Coyote Gulch


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  Friday, April 20, 2007

Lake County Water Advisory Council opts for membership in Lower Ark District
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From the Mountain Mail, "A government-appointed panel in Lake County decided Tuesday on the farther and more expensive option for joining a water conservancy district. After more than a year of deliberating, the Lake County Water Advisory Council chose to forego an offer from the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District based in Salida and recommend affiliation with the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District based in Rocky Ford. The nine-member panel - created in 2005 after voters directed Lake County Commissioners to explore joining a water conservancy district - voted unanimously in favor of the lower district. The recommendation will go to Lake County citizens for a vote in November. 'There was not a bad choice to be made,' water advisory council chairman Craig Stuller said. 'In the end, it had to do with the fact they are a younger organization, and there's a feeling we may get stronger representation for Lake County on a board that has seven members.'[...]

"Lower district general manager Jay Winner said the district is excited to have a presence at the headwaters of the river. The district, formed in 2002, covers the area from Pueblo County to the Kansas line and includes Bent, Crowley, Otero and Prowers counties. Its mission is to acquire, retain and conserve water for the benefit of citizens in the Lower Arkansas Valley...

"Lake County Commissioner Ken Olsen said the county hopes the affiliation results in an augmentation plan patterned after the upper district augmentation plan - although the lower district has yet to create such a plan. Lake County officials also hope to benefit from the lower district proximity to water court in Pueblo and its political clout among entities hoping to expand Pueblo Reservoir as part of the Preferred Storage Option Plan, Olsen said. The lower district assesses an annual tax levy of 1.5 mils compared to the upper district .5 mil levy. Affiliation will cost Lake County residents $134,000 per year compared with about $40,000 per year to join the upper district. But voters must approve the mil levy."

"colorado water"
7:09:44 AM     

San Juan River legislation?
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The New Mexico congressional delegation has introduced legislation to finally settle Native American water rights on the San Juan River, according to From the article, "A long-standing water dispute in New Mexico's San Juan Basin would be resolved under legislation introduced Thursday by members of the state's congressional delegation. The Navajo Nation and the state of New Mexico signed a settlement agreement in April 2005 that resolves the tribe's water claims in the basin. But Congress must enact legislation before it can be officially settled. The Senate legislation was introduced by Democrat Jeff Bingaman and Republican Pete Domenici. Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., introduced the measure in the House...

"Bingaman also said the measure would protect the interests of those receiving water from the San Juan-Chama project, which funnels water from southern Colorado into New Mexico for Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos and other areas. The legislation recognizes about 600,000 acre-feet per year of water to the Navajo Nation for agricultural, municipal, industrial, domestic and stock watering purposes. An acre-foot, about 326,000 gallons, can meet the annual water needs of one to two U.S. households. The measure also authorizes federal funding for the Navajo-Gallup Pipeline project and various water conservation projects. The federal government would contribute funding over about two decades for the pipeline and to perform other activities under the agreement. The bill doesn't include a dollar amount because the federal government is finalizing the cost of the pipeline project. However, it includes language that guarantees that federal funding will be available."

"colorado water"
7:00:24 AM     

A River Ran Through It
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Will Hite rise again? Here's an article about a new documentary film exploring the issue of draining Lake Powell, from From the article, "Despite this week's storms there is drought talk in the air, and that makes people wonder about the future of Lake Powell. Now a documentary explores the debate: drain it or not. Lake Powell is an amazing, huge body of water sitting in the middle of the desert, in a place a lake was never meant to be...

"During the last decade the number of voices talking about draining Lake Powell have grown louder, and rising up on the other side are those who enjoy the fishing and boating and the tourism money the lake provides. Randy Casper and Charlie Ehlert have captured this story and its various angles for more than six years. Their film addresses the history of the Glen Canyon Dam and resulting reservoir used to control water to the seven states on the Colorado River system...

"...people who favor the wilds of the Glen Canyon of yesteryear say it should be opened so the river can run free. They say people will come here without the lake to explore the now hidden canyons, more water will also flow down the river, no longer lost to evaporation. 'What I found,' says Charlie Ehlert, 'these people have a certain amount of common ground. They have the strong visceral connection with this place.' Sediment builds daily behind glen canyon dam at an enormous rate. It will likely fill it in the long run, could be 100 years, or 700 years. The name of the film is A River Ran Through It."

"colorado water"
6:50:10 AM     

Fountain Creek management
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From the Pueblo Chieftain, "While the Fountain Creek Vision Task Force is honing areas of study to finer points, members are already looking ahead to the possibility of forming a watershed authority to translate plans into action. The problem Fountain Creek poses was clearly stated Thursday as the task force gathered at El Pueblo Museum to catch up on work during the past three months...

"Richard Skorman, a former Colorado Springs councilman who heads U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar's Colorado Springs office, suggested some sort of Fountain Creek authority is needed to fund and implement the ideas generated by the task force. 'The No. 1 goal is to get it going. It may take months to form, but it's absolutely necessary,' Skorman said. Other officials from Pueblo and El Paso counties echoed the sentiment. 'As we go down the road, we need to have meetings with more elected officials to make sure we have buy-in,' said Pueblo County Commissioner Jeff Chostner. 'I think an authority that encompasses all of the regional issues is an idea that could tie the region together.'"

"colorado water"
6:34:10 AM     

Federal water grab on the Gunnison?
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Eight state legislators have written a letter over objections filed water court in Montrose by the state Attorney General's office dealing with water in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, according to the Grand Junction daily Sentinel. From the article, "Eight legislators on both sides of Colorado's political and Continental divides called a recent state court filing a 'direct affront' to state law. In a letter to their colleagues, the legislators said state actions in a water case involving the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park threaten interests on both sides of the state. 'This is not an east/west issue,' the legislators wrote in a letter distributed Thursday. 'It is an issue that should raise the ire of the entire state: The state of Colorado apparently (is) yielding to a massive federal water grab.'[...]

"Signers of the letter from the east side of the Continental Divide include Sen. Greg Brophy, a Republican farmer from Wray, and Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, a Republican farmer from Sterling, and Rep. Cory Gardner, a Yuma Republican and businessman. Western Slope signers include Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, and several Republicans, including Sen. Josh Penry of Fruita and Rep. Steve King of Grand Junction, Rep. Al White of Winter Park and Rep. Ray Rose of Montrose.

"The state filed objections Monday to 106 stipulations that would protect Gunnison Valley irrigators from harm as the water court in Montrose considers the amount of water that should be controlled by the national park. The court has accepted 22 of the stipulations and 84 are pending in the case. The letter expands the grounds on which critics have attacked the state's objection to the stipulations by adding the allegations of a federal water grab. Critics had previously said the objection also appeared tailored to protect the rights of Front Range diverters. The legislators also attached a copy of a letter from the Colorado River Water Conservation District calling the state's objections a 'serious breach of trust' with long-reaching implications...

"Spokesmen for Attorney General John Suthers have said the office was acting at the behest of agencies of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, including the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Division of Wildlife and the State Engineer's Office."

"colorado water"
6:26:33 AM     

Mercury advisory for Trinidad Lake and Horseshoe Reservoir
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Two more lakes have been added to the list of waters where fish show elevated levels of mercury, according to the Rocky Mountain News. From the article, "Health officials issued fish-consumption advisories for Trinidad Lake, in Trinidad, and Horseshoe Reservoir, in Lathrop State Park in Huerfano County. The Trinidad advisory recommends that pregnant or nursing women, or women planning on becoming pregnant, and children 6 and younger, eat no walleyes or saugeyes larger than 18 inches...

"Others should eat no more than one meal per month of the 18-inch or longer fish. Details are on the agency's Web site, www.CDPHE.state.CO.US/wq/. Under Programs, click on Fish Consumption Advisories. Front Range waters also on the list are Rocky Mountain Lake (46th Avenue, in Denver) and Brush Hollow, Horsetooth and Sanchez reservoirs."

"colorado water"
6:11:08 AM     

Interbasin Compact Committee Basin Rountables
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Here's a quick look at the state of the basin roundtable process from the Ag Journal. From the article, "The nine independent Basin Roundtables across Colorado have begun considering various water projects aimed at better managing the state's natural resources; a crucial effort by a headwater state with many of it's own needs to fulfill each year, as well as satisfying obligations in compacts with neighboring states...

"Eric Hecox has served as the DNR's manager of the Roundtable and Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) process since it's initiation. Hecox will continue to do so under the DNR's new leadership of Harris Sherman. "It's going well," Hecox says of the over-all Roundtable and IBCC process. 'We're still a little bit within the transition stage as the new director gets up to speed on where we are and what we are doing, and the strengths of the program and what we can do.'[...]

"Roundtable members are now considering various proposals from a wide spectrum of people interested in helping address the state's water needs. Proposed projects can range from the construction of dams and retention ponds, to the implementation of programs that offer tax-credits, service-fee breaks or rebates to homes using water-saving appliances and plumbing devices. In recent years, clothes washers have been developed that are capable of cleaning larger loads than models of the past, while using half the water as the older units...

"The Water Supply Reserve Account was established by the state legislature in 2006 under SB-179, which supplies the Roundtable process with $10-million a year, for four years, to be used as grants for projects and studies approved by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB.) The Roundtables and IBCC work in conjunction with the CWCB on the approval process of all such proposals and studies. 'The Roundtables are in essence, the gatekeepers,' explains Hecox. 'The applicant must first go to the local Roundtable and get their approval and then it moves up to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for final approval.' Hecox says the CWCB recently approved nearly $4 million worth of water activities, signaling that the process is well established and underway...

"Many environmental and other studies must be conducted before projects aimed at controlling water flows in the state can be implemented. And a great amount of discussion must be weighed too, considering all aspects of water usage in Colorado; from agriculture to recreational needs. But Hecox says the general public will soon be able to start seeing some of the tangible results of the Roundtable process. Hecox adds that he is noticing that Roundtable members are judiciously considering proposals to make sure that any awarded grants will be used for projects that will benefit all water users within their respective basins. 'They're starting to think about prioritizing what are their most important issues and encouraging the applications that they approve to be tiered off of those issues,' He says. Hecox says the Rio Grande Basin Roundtable held lengthy discussions last summer and decided their number one priority was to create sustainable use of their aquifers. Rio Grande members decided that any and all proposed water projects must meet the qualifications they have set to protect their region's aquifers. 'So, then they encourage the applicants to think through how the work that they are doing will help further that objective,' Hecox tells us. He adds that the other eight Roundtables are continuing to establish such priorities. 'They all are beginning to think about what are their major priorities and how they can make sure that (project) is used for a process in helping to meet those.' Roundtable meetings are generally held once a month and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend. For more information, go on-line to"

"colorado water"
5:56:00 AM     

Crystal River Races
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Carbondale is the place for you kayaking fans this weekend. Here's all the skinny on the Crystal River Races from the Glenwood Springs Post Independent "reg". They write, "One of Colorado's oldest kayaking competitions, the Crystal River Races, will go down Saturday at the confluence of the Crystal and Roaring Fork rivers in Carbondale. Race host Colorado Rocky Mountain School expects more than 70 boaters in three river disciplines for the event, in its 43rd year. Competing will be high schoolers from throughout Colorado, though many racers will be community members of all ages and skill levels.

"The slalom race kicks things off at 10:30 a.m., with the boatercross and downriver races to follow directly after; races should conclude by mid-afternoon. In slalom, racers navigate between widely spread gates. In boatercross, multiple boaters race simultaneously and maneuver for position. Downriver races are purely speed races...

"The Crystal River Races are a key Western Colorado outpost for the High School Whitewater Cup Series, which draws schools primarily from the Front Range.

"Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.; all racers should be present for a 10 a.m. racer's meeting. The entry fee is $15 for individual races or $20 for all three. Lunch is provided for racers.

"To get to the Confluence race site: From downtown Carbondale and upvalley: Take Highway 82 eight-tenths mile past the Highway 133 light (a half mile past milepost 11). Go left on an unmarked road (you can cut across Hwy. 82, but note that the turnoff comes up suddenly) toward the river. Take this road a half mile, park, and observe signs to race site. From Glenwood Springs and I-70: Take Highway 82 upvalley, a half mile past milepost 10 (and just past Aspen Glen). Go right on an unmarked road; take this road a half mile downhill; park, and observe signs to race site."

Meanwhile the Aspen Times "reg" reports about new ownership for the Aspen Kayak School along with a name change to the Aspen Kayak Academy. From the article, "Aspen's only kayak school has a new name and a new face. Longtime ski and kayak instructor Charlie MacArthur has purchased the Aspen Kayak School and is reopening it as the Aspen Kayak Academy...MacArthur grew up as a surfer in Los Angeles. But when he found the 'perfect wave' on the rivers around Aspen, his life changed."

"colorado water"
5:43:21 AM     

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