Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

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New West: "In 1872, Mark Twain wrote that the coyote 'is a living, breathing allegory of Want. He is always hungry. He is always poor, out of luck and friendless. The meanest creatures despise him and even the fleas would desert him for a velocipede.'

"Twain's portrait has held up well over 135 years. Coyote is still out of luck and friendless. He outpolls the devil and Darwinism as the embodiment of evil. Missing sheep? Fewer deer? Lost chihuahua? Missing children? It must have been Coyote."

6:23:35 PM    

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News @ "A committee of prominent Earth scientists has recommended that the US government fund 17 new Earth-observing missions over the next decade. Without these steps, they say, researchers could be left for years without critical data on climate change. 'Gaps in these measurements could be fatal,' warns committee co-chair Richard Anthes, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. The panel urged that roughly US$500 million be restored to NASA's Earth-observing budget, and that several cancelled scientific instruments be reinstated on satellites already in the works - by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other agencies."

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

6:19:08 AM    

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The Colorado River headwaters forum is on schedule for Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the North Branch Library in Silverthorne, according to the Summit Daily News (free registration required). From the article, "Although a proposed local pumpback project on the Blue River is at least temporarily on hold, the wider idea of 'recycling' stream water by diverting it upstream through a pipeline seems to be the flavor of the month among Colorado water managers. The Colorado Water Conservation Board is preparing to request up to $500,000 from the state Legislature to study a series of pumpback projects around the state, including in the Yampa Basin, another in the Gunnison Basin and along the South Platte. Locally, water managers are studying a plan to pump water from Green Mountain Reservoir back up as far as Silverthorne, or even into Dillon Reservoir. The granddaddy of pumpback projects may also get another look, according to John Rosapeppe, of Trout Unlimited, who explained that the so-called Big Straw is still on the radar screen. The Big Straw would involve tapping unused Colorado River water rights at the Colorado-Utah border and delivering them far back upstream for use on the West Slope and as a diversion to the Front Range. A study on the Big Straw a few years ago concluded that the project is feasible, but only at an enormous cost...

"Locally, the Blue River pumpback was proposed by the Breckenridge Sanitation District to increase flows in the Blue River between Breckenridge and Dillon Reservoir. Permitting negotiations with the Board of County Commissioners faltered when the parties couldn't agree on a few key issues, including the question of whether the county has regulatory authority over the pumpback...

"The idea of pumpbacks as a way to provide new water supplies is of concern to Ken Neubecker, vice president of Colorado Trout Unlimited, a conservation group protecting cold-water fisheries. 'It's the mindset that sees it as nothing more than plumbing - pipes and pools,' Neubecker said. With that mentality, nature doesn't enter into the equation, Neubecker added. The fact that water managers are increasingly looking at various pumpback projects is a clear warning sign to Neubecker that Colorado's raw water supplies are just about tapped out...

"Neubecker said he also plans to address the issue of minimum instream flows for the Colorado River between Kremmling and Dotsero at the Silverthorne forum. The Colorado Water Conservation Board holds such water rights on a number of streams in order to protect aquatic life to a 'reasonable' degree. But for now, there are no such flows anywhere on the Colorado between its confluence with the Blue River and the Utah state line, Neubecker said. At the same time, he wants to start discussions with the Bureau of Land Management about a potential wild and scenic river designation for parts of the Colorado in that reach. Neubecker said the Colorado is worthy of such designation because of its outstanding fishery and other recreational and scenic values. A wild and scenic river designation would likely prove highly controversial, but could ultimately help protect the Colorado from further depletions."

Category: Colorado Water

6:13:09 AM    

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Colorado State University is actively involved with water issues and weather science here in Colorado. Here's an article from CBS4Denver about CSU's program for volunteer weathermen, across the country. They write, " A network of amateur weather observers whose data provide a better picture of a storm's fury and could help develop detailed warnings is being expanded nationwide, officials said Tuesday. Colorado State University for years has run a network of volunteer weather observers in Colorado called the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, and in recent years has added other states. Now a $585,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will allow it to accept volunteers from throughout the nation, said State Climatologist Nolan Doesken said...

"Presently it has more than 2,000 volunteers in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Montana, Maryland and Virginia. All have program leaders. 'We can probably have two levels of participation. One with states with leaders and one without leaders. This would make it so that anybody anywhere in the country could participate very soon,' said Doesken. Volunteers would have to fill out applications to qualify, and provide their own equipment. Doesken said they're working on a way to verify their data. In addition to providing data, timely reports of hail and other dangerous weather can help warn people, said Logan Johnson, CoCoRaHS coordinator in Indiana."

Category: Colorado Water

6:04:18 AM    

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Here's a story about endocrine disruptor compounds (EDCs) in Idaho's waterways, from the Boise Weekly. From the article, "Whenever offered a glass of water, the great comedian W.C. Fields typically declined, on the grounds that fish have sex in it. But with the increasing spread of a class of chemicals called endocrine disruptor compounds (EDCs) in Idaho's watersheds, some experts wonder if local fish are at risk of losing their sexual and reproductive capacities. Despite scarce funding, the ramifications for human health still prompt research in this area. The potential hazards of EDCs were first discovered in the 1990s among fish and amphibians that gather downstream from sewage treatment plants in Europe. These waters contain abnormally high concentrations of organic chemicals such as steroids, nonprescription drugs, insect repellents, detergents, plasticizers, fire retardants, antibiotics, fragrances and household solvents and their byproducts. Aquatic biologists noticed that wild fish and frogs evidenced significantly increased rates of sex reversal, gonadal cysts and other reproductive tract tumors, dead tissue and decreased fertility. Intersexed or feminized fish, in which males grow both functioning testes and ovaries, have already been caught in rivers in Colorado, Washington state and Virginia, and in Lake Ontario. Because these intersexed characteristics make reproduction difficult, they tend to appear just before fish populations begin to decline. EDCs are found in herbicides and pesticides, plastics, pharmaceuticals, residues from contraceptives and hormone replacements, cleansers, human waste and pollution from feedlots."

Category: Colorado Water

5:55:51 AM    

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Folks in the Lower Arkansas Valley are looking over federal legislation for more water storage proposed by Congressman John Salazar, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article, "Pueblo water officials took a cautious look Tuesday at potential federal legislation to address water storage needs in the Arkansas Valley. U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., is proposing new legislation that would authorize $10 million for in-state studies of the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of water transfers. Only after those studies are complete would a $4 million study look at the feasibility of enlarging Lake Pueblo and other storage options. Salazar's District Director Sal Pace met with the Pueblo Board of Water Works Tuesday to outline the bill. Also attending were officials from Pueblo West and the Lower Arkansas Water Conservancy District...

"Pace said the bill differs in several ways from earlier legislation, particularly in that it makes no mention of the Preferred Storage Options Plan, a proposal by the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District.

"Other key differences: References to past intergovernmental agreements have been removed; Bureau of Reclamation contracts are permitted for uses within the basin, but future contracts for use of water outside the basin are prohibited; Pace was unsure how this affects ongoing negotiations with Aurora for a storage and exchange contract; Water quality studies for the impact of return flows on Fountain Creek."

Category: Colorado Water

5:48:33 AM    

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