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

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

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From The Glenwood Springs Post Independent (free registration required), "The Forest Service may limit the number of total commercial rafting and kayaking trips that can boat through the Shoshone rapids area on the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon. The announcement came as no surprise to some area outfitters. 'The 73,300 number is a number we've been working under for the last five to 10 years anyway,' said Kevin Schneider, owner of Rock Gardens Rafting. 'We didn't want to replicate the Arkansas River with a stream of boats going down it.' A 30-day public comment period on the environmental assessment (EA) began Tuesday. The preferred alternative in the EA proposes a limit of 73,350 user days per year, according to a legal advertisement in the Post Independent on Wednesday. Schneider added the formal EA process and Forest Service limit is really just an 'academic' thing at this time. After a busy year in 2000 or 2001, Schneider said, outfitters worked to control the number of user days themselves."

Category: Colorado Water
11:50:21 AM    

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From The Carbondale Valley Journal, "The snowpack levels in the upper Fryingpan River Basin are among the highest in the state. What is unusual this winter is the snowpack remains deep at lower elevations -- reflecting the cold temperatures in the Roaring Fork Valley throughout December and January. The snowpack at Nast Lake, at an elevation of 8,700 feet in the Fryingpan Basin, was 56 percent above average as of Monday afternoon, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a federal agency that measures the snowpack around the state at automated stations. The snowpack was 32 percent above average at the Kiln site, at an elevation of 9,600 feet, and it was 42 percent at Ivanhoe, at 10,400 feet. The Fryingpan River basin readings were slightly higher than snowpack measurements elsewhere in the Roaring Fork River basin. East of Aspen, for example, the snowpack was 30 percent above average Monday at an elevation of 10,600 feet, the NRCS reported."

Category: Colorado Water
11:45:21 AM    

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Congratulations to our friends at The Pueblo Chieftain. They were honored this week by the Sierra Club for the water issue coverage. The award is well deserved. We've cited them as sources 848 times according to the Google index of Coyote Gulch.

At the Colorado Water Congress this week we were schmoozing during lunch with a staffer from the Colorado Water Conservation Board. He said, "I read the Chieftain online every day. They have the most complete coverage of water issues in the state and any errors are honest mistakes."

Category: Colorado Water
11:40:06 AM    

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From email from the Oil Shale & Tar Sands Programmatic EIS Information Center:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has scheduled a series of open house public meetings to provide additional information on the Draft Resource Management Plan Amendments and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Draft PEIS) for oil shale and tar sands resources in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.

These meetings will be conducted in an Open House format which will allow individuals to ask questions regarding the Draft PEIS of the BLM and Argonne National Laboratory staff that will be present. Comments on the PEIS are being accepted via U.S. Mail and via the Oil Shale and Tar Sands PEIS Web Site at:

To learn more about how you can participate in the PEIS process, including instructions for submitting comments, visit the "Getting Involved" page of the Oil Shale and Tar Sands PEIS Web Site (

The BLM will hold public meetings at the following locations on the dates and times specified: February 11, 2008,Cheyenne, Wyoming, 2-4 pm and 6:30-8:30 pm, The Holiday Inn - Big Horn Room, 204 West Fox Farm Road, Cheyenne, WY, (307) 638-4466; February 12, 2008, Denver, Colorado, 2-4 pm and 6:30-8:30 pm, Sheraton Denver-West Hotel and Conference Center, 360 Union Boulevard, Lakewood, CO, (303) 987-2000; February 13, 2008, Rifle, Colorado, 2-4 pm and 6:30-8:30 pm, Garfield County Fairgrounds, 1001 Railroad Avenue, Rifle, CO, (970) 645-1377; February 14, 2008, Meeker, Colorado, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Mountain Valley Bank, 1001 Railroad Avenue, 400 Main Street, Meeker, (970) 878-0103; February 25, 2008, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2-4 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m., BLM Salt Lake Field Office, 2370 South 2300 West, Salt Lake City, UT, (801) 977-4300; February 26, 2008, 2006, Price, Utah, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Holiday Inn, 838 Westwood Boulevard, Price, UT, (435) 637-8880; February 27, 2008, Vernal, Utah, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Western Park Convention Center, 302 East 200 South, Vernal, UT, (435) 789-7396; February 28, 2008, Rock Springs, Wyoming, 6:30-8:30 p.m., BLM Rock Springs Field Office, 280 Highway 191 North, Rock Springs, WY, (307) 352-0256

If you have questions or need more information, contact the Oil Shale and Tar Sands PEIS Webmaster at

Category: 2008 Presidential Election
11:13:13 AM    

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Georgetown plans to install a submerged hyperbaric aeration system in an attempt to come into compliance with state regs, according to The Clear Creek Courant. From the article:

An eleventh-hour proposal to help Georgetown meet state requirements for wastewater disposal employs an innovative technology used widely in Canada and Japan but not common in the U.S. The proposal, funded by Shadows Ranch owner Joe Sysel and prepared by John Grove of Whole Water Systems LLC, would involve building a VERTREAT wastewater treatment facility at Shadows Ranch on land donated by Sysel. Known as "Alternative 3" and presented to the Clear Creek Wastewater Utility Plan study group last month and the community last week, the proposal would allow for a regional facility that was initially unaffordable. The facility would handle 1 million gallons a day...

In 2003, the state cited Georgetown for violations at its plant. In 2005, Georgetown spent $650,000 to install new head works to screen out large items and added a new chlorine contact basin that kills bacteria before the water enters the creek. The town is also accepting bids for a $250,000 project to seal the pipes. To be in full compliance with the state, the plant needs an additional $3 million in improvements to meet capacity needs. "We don't have much time," said Town Administrator Chuck Stearns. "The state is saying we should have already been in design for phase two in 2006."[...]

For Georgetown to fund the improvements needed to meet state standards, it would likely have to issue a bond to fund the $3 million. Ed Rapp of the Clear Creek Watershed said a supplemental environmental project grant of $4 million might be available. Rapp has guaranteed that grant to the Georgetown plant if the towns of Silver Plume and Georgetown agree to move forward with the VERTREAT plan. If the grant came through, Georgetown and Silver Plume would need only an additional $700,000 to complete the first phase of the new plant. In exchange for the donated land, Sysel is asking for a 15-year right to 300 taps at a cost of $4,000 per tap, or $1.2 million. He could also build his own facility to serve Shadows Ranch for less than that. "We are on top of an aquifer that goes all the way to Louisiana," Sysel said. "We are trying to solve a regional problem. But we are going to move forward with the VERTREAT with or without this partnership."

Category: Colorado Water
10:39:07 AM    

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The Middle Arkansas Groundwater Users Association is hoping to score a 20 year lease for a 100 acre feet of water from The Pikes Peak Regional Authority according to The Tri-Lakes Tribune. From the article:

The Middle Arkansas Groundwater Users Association sent a letter indicating its interest in leasing water from the authority for augmentation. The association said in its letter it is a small group of well owners on Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River that does not qualify for augmentation under one of the rules included in The Rules Governing the Arkansas River Water Bank Program. The program was created to establish and operate a water bank for use by stored water owners in the Arkansas River Basin and its tributaries, according to the document. The association filed an application with the water court to obtain a plan for augmentation, according to the letter. The court looks at the effects of a user's wells when a user such as the association seeks to adjudicate a plan for augmentation, said Rick Fendel, legal counsel for the regional water authority...

The association indicated in the letter that the Arkansas Groundwater Users Association now uses return flows provided by Cherokee Metropolitan District. The outfall for the district's wastewater treatment goes into Sand Creek and through several tributaries. The water eventually enters the Arkansas River, said Kip Petersen, the district's general manager. He said residents along the Arkansas River are able to use the water the district has generated. The association is interested in possibly getting a 20-year lease for about 100 acre feet of water a year from the authority. Woodmoor Water & Sanitation District Manager Phil Steininger said he believes it is premature to sell water to anyone for 20 years, but said he would consider selling water on a year-to-year basis. Fendel agreed the authority could not sign an agreement for 20 years and said the authority could perhaps consider signing an agreement for two to three years. Steininger indicated he would be comfortable with that option. However, if the authority gives the association a two-year lease for water and the association's wells are situated in a position that causes the effects of pumping the wells to take three years to hit the river, the association's plans might not be approved under a two-year lease because it would not have enough water to augment for the third year.

Category: Colorado Water
10:21:12 AM    

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Here's an update on the Rio Grande Decision Support System computer model for the San Luis Valley's groundwater management from The Del Norte Prospector. From the article:

A computer model crucial to San Luis Valley water management sub-district calculations is undergoing refinement that will cost at least $75,000 this year. Rio Grande Water Conservation District (RGWCD) Engineer Allen Davey told the water board during its January meeting that the model is off on the calculations associated with the proposed Saguache area sub-district. "We have discovered by just checking different areas that the groundwater model assumes more pumping -- considerably more pumping -- than is actually occurring," Davey said. He added the model was also off in its calculations for the sub-district south of the Rio Grande.The model does not recognize sub-irrigation that occurred signifi-cantly in the past, he said. This information is important in simulating well depletions to the river, Davey said. Davey said these problems with the model can be corrected, but it will take more time and money...

The Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado Division of Water Resources developed the Rio Grande Decision Support System (RGDSS) including the RGDSS ground water model after legislation authorized the study in the late 1990s. The RGDSS was a key factor and point of contention between proponents and objectors in the 2006 confined aquifer rules water trial in Alamosa. Dr. Willem Schreider, senior engineer with Principia Mathematica, has continued to refine the model since the 2006 trial in which he defended the model as one of the finest efforts he had worked on. He admitted at that time the model had some glitches but testified that it was reliable. The RGWCD board last July authorized $50,000 for an additional six months work for Schreider and his firm. At the end of the year, there was $1,650 left from that budget. Davey told the water board he had discussed some of the problems with the model with Schreider and the need to improve it. Davey said Schreider has received another contract from the state for $70,000 and he asked for another $25,000 from the water district for the next six months to work on sub-district specific problems with the model. RGWCD Board President Ray Wright said he believed the model refinement was essential so people would have greater confidence that the information the model was providing in terms of the sub-districts was correct. He said Schreider is the person who can correct problems with the model, and he recommended that the board approve additional funding for the work. The board approved the $25,000 expenditure.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Category: Colorado Water
10:11:06 AM    

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From The Center Post Dispatch, "Southern Colorado Farms lost more than $2.2 million in potential sales due to hail damage last year. Without the use of hail cannons , however, managers of the Center-based farm believe the damage would have been worse. The 2007 crops suffered substantial damage from the hail,[per thou] Southern Colorado Farms General Manager-Finance and Administration Michael Jones stated in his annual report to the Colorado Water Conservation Board that permits the use of hail cannons on the farm. 'In spite of the damage incurred, it appears to us that the damage to fields downstream in the storms' paths was mitigated by the cannon activity when compared to both neighboring fields and our own fields unprotected by the cannons,' Jones added. Southern Colorado Farms General Manager-Farm Operations Amy Kunugi shared a report of the farm's hail cannon use, precipitation and other data last week in a public meeting in Center. She clarified that the $2.2 million was not profit but estimated lost sales due to hail damage. Tender baby spinach pockmarked by hail, for example, could not be marketed and had to be disked under, Kunugi explained . She said the farm was hit hard by July 4-5 storms when the farm was about to harvest lettuce. "

Category: Colorado Water
9:59:54 AM    

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Residents of the Brewster area near Florence are looking to join the Florence Municipal Water District. Here's an update from The Cañon City Daily Record. From the article:

Extending municipal water to Pathfinder Regional Park and into the Brewster area could take several years and run upward of $1 million. The tradeoff would be potable water for the regional park and about 25 homes that now depend on failing wells and cisterns filled with hauled water. "We are not here to force this on anybody," said Fremont County Commission Chairman Larry Lasha at a meeting to determine interest in a special improvement district. "We're just looking to see if it is feasible." More than 50 attended the event, including power players from the county, the City of Florence, the Cañon City Area Recreation and Park District and Florence-Penrose School District. About one-third of the affected residents also attended. Contaminated well water drove about 20 Brewster residents to sign a petition in 2004, asking for inclusion into the Florence municipal water district. Water wells in the area are shallow and polluted, and many residents report the water is not fit to drink or even bathe in.

Formal action never had been taken on that petition, but officials saw a logical relationship between Brewster and Pathfinder Regional Park, which opened last September. County and rec district officials hope to bring municipal water to the park for future needs -- not for landscape or field watering -- and believe the residential area could neatly dovetail into the project. Several different options were explained by the city's water engineer, Richard Saxton, of TEC in Fort Collins. The 6,500 line feet required to take water to the park would cost about $450,000, while another 3,000 line feet to reach Brewster would add another $350,000, providing the system used gravitational flow. A pump station would dramatically increase the costs of the project...

If the project is deemed feasible, the county will seek grants and loans to help make it affordable. Energy Impact Grants, Community Development Block Grants and low-interest loans through USDA Rural Development could provide funding to help pave the way.

Here's an update on a planned pipeline from Bailey to Conifer from The High Timber Times. From the article:

A former co-founder of Colorado Natural Gas is spearheading a $10 million plan to pump water from the South Platte River in Bailey to Conifer for commercial and residential use...

[John] McMichael has been working on his water supply plan for about two years. The proposed $10 million project would involve two plastic pipelines -- potable and effluent lines -- that would run about 13 miles between the two communities in the 285 Corridor. McMichael received a state permit to build the project in December, he said, and he has filed his plan with the state engineer's office. He must still make his way through water court, but he remains confident that process will go smoothly. When McMichael applied for the state water permit last May, he was required to notify 35 entities, including the Denver Water Board, and no one contested the plan, he said. "This is tributary water," McMichael said. "The big advantage is to take pressure off the wells." It's a different approach to a water supply, but it is not a new one, he said. "The oldest way to perfect a water right is to create a diversion for beneficial use," McMichael said.

McMichael, who moved to the 285 Corridor about 18 years ago, is the primary person behind the project, which is filed with the state as Conifer Water LLC, though he has hired a water engineer to help with the details, and he is partnering with a mutual fund organization for financing. The permit he received is a Substitute Water Supply Plan. It is good for one year and can be renewed up to five years. The "substitute" reference means that river water is being substituted for well water, according to McMichael. To make the plan permanent, it must be filed in water court, and McMichael will do so once customers are identified, along with the amount of water needed. The current permit allows him to initially move about 240 acre-feet per year as identified in his plan based on potential clients who have already shown an interest, he said. Jeff Deatherage, a professional engineer with the Colorado Division of Water Resources who oversees the South Platte River Basin, said the permit was granted because McMichael is proposing to serve developments that already have water rights and augmentation plans that have been approved by water court...

Pumping the water from the South Platte River is an opportunity to avoid straining wells within existing water districts or others nearby, he claims. Some of the metropolitan districts between Bailey and Conifer include Kings Valley and the Conifer Town Center. Another includes Will-O-Wisp, which currently provides water for more than 100 homes and may be responsible in the future for supplying water to about 450 new homes in Pine Junction as part of a planned development there...

Deatherage further explained McMichael's plan. "He is proposing, instead of using wells, to use water diverted from the Platte, but he is still using the water rights in those augmentation plans to replace the impact or depletion to the South Platte," Deatherage said. McMichael will be required to meet strict guidelines of accountability for every gallon of water that flows through the lines, including the effluent. He may also build his own treatment plant related to the project to ensure the effluent is treated properly. The water would be removed from the river a short distance from the town of Bailey, and it would be replaced in the same general location of river, according to McMichael, though there may be a delay in that process of 30 to 45 days...

Pumping the water uphill is "not as daunting" as it might seem, according to McMichael. The elevation gain between Bailey and Conifer, at its highest point around Richmond Hill, is about 754 feet. He would build the pipeline 6 feet underground along county and state rights-of-way and purchase private rights-of-way if necessary. McMichael has yet to engineer the actual pipeline, but he said it's not a complicated endeavor -- based on his past experience installing pipelines -- and would take only six months to build. If his plan holds water, he hopes to begin construction in the summer of 2008.

The Pueblo West Pueblo West Metro Board of Directors voted 3-0 to approve a measure to give their District Manager, Don Saling, the authority to bid on water shares from the Twin Lakes Reservoir and Canal Company, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article: "Saling said that as shares come up for sale, the owners often want to close the deal quickly. The resolution will allow him to purchase up to five shares at a time, not to exceed $29,900 a share, without prior board approval.

Category: Colorado Water
9:55:13 AM    

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Coyote Gulch thinks that most of the presidential candidates are too chicken to debate scientific issues with each other. However the group pushing Science Debate 2000 aren't giving up. From a recent press release:

In the wake of a week of bad economic news, the American Association for the Advancement of Science today announced that it has joined a major effort to mount a presidential debate on science, technology and the economy.

"Science and engineering have driven half the nation's growth in GDP over the last half-century," said AAAS CEO Alan Leshner, "and lie at the center of many of the major policy and economic challenges the next president will face. We feel that a presidential debate on science would be helpful to America's national political dialogue." Leshner has also joined the group's steering committee.

The effort is being co-chaired by Congressmen Vern Ehlers, R-MI, and Rush Holt, D-NJ, and is also being championed by Congressman Bart Gordon, chair of the House Science & Technology Committee. It includes several former presidential science advisers from both major political parties. "We have to recognize there are roughly seven billion people in the world, half of whom make less than $2 a day. We cannot and would not want to compete with that," said Gordon. "We have to compete at a higher level with a better equipped and skilled workforce than that of our global counterparts - and we do that by focusing on science, education and innovation."

The endorsers of the initiative include economists; several Nobel laureates and other leading scientists and engineers; executives from Apple Computer, Google, Merck, Hyatt, and other leading companies; two dozen presidents of major American colleges and research universities; and the editors of major science publications and journals.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

Here's an editorial on science and science education from The Denver Post. They write:

In an incident reminiscent of the Scopes Monkey Trial, the little town of Chouteau, Mont., is now a laughingstock for its intolerance of ideas accepted by the great majority of the scientific community. John Scopes was tried and convicted in Dayton, Tenn., for teaching evolution. But at least Scopes was allowed to explain that theory to his high school science class. That's better treatment than Steve Running received in Chouteau, a hamlet nestled at the foot of the Rockies about 100 miles northeast of Missoula. On Jan. 10, Chouteau High School was to have hosted two speeches by Running, an ecology professor and climate scientist from the University of Montana who served on the United Nations panel on global climate change that shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore. The first speech was to be given to about 150 students during a school assembly. The second was to be delivered to a mostly adult audience that evening. The nighttime speech went on as planned, but Superintendent Kevin St. John canceled Running's talk to his students because of pressure from the school board. He called his action "a reasonable response" to contrarian contentions that global warming is an unproven theory and that Running's speech could be critical of agriculture, the economic lifeblood of the community. Running was puzzled. "I think there's a faction of society that is willfully ignorant, that they just don't want to know the facts about this," he said. "The thing that's ironic is that I wasn't even going to talk about global warming to the kids. I was just going to try to give an inspirational speech for young people about the jobs of science. But I guess that's pretty scary stuff."[...]

We're even more puzzled about why efforts to combat climate change are seen as anti-agriculture. -- especially in Montana. Luther Talbert, a Montana State University wheat breeder, says noticeably hotter summers are leading him to develop heat-resistant grain varieties. Other Montana farmers have enrolled their cropland in an innovative program that pays for good conservation practices and reduces carbon emissions. In Colorado, wind energy is proving a boon to farmers. Running could have carried these positive messages to the youthful audience of budding agribusiness leaders, who might have warmed to the potential benefits of good science. What a shame that his inspiring message was muzzled instead.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election
9:28:24 AM    

A picture named sixdegrees.jpg is running an excerpt from the book Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet. Here's an excerpt from the excerpt:

The effect on Native American populations in this pre-Columbian era was devastating. Whole civilizations collapsed, beginning in the Chaco Canyon area of modern-day New Mexico. One of the most advanced societies on the continent at their peak, the Pueblo Indian inhabitants of Chaco Canyon erected the largest stone building on the North American continent before the European invasion, a "great house" four stories high, with over 600 individual rooms - much of it still standing today. Yet when the big drought came in a.d. 1130, they were vulnerable; population growth had already diminished the society's ecological base through the overuse of forests and agricultural land. Most people died, while the survivors went on to eke out a living in easily defended sites on the tops of steep cliffs. Several locations show evidence of violent conflict, including skulls with cut marks from scalping, skeletons with arrowheads inside the body cavity, and teeth marks from cannibalism.

In fact, the whole world saw a changing climate in medieval times. The era is commonly termed the Medieval Warm Period, a time when - so the oft-told story goes - the Vikings colonized Greenland and vineyards flourished in the north of England. Temperatures in the North American interior may have been one to two degrees Celsius warmer than today, but the idea of a significantly warmer world in the Middle Ages is actually false. Recent research piecing together "proxy data" evidence from corals, ice cores, and tree rings across the Northern Hemisphere demonstrates a much more complicated picture, with the tropics even slightly cooler than now and different regions warming and then cooling at different times.

However small the global shift, the evidence is now overwhelming that what the western United States suffered during this period was not a short-term rainfall deficit but a full-scale megadrought lasting many decades at least. As recently as 2007, U.S. scientists reported tree-ring studies reconstructing medieval flows in the Colorado River at Lees Ferry, Arizona, showing that the river lost 15 percent of its water during a major drought during the mid-1100s. For 60 years at a time, the river saw nothing but low flows - none of the floods that normally course down the Colorado arrived to break the dry spell. Indeed, the remarkable coincidence of dates with evidence from New Mexico suggests that this was the very same drought that finished off the Chaco Canyon Indians.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election
9:16:40 AM    

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Here's an update on the cleanup of the uranium tailings over in Moab from The Salt Lake Tribune. From the article:

Cleaning up an immense pile of radioactive waste that flanks the Colorado River near Moab just got a new deadline. Under a provision Rep. Jim Matheson pushed into the defense spending bill enacted this past week, the U.S. Department of Energy must finish the entire project by 2019. Trucking radioactive tailings and contaminated soil from the 435-acre former Atlas Uranium Mill site 30 miles to Crescent Junction is expected to take five years. And that means the DOE has to get to work, Matheson spokeswoman Alyson Heyrend said. "That's what the law is now," she said.

But the Energy Department appears confused about what it is doing to bring water to Crescent Junction for construction and maintenance of the new dump site. A proposal crafted by Salt Lake City waste-disposal company EnergySolutions, chosen in 2006 to do the project, says the water would be conveyed 21 miles through a 6-inch pipeline from the Green River to Crescent Junction. Grand County officials and a Green River rancher stepped up with requests to piggyback on the water delivery. Grand County suggested DOE build an 8-inch line so the county might someday be able to develop the land near the waste site. Rancher Tim Vetere, with the support of the State Institutional Trust Lands Administration and unnamed financial backers, proposed to build a 10-inch line that Vetere might use to irrigate alfalfa fields and SITLA might employ to service industrial development.

Matheson opposed any changes in DOE plans because of the potential to delay the project, which Heyrend said already has dragged on too long. Cincinnati, Ohio-based DOE spokesman Bill Taylor twice confirmed to The Salt Lake Tribune that Vetere's proposal was under consideration. But Don Metzler, who is managing the tailings removal project from his office in Grand Junction, Colo., emphatically told Heyrend that no such project is under evaluation.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Category: 2008 Presidential Election
8:47:16 AM    

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At Thursday's general session of the Colorado Water Congress state representative Kathleen Curry briefed attendees on her bill HB 08-1141, Concerning Sufficient Water Supplies for Land Use Approval [pdf]. Here's a recap from The Pueblo Chieftain. They write:

The head of the state House agriculture committee wants to find a way to ensure growth occurs in areas that have the water to sustain it. "Before we approve a new development, there ought to be water available to support it," Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, told the Colorado Water Congress Thursday. "Someone is left holding the bag when the water's not there." Curry is sponsoring HB1141, which would require a local government to determine whether a developer of any project larger than 50 units can demonstrate there is sufficient water to meet peak demands. It would require letters from the state engineer and the developer's water supplier summarizing the portfolio of water rights. "The idea is to provide more information to cities and counties," Curry said.

She said there is some resistance to the bill because of its requirements for communities. "Most local governments want the information, but they don't want the mandates," Curry said. "A lot of cities and counties don't have a hydrologic engineer on staff." The senate sponsor of the bill is Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins...

[State Senator Jim] Isgar said there are not a great number of water bills on the floor yet. One of the more important [SB 08-36, Concerning the Water Supply Reserve Account of the Severance Tax Trust Fund (pdf)] would keep funds in the water supply reserve account even if they are not used over a five-year period. Currently the funds, generated from mineral severance taxes and allocated through the Interbasin Compact Committee and basin roundtables, would go back into the general fund if not used. The Legislature is also considering a proposal by the Colorado Water Conservation Board to spend up to $1 million to acquire senior water rights for the in-stream flow program. The program now relies on donations or junior water right appropriations. "The state hasn't spent money acquiring in-stream flow rights in the past. We should have been, but we didn't," Curry said. Isgar said one issue with the bill will be whether to use in-stream rights to preserve streams or to enhance them. The state has to be careful, he said, using the example of an 18-month struggle to determine the state's role in recreational in-channel diversions a couple of years ago. "If we go down the road of using state money to acquire water rights, we have to find out what that means," he said.

Category: Colorado Water
8:39:27 AM    

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Erie residents may take the plunge and add fluoride dosing to their water according to Longmont Times Call. From the article:

In a perfect world, Diane Brunson would have the fluoride flowing freely through every Colorado tap. To Brunson, who heads the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Oral Health Unit, it's an easy call. Statistics show sharp reductions in tooth decay in communities that fluoridate their water. Studies show the costs -- about $1 per person per year for a community the size of Erie, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- are far outweighed by the savings in community dental bills. The CDC ranks fluoridation with immunization and heart health on its short list of public health achievements in the 20th century. "We have (had) fluoridated water since 1945 in this country and seen no adverse health defects," Brunson said. "It's beneficial to everyone."

"The board felt that it was time to let the people decide for themselves," Erie Mayor Andrew Moore said. Despite the urging of the state and the fact that 75 percent of Colorado communities fluoridate, detractors say the additive is at best unnecessary, at worst toxic. While it's widely accepted that fluoride protects tooth enamel, critics say fluoride in toothpaste makes it unnecessary to fluoridate water. Critics also point to studies that show that long-term fluoride consumption can leave teeth discolored and even pose health risks -- high concentrations of fluoride were once used as rat poison.

Category: Colorado Water
8:15:03 AM    

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