Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

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Durango is moving ahead with their application for water rights for a whitewater park, according to the Durango Herald. From the article, "The Durango City Council has asked a water lawyer to draft an application for recreational water rights on the Animas River.

"Councilors are expected to vote on a resolution Tuesday night supporting the recreational in-channel water diversion application.

"The city will request water to support a white-water park in Smelter Rapid near Santa Rita Park. The city possibly will ask for only 85 cfs of water during some parts of the year and up to 1,400 cfs during the peak boating season - about 15 days in June, said Director of Public Works Jack Rogers.

"Councilors are moving quickly on the application in hopes of filing it before a bill moving through the state Legislature becomes law. The bill, supported by state Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, would limit a municipality's ability to apply for recreational water rights.

"Opponents of the recreational-water application fear that existing and future upstream water users will be adversely affected by the city's proposed new water right. In December, some 30 new upstream water-right applications were filed that seek a total of more than 100 cfs of water.

"But councilors said they have no intention of depriving upstream users. All they are trying to do, they said, is ensure that enough water is in the river for future boating opportunities. The boating park, they say, will be a nice amenity and attract tourists, which will help the economy."

Category: Colorado Water

6:22:14 AM    

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Fort Collins Coloradoan: "Fossil Creek will be named one of Colorado's dirtiest streams after a naturally occurring element turned up at nearly five times the state standard.

"The creek, which runs east through Larimer County and south Fort Collins, violated the state standard for selenium during testing in 2002 and 2003.

"The levels could cause long-term damage to fish and aquatic life - though fish in other parts of the state survive under worse conditions - but are not a threat to drinking water, a state official said.

"The samples were taken near U.S. Highway 287 south of Fort Collins.

"Selenium occurs naturally in bedrock shale. Water runoff - including irrigation from farms and city lawns - can transport selenium to groundwater, which percolates up to rivers and streams.

"The element has caused problems on the Western Slope because it contaminates rivers where four species of endangered fish live.

"The state selenium standard is 4.6 parts per billion for aquatic life. Samples from Fossil Creek measured 25 parts per billion, or about 25 drops of water in a gasoline tanker truck."

Category: Colorado Water

6:17:05 AM    

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NASA Satellite imagery is being used to fight invasive species, in particular Tamarisk. From the article, "Products based on NASA Earth observations and a new Internet-based decision tool are providing information to help land and water managers combat tamarisk (saltcedar), an invasive plant species damaging precious water supplies in the western United States.

"This decision tool, called the Invasive Species Forecasting System (ISFS), is being used at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Institute of Invasive Species Science in Fort Collins, Colo. It is the result of combining USGS science and NASA Earth observations, software engineering and high- performance computing expertise...

"The ISFS was successfully tested when the pink-flowered saltcedar bloomed last summer in Colorado. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently identified saltcedar as one of the most harmful invasive species in the United States, because the plant's long roots tap into underground aquifers. Its groundwater absorbing qualities may be adding to the severity of the drought in the western United States. Saltcedar also increases the salt concentration of the soil and degrades habitats for native species along river systems...

"The ISFS uses observations and science data products from NASA's Terra, Aqua and Earth Observing-1 satellites and the USGS-operated Landsat satellites, together with field data from government and non-government contributors. The satellites observe and measure sunlight reflected by plants and their environments. The satellites lock in on unique aspects of the reflected light to determine saltcedar's locations and habitats vulnerable to invasion.

"During the plant's blooming season, ISFS-generated maps predicting locations match observations of it in the field. These predictive maps are an important new tool for land managers involved with saltcedar-related control and restoration efforts...

"The ISFS uses invasive species occurrence and abundance data from the Global Organism Detection and Monitoring System developed by the USGS Fort Collins Science Center and Colorado State University. This monitoring system is an on-line database that allows people to report sightings of saltcedar or other invasive species to USGS scientists, who then review the observations and incorporate validated data into ISFS map products."

Category: Colorado Water

6:05:06 AM    

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The Colorado River Commission has voted to extend a contract for hydroelectric power from Parker and Davis dams for 20 years, according to the Arizona Daily Star. From the article, "The commission estimates the deal will save southern Nevada groups about $250 million over 20 years.

"Under the terms of the contract, Parker Dam at Lake Havasu, Ariz., and Davis Dam at Laughlin will provide several southern Nevada organizations with 280 megawatts of power at a rate of less than 1 cent per kilowatt-hour, river commission Executive Director George Caan said."

Category: Colorado Water

5:53:25 AM    

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The Pueblo Chieftain is running an in-depth article looking at the future management of Fountain Creek and water consultant Ray Petros' plan that would add a new dam for wastewater for reuse by Colorado Springs. From the article, "Ditch companies are urging caution on a proposal to control effluent discharge and floodwater with a reservoir on Fountain Creek...

"In October, [Ray] Petros asked the Bureau of Reclamation to consider a plan that combines flood control and recycling wastewater to its environmental review of the Southern Delivery System, a plan to build a pipeline from Pueblo Dam to Colorado Springs.

"Petros maintains his plan would require Colorado Springs to reuse water directly, rather than through exchanges, and would delay the need for a pipeline or even reduce the size of pipeline needed...

"The ditch companies this week apparently sent a letter questioning Petros' plan to area conservancy districts, congressmen, state officials and counties throughout the region.

"The letter is signed by the entire Fort Lyon Canal board, and the presidents of the Amity Ditch, Holbrook Canal and District 67 Irrigating Canals Association. Copies of the letter also were mailed to The Pueblo Chieftain.

"The ditch companies are concerned that the construction of a dam on Fountain Creek, a major tributary of the Arkansas River, could restrict or change the timing of flows on the river itself. The river already is overappropriated and changing the flows could complicate river issues with Kansas under the Arkansas River Compact."

Category: Colorado Water

5:47:21 AM    

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