Coyote Gulch


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  Saturday, May 26, 2007


Via Crooks and Liars, John Stewart sorts out the issues around the U.S. attorney firings, in light of Monica Goodling's testimony this week.

"2008 pres"
1:09:55 PM     

Greece 1, Germany 0

From Andrew Sullivan, Greece 1, Germany 0. Very funny.

1:07:19 PM     

Longmont Children's Water Festival
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Here's a report on this week's Longmont Children's Water Festival, from the Longmont Daily Times-Call. From the article:

About 850 fifth-graders from the St. Vrain Valley School District attended the event, hosted by the Northern Colorado Water Conservation District, the Keep it Clean Partnership, the school district and the city of Longmont. Bill Powell, business services manager in the city's public works department, said the annual event aims to educate students about water issues, from conservation to watershed health. "They are the future users of water," said Powell, who during Thursday's event portrayed a water wizard, complete with water trivia, smock and hat. "We want them to understand that water is a valuable resource."

The event included a game show in which students from two schools faced off in a question-and-answer contest about water trivia; video presentations; a river-like maze; and experiments.

"colorado water"
11:06:21 AM     

Royce J. Tipton award
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From the Utah Statesman:

Wynn Walker, associate dean and professor of biological engineering systems in the College of Engineering at Utah State University, is the recipient of the 2007 Royce J. Tipton Award. Walker was given the award for his contributions to the advancement of irrigation and drainage engineering. He received the award May 18 at the Environmental Water Resource Institute in Tampa, Fla. The award was established by Royce J. Tipton in 1964.

"colorado water"
10:58:57 AM     

Super -Duper Tuesday

From the Valley Chronicle:

The more time presidential candidates from both major parties spend in California, the more clear it becomes that moving up this state's presidential primary from early next June to early next February is succeeding fabulously as a tactic...

By moving its vote up to Feb. 5, backers of the switch including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger figured, California would force presidential candidates of all stripes to use the state as more than just a cash machine. They would now have to spend time campaigning here, not just hobnobbing with big-bucks contributors but also dealing with ordinary voters. They would also have to invest some of the money raised in California back into advertising campaigns in California. And they would have to stake out positions on issues important to Californians, from water and offshore oil to immigration, energy efficiency, and conditions in the state's racial ghettos and barrios.

"2008 pres"
10:56:04 AM     

Fountain Creek management
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Here's a report on Colorado Springs Utilities' efforts to end sewage spills into Fountain Creek, from the Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

Colorado Springs Utilities hosted a media tour Friday to spotlight projects addressing one of its ugliest problems -- sewage spills. The city has embarked on a 25-year, $250 million program to prevent spills such as the one in 1999 that sent 71 million gallons of untreated sewage down Fountain Creek. Since then, the city has been fined several times for chronic spills and has vowed to clean up its record.

One project involves stabilizing the west bank of Fountain Creek, where it intersects with Sand Creek. Crews are arranging 2,400 tons of boulders along a 1,200-foot-long embankment. The stone wall, or riprap, will protect a 54-inch sewer main from busting open under erosive pressure. The project started in mid-April and wraps up within a month.

The bigger job, though, is the $10.5 million Fountain Creek recovery facility, a huge catch basin into which sewage-laced water can flow. Designed to save those downstream from Colorado Springs' sewage, the project began in October and was completed in mid-May. It passed a battery of tests and is ready for what Utilities officials hope never comes. "I hope we never use it," Springs Utilities water services chief Bruce McCormick said."

Here's some video from

"colorado water"
10:15:32 AM     

Energy policy: Ethanol
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We missed this article about the demands for water in ethanol production in last week's Rocky Mountain News. From the article:

Can Colorado, which imports more corn than it grows, support all the planned ethanol plants? Have corn prices peaked? Most scary, the Lenzes say, is the water supply. Kansas wants more water from the Republican River that feeds Yuma's aquifer. Other farmers in Colorado have lost wells over questions of river water rights, and the Lenzes fear the same will happen when Kansas' claims are resolved in the next year or so. Take away water for these heavily irrigated cornfields, and you've got a dot-corn bust...

"2008 pres"
10:08:25 AM     

Lake Mead water level
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One of the interesting ideas being floated is the decommissioning of Glen Canyon Dam. The Upper Basin states don't like the idea since they store water there for downstream calls. It looks like they could store the water in Lake Mead instead since there's plenty of room, according to the Lahontan Valley News. From the article:

On a recent visit to Las Vegas, I saw the effects of the drought when I spent several hours driving around Lake Mead. The lake's water comes from the Colorado River, and the Colorado's flow is expected to continually diminish because of global warming and the lack of significant snowfall. Lake Mead's current water level is so low that several of the lake's marinas have been closed or moved so boaters can navigate the waters without hitting sandbars or snags. Gary Warshefski, deputy superintendent of the National Park Service's Lake Mead Recreation Area, said the lake's water level is at the lowest it has been in many years. Bathtub-like rings marking hillsides all around the lake greeted me on my drive around Lake Mead, and it was evident to this visitor that the shoreline is certainly shrinking. What is most telling is the fact that old cities that were buried under the waters of Lake Mead when the lake was formed in the 1930s following the erection of Boulder (now Hoover Dam) are now beginning to emerge from the deep.

Three years ago, when I last traveled around the lake, I visited Overton Arm on the lake's north side and learned boaters there could barely see the tops of chimneys of the town of St. Thomas. St. Thomas, a Mormon community founded in 1865 by cotton farmers, was one of several towns evacuated when Hoover Dam was erected. It was covered by water when the dam was completed in 1938, and was under nearly 60 feet of water. When I traveled to Overton Arm a few weeks ago, I learned the water level has dipped so low that several rooftops of St. Thomas buildings are now coming into full view, further proof that Lake Mead's water level is diminishing at an alarming rate.

"colorado water"
9:57:52 AM     

Colorado Water Workshop
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The Pueblo Chieftain has a roundup of this week's 32nd Colorado Water Workshop at Western State College in Gunnison. From the article:

Explosive growth, an extended drought and forecasts for a dry future are causing many to reconsider the effects of the Colorado River Compact. For a traditional Hopi farmer, it means trying to balance an ancient worldview against the pressures of modern development. For the manager of the Las Vegas water district, it means trying to stretch a supply of water once thought adequate in a gamble that didn't pay off. For a Colorado water developer, it means using the rules of the existing system in a radical way to meet Front Range water needs.

Meanwhile, river preservationists want even less use of the river to give it a chance to rebound a little from the forced imposition of civilization. "This piddling river is not among the 25 largest in the United States, but it has the two largest reservoirs. That shows you how important the water is," said Jack Schmidt, a Utah State University professor who is rated among the top river researchers in the nation. He argued better water management could keep the upper part of the river relatively wild and improve the lower reaches to some extent, although water development has taken a big toll...

Or from another perspective: "We have plenty of water. The people are in the wrong places," opined Jack Flobeck, a water consultant from Colorado Springs...

[Ferrell Secakuku, a former chairman of the Hopi nation] explained the Hopis were largely unaware of the West's code of water rights until the 1950s, and did not realize their supply of water was threatened. Much of the water for domestic use was still hauled from nearby streams. The Hopi relied on prayers and feathers for the crops. In the 1960s, the tribe began drilling wells, making life easier, but changing the balance of it. Still, the average Hopi uses only about one-eighth of the water of the average American...

[Pat Mulroy, director of the Southern Nevada Water Authority] said. "A water right is a protection against shortages. But a water right is useless when you get to a drought."

Mark Bird, of the Community College of Southern Nevada, argued that an economic collapse of Southern California is not only possible but probable. The Colorado River is overused and reservoirs are filling with sediments that reduce their capacity to store water and generate power. His long-term alternative is to develop desalinization of sea water to meet water needs in California...

Use of the Colorado River is governed by a series of interstate compacts, international treaties, laws and court decrees. Here is a summary of the most important documents.

Colorado River Compact (1922) - The compact requires upper basin states (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) to deliver 7.5 million acre-feet annually to the lower basin states (Arizona, California and Nevada). Arizona ratified the compact in 1944, after three trips to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Boulder Canyon Project Act (1928) - Divided lower basin waters: California 4.4 million acre-feet, Arizona 2.8 million acre-feet, Nevada 300,000 acre-feet. Hoover Dam, with a capacity of 30.5 million acre-feet, was completed in 1935.

Treaty with Mexico (1944) - Requires United States to deliver 1.5 million acre-feet annually to Mexico.

Upper Basin Compact (1948) - Divides the upper basin's waters: Colorado 51.75%, Utah 23%, Wyoming 14% and New Mexico 11.25%. Glen Canyon Dam, with a capacity of 24.3 million acre-feet was completed in 1964. Other reservoirs associated with the upper basin allocations include Flaming Gorge, Blue Mesa (Morrow Gorge and Crystal) and Navajo.

Shortages - The lower basin states use more than their entitlement under the compact, while upper basin states use only about 3.5 million acre-feet annually. In 2003, then-Secretary of Interior Gale Norton approved guidelines that would cut back California's use from 5.3 million acre-feet to 4.4 million acre-feet. When the compact was negotiated in 1922, average flows were believed to be more than 15 million acre-feet per year. From 1920-29, flows averaged 18.6 million acre-feet annually, but dropped to 12.7 million acre-feet the following decade. The long-term average is now believed to be as low as 13.5 million acre-feet, a figure that may be even lower as global warming reduces stream flows.

Read the whole article. The Chieftain continues to be the prime source of Colorado water information.

"colorado water"
9:32:23 AM     

Roaring Fork runoff
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Here's a report on the runoff up on the Roaring Fork river, from the Aspen Times "reg". From the article:

Cool weather sent water flows plummeting on the Roaring Fork River in the last few days, but river run ners take heart -- experts say another peak is due in early June. The Roaring Fork's flow hit the highest of the spring so far on Sunday, May 20. The flow at Glenwood Springs topped at about 3,700 cubic feet per second, according to a hydrograph on the website of the Col-orado Basin River Forecast Center. The flow hovered around that level for a couple of days until temperatures plunged on May 22. That reduced the flow by about half, to 1,760 cfs on Friday. Brian Avery, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said the Roaring Fork experienced a primary peak May 20. However, a secondary peak that will be 'equal or perhaps more' is still to come, he said.

The river forecast center's most recent report fore cast a peak this year of about 4,100 cfs. The average peak for the Roaring Fork is 6,100, and it usually comes between June 3 and 18.

They're also pointing to the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center, a most excellent application for water nuts.

"colorado water"
9:01:49 AM     

Reclamation releases for Memorial Day weekend
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From email from the Bureau of Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Just a quick update before the holiday weekend really starts going. Here's what Reclamation is releasing to rivers in Eastern Colorado:

Earlier today, releases from Pueblo Dam to the Arkansas River cut back by about 500 cfs, due to rain and demands. Currently, we're running about 2000 cfs from the dam to the river. It should stay fairly close to that through the weekend.

"Up near Aspen, we've got about 110 coming out of Ruedi to the Fryinpan River. Local run off there pops total flows in the 'Pan to around 130 cfs.

On the Big Thompson below Olympus Dam, we are releasing about 125 cfs. That should remain the same through the weekend.

And, for the big flows, it's Green Mountain. We are continuing to release around 1250 cfs down to the Lower Blue. That should remain through the three-day weekend, unless something changes upstream.

"colorado water"
8:42:23 AM     

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