Coyote Gulch


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  Friday, May 4, 2007

? for President?

Here's a recap of last night's Republican Presidential debate, from the Denver Post. They write, "The major Republican presidential candidates, in their first joint appearance on a national stage, endorsed the war in Iraq and vowed to fight on to victory. 'We must win in Iraq,' said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. 'If we withdraw, there will be chaos, there will be genocide, and they will follow us home.' The war was 'terribly mismanaged,' McCain said, but now 'it's on the right track.' Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who both gave strong performances in their nationally televised debuts as presidential prospects, joined McCain in support of the war...

"Giuliani said, 'I hate abortion,' but he said he respects a woman's right to choose. 'Ultimately, since it is an issue of conscience, I would respect a woman's right to make a different choice ... differently than my conscience,' he said. McCain, who has a strong anti-abortion record, differed with several of the candidates onstage, including Romney, when asked about embryonic stem-cell research. He said he endorses the science, in part, for Nancy Reagan, who strongly supports such research and whose husband died of Alzheimer's disease."

"2008 pres"
7:03:03 AM     

Fountain Creek lawsuit
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Here's an update on the lawsuit over Colorado Springs' pollution of Fountain Creek from the Colorado Springs Independent. From the article, "Last Friday, April 27, in Denver in U.S. District Court, the first major hearing took place in the case that could radically change the way Colorado Springs and Pueblo interact when it comes to Fountain Creek. At issue was the question of whether [Pueblo County District Attorney Bill Thiebaut] had legal standing to bring the suit under the Clean Water Act. No district attorney in the country has taken similar action previously. Though U.S. District Judge Walker Miller didn't make a decision regarding Thiebaut, he did uphold the Sierra Club's ability to move the suit forward...

"Colorado Springs, for its part, argued that the suit is unnecessary. The city already is paying $400,000 in fees, as well as other penalties, to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for its sewage spills...

"As the suit advances, some entities in the region have looked to create other solutions. Colorado Springs recently imposed a stormwater fee to fund repairs on its outdated pipe system. Stormwater runoff often floods Fountain Creek, rupturing sewage pipes and causing spills. The Fountain Creek Vision Task Force has also formed to initiate dialogue about the creek. Made up mostly of Colorado Springs and Pueblo leaders, the task force has studied past initiatives involving the creek."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

"colorado water"
6:50:37 AM     

Farm disaster on the South Platte
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The court case to determine the feasibility of the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District's augmentation plans is winding down, according to the Northern Colorado Business Journal. They write, "Thursday was the 30th - and scheduled final - day of a trial in state water court over a plan by the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District to replace water taken by well owners along the South Platte River. Morning testimony before Judge Roger Klein focused on cross-examination of expert witnesses for the Greeley-based district by attorneys representing several cities, ditch companies and other interested parties in the matter. Cities that depend on South Platte River basin water, including Sterling and Boulder, and others with senior water rights along the river are challenging a plan by the water district to augment water supplies - through additional leases, purchases and storage - to restore limited pumping to district farmers whose wells were shut down by the state engineer in recent years.

"Referring to data analyzed by Brown and Caldwell, [Lindsay Griffith, an environmental engineer with Brown and Caldwell] said the plan could work in a worst-case scenario. 'This shows that (the district) would be able to replace depletions during a drought such as 2002 to 2006,' Griffith testified, noting that the five-year period is the worst drought in the region on record. But Brad Benning, attorney for the city of Sterling, said the data presented by Brown and Caldwell was 'just numbers' and not a reflection of reality. 'It's not realistic, he said. 'None of this is real.' Benning added that the district's proposal did not go far enough to prove it would not injure those with senior water rights in the basin. 'An augmentation plan is not a substitute for a water replacement plan,' he said. Final arguments in the case were scheduled Thursday afternoon. Judge Klein has not indicated when he might render a decision in the matter."

"colorado water"
6:37:38 AM     

Environmentalists give kudos to 2007 Colorado legislature
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Several environmental groups held a press conference to praise the work of the 2007 State Legislature, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article, "Environmental advocates Thursday declared the 2007 General Assembly the best session ever, citing 23 successful bills dealing with renewable energy, water quality and other matters, as compared with just one piece of 'green' legislation that did not pass. A coalition of groups held a news conference to praise Gov. Bill Ritter and legislative leaders -- particularly Democrats -- for advancing bills that either received vetoes from former Gov. Bill Owens or didn't make it through the Legislature. The most frequently mentioned were the reform of the makeup of the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission and a mandate to utility companies to double the amount of renewable energy they produce...

"Seven water-quality bills have gone through both houses this year, including measures to expand the water-efficiency grant program and to protect water-rights owners who lend water to maintain stream flows. A measure that allows water judges to consider water quality in transfer decrees also was mentioned."

More coverage from the Rocky Mountain News. They write, "...the measures had their critics, including Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, who believes various legislation targeting the oil and gas industry could push companies to take their business elsewhere. Other lawmakers fretted during the session that the push for more renewable energy will push up energy costs for consumers."

"colorado water"
6:25:33 AM     

Republican River update
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Here's a look at the problems in eastern Colorado centered around the Republican River from the Ag Journal. From the article, "Colorado and Kansas are wrangling again. At the center of the controversy is water - Colorado has it and Kansas wants more of the precious resource. Colorado's General Assembly is attempting to resolve how to best make sure the state remains in compliance with a 1942 agreement governing how much water each state is entitled to use. But, meeting Kansas' requirements may mean the loss of nearly 10,000 acres of irrigated farmland in Colorado...

"Kansas asserts that Colorado has not fulfilled its obligations to provide adequate water to the sunflower state as stipulated in the compact. The Republican River is on the central-eastern plains of Colorado, north of the I-70 corridor, near Stratton and Burlington. Legislators in Denver are now attempting to devise a to end the conflict - chiefly by creating a joint legislative resolution which calls for more time to review the matter and consider as many options as possible. However, one possible option is the permanent retirement of hundreds and perhaps thousands of agricultural irrigation wells within the Republican River Basin. 'I know there's several things that are being looked at, to try and take care of the deficit that seems to be accruing with the compact. A little more time would help,' states John Stulp, Colorado's Commissioner of Agriculture. 'There has been some discussion about an augmentation pipeline and some on-going discussion on what the options would be with Bonny Reservoir. And I also believe they are looking at some more of the hydrology type of models on what wells would have the most impact,' says the commissioner...

"[Ken Knox, deputy chief engineer of Colorado's Division of Water Resources] feels there are three contributing reasons why Colorado has failed in recent years to be within compliance on the Republican River Compact. The first being the severe drought cycle that Colorado has experienced over the past ten years. The second being what Colorado officials say is from the use of irrigation pumps, which have caused depletions within the basin. And Knox says a third and very significant factor results from land-use conservation practices. 'Since the 1950's and '60's farmers have employed no-till farming practices,' he says. 'They've done that so they can capture that limited precipitation within the soil-moisture profile. And it works; it works very well. But that's water that historically used to run-off to the stream flow, that's not doing so now. So, that's a major contributor to the decline in stream flow as well./ But Knox is quick to point out that the degree of the third factor has yet to be determined...

"A resolution currently being drafted by State Representatives Kathleen Curry, Colorado's House Committee Chair on Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources; and Jim Isgar, looks to expand the CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) and EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) offerings in the Republican River region. Knox says the initial plan is to permanently retire between 5,000 and 10,000 irrigated farm acres. He also says fallowing and rotational programs could possibly be used in some cases. 'That will add a measure of protection to the other 90 percent, so they can continue to operate (their wells,)' says Knox...

"[Doug Melcher, public policy chairman of the Colorado Corn Growers Association] adds that a farmer has a couple of options available; the first being to place their land in the EQIP program, which would allow them to continue farming the land, but as dry-land only. Or to participate in the CRP program, the more familiar of the two, which requires the land to be permanently retired back to natural grasslands."

"colorado water"
6:18:41 AM     

Mercury advisory for Boyd Lake and Carter Lake
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From the, "Elevated levels of mercury in fish caught and tested in Boyd and Carter lakes in Larimer County prompted consumption warnings Thursday from the state health department...

"Of 50 water bodies where testing has taken place, 17 required consumption advisories. After testing last month, consumption advisories were canceled for 16 water bodies. Those were: Chambers Reservoir, Chartier Reservoir, Colorado River, Fountain Lake, Fort Morgan Ponds, Hugo Middle Pond, Jumbo Reservoir, Kinney Lake, Lonetree Reservoir, North Delaney, Union, Overland Reservoir, Pawnee Power Ponds, Runyon Lake, San Isabel and Yampa River."

"colorado water"
6:01:14 AM     

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