Coyote Gulch's Colorado Water
The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land. -- Luna Leopold

Urban Drainage and Flood Control District

Subscribe to "Coyote Gulch's 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.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A picture named yampariver.jpg

Congratulations to Kathy Bower who has been named the District 6 Water Commissioner of the year, according to The Craig Daily Press. From the article:

Bower has been named Division 6 Water Commissioner of the Year. "It was really a no-brainer who deserved it," Division 6 engineer Erin Light said of Bower's award. Light nominated Bower for the award. Bower was more modest in her reaction to the award. "Well I guess I was kind of surprised in a way, but we did have a pretty rough summer," Bower said, "or I should say, I had a rough summer."

Summers are a particularly busy time for Bower, a time when she can rarely be found in the close quarters of her office. As water commissioner, she's responsible for a variety of duties, including things as complicated as balancing the needs of environmentalists seeking to protect endangered species, and ranchers hoping to divert much-needed water to irrigate crops. Fortunately, for people in Division 6, Bower understands the important role water plays for many groups of people. "I feel like it's my job to be the go-between," Bower said, "I understand what they're going through." Water management and oversight runs in Bower's family. Her father, Moffat County resident Jack Leonard, was a rancher and also worked as a water commissioner. It was the same position Bower now holds. With drought conditions in recent years, and changes in technology, state and national governments are keeping much closer tabs on who is using water, and just as important, how much they're using, Bower said. A complex set of laws are in place that state officials must enforce regarding water use and management. It falls on Bower to keep people informed about the laws. "Times have changed," she said. "Water is getting so critical."

Category: Colorado Water

6:45:45 AM    

A picture named sewerusa.jpg

Here's a look at sewer improvements being proposed in Grand Junction from The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. They write:

During a Thursday afternoon meeting between the Grand Junction City Council and the Mesa County Commissioners, it was made clear that in order to accommodate the Grand Valley's rapid growth, the Persigo sewer district needs to be expanded. It was also tentatively decided that the city's urban growth boundary -- basically a line on the map that shows were the construction of homes and businesses is most likely to occur next -- should mirror the boundaries of the Persigo sewer district...

When told it could take two years to expand sewer services into areas such as Orchard Mesa, south of the Colorado River and east of the current Persigo boundary, Rowland exclaimed: "That's not soon enough." City Attorney John Shaver then stepped in and said that perhaps Persigo expansion to the southeast could be accomplished in six months. All members of the City Council and the two participating Commissioners, Rowland and Steve Acquafresca, agreed to meet again in December to examine a revised map of the Persigo boundaries. The councilors and commissioners tentatively agreed to expand the southeastern Persigo boundary, otherwise known as Grand Junction's urban growth boundary, over to 32 Road and U.S. Highway 50. The district's northern boundary will be pushed up to the BLM lands. To the northeast the boundary will be expanded to round out a hodgepodge of checkerboard annexations. The eastern boundary will hold steady as will the district's western boundary. The district's western boundary will be discussed at an undetermined future date with city of Fruita, Grand Junction and Mesa County officials at the table. The western boundary abuts the open space boundary established between Grand Junction and Fruita. The 800-pound gorilla in the room was annexation. Expansion of the Persigo sewer plants service area does not necessarily entail immediate annexation, but it will eventually...

The city and the county will meet one more time this year to fine tune Grand Junction's urban growth boundary. "I believe (that meeting) will separate the oil from the water," Kadrich said. The draft map of Junction's expanded sewer/urban growth boundary will then be submitted for public review in the annual Persigo meeting in January between the city and the county. Mayor Jim Doody voiced an opinion that more than one public meeting should be held to discuss the proposed changes, to which everyone agreed.

Category: Colorado Water

6:38:21 AM    

A picture named cotransmountaindiversions.jpg

Western slope interests are happy about the deal announced this week over the Eagle River, that drove a stake in the heart of a planned transmountain diversion, according to The Rocky Mountain News. From the article:

Vail and other communities in the fast-growing Eagle River Basin won a key victory this week in a deal that protects streamflows and effectively guarantees that no more water from the scenic stream will be transferred to the Front Range. The agreement was reached as a settlement in a bitter year-long court battle between the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District and Denver Water, the state's largest water utility. The deal allows Denver to hold onto a valued reservoir site north of Wolcott and to preserve some of its water rights for use in trades on the West Slope. In exchange, Denver gave up the rights to thousands of acre-feet of Eagle River water it had once planned to bring across the Continental Divide. "Now we have certainty that there is no longer a threat of a large transmountain diversion yet to be developed," said Chris Treese, director of external affairs for the Glenwood Springs-based Colorado River Water Conservation District, a party to the case. "With confidence, the Eagle Basin can look to the future and know that nobody with a large water right is going to come in," Treese said...

Grand County Commissioner James Newberry, a critic of Denver Water in the past, said this time the giant utility deserves some credit for agreeing to give up the Eagle River water. "We're fighting for all the water we can get up here," Newberry said. "For Denver to do that, they're stepping up to the plate." Treese and others said this week's Eagle River Settlement may help break the stalemate in the Upper Colorado because it provides certainty about demands on the Eagle River and restores some good will between Denver and its longtime adversaries. "The most important thing about all of this is that this is a first step in a larger process," Treese said. Environmentalists said the settlement is an important victory for the rivers and the West Slope. Drew Peternell, an attorney for Trout Unlimited, said the agreement comes after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled this fall that cities must begin to limit how much water they can claim for future growth. "I think, after that decision this fall, that Denver knew it would have lost either at the trial or Supreme Court level if it continued (the court battle)," Peternell said. Tom Gougeon, president of Denver Water, disagrees with the notion that the West Slope prevailed in this dispute. "The point here isn't about keeping score," he said. "There are a lot of people here trying to figure things out. This settlement was the right thing to do."

More coverage from The Vail Daily (free registration required). From the article:

Water from Eagle County's tourist-luring streams and rivers is no longer in danger of being piped to Denver. Since the 1960s, Denver has held rights to much of the water flowing through the valley and planned to use it for future customers on the Front Range. But in a legal agreement reached this week, Denver is giving up most of those rights. The settlement comes just before lawyers went back to court to finish a trial that began this summer. Eagle County water managers were challenging the water rights held by Denver Water, which serves more than a million people in the metro area.

The Eagle River provides the recreational lifeblood for Eagle County, and having its water secured is important for the tourist-based economy that drives the area, said Glenn Porzak, attorney for the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District and the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority. "The outcome of this case is an incredible accomplishment for Eagle County residents and the entire West Slope" said Bob Warner, chairman of the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District. In the agreement, Denver does keep some water rights in Eagle County, and would also have the right to participate in a possible reservoir project in Wolcott that could benefit users on both sides of the state, Porzak said...

"We hope this is the first step in what will be a much broader agreement among West Slope partners and the Front Range to address environmental, recreational and water supply needs on both sides of the Continental Divide," said Eric Kuhn, general manager of the Colorado River District.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:30:48 AM    

A picture named denveraquifer.jpg

Opponents of Powertech's proposed uranium operation in Weld County had a chance to blister the ears of 3 state legislators this week, according to The Greeley Tribune (free registration required). From the article:

State Reps. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, and Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, spent nearly two hours Thursday night as resident after resident stepped up to the microphone and aired their sentiments, claiming their livelihoods were at stake...

Going into the meeting -- put on by a residents' group called Stewards of the Land -- all three lawmakers stressed that they were there merely to gain information and receive input on the issue of uranium mining, and that they had not formed an opinion. "I learned a lot more and I became more convinced that we've got to be very insistent that we not jeopardize the water or the air," Lundberg said. "I'm still, like Representative Sonnenburg said, gaining enough information to know exactly what our course needs to be, but it cannot jeopardize those permanent resources of northern Colorado." The residents focused on many issues involving Powertech's proposed in-situ mining process, which has drawn considerable ire the past few months as thousands of people across the region have joined anti-uranium mining groups, according to H. Mike Williams, the outreach chairman of Coloradoans Against Resource Development. Claiming the proposed mine will harm the underground aquifer and devalue the property and land they own, residents tried to send a strong message Thursday to lawmakers that they need to do their research before allowing the mine to be developed. After the meeting, Jay Davis, who has been heavily involved in the effort against the mine, said he wasn't sure if the meeting swayed any opinions among the lawmakers. "I think it's more an educational for them right now, too," Davis said. "I mean, if I can give them as much education as possible, that's my intent. And anything that came out of here that they take with them, that's great."

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election

6:21:22 AM    

A picture named fountaincreekwatershed.jpg

Planners looking at the management of Fountain Creek, including the Corps of Engineers, are considering a dam on the waterway afterall, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

A dam on Fountain Creek will receive further study under the Fountain Creek Watershed Plan, the technical advisory committee agreed Thursday. The move came after a morning of discussion about the plan with the Army Corps of Engineers, which plans to use $150,000 to complete a $3 million study of Fountain Creek by March. During the 7-year-old study, most of the funding has gone to describing the conditions on Fountain Creek, and the Corps has been working with local officials for only the past four months to determine which projects will be evaluated.

Charles Wilson, who is leading the technical investigation for the Corps, said the study of the dam would only be cursory, because there will be only $150,000 available to study about a dozen separate projects. Wilson said the more important part of recommendations he made in August were suggestions to adopt uniform policies in Pueblo and El Paso counties and to organize an authority to carry out larger projects. "Most of the projects are addressing the symptoms," Wilson explained. "The smaller projects get, the more they address symptoms. Larger projects come closer to addressing the problems." Wilson also said with only about $15,000 available for review of each project, there is little new that can be determined about a dam. The Corps determined in 1980 that a dam would not have a positive benefit-cost ratio, and has been lukewarm on a study.

Pueblo officials also want a study of a dam or series of dams, said Dennis Maroney, Pueblo stormwater utilities director. "If we don't take care of the upper part of Fountain Creek, we will be dredging every year," Maroney said. Maroney asked Wilson if the Corps could include a study of a series of dams, possibly on tributaries rather than the mainstem of Fountain Creek. The idea also was advanced in August by Pueblo County's land use attorney, Ray Petros, in meetings with the Corps. "When I met with Ray Petros and (Pueblo County Commissioner) Anthony Nunez in August, they presented at least a half a dozen scenarios. They were all interesting and all had merit, but I asked him which one had the most merit, since funding is fairly limited," Wilson said. "My preference is looking at a single dam. On the others, off-stream, we have no info."

The Army Corps of Engineers will include 46 projects, each of which is aimed at flood risk reduction, channel stability or ecosystem recreation. After debate Thursday, 13 of the identified projects were organized into seven general groups for further study.

- Dredging and tree removal in the Pueblo channel, where the Corps constructed levees in the 1980s; flood risk reduction.

- A cursory study of a dam on Fountain Creek, reviewing documents from 1970 and 1980 to determine if sites are still valid; flood risk reduction.

- U.S. 24 corridor west of Colorado Springs, to reduce flood risk to structures in flood plain; flood risk reduction.

- Cheyenne Creek, near the Broadmoor area in southern Colorado Springs, where development has encroached into the flood plain; flood risk reduction.

- A series of seven projects between Fountain and Pinon would look at establishing wetlands; ecosystem restoration and channel stability.

- Monument Creek through Colorado Springs; flood risk reduction. The city has already done extensive studies, so less work would be required.

- Habitat restoration in Fountain Creek from Colorado 47 to Fourth Street in Pueblo; ecosystem restoration.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Category: Colorado Water

6:13:28 AM    

A picture named southerndeliverysystem.jpg

Colorado Springs has asked Division 2 Water Court judge Dennis Maes to clarify his order for the city to obtain a land-use permit from Pueblo County for the Southern Delivery System, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Colorado Springs has filed a motion for clarification on an order by Pueblo Chief District Judge Dennis Maes requiring the city to seek a land-use permit from Pueblo County for its proposed Southern Delivery System. The motion was filed last week in Pueblo District Court. The order seeks to clarify if Maes' Nov. 8 ruling in favor of Pueblo County's motion for summary judgment applies to the entire impact of SDS Pueblo County outlined, or just the physical structures involved. Pueblo County referred to impacts from increased storage in Lake Pueblo and more return flows down Fountain Creek as well as pumps, pipelines, road crossings, property disruption and other physical effects of building the project.

In last week's motion, written by attorney David Eason, Colorado Springs said it wants to know whether Pueblo County would have authority under the 1974 HB1034 as well as HB1041 from the same year. Colorado Springs still disagrees that it is subject to 1041 rules, Eason wrote. The city also never agreed to consider 1034 powers, which are slightly different in scope, in a stipulation with Pueblo County before a trial scheduled in mid-October. The city wants Maes to clarify whether "SDS activities" in Pueblo County's motion for summary judgment are all included in the Nov. 8 order. Those activities include return flows down Fountain Creek, recapture and exchange of flows and an intergovernmental agreement to maintain minimum flows through Pueblo. Eason argued only the physical construction of the raw water pipeline and related components should be considered by the court. Pueblo County has until Dec. 10 to respond to the newest Colorado Springs motion and Maes would have 60 days to rule on the motion, if he chooses to.

Pueblo West is hoping to hook up to Colorado Springs' Southern Delivery System, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The Pueblo West Metro District board of directors earlier this month approved an amendment to an intergovernmental agreement between partners in the Southern Delivery System. The agreement, reached Aug. 1, 2003, among Colorado Springs, Fountain and Security, sets up a partnership in the Southern Delivery System, a $1 billion plan by Colorado Springs to pump water from Pueblo Dam through a 66-inch-diameter pipeline 43 miles north. If the pipeline were to connect to Pueblo Dam, as Colorado Springs proposes, Pueblo West would tap into the pipeline to increase the efficiency of its water delivery from Lake Pueblo to meet peak demand. Pueblo West is also looking at a river intake below Pueblo Dam as a possibility to meet the need...Colorado Springs, Fountain and Security have also approved the agreement to allow Pueblo West to participate, said Don Saling, Pueblo West manager.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water

5:53:44 AM    

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2007 John Orr.
Last update: 12/1/07; 10:39:01 AM.
November 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  
Oct   Dec