Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

Subscribe to "Colorado Water" in Radio UserLand.

Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A picture named arcticseaice905.jpg

According to the Rocky Mountain News the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration says that 2006 was the warmest on record. From the article, "Last year was the warmest on record in the U.S., and the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases was partly to blame, federal climate officials said Tuesday. Last year squeaked past 1998 by a small fraction of a degree to take over the top spot, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The 2006 average annual temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 55 degrees Fahrenheit, 0.07 degrees warmer than 1998. In the U.S., the past nine years have been among the 25 warmest years on record, a streak that is unprecedented in records dating to 1895, according to NOAA. The buildup of heat-trapping gases from tailpipes and smokestacks contributed to the 2006 warming, according to NOAA, an agency recently criticized for allegedly trying to prevent its researchers from freely discussing global climate change."

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

6:47:16 AM    

A picture named bluemesa.jpg

Here's an update on the Gunnision Basin Roundtable's views about legislation that would study unappropriated water in the basin, from the Montrose Daily Press. From the article, "The Gunnison Basin roundtable will leave the legislation to the legislators. The roundtable decided Monday to abandon any attempts to lobby for the alteration of a spending bill that would forward $500,000 to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for the study of water projects around the state. The study would look at six projects, including one that would pump water out of the Gunnison Basin. After more than an hour of debate, in which the roundtable concluded that opening up the spending bill might be a tempting invitation to Front Range legislators, it moved, instead, to request that the CWCB include the roundtable with the scope of work to spend the money should the legislation pass. 'Do you think you'll have the political clout at the state house to preserve what you want without somebody from the East Slope doing what they want?' asked Bill Trampe, the Colorado River Water Conservation District's representative to the roundtable...

"Members of the roundtable objected to studying how to pump water out of the basin, while a number of in-basin questions remained unresolved. Yet to be determined, they argued, is the amount of water needed to satisfy downstream demands on the Colorado River's lower basin, endangered fish species, the operation of the Aspinall Unit and a water right for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Rick Brown, the state's section chief for intrastate water management and development, said the language in the funding legislation would be kept broad to allow the study to look at a range of scenarios, including future downstream requirements."

Category: Colorado Water

6:26:02 AM    

A picture named greenmountainreservoir.jpg

Here's an update on the proposed catch and release rules for the Blue River below Green Mountain Reservoir, from the Summit Daily News (free registration required). From the article, "While the Colorado Division of Wildlife will most likely endorse catch and release as the policy for fishing the Blue River below Green Mountain Reservoir, the discussion illustrates the delicate balance between science, morality and politics. While the public has widely supported catch and release, which now stands as the agency's preferred alternative, an aquatic biologist with the agency said science provides evidence that some limited harvest of fish could have long-term benefits for the fishery. And field-level CDOW managers also said a constituency that was under-represented at the anglers' roundtables would support some harvest of fish...

"Trout Unlimited's take: 'There are some places where we actually support some limited take,' said Colorado Trout Unlimited director Dave Nickum, citing the Gunnison River as one of those spots. Allowing some harvest of fish is a valid management tool, depending on the objective, he said. On the Blue River reach in question, Nickum said his nonprofit cold water fishery conservation group was comfortable with both the preferred catch and release option and the limited-take alternative. Nickum also said social factors are a factor, as well as the question of which regulations are easier to enforce. The simpler catch and release rule is clear-cut and doesn't require field managers to measure fish, for example. The trick is finding a balance that allows a sustainable take, he said. The push for catch and release rules on the Blue may reflect a wider cultural shift, Nickum said, explaining that it wasn't too long ago that the Division of Wildlife faced strident opposition to catch and release regulations."

Category: Colorado Water

6:13:37 AM    

A picture named roaringfork.jpg

Here's an article from the Aspen Times with details about the efforts to plan comprehensively for sustainable water supplies and recreation in the valley. They write, "People drink the water of the Roaring Fork Valley, irrigate with it, fish in it, float on it, admire its beauty. It's also easy for many to take for granted that it always will be there, in the same kind of quantity and condition as today. A diverse group of agencies and nonprofit organizations doesn't want to leave that to chance. Instead, it is undertaking the first comprehensive watershed plan for the Roaring Fork Valley. The Ruedi Water and Power Authority is sponsoring the effort, but it is the result of two years of work by such entities as The Nature Conservancy, Roaring Fork Conservancy and Colorado River Water Conservation District. They have been working together as a planning and information-sharing group called the Watershed Collaborative.

"An initial phase of the planning process entails creating a State of the Watershed Report. It will pull together information from several dozen studies and create a comprehensive picture of the watershed's current condition, said Mark Fuller, executive director of the Ruedi Water and Power Authority. 'The philosophy is we won't be able to tell what we want to change until we know what we've got,' Fuller said. The authority has contracted with the Roaring Fork Conservancy to take the lead on the planning effort. The watershed report is scheduled for completion in November, and the final plan a year later...

"Fuller said the watershed report will help identify data gaps and prioritize water management needs in the valley. He thinks local water quantity and quality are fairly good. 'But neither of those are at a level that people would like to see them,' he said. Thanks to diversions, the Roaring Fork River can dry up in the Aspen area and up Independence Pass in some drought years, as can the lower Crystal River.

Category: Colorado Water

6:00:16 AM    

A picture named arkansasfountainconverge.jpg

All of the rancor and ill will on both sides of the dispute over Fountain Creek has driven Colorado Springs into denial. Here's an article about the issue from the Pueblo Chieftain. They write, "Colorado Springs told a judge its spills of pollution into Fountain Creek have had little adverse impact on the creek and that much of the pollution comes from other sources. Colorado Springs, in a new court filing, told U.S. District Judge Walker Miller that most of the releases of untreated sewage into the creek have come from sewage systems other than the Colorado Springs system. 'This is a hotly disputed factual issue,' in the lawsuits of Pueblo County District Attorney Bill Thiebaut and the Sierra Club, the city said...

"Colorado Springs contended in the filing that its 'release(s) have had little, if any, measurable adverse impact' on the creek. The city said it is prepared to 'present compelling factual and expert evidence' to prove that contention. It said the sources of pollution in the creek include surface runoff, farming and discharges from other sewage systems, such as military bases in El Paso County...

"Colorado Springs asserted that the Clean Water Act recognizes that 'upset' releases of pollution occur as a result of events outside the reasonable control of Colorado Springs and despite the proper operation and maintenance of the system. The city contended the act excuses 'upsets' as not being a matter for liability."

Category: Colorado Water

5:52:35 AM    

A picture named cutthroat.jpg

It looks like trout have won one for a change, according to the Rocky Mountain News. From the article, "Fish that are jeopardized by overheated Colorado waterways are expected to gain a measure of protection under tougher standards for stream temperatures that were adopted Tuesday. Colorado's Water Quality Control Commission approved the new standards after five years of often contentious debate among industrial groups, water utilities and environmentalists. The complicated litany of standards attempts to preserve water temperatures necessary for fish to survive. They include varying temperature limits for a number of species - both those favoring higher elevation, cold-water streams and those inhabiting the warmer stretches on the Colorado plains...

"The standards will take effect over the next several years, as regulators examine each of the state's river basins, and implement updated rules for a variety of pollutants. Environmentalists, along with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, praised the new standards, as well as the commission's adoption of "interim" temperature rules designed to protect trout species in the state's high country "gold medal" fishing streams. Those rules will apply within just a few months...

"A number of human activities can shift water temperatures. Sewage treatment facilities and power plants can discharge water that's too warm into streams. And water diverted out of streams can leave low-flowing streams more susceptible to rising temperature - a particular danger to cold-water trout fisheries. Elevated stream temperatures have hurt fish habitat in Bear Creek below Evergreen and were associated with outbreaks of disease in the Eagle and South Platte rivers, according to Colorado Trout Unlimited, an environmental group that has long fought for new temperature standards. While all seem to agree adopting the new rules mark progress, they probably will have only limited impact. That is because numerous exceptions are built into the numbers, and various interests will have the opportunity to tinker with limits on specific river segments. Perhaps most significantly, water flows that shrink because of diversions for human use are exempt from the temperature rules, because Colorado water laws involving the right to divert water generally trump protections for fish."

Here's the coverage from the Denver Post. They write, "The standards, which still must be finalized, will protect about 85 percent of stream miles in cold-water streams, [Nicole Vieira, water-quality specialist for the Colorado Division of Wildlife] said. Fish cannot self-regulate their body temperature and are vulnerable to excessive or rapid changes in the water temperature. Temperature standards have been on the books for more than 25 years, but they were rarely, if ever, applied. For several years, environmental and sportsmen's groups have been urging the state to adopt a new set of rules. The state's water-quality division worked on a proposal for more than two years, in collaboration with environmental groups, cities and industries. The governor-appointed commission heard two days of highly technical testimony from environmentalists, industry representatives and state water-quality division staffers, as well as the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The nine-member commission unanimously approved two sets of standards. An interim standard set for gold-medal fisheries and rivers with cutthroat and brook trout will go into effect in 2007."

Category: Colorado Water

5:41:37 AM    

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2007 John Orr.
Last update: 2/1/07; 7:27:32 AM.
January 2007
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      
Dec   Feb