Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More speculation about the next Secretary of the Interior...

New West: "In Utah, they're doing they're darndest to speculate about former Congressman Jim Hansen. Salt Lake Tribune Washington correspondent Robert Gehrke gets things rolling with a gem of a lede: 'Jim Hansen made a career in Congress driving environmentalists bonkers. Maybe he hasn't had his fill yet...'"

"The Casper Star-Tribune names Wyoming's U.S. Sen. Craig Thomas as another likely. Maybe it's because at 73, he's the same age as Hansen. Maybe not. They, too, bow to the Denver Post's speculation about Kempthorne.

"Of course, any and all candidates would have to step over Interior Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett, who is currently set to be acting secretary when Norton takes her leave at the end of March. She would have to be seen as a front-runner as well, since she only recently got confirmed, according to the Denver Post."

Category: Colorado Water

8:40:07 PM    

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Colorado State University: "Colorado State University Libraries' Water Resources Archive is proud to announce the launch of a brand-new virtual exhibit documenting Delph Carpenter's influential role in Western water policy.

"Carpenter and the Compacts features digital images and information from the Water Resources Archive's Delph Carpenter Collection.

"Carpenter, often referred to as the 'father' of the Colorado River Compact, was a Greeley water lawyer who identified the compact clause of the U.S. Constitution as a way to resolve water conflicts among western states. Carpenter's papers provide a wealth of information on interstate water treaties, prior appropriation, water-rights adjudication, the role of the federal government, and state sovereignty.

"The new virtual exhibit offers an important glimpse into Carpenter's contributions. With photographs, digital images of important documents, as well as other materials that highlight Carpenter and his historic work, the Water Resources Archive virtual exhibit now offers world wide access via the Colorado State University Libraries' Web site.

"Log on for a visit today at"

More Coyote Gulch coverage of the Colorado River compact here.

Category: Colorado Water

7:03:46 AM    

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New West: "In the end, Secretary Norton used the power of her office to turn the clock back in the West, to push the region back toward its history as a producer of the various fuels that drove American industrial power. She favored the sparsely populated rural West over its dense urban areas, and catered to the elements in Western society that emphasized the faux individualism of our region over the institutional arrangements that make the West function. Not the worst Secretary of the Interior by any stretch, Norton was strangely ineffectual in the role. Her departure is neither a triumph for environmentalists nor a loss for energy development. Much of the time, it'll be hard to know she's gone. And my guess is that few on either side will miss her very much."

Category: Colorado Water

6:56:30 AM    

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The Colorado Springs City Council approved the construction of an inflatable dam on Fountain Creek to help control sewage spills, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article, "An inflatable dam designed to prevent sewage spills from flowing down Fountain Creek should be in place by early spring 2007.

"Colorado Springs City Council members gave utility officials the go-ahead Tuesday to build the dam on Fountain Creek near the Sand Creek lift station. The hope is that it will halt problems that have angered Pueblo leaders downstream and led the 10th Judicial District attorney to file a lawsuit against the utility.

"The dam will cost $10.5 million, which will be covered by raising wastewater bills by about 35 cents a month next year. Officials think the cost will be worth it to customers who have said in surveys that environmental issues are their top utility concern...

"The structure will traverse Fountain Creek at the south edge of the city. In the event that sewage spills into Fountain Creek, engineers would inflate the dam, blocking any water from traveling farther south.

"Creek water would be diverted into an existing pond at the Sand Creek site, then to a yet-to-be-built holding pond and then to a treatment plant.

"At the same time, clean water would be released from another pond back into Fountain Creek, ensuring that downstream water rights are not harmed."

Category: Colorado Water

6:50:53 AM    

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The Denver Post is reporting that cost estimates are rising quickly for the proposed Genesee Dam. They write, "Construction bids for the Genesee Water & Sanitation District's proposed dam and reservoir came in Friday at up to more than twice the district's $6.6 million budget.

"Bids for the project in Bear Creek Canyon ranged from $10.6 million to $13.3 million.

"The disparity between the budget and bids was attributed by district officials to the increased cost of materials and rising energy prices pumped up by Hurricane Katrina...

"On March 28, the district's board will meet to discuss possible next steps. Starting this spring, the district wants to build a 125-acre-foot reservoir with a 100-foot-high, 500-foot-long dam on the north side of Colorado 74 between Kittredge and Idledale.

"District officials say the reservoir would provide the only water storage for 1,400 households and several commercial properties between Interstate 70 and Bear Creek."

Category: Colorado Water

6:44:22 AM    

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U.S. Representative John Salazar is urging parties involved in the Preferred Options Storage Plan to consider all impacts of the proposed legislation, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article, "Congressman John Salazar has asked a committee studying storage options for the Arkansas Valley to take a broader look at cumulative impacts in pending legislation.

"The Preferred Storage Options Plan implementation committee Tuesday considered comments about its latest version of a bill that would authorize study of Lake Pueblo enlargement. PSOP is an enterprise of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District.

"At its last meeting, the committee reviewed a draft shortening part of the bill, mostly at the suggestion of Aurora Deputy Director for Water Mark Pifher. The revised wording is much the same as the original bill, crafted by Southeastern President Wally Stealey, but retained cumulative effects only for water supply and storage.

"Salazar, a Democrat whose 3rd Congressional District includes much of the Arkansas Valley, wants cumulative effects to be considered in all areas of study...

"Salazar made several suggestions: Evaluation of cumulative impacts on water quality as well as quantity, including past, current and future exchanges, including transfers of water outside the basin; Study of cumulative environmental impacts; Evaluation of cumulative social and economic impact of exchanges, water trades and out-of-basin transfers, with emphasis on minority or low income populations; Identification and evaluation of potential mitigation for past, present and future water projects...

"The Preferred Storage Options Plan was proposed in 2001 by the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District to increase storage in the Arkansas Valley. Among its elements: Enlargement of Lake Pueblo and Turquoise Lake. Current legislation would authorize a $4 million to $8 million feasibility study. Lake Pueblo could be enlarged by as much as 75,000 acre-feet. Cities west of Pueblo eventually would benefit from more storage in Turquoise; Long-term excess capacity contracts of up to 36,000 acre-feet in Lake Pueblo would provide a more firm source of supply for cities up and down the valley; PSOP legislation would formalize the Bureau of Reclamation[base ']s authority to contract for storage and exchanges with Aurora, even though the Denver suburb is not part of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project; PSOP participants are Colorado Springs, Fountain, Security, Salida, Florence, Canon City, La Junta, Lamar, Poncha Springs, Pueblo West, Otero County, Pueblo Board of Water Works, Crowley County, the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District and the Southeastern District."

Lake County wants to be a full partner in PSOP, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. From the aritcle, "Lake County wants recognition as a full participant in a valleywide storage plan, money generated from water or hydropower projects within its boundaries, more opportunity to develop recreation and an 80-year moratorium on water projects.

"The list of concerns was spelled out Tuesday at the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District Preferred Storage Options Plan implementation committee meeting by Lake County Commission Chairman Ken Olsen.

"The commissioners have written a letter outlining their comments to the Southeastern board and members of Congress, who want unity in the valley before introducing a PSOP bill...

"The county at the headwaters of the Arkansas River also is concerned about a proposal by Aurora to build Box Creek Reservoir just north of Twin Lakes and a plan by Pueblo Board of Water Works to build a reservoir on Tennessee Creek in the northern part of the county.

"All the projects are years or even decades away. Turquoise Lake would not be enlarged until after Lake Pueblo is fully studied and a project started. Aurora has turned its attention for the next few years to a reuse project and Pueblo is pursuing enlargement of Clear Creek Reservoir in Chaffee County.

"Olsen said Lake County is prepared to exercise its 1041 land-use powers - similar to those used by Eagle County to delay Homestake II for Colorado Springs and Aurora - to block municipal projects or federal projects that benefit the city.

"Past projects in Lake County converted 10 percent of the county's land from private to federal control and promises to improve recreation in the county have gone unfulfilled for 38 years, Olsen said."

Category: Colorado Water

6:31:10 AM    

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Will President Bush consider Ben Nighthorse Campbell to lead Interior? Senator Allard, Senator Salazar and others hope so, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

From the article, "Old friends are recommending former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell as a replacement for outgoing Interior Secretary Gale Norton. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., sent a letter to President Bush on Tuesday, asking him to consider Campbell. If selected, he would be the first American Indian to head the agency that oversees tribal issues and vast tracts of federal lands.

"Campbell also gained support from the man who replaced him in the Senate, Democrat Ken Salazar, and from Sen. Ted Stevens, the Alaska Republican who wields considerable clout on natural resources issues on Capitol Hill. Stevens told The Hill newspaper that Campbell in the Cabinet 'would be a damned good idea.'

"Salazar said of Campbell: 'I've known Ben for a long time and respect him. I would support him. He has important expertise on Western water, public lands and Native American issues...'

"Allard said Campbell's background 'lends itself well to the multiple roles he would be required to play as secretary of Interior,' citing Campbell's past work chairing the Indian Affairs committee and his focus on land, water and energy issues - areas that the Interior Department oversees.

"In an interview, Allard also said that as an Indian, Campbell would be in a unique position to help resolve a long-running class- action lawsuit over the department's alleged mismanagement of Indian trust account funds, which are to compensate Indians for the use of their lands for energy development and grazing, among other things.

"Allard said he was among 'some rather important senators' who have urged the White House to consider Campbell for the job. Though Campbell was a Democrat-turned- Republican and earned a reputation as a maverick while in Congress, he would be a good fit for the agency, Allard said."

Category: Colorado Water

6:21:42 AM    

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