snow had melted so fast that the basin's snowpack was down to 99 percent of normal. Mike Gillespie, snow survey supervisor for the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, said that normally they don't see runoff begin until early April. This year, he said, it started weeks earlier, in a pretty impressive -- and not good -- way. Statewide, the snowpack was 77 percent of the 30-year average on March 21. Three weeks earlier, it had been at 91 percent. The snowpack in most basins is close to average for right now, except for the Arkansas and Rio Grande, which are at 60 to 70 percent...

"Irrigation districts and reservoir managers have been making adjustments to be sure they capture every possible drop of water because of the early melt. The South Platte Basin snowpack is still close to normal and many area irrigation reservoirs are full, including the Prewitt and Jumbo. But filling of the North Sterling Reservoir, the largest of the three, is far behind schedule. Manager Jim Yahn reported that, as of April 1, the reservoir had 56,600 acre feet of water stored, just 76 percent of capacity. The reservoir had difficulty taking water during the winter because the South Platte River was low, and there was a large amount of ice clogging the inlet canal. Yahn said the North Sterling Reservoir should be full by sometime in late April -- if no direct flow call is placed on the river. The direct flow irrigation ditches have water rights that are senior to the North Sterling's. If they call for water, the flow in the river would be diminished and the reservoir might not be able to finish filling. 'A couple more good rains would really help keep the direct flow calls off,' Yahn said"

"colorado water"
6:48:28 AM     

Jefferson County groundwater district?
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Here's an article about the proposed groundwater district in Jefferson County from From the article, "The county has been looking into ways for people to know more about well water supplies since 1997 when it began working with the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) and other interested parties to study the water resources of the Turkey Creek Watershed. The results of that study indicated that mountain ground water supplies are limited and could be affected by well use and future development. The proposed overlay district regulations were drafted last year with input from a Planning Action Committee (PAC). The PAC was comprised of community representatives, groundwater professionals, the Jefferson County Association of Realtors, Colorado Geological Survey, Environmental Protection Agency and Colorado School of Mines. The PAC provided guidance and input for the proposed regulation. A ground water overlay district establishes certain criteria for the area of the county underlain by fractured crystalline rock to ensure an adequate water supply is maintained for current development, as well as development that may take place in the future. The objectives of the proposed overlay district are to protect the rights of all property owners, promote sustainable development and develop performance standards to demonstrate an adequate water supply for the proposed use. The regulations would require a property owner to have a Well Yield Test completed to demonstrate an adequate water supply prior to a building permit being issued for new construction or for additions that increase the number of bedrooms or amount of water used."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

"colorado water"
6:40:09 AM     

Western water overview
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Here's a look at water issues and planned projects across the west from the New York Times. From the article, "A Western drought that began in 1999 has continued after the respite of a couple of wet years that now feel like a cruel tease. But this time people in the driest states are not just scanning the skies and hoping for meteorological rescue. Some $2.5 billion in water projects are planned or under way in four states, the biggest expansion in the West's quest for water in decades. Among them is a proposed 280-mile pipeline that would direct water to Las Vegas from northern Nevada. A proposed reservoir just north of the California-Mexico border would correct an inefficient water delivery system that allows excess water to pass to Mexico. In Yuma, Ariz., federal officials have even restarted an idled desalination plant, long seen as a white elephant from a bygone era, partly in the hope of purifying salty underground water for neighboring towns. The scramble for water is driven by the realities of population growth, political pressure and the hard truth that the Colorado River, a 1,400-mile-long silver thread of snowmelt and a lifeline for more than 20 million people in seven states, is providing much less water than it had."

Read the whole article there is a lot of good detail in there.

"colorado water"
6:26:51 AM     

Twin Buttes development
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Here's something you'll be seeing more of in Colorado from now on. Residents near Beulah are asking the Pueblo County Commissioners to make sure that a proposed development actually has the water necessary before allowing the project to move forward, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article, "Residents of the Beulah area are petitioning the Pueblo County commissioners to pay close attention to a proposed 'cluster development' of 95 home sites on 1,600 acres of land near the Turtle Buttes east of Beulah. The proposal by Red Creek Land Co. is on the commissioners' land-use agenda for April 17. It has been postponed several times because deep snow during the winter put planners behind their schedule, according to Joe O'Brien of Red Creek. The proposal is called a cluster development because the homes will be clustered on about 500 acres of the land, and the remainder will be protected by a conservation easement...

"The petition said the county's comprehensive land-use plan says that prime agricultural land should be protected from residential development. It also complains that the developer plans to build private roads rather than building them to county standards and expresses a concern about overgrazing of livestock on the vacant, easement land. But the principal concern is water. Shawn Yoxey, who grew up in Beulah and sits on the Southeastern water conservancy board, told commissioners: 'How soon we forget that only five years ago, Beulah's wells and springs went dry in the worst drought in 300 years.' That summer of 2002, Beulah had to rely on water trucked in from Pueblo and other areas to survive at all. 'Our region is in a battle for our water over unfettered, unmanageable growth in Colorado Springs, but it seems there are plans to allow similar unfettered growth in our community,' Yoxey said.

"Each homesite in Twin Buttes will be entitled to a domestic well under the state's Rural Land Use Plan regulations. The combined impact of the wells is limited to about 45 acre-feet of water, but Yoxey said home purchasers are unlikely to realize that their well water is not supposed to be used outside the house, even for watering lawns. The state and division engineer can't deny the property owners well permits under the law, nor are the owners required to prove they won't affect neighbors' wells or to replace the water in the river system under an augmentation plan, Yoxey said."

"colorado water"
6:22:18 AM     

Drought plan for the Colorado River
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The Bureau of Reclamation is holding another hearing on the draft plan for drought on the Colorado River tomorrow, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. From the article, "The Bureau of Reclamation on Thursday will hold the third in a series of public hearings on the federal agency's draft environmental impact statement for future management ofs the Colorado River under drought conditions and water shortages. The hearing, which will give the public a chance to comment on the draft EIS, will be held at the Salt Lake City Hilton, 255 South West Temple, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

"The bureau last month released the draft, which lays out four alternatives for managing future water shortages on the river. One is based on last year's agreement forged by the seven Colorado River Basin states - Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California - that defines the conditions under which lower basin shortages would be declared and creates a plan for the joint management of Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Another alternative calls for voluntary, compensated reductions in water use to minimize involuntary water shortages while a third would reduce deliveries only when there is insufficient water in Lake Mead to meet lower basin requirements. A fourth alternative envisions storing more water in Powell and Mead by reducing deliveries and increasing shortages to benefit power companies and recreational users."

"colorado water"
6:10:44 AM     

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e-mail John: Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.