Coyote Gulch


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  Tuesday, April 24, 2007

? for President?

Political Wire: "'Only a few months ago, the vast majority of black elected officials in New York were expected to support the presidential candidacy of' Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). 'But no longer,' reports the New York Times."

"2008 pres"
6:58:08 AM     


TPM Muckraker: "If there's one good thing that's come out of the U.S. attorneys scandal, it's that it's shining a bright light on the Justice Department. And as a result, it's become clear that the most grossly politicized section of the department is the Civil Rights Division.

"The reason is plain. As we've seen, many Republicans, and Karl Rove in particular, are obsessed with 'voter fraud' -- the idea that minorities in Democratic strongholds are taking advantage of lax record systems to stuff the ballot. There's evidence that at least two of the fired U.S. attorneys were let go because they did not pursue such prosecutions. But the obsession is nothing new; it's one of the defining preoccupations of the Bush administration. The hysterical claims have led Republicans to push voter I.D. laws in several swing states -- efforts that have been backed by the White House."

Josh Marshall: "Huckabee: Gonzales should resign."

Josh Marshall: "Like pins in a bowling alley (from the St. Pete Times)...'The FBI has asked U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney for information about his dealings with Jack Abramoff as part of its ongoing investigation into the lobbyist convicted of defrauding clients. FBI agent Kevin Luebke refused to say whether Feeney, a Republican from the Orlando area, is under federal investigation. Federal agents also have asked the St. Petersburg Times for an email sent to the newspaper by Feeney's office describing a golfing trip the congressman took with Abramoff to Scotland in 2003.'"

"2008 pres"
6:52:20 AM     

Stem cell research

From today's Denver Post, "Leaders of a congressional effort to boost embryonic stem-cell research will huddle soon to develop strategies for passing their bill around President Bush's promised veto.One option is adding the legislation to a bill Bush will have a harder time vetoing. 'There's going to be a bill at some time that President Bush has to sign,' said Jennifer Mullin, spokeswoman for Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, a co-sponsor of the bill passed in the Senate earlier this month. Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado, Democratic author of the House version of the bill, said she would repeatedly add it to legislation that goes to Bush - an approach that could make for a lengthy game of political ping-pong. Political analysts and opponents of the research predict Bush would repeatedly veto any bill that contains the language of DeGette's legislation."

"How much the issue influences voters isn't clear. In 2006, five senators who had voted against the stem-cell bill lost their seats. Senators who supported federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research replaced four of those senators. But there were many other issues in all of those races. In Missouri, voters in polls said they cared about stem-cell research, although it was never the No. 1 issue, said Richard Martin, campaign manager for Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who defeated Republican Jim Talent. That makes it hard to determine how much impact it has, he said."

"2008 pres"
6:44:09 AM     

Blue River and Gunnison stream flow
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Denver Water plans to release water from Dillon Reservoir in anticipation of the runoff, according to the Summit Daily News "reg". From the article, "Boaters looking for an early season splash factor may want to stay tuned. Denver Water is upping outflows from Dillon Reservoir into the Lower Blue this week in anticipation of the snowmelt season. By the end of today, the river should be running at 200 cubic feet per second (cfs), up from the current 113 cfs. Another boost to 300 cfs is planned for Tuesday...

"The stepped up flows were delayed for a while to accommodate construction of the pedestrian bridge over the Blue River near the Silverthorne Pavilion, Steger said. Steger said the flows could be increased even more later this week, potentially bringing the river into the runnable range, at least for kayakers. Commercial rafting operations in the area generally like to see the Blue running at about 500 cfs. Dillon Reservoir is at 96 percent of storage capacity, less than three feet from the spillway, a near-record level for this time of year. Last week's average daily inflow from the Blue, Snake and Tenmile combined to 179 cfs per day, so with planned outflows of 300 cfs, the reservoir may drop a bit before it starts to fill with the bulk of the runoff...

"Statewide, reservoir storage levels are at 103 percent of average. The highest levels are in the Gunnison and San Juan basins, in the southwestern corner of the state, at about 120 percent of average."

Meanwhile, from email from the Bureau of Reclamation (Dan Crabtree), "Releases from Crystal Reservoir have increased to 1,250 cubic feet per second (cfs) in response to increased irrigation demands by the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users. After this change the total diversion rate through the Gunnison Tunnel should be about 800 cfs. Flows in the Gunnison Gorge and Black Canyon will remain at 450 cfs.

"Reminder - The April Aspinall Unit Operations Meeting will be held this Thursday April 26th starting at 1:00 p.m. in Reclamation's Grand Junction Office. Call Dan Crabtree at 970-248-0652 with questions."

"colorado water"
6:12:04 AM     

Interbasin Compact Committee
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From today's Glenwood Springs Post Independent "reg", "Two proposed water studies are drawing attention from the Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) of the state Department of Natural Resources, which has said they could potentially harm established water rights...

"IBCC spokesman Rick Brown told the Colorado River Basin Roundtable Monday in Glenwood Springs that he felt considerable 'consternation' over the two studies by Grand County and the Ruedi Water and Power Authority to identify water needs. Data compiled by those studies, such as actual in-stream flows and the amount of water necessary to maintain a viable and healthy river ecosystem, could be used in future legal proceedings or for regulatory purposes that would prove harmful to 'vested water rights,' Brown said. 'It's a hugely important issue.'"

"colorado water"
5:57:54 AM     

Federal water grab on the Gunnison?
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We missed this article, dated April 4th, about water rights in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. From the article, "The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park water rights dispute must be resolved by June 29 or the case will go to trial. Attorneys for both the state and the federal government will meet twice this month to try to settle the issue to prevent the dispute from going to trial, Upper Gunnison Water Conservancy District attorney John McClow told the Gunnison River Basin Roundtable Monday in Montrose. A 2003 agreement between the National Park Service and the state of Colorado was to have reduced the Gunnison River's flow through Black Canyon to a minimum of 300 cubic feet per second. The agreement relinquished the national park's 1933 water right to peak and shoulder flows during the spring. But last year, a U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Brimmer ruled that the 'nonsensical' agreement ignored the needs of the public and the canyon's ecology. The ruling sent the agreement back to the table and required the state and the federal government to provide more water for the park...

"In March, the two sides were working on stipulations that a new agreement may have to follow, Randy Seaholm, Chief of the Colorado Water Conservation Board's Water Supply Protection Section, said last week. 'They asked that the National Park Service subordinate its water right that is just senior to the water right for the Aspinall Unit,' Seaholm said. The stipulations, he said, 'diminish the value of the Park Service water right and look at the park's water right priority.' McClow said the Water Conservation Board will file an objection to the stipulations because they acknowledged that the park had a senior water right to the Aspinall Unit and because the board is afraid the stipulations would limit the ability of the federal government to market the Aspinall Unit's water. The State Engineer's Office, Seaholm said, was concerned they would be unable to administer the park's water right because of selective subordination."

More Coyote Gulch coverage of Judge Brimmer's decision here.

Meanwhile here's an article about the potential effects of quantifying the Black Canyon water right and Attorney General Suthers' objections from the Montrose Daily Press. They write, "A recent filing by the state's attorney general has prompted controversy among water users in the upper basin of the Gunnison River. The filing objects to stipulations protecting the water rights of ranchers and other users from the government's reserved water right for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. 'I was astounded to see it,' said John McClow, attorney for the Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District. 'At the moment, there's no quantification of water right decreed to the Black Canyon, so (it's) not an active water right; today nothing is going to happen.' However, he said that if there is a shortage and a call is made on the Gunnison River, 75 percent of irrigation water could be lost.

"The objection, filed April 16 on behalf of state and division engineers, the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the state Division of Wildlife, could result in a negation of that protection. 'We were worried that if we didn't object it would later be argued we had given up our right to object,' said Mike King, deputy director of the Department of Natural Resources. 'We didn't intend for it to be something aggressive or (vitiating) in nature. It was just something we had to do to preserve our right and make it clear we had concerns about the stipulations.' He said his party is not in 'litigation' mode and would like to sit down with key players and continue discussions. The objection filed refers to questions regarding the legality of the stipulations, King said. Part of the objection states terms in the stipulations 'create uncertainty about the legal status of the Black Canyon reserved rights and how they may be administered,' according to the filing. In addition, 'The Division of Wildlife owns water rights that divert from the Upper Gunnison River Basin for beneficial use outside of Water Division 4; therefore, those rights may suffer injury under the terms of this stipulation,' according to the filing."

"colorado water"
5:52:44 AM     

Global warming: Effects on the North American Monsoon
A picture named elninolanina.jpg

The North American Monsoon is changing, due to global warming, according to water resources engineer Katrina Grantz, reports the Rocky Mountain News. From the article, "New Mexico and Arizona have been getting wetter in August and September and drier in July in recent decades - and the likely culprit is the warmer Pacific Ocean temperatures. That's the conclusion of Colorado researchers who studied the monsoons that bring rain to the Southwest, including parts of Colorado, each summer. Blame more frequent El Niños, the phenomenon that brings warmer Pacific Ocean temperatures during certain years, says lead author Katrina Grantz, of the University of Colorado at Boulder. The more frequent El Niños likely stem from global warming, according to the researchers. Since the 1970s, the start, peak and end of the monsoons have moved later into the summer by about 15 days...

"The later monsoons haven't changed the overall rainfall numbers for New Mexico and Arizona, Grantz said. But as the winters grow wetter in the Southwest, the Pacific Northwest tends to have drier winters, which is causing problems in farming and the orchard industry there. Grantz, a water resources engineer for the University of Colorado's Center for Advanced Decision Support for Water and Environmental Systems (CADSWES), studied monsoon trends from 1948 to 2004. She wrote the paper, which appears in next month's issue of the American Meteorological Association's Journal of Climate, for her doctoral dissertation in engineering. She expects the information will help water managers with long-term forecasts of rain and stream flow."

More Coyote Gulch coverage of last summer's monsoon season here.

Here's another article about the report from Colorado University. They write, "The southwestern United States has experienced a significant delay in its annual summer monsoon rains in recent decades due to warmer sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, according to a new study at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The study is scheduled for publication May 1 in a special issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate focusing on the North American monsoon system. The study's principal author, Katrina Grantz, is a water resources engineer at the Center for Advanced Decision Support for Water and Environmental Systems (CADSWES) in CU-Boulder's department of civil, environmental and architectural engineering. Grantz studied trends in the timing and amount of monsoon rainfall in New Mexico and Arizona from 1948 to 2004 and discovered a delay of 10 days to 20 days depending on specific location in the beginning, peak and closing stages of the monsoon in recent years. The study also showed a decrease in rainfall during July and a corresponding increase in rainfall during August and September, while the total annual rainfall stayed approximately the same."

"colorado water"
5:37:37 AM     

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