Coyote Gulch


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  Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Green Mountain releases
A picture named blueriver.jpg

From email from the Bureau of Reclamation (Kara Lamb), "Here is the latest update from yesterday. There were no changes today, so we are still releasing 1250 to the Lower Blue. The snowmelt just keeps coming down the Blue River basin. Releases from Green Mountain Reservoir were bumped up twice today, once this morning and once this afternoon. Both bumps up were in 100 cfs increments. That means, the Lower Blue is now running at 1250 cfs."

"colorado water"
8:35:26 PM     

? for President?

USA Today: "New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said he was banking on foreign policy expertise and appeal to Hispanics as he formally entered the crowded Democratic presidential field with bilingual remarks in Los Angeles on Monday."

"2008 pres"
6:49:30 PM     


CNN: "Speaker Nancy Pelosi will present a plan to House Democrats for a war funding bill that won't include a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq but will feature benchmarks with consequences, according to Democratic leadership aides. The bill also would raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour from $5.15 per hour, and fund other domestic spending programs, which were still being negotiated. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said any talk of a deal was premature."

Thanks to Oliver Willis for the link.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "he Bush administration is quietly on track to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year, an analysis of Pentagon deployment orders showed Monday.

"This 'second surge' of troops in Iraq, which is being executed by extending tours for brigades already there and by deploying more units, could boost the number of combat troops to as many as 98,000 by the end of this year. When support troops are included, the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq could increase from 162,000 now to more than 200,000 -- the most ever -- by the end of the year."

Thanks to Ed Cone for the link.

"2008 pres"
6:35:12 PM     


TPM Muckraker: "Either James Comey was talking about a new, secret surveillance program in his testimony last week, or Alberto Gonzales lied to Congress in 2006 about the NSA[base ']s warrantless wiretapping program.

"In the initial coverage of Comey's testimony, almost all reports treated it as a given that the clandestine program at the heart of the now-infamous late-night race to Ashcroft's bedside was the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program -- what the White House insists on calling the 'Terrorist Surveillance Program'. But that may not be the case.

"After the New York Times uncovered how the NSA was tapping calls between the U.S. and foreign countries, Gonzales testified before Congress that there were no objections to the program's legality in the Justice Department."

"colorado water"
6:29:24 PM     


Yahoo! "The US health care system ranks last among other major rich countries for quality, access and efficiency, according to two studies released Tuesday by a health care think tank.

"The studies by the Commonwealth Fund found that the United States, which has the most expensive health system in the world, underperforms consistently relative to other countries and differs most notably in the fact that Americans have no universal health insurance coverage."

"2008 pres"
6:27:16 PM     

Are cell phones implicated in 'Colony Collapse Syndrome'?

The Independent: "Council chiefs are rethinking plans for mobile telephone masts because of fears that their radiation may be causing bees to disappear. Eastbourne's planning committee has refused permission for a new mast unless and until it is convinced there is no danger to the insects, and Bolton council has launched an investigation into the threat. Last month, The Independent on Sunday reported exclusively that exploratory research at Germany's Landau University suggested the radiation interferes with bees' navigation systems. The German scientists, whose work has won two international awards, found that bees failed to return to their hives when "cordless DECT mobile phones" were placed in the masts. The research was designed to indicate the effect mobile phone radiation and other 'electrosmog' may have on human brains. But it may also provide a clue to the reasons behind 'Colony Collapse Disorder', when hives suddenly empty, which has hit half of all US states and is spreading in continental Europe"

"2008 pres"
6:22:18 PM     

McPhee reservoir update
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From email from the Bureau of Reclamation (Vern Harrell): "It appears that McPhee Reservoir could fill by tomorrow, May 23. Once the reservoir is full, the amount that will be released downstream of McPhee Dam will be equal to inflows less reservoir demands. We could see downstream releases ranging between 200 CFS and 800 CFS through May 30. Please consider the variability of releases and use extreme caution should you decide to embark on a multi-day river trip." [ed. emphasis ours]

6:17:26 PM     

Quantifying the value of open space
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Here's an article about quantifying the value of roadless areas from MathTrek. From the article, "Biologists have long known that large areas of roadless space are generally far more beneficial to the natural environment than multiple smaller areas broken up by roads. Roads lead to increased human activity, groundwater contamination, introduction of invasive species, and other environmental compromises. A new mathematical analysis, published in the May 4 Science, offers a visual model of the quantity and distribution of roadless areas in the United States, providing a clear and useful guide to the ecological value of land for scientists and policymakers...

"[Raymond Watts, a geographer at the U.S. Geological Survey Science Center in Fort Collins, Colorado] says that until now, scientists have had no good way of measuring the value of open space. The stumbling block was the apparent complexity of the task. It is very difficult to measure precisely how pristine and ecologically important a particular piece of land is, because this depends on a host of regional factors. For example, the type of terrain, rainfall patterns, and habitat all make a difference. Calculating such factors throughout the United States would be an unmanageable challenge.

"Instead, Watts and his team have come up with a mathematical technique based on a simple observation: 'Generally speaking, you have an invulnerability to those conditions that increases as you leave the road behind,' Watts says. 'The simplest way to express that is to make it linear with distance.' He acknowledges that focusing only on distance greatly simplifies the reality but argues that having a clear indicator of the value of open space can help policymakers assess the impacts of various land use decisions.

"Watts and his team have created a three-dimensional map to show open space and its value at a glance. They started with a flat map of the contiguous United States divided into very small squares, with each square representing a 100-foot-by-100-foot parcel of land. The researchers covered each square with a column whose height is based on the area's distance from the nearest road. (Squares that contain a road have a column height of zero.)

"Within a given 'roadless' region of open space, the highest column ends up being at the center of the region. The columns get shorter as they get closer to a road. The result is that each region of open space is covered by a sort of pyramid, or mountain, with the highest point being the furthest from the surrounding roads. The researchers call these mounds the 'roadless volume,' and they use the height levels to estimate the ecological value of a section of land."

Be sure to read the whole article. Thanks to the author, Julie J. Rehmeyer, for the heads up in email.

"colorado water"
6:24:43 AM     

Glade Reservoir presentations to Fort Collins City Council study session tonight
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The Fort Collins City Council will hear two presentations about the proposed Glade Reservoir tonight, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the article, "Water is what's on tap at the Fort Collins City Council study session Tuesday night when the proposed Glade Reservoir project north of Fort Collins will be discussed. Council will hear two presentations at tonight's meeting, a question-and-answer session on the Northern Integrated Supply Project given by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District and a presentation on the economic and environmental impacts the reservoir's construction would have on the Poudre River -- the main source of water to be used to the fill Glade if it's built. The presentation on environmental and economic impacts will be given by the Fort Collins-based Save the Poudre Coalition. At stake: The impact and progress of the potential construction of the 170,000 acre-feet Glade Reservoir north of Fort Collins which would require a rerouting of U.S. Highway 287. The question is of importance to many small communities that have witnessed steady growth over the years -- growth that is fast outpacing the available water to sustain it...

"Members of Save the Poudre Coalition say the economic vitality of the Poudre River, where the water to fill Glade would come from, would be hampered, as well as other environmental impacts to the river's ecosystem."

"colorado water"
5:50:22 AM     

Be safe out there you knuckleheads
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If you're going to float or paddle Colorado's streams please wear a life jacket. Here's a short article on the subject from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. They write, "Minutes after authorities pulled the body of a Palisade man out of the Colorado River on Monday, a group wearing flip flops and carrying cases of beer hauled their inflatable rafts into the river at Corn Lake. One of the rafters told an official there was one life vest available for his group of nine people. The man said he wasn't worried about river conditions because one of them was an expert rafter. 'It makes us almost angry,' said Lt. Jim Fogg of the Mesa County Sheriff's Department of the group's lack of life jackets. Search and rescue teams coupled with area law enforcement spent three days searching for a Palisade man who drowned after his two-person inflatable raft capsized. Ricky Crewse knew how to swim but was not wearing a life jacket...

"The Colorado River is running at about 11,000 cubic feet per second at a station near Cameo, according to a Web site run by the United States Geological Survey that measures river flow. Its temperature is about 56 degrees during the daytime and dips about three degrees at night. It is running at about eight feet high, according to the site."

"colorado water"
5:40:13 AM     

Water conservancy board members
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Ed Quillen writes about the selection of water conservancy district board members in his column in today's Denver Post. From the article, "Except for a year in California, [Jeanne Willoughby Engler] lived in Colorado all her life: Aspen, Boulder, Durango, Lafayette. For the last 25 years, she campaigned for a change that sounds pretty arcane: the public election of directors of water conservancy districts. There are more than 50 of them. They're easily confused with water conservation districts and water and sanitation districts. Conservancy districts vary greatly; most are tiny, but Northern Colorado is a giant that administers the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, and Southeastern Colorado administers the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. But one thing they all have in common is that they can levy taxes and condemn private property for water projects. And with very rare exceptions, their board members are appointed by judges, not elected by the people.

"Jeanne's water activism began during her Durango years, 1974-84, when she saw a big boondoggle water project proposed: Animas-La Plata. She organized opposition and fought it. She believed the general public would never support such monstrosities, but the public had no real say, since the conservancy district boards never had to face the public at election time. As she put it, this violates a principle of the American Revolution: 'No taxation without representation.' Conservancy districts don't just build dams and canals. One major activity around the state is the sale of 'augmentation permits,' which enable rural subdivisions by providing water to make up for what their households consume from wells. The resulting sprawl and development is something taxpayers might not choose to support - if we could vote.

"As for the way they operate, consider some recent adventures of the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, based in Salida. It covers Chaffee and Custer counties, western Fremont County, and a sliver of Saguache County. Three four-year director terms expire on June 1. Two of those directors, Glenn Everett of Chaffee County and Bob Senderhauf of Custer County, have been on the board since the early 1980s, and they applied for new terms. But don't we have term limits in our state constitution, restricting them to two consecutive four-year terms? My neighbor Mark Emmer just brought suit on that account. He based part of it on an opinion by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers which said that term limits apply to people who were appointed to office (i.e., to fill a vacancy). Upper Arkansas responded, not just by arguing that the state constitution is for other people, but also by asking the court to continue the terms of Everett and Senderhauf past June 1, until the term-limits issue can be resolved. In its May 8 filing, UAWCD said that Everett and Senderhauf were agreeable to having their terms extended, and it had not contacted other applicants, as it was 'not aware of who else had requested appointments.' Such unawareness had to be deliberate, since Paul Snyder of Custer County had filed an application on May 2, and Jay Moore of Chaffee County had filed on April 27. Their applications were a matter of public record. A judge will have to rule on all of this. Another problem with this system: The same judge who appointed conservancy directors might also have to hear cases that involve their actions. There's an inherent conflict, no matter how impartial the judge."

Here's the coverage of the pending appointment Upper Ark Conservancy board members from the Mountain Mail. From the article, "Three incumbents and two challengers seek three open seats on the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District board of directors. Eleventh Judicial District Judge Charles Barton is charged with appointing directors. Hopefuls submitted letters of application with Barton last month. New terms are set to begin June 1. Current board member Tim Canterbury is the only applicant for his Division 1 seat. Canterbury has served since last spring when he assumed the term of retiring Denzel Goodwin. Two other terms expiring this spring are Division 4 representing Custer County and Division 2 representing Salida School District R-32-J. Incumbents Bob Senderhauf of Custer County and Glenn Everett of Salida, who have a combined 50-plus years of experience on the board, have reapplied for their positions.

"Everett touts his life as a rancher and 26 years' experience on the board in his letter of application. He has served since its inception in 1981. He is challenged by Salida City Councilman Jay Moore. A city council member since 2005, Moore is the Salida ex-officio representative to the water district and has attended nearly every board meeting during the past two years. In his application, Moore, a retired physician and three-year Salida resident, said the city should be represented on the district board...

"Senderhauf highlighted his experience representing Custer County on the board since 1982. He said his participation in creating the district augmentation plan and vigilance against selling water outside the district have served Custer County citizens well...

"He is being challenged by retiring Westcliffe Town Attorney Paul Snyder. A resident of Westcliffe since 1996, Snyder said he would 'hope to bring a new perspective to the board that could help it change its balance somewhat while making it more responsive and accountable to the public it serves.' Snyder is a former private practice lawyer from Boulder. In his application, he offered some ways he would try to change the manner the board operates. For example, he said the board currently does some business by appointing two-person committees to avoid open meeting laws. That would be a practice he would work to change. He also would try to push the district to support conservation easements instead of relying on its augmentation program, which he said leads to rural development instead of rural preservation...

"Meanwhile, Salida resident Mark Emmer filed a lawsuit in the 11th Judicial District Court arguing water district board members should be subject to term limits. Emmer hopes the case can be resolved before appointments are made this month. If it is not, he hopes to have appointments postponed until the case is resolved. Term limits would make Everett and Senderhauf both ineligible for reappointment."

"colorado water"
5:31:49 AM     

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